Open to all laptop suggestions!

<p>I will be a senior in high school this fall. Completely unsure of what I want to do. I am pretty confident I'll enter college undecided. Maybe general interest in business or humanities =/</p>

<p>Anyways I received some extra money and am looking to buy my college laptop a year early. I would like this to last me through college, so 5 years. I am completely dumbfounded by Mac's. Although I don't dislike them.</p>

<p>I don't understand what to look for in a processor. I'm more familiar with Intel and could understand the Quad Core vs. Core 2 Duo rankings pretty well, but now they have i7, i5, i3 and all the different ghz numbers I don't know any of that.</p>

<p>I'm sure I want a 500gb HD, that seems to be pretty standard. And 4gb of RAM too.
And I definitely want STRONG battery life</p>

<p>Screensize I'd probably be fine with anything 14-17. I already have a nice backpack that can hold a 17 inch laptop.</p>

<p>I'd probably do light gaming on the laptop, and of course tons of studying. Also facebook/youtube all that social stuff.</p>

<p>What should I look for??? Please help me out! Definitely want to spend under $1000. Preferably $500-$800.</p>

<p>It's just so hard for me to narrow down things because I want the best performance laptop that will last me a long time for what I am paying. Processors are the big thing that stump me though.</p>

<p>Unless you're minoring in weight lifting I'd pass on the 17" and get a 13-14 incher with an external LCD screen. Even 15" is too big in my view.</p>

<p>For 500-800 look for Dell XPS (some), Lenovo IdeaPad (won't get Thinkpad for 800 I'm afraid) and a few others. </p>

<p>Processors are simple. All things being equal, the i3 < i5 < i7. By how much? not as much as you think. That's how computer makers make $$$. There are sites for benchmarks that will show you in simpler terms for specific apps what all it means.</p>

<h1>of cores is also a misnomer. My work system has two quad processors for 8 cores total, but it's running some very serious stuff. A fast 2 core will be fine for most people, maybe 4 core but the higher the processor generally the more heat it puts out and that's bad for life expectancy...</h1>

If you already have a computer leave the money un-spent. There's going to be better stuff every year, as always.**</p>