Laptop Buying Decisions - Choice for Good One Now - Easy Upgrade Later

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OK, gurus.  When it comes to selecting a laptop, you can probably
recognize that I rode the short bus.  Any friendly suggestions greatly

I am trying to buy a fairly inexpensive laptop, but one that can be
easily upgraded later.  I tend to run multiple, hefty applications.  I
would like Windows xp Media Center OS if possible.  I would like to
burn CD's and DVD's, and label them.  I would like excellent audio and
video quality.

Here's my question:  If I need to make trade-offs to facilitate
immediate purchase, what should I sacrifice that would still enable me
to easily upgrade my processor later?  With the new Core 2's, I'd like
to find a fast, capable processor now that would make it easy for me to
go up to a Core 2 when they are a little more affordable, and also in
anticipation of Vista release.

Advice please:

-processor selection - fast and competent now, less cost so investment
won't be too upsetting when I replace it
-DDR 2 at at least 1gb, right?
-Graphics card that will be good now, compatible with potential
upgrades, that won't break the      bank?
-Any feeling on solid, dependable burners?  Labeling capabilities?
-Looks like many laptops are upgradeable from onboard sound to Audigy -
worth it? Or is a there a particular onboard sound I should look for
when selecting a processor?
-Wireless and connectivity solution?
-I know I need accidental repair coverage and warranty.  But, if I
upgrade the processor in 12 months, this would void most coverages
anyway, right?

I'd really appreciate your help.  Also, any good deals you know of.

Re: Laptop Buying Decisions - Choice for Good One Now - Easy Upgrade Later

BTW, I've been advised to purchase the fastest HD and RAM...should help
now and after upgrade, correct? wrote:
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