Re: how is this laptop for general use like music and basic college
For what you want to do, I say absolutely. In May of 2007 I purchased a laptop for my daughter who was going to enter college as a freshman in the Fall (yes, I am old). At my local Staples I came across a Compaq Presario (HP bought them out and produces a Compaq line). It has a slower AMD dual core chip then the one you are looking at and I upgraded the RAM from 2x512 to 2x1 gig. It has Vista.
But the bottom line is it has been rock solid and does everything she needs: class work and term papers, surfing the internet as well as researching, it plays DVD movies without a hitch, rips as well as burns CDs, she downloads music to her MP3 player, connects wirelessly and not one hiccup with all the use.
I got rid of the installed junk, jettisoned Norton and installed the free Avast antivirus and uses the Vista firewall. She is behind a router so no infections at all.
The only thing that I would say is my concern for you is the need for an extended warrenty. You may find just as good of deals at your local Staples or Office Depot.