I firmly believe that most people can get by just fine with a dual-core processor. But if you can get a faster one for the same price? Heck, yeah!
For a limited time, Best Buy has the Gateway NV55C56U Core i3 laptop for $329.99 shipped, plus sales tax. That is without question one of the best deals I've seen on a non-refurbished Core i3 system.
(In case you're not up on your processor studies, the Core lineup is part of Intel's
current newer generation of processors. In this case it's the Core i3-370M, a first-generation CPU that runs at 2.4GHz. Not a huge deal for basic browsing and word processing, but nice to have if you want to run multiple and/or higher-end applications.)
The rest of the specs are more than solid for a system in this price range: 4GB of RAM, a 320GB hard drive, and a 15.6-inch LED-backlit screen that runs at 1,366 x 768.
The Gateway also has a multi-DVD drive, 128MB of dedicated video RAM (
not a ton, but it's better than shared RAM), three USB ports, and an HDMI output. In other words, all the basics. (Update: as a commenter rightly pointed out, the RAM is indeed shared. This system is far from a graphics powerhouse.)
It's worth reading the user reviews, which are mostly positive but do include a few quibbles, like the off-center touch pad (which only seems off-center because of the numeric keypad). For the most part, it seems buyers are quite happy with the NV55C56U.
That's no surprise. It wasn't long ago that a Core i3 laptop would cost you $400 minimum, if not $500. Here's your chance to score one on the super-cheap.
Bonus deal: Game time! The name-your-own-price Humble Indie Bundle 4 comes with five DRM-free indie games--or seven if you pay at least the average (currently $5.33). Plus, you can divvy up the proceeds between the developers, the bundlers, and charities.
Bonus deal No. 2: Digiarty Software is once again giving away WinX Blu-ray Decrypter, which rips your Blu-ray movies for backup and PC viewing. Of course, you'll need a PC with a BD-ROM drive to do the ripping. The offer is good for the next three weeks or so.