Re: Wait for Windows 8
None can run windows 8? Guess all the people running windows 8 RC et al on current hardware now are being fooled by microsoft's humorus integration of their blatent rip off of a bad copy of windowsblinds.
As for the rest... sounds more like a personal list of what you would like in a cheapie laptop rather than looking at the reality that school starts soon/has started and promising your son or daughter you can have a laptop for school when DDR4 and faster graphics come in it doesn't help them get their LOLCATS pics uploaded... I mean... homework and assignments done.
You need to balance estimated workload vs budget vs needs with currently available stock/quality old stock instead of waiting for "The Next Big Thing"
To put it in perspective... would DDR4 fire up word that much faster from the cheapest sourced 5400rpm drive found in most of these laptops in this range... would 10% faster grapfics render a PDF of your course outline enough to benifit waiting.
Does your kid going off for a course in nursing require the latest and greatest ram type and graphics available?... Would a student going into CAD/CAM engineering look at one of these machines (doubt it) How about a chef's course... will Ivy Bridge help prep a steak better than an older Core 2 (probably not... the Core 2 has a bit more selection for weighty laptops to help ternderize the meat quicker and better heat for quicker searing time.)
You pick the machine for the task - and pick one that interfaces with you well... doesn't matter how awesome the machine is if the input feels like crap, your productivity and comfort will suffer... someone mentioned WPM/Comfort typing/Keyboard Flex and Feel... often a seriously overlooked item when dealing with laptops.
Make sure it has enough oomph for the job at hand and for the forseeable future (remember most courses are 2-5 years and a 350 dollar laptop every couple of years costs more than spending 500 on something decent that will last 3 or 4 years)
And if your more interested in what you want... go buy what you want and pass down what you currently use. I doubt most kids care about i3 vs i5 vs AMD... it doesn't make the beer taste any better and regardless what intel says... i5 will not get you laid any quicker than having an i3. (Tested with my wife and my mistress plus random polling at the pub by asking some of the known overly friendly ladies)
* as a side note... looks/money/free drinks all ranked much higher than processor type and SSD vs HDD was dropped as a question all together after the most common answer was "its alright luv... I've been tested and I'm clean but its kinda rude to ask."