I've had this laptop for several years now, and it's starting to show its age. Its performance has become consistently choppy and sluggish; its video card is inadequate for many of my video games, even at minimum settings; and its wireless internet functions appear to have ceased functioning altogether, tethering me helplessly to an ethernet cable.
It still works, in that it's not, like, totally busted. It's just weak and laggy. Suboptimal, I guess you might call it. The thing is, though, my computer is probably literally the single most important thing I own. It's vital academically, professionally, and recreationally, and it has a significant effect on my quality of life. You shouldn't have to cut corners on a cornerstone. And my birthday is coming up, so I convinced my parents to give me a $900 budget to upgrade my laptop.
I shopped around and did some research before settling on a Dell Inspiron 17R-SE model that's very much like the Dell machine I currently have, except with all of the hardware juiced up. Much faster processor, a real modern video card instead of an Intel Chipset junk, double the hard drive space, a backlit keyboard (with numpad), and a 17.3" 1080p HD matte screen (I've gone long enough with the cheap glossy screen and it's high time I got a real anti-glare matte finish). This particular one was a refurbished model and on sale for 20% off for Black Friday weekend with the appropriate coupon code, so after the discount, it was a good $200 cheaper than comparable laptops (like the HP dv6t or dv7t) with similar hardware--and very comfortably within my budget.
It comes preloaded with Windows 8. So I dunno how that'll work out. I hear Windows 8 is weird and different and aimed primarily at touchscreen devices rather than laptops and desktops. On the other hand, it's supposed to have some good performance upgrades from Windows 7 as well, so it can't all be bad. Like, the weird new interface they're adding is just, like, a replacement for the Start menu, or something? And the regular desktop is still there behind it? I guess? Uh...well, anyway, I hope it's good.
Also, new Dresden Files book is almost here!