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First of all, I'm not sure if I can ask such a question here, so if you felt like this question doesn't fit in the superuser.com suite, then vote to close it, please!
Ok. In short I want to buy a new laptop and I see that both Dell Latitude e5500 (2.0/2m GHZ core 2 duo processor, 2GB ram up to 4GB, 250 GB HD, 15.6 inch WS, etc) and Dell Inspiron (2.2/2m GHz core 2 duo processor, 2 GB ram up to 4GB, 250 GB HD, 15.6 inch WS, webcam,etc) is pretty suitable to my needs. Everyone I know recommends the latitude over the inspiron series as the latitude is more geared for business and therefore it's faster than Inspiron. I really don't understand how the latitude can be faster, I mean look at the technical specs. The inspiron processor is even faster (2.2 GHZ vs 2.0 GHZ). The inspiron is (~100 $) cheaper than the latitude and its technical specs is the same (or better) as the latitude!
which one should I go for?

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Could you give us some more info on what you will do on the laptop? Will you be coding in VB or are you going full on Java + database of some kind? –  user155695 Nov 30 '09 at 9:01
Heavy stuff! C#.NET, Java, Virtual Machines with Linux installed for mono, SQL Server instance, IIS, hardcore modeling tools like PowerDesigner, etc. –  Galilyou Nov 30 '09 at 9:05
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3 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Personally, I would go for whatever is cheapest with the fastest CPU and newest chipset, then go for the slowest hard drive and smallest memory.

Buy yourself a couple of sticks of 2GB or 4GB sodimm and either a SSD or 7200RPM drive and upgrade your laptop yourself.

This shouldn't void your warranty as long as you do not do damage as you replace parts.

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I have a Dell Inspiron 1720 that's just over two years old now, and although I can't complain about it friends of mine have bought Dell laptops recently and have told me that the build quality isn't what it used to me. Based on what they've told me I'm considering a Lenovo as my next laptop.

If you do go with Dell I have found my Inspiron very easy to upgrade, I bought it with 2GB RAM and a 160GB 5400RPM. I replaced the hard drive and now have two 320GB, 7200RPM drives and an extra 2GB of RAM, it runs Windows 7 and Visual Studio 2010 like a dream and I find the faster hard drives make a difference when running virtual machines.

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At the risk of confusing matters and introducing a third choice; Personally, I prefer to use a HP Pavilion HDX, as I find the build quality on my Dell Latitude "less than brilliant". I've also consistently struggled with WiFi reception on Dell machines in the past. The HP is available as a quad-core which would come in very handy for virtualisation, especially as it is also available with two internal hard disks.

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