Please consider the i5 machines with SWITCHABLE GRAPHICS.
The i7 except for that rare dual core model is one laptop buyers should avoid unless they can live with the issues you noted.
=> The other item I think you need to reconsider is the 17 inch screen. That's a power problem as well as turning a laptop into a desktop.
Between those two items you should fair much better the next time around.
A week ago I sent an HP Envy 17 with i7 processor back to for a full refund.
It was a beautiful machine, fast....but within 10 minutes of turning it on, even when just idling, the left palm rest warmed up to 97+ degrees. The vent was pumping out 138 degrees and it only got hotter when it started processing.
It was very uncomfortable to type on. The left hand became sweaty, anything on the left side of the table became hot. It also had lousy battery life, a 20 minute skype video call wiped out the regular battery.
But on the heat, I worry that the other components will fail in short order at those temperatures. HP support said it was operating within normal parameters.
80% of my use is word processing and web browsing. Limited use of for Warcraft and Second Life.
Is heat inevitable with an i7 processor and a high res video card?
On an XPS 17 machine does it heat up in the palm rest?
From what I am reading, the Optimus technology is not available on the i7 chip
Am I correct that with this technology the machine would run cooler when doing simpler tasks?
Is the Optimus power switching coming to i7?
For my needs above would an i5 processor with the associated lower video ram and system ram suffice? (I do wonder if I am buying too much machine)
A second concern about the XPS 17 is the lower screen resolution...I do a lot of photography and assume that this may be a negative.
There is talk in the forums about a new XPS 17 in January with option for a touch screen. I don't have any interest in that but wonder if there will be a regular screen option and maybe an new chip combo that runs cooler.
Thanks in advance to anyone that can offer some practical honest advice on thiese issues.