I'm seeing i7 machines that spew so much heat that I doubt they will last 4 years. Or rather my bet is they will need maintenance at some point before 4 years.

We know that outside that Apple with the i7 and that rare dual core i7 that battery time rarely goes past one hour which coupled with the above means DISASTER LOOMS for a college student.

I strongly suggest you re-evaluate your i7 search and look at i5 machines with switchable graphics like this one:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0044XU34W/ref=oss_product

At 1/2 the price you get your 1GB dedicated video and save 750 bucks for replacement if disaster strikes in year 2.

Bob