Help pricing out a new laptop

The Hanged ManThe Hanged Man Once I ate a pizza so big, they gave me a prize.Then I threw up and they took it back.Registered User regular
So, computers. I don't know what the hell I'm doing. Or rather, I know a little bit of what the hell I'm doing, but I'm at that precipice of becoming knowledgeable about something where your confidence plummets because your understanding is finally enough to highlight the vastness of your remaining ignorance. When I look at new computers, I have no idea what's actually a good deal in any way, and I panic.

An example of panic: the last time I bought a new computer, it was a generation 1 surface pro when they were brand new. At that time I had money to hurl around like a jackass, so I just maxed out all the options on the microsoft website. Fortunately that gamble paid off it's been a very reliable device for the last 8 years. I still plan on using it as an art tablet for the foreseeable future. But as a laptop, it's getting pretty beat up, and it's time for a replacement.

So here's what I'm looking for:
- Budget is around $800
- Windows device. Not interested in a Mac right now.
- Not a tablet/laptop hybrid or touchscreen device. For the few things where I use that functionality, my Surface still works.
- Weight: light is obviously nice, but if it's a little heavier that won't kill me. This will probably be used mostly at home.
- I strongly prefer not to have to assemble anything. That's never worked out well for me.
- Device primary purpose: Writing. A wider keyboard would be nice, but not mandatory. I've honestly been doing all right with the little Surface magnetic keyboard attachment for years.
- Secondary purpose: Audio transmission/recording. I do a crapload of online RPGs, and have been talking for ages about recording/uploading a game. My surface just doesn't like a lot of headsets, and I've been running all audio for games off of my phone.
- Tertiary purpose: Some gaming, but not much. I mostly play on consoles. It would be nice to be able to take my FF14 account places without my PS4 though.
- Two or more USB ports would sure be good.
- Ethernet jack would also be nice. I don't trust wifi-only devices any more, especially after my Surface went through a three year span where every fucking windows update would break the wireless drivers.
- A CD drive would be cool, because I've got a shitload of old music that I'd like to transfer to my ipod? But I can get an external if needed.

Within those guidelines, I don't even know where to start. Anyone have any suggestions?

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  • The Hanged ManThe Hanged Man Once I ate a pizza so big, they gave me a prize. Then I threw up and they took it back.Registered User regular
    Just spotted that there's a thread specifically for this in G&T. Should have checked there first, sorry.

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