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What is your maximum budget?

What country are you in?
USA
What will be the uses of this laptop?
Mostly for schoolwork, internet browsing, programming, VMs, movies, and maybe light gaming(Minecraft)
Do you have brand loyalty or care which brands we select for you?
Whatever is reliable, preferably business/enterprise class
What screen size do you require?
11-15.6'', but preferably 14''
What screen resolution do you require?
Preferably greater than 1366x768, but not essential
Are you looking to buy NEW or would refurbished/recertified/used be okay?
I plan to keep it for a few years, so new would be better
How long should the battery last? (Under optimal conditions, no movies/games/heavy internet)
4-6+ hours minimum
What games would you like to play with your laptop? And on what settings?
Minecraft, maybe Starcraft 2 on low/med
What operating system do you need? (if any)
none
Is there a certain style of laptop you want? (aluminum, black, gaming, etc.)
i would prefer something relatively durable
How much hard drive space do you need?
>=160GB if HDD, >90 if SSD
Do you need any special hardware? (blue ray, webcam, specialty ports, etc.)
i would prefer a discrete card, particularly Nvidia, unless AMD has something similar to optimus
Is there anything else we need to know?
see rest of post
My mom wants an ultrabook when Ivy comes out, but can't wait since her old laptop died. She told me to buy one I want for $700-900ish, she will use it until ivy comes out, and then I'll buy it off of her for $500-600ish. I have been looking particularly at the new thinkpads/latitudes on dell/lenovo outlets. I would like an intel quad, but reliability/durability is more important. if it doesn't come with an SSD, I plan to upgrade later, and I plan to add more RAM eventually as well.
Any recommendations appreciated.

Thanks!
Edited by Bartonn - 3/31/12 at 10:42am
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HAL 9000
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 2600k P67A-UD4 palit gtx 570 sonic platinum 2x4gb g.skill ripjaws 1600 7-8-7-24 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Crucial M4 samsung spinpoint f3 one that works h70 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 7 BSOD edition sony fw900 $10 at walmart xfx black edition 850w 
CaseMouseMouse Pad
antec lanboy air blue razer SWTOR MMO mouse razer kabuto 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core 2 Quad Q9450 Asus P5K Deluxe Sapphire 5850 Corsair/Crucial DDR2 800 
Hard DriveCoolingOSPower
Western Digital Blue Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO Windows 7 BSOD edition Rosewill Green 530w 
Case
NZXT Gamma 
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W.O.P.R.
(15 items)
 
HAL 9000
(9 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 2600k P67A-UD4 palit gtx 570 sonic platinum 2x4gb g.skill ripjaws 1600 7-8-7-24 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Crucial M4 samsung spinpoint f3 one that works h70 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 7 BSOD edition sony fw900 $10 at walmart xfx black edition 850w 
CaseMouseMouse Pad
antec lanboy air blue razer SWTOR MMO mouse razer kabuto 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core 2 Quad Q9450 Asus P5K Deluxe Sapphire 5850 Corsair/Crucial DDR2 800 
Hard DriveCoolingOSPower
Western Digital Blue Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO Windows 7 BSOD edition Rosewill Green 530w 
Case
NZXT Gamma 
  hide details  
Reply