Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: San Angelo, TX
Bikes: Volae Team, '76 Motobecane Grand Jubile
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The typical laptop lives a pretty rough life. Common failures are related to the display (flexed with each open/close), hard drive (impacts), motherboard (from the case flexing), and heat-caused failures of many components. Typically this is worse on cheaper laptops because they skimp on the chassis (less rigid), display frame (ditto), impact dampening, and cooling.
So, if your laptop is going to live the typical laptop life of being moved around constantly, don't go for the bottom end. On the other hand, if it mostly will sit open in one place, buy the cheapest system you can find. But then if it's going to mostly sit, I'd consider a small desktop instead - less costly and much more rugged.