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Dell Inspiron R series
It may not be as cheap as Dell's basic Inspiron line, but the Inspiron R series still starts at an affordable $599.99, and, unlike the Inspiron 15 and 17, offers Haswell processor options. It also features a 14-inch model (the 14R), which doesn't include a number pad like its bigger 15R and 17R siblings, but still has an optical drive in case you still use DVDs. (We'll assume most students view music CDs as ancient artifacts.) The 14R and 15R flavors include a touchscreen option, while the base configurations for the 15R and 17R include 6GB of RAM instead of the usual 4GB.