If you are going towards an XPS, then maybe look at the alienware laptops. My friend has one, and he loves it alot. The alienwares are "gaming" pcs, but they are great for everything. If you can, get a copy of xp to install on it. Xp is far better than vista. As far as dells go though, I've used a lot of dells, and really I don't like em much. I like my HP pavillion zv6000, but its really heavy. I wish you could buy the skeleton of a laptop and build your own. I hate being confined to what people sell.