Although the 700 may be more expensive, I found that I've always longed for a cpu that was portable. I eventually brought mine to class everyday to take down notes. However I was using an Inspiron 2650 which weighed about 8lbs. I don't know the specs on the 8600 for sure, but I think the 700 seems better overall. Getting a lot of RAM would increase the products life through the years until she's ready to get a new cpu, hopefully sometime after graduation.
Daughter is going to college and we have got it down to either the 8600 or 700. She says she is not worried about toting it. I think she may end up toting and appreciate the lighter.
She is not sure what to get would appreciate input