Gaming/college laptop

I’ve been looking at a few of them, and I can’t spend too much money. I was looking at this:

But then I found a Dell at my workplace that has the same specs, and I can get it for about $800 with my discount as opposed $850-900. I keep hearing some bad things about Dells, hence my hesitation. Should I get the HP or the Dell? Also, I’ve been forewarned on several occasions to go ahead with a service plan in case of some college mishap. Yay or nay?

Also, is there a way (aside from burning multiple DVDs) to transfer all the contents of my HDD to my future laptop?

edit: Any suggestions for gaming laptops would be appreciated as well. Keep in mind, I just want something that’ll decently run some PC games, nothing to go “ooooooh shiny” about.

Don’t go for a gaming laptop, you’ll be sacrificing light weight, battery power, reliability, money and your ability to produce viable offspring just to run recent games poorly. I’m currently in the same boat and thinking of picking up a Thinkpad t61 while building a semi-decent desktop for actual gaming. Lenovo is coming out with some new models next month, might be worth keeping an eye on. They’re pricey, though.

The problems with HP and Dell is that you almost never know the times when they’re rocking and when they’re sucking. I’ve experienced absolutely horrible and absolutely fantastic laptops from both and I can never remember which is which. After my own shittastic HP laptop I’ve decided to avoid them whenever possible, but eh.

And yeah, you can just get a 3 dollar network cable, toss your laptop and PC into a network and transfer everything easily.

What he said, though I’m not sure about Thinkpads - They don’t always have touchpads and they’ve switched Fn and Ctrl. It makes it awkward to use keyboard shortcuts.

I hate HP more than Dell, personally.

As an aside, I don’t really get why anyone would want gaming laptops nowadays. PC gaming is the worst its ever been. You also want to avoid 64 bit processors because they really don’t work that well. I know a few people who’ve gotten them and they have regretted it dearly because of all the problems the lack of support has caused them. The laptop you linked doesn’t even have a real video card. Integrated graphics are garbage. And on top of that, a gaming laptop under 1000 dollars? That’s not a gaming laptop dude. A real gaming laptop costs over 2k. Anything that costs under 1000 dollars is a word processor. Finally, you really need to think twice before you get a 17 inch laptop. A 17 inch laptop is GIGANTIC for a laptop.

You can’t avoid 64bit CPU’s, but yes, you’ll want to avoid 64bit OS’es.

I don’t have much else to say about this, but as a note, I also recommend you think twice before buying a 17" screen. >.> My last laptop was a 17" and I have to say, after all, that it was a bad idea: it was so big that it was impossible to find an angle that would allow me to see the whole screen (it was always black at the top or bottom), it barely fit on the desks in the classrooms at university (and sometimes, people would complain that I blocked their view :P), it was ridiculous in airplanes, it was heavy and I never found a good backpack with an inside pocket that was large enough for it (for less than 100$ anyway). It’s up to you, though, if you don’t think those things will be a problem in your case.

I only know Dell and received good and crappy service. Apparently, their customer service got even worse in the past years, but their laptops are decent (or I was lucky).