I believe in getting the most out of existing hardware, but my aging Averatec laptop (purchased in 2005) was beginning to give me trouble, as old hardware will do. Additionally, the old machine could not be counted upon to run an IDE like Netbeans. It just lacked the horsepower.
So I’ve been doing a lot of research into mid-range consumer laptops, reading reviews, trying to find the one that strikes just the right balance between price and features. I ended up purchasing a Dell Inspiron 17R (aka N7010) from Staples, on clearance for $600.