I have a Thinkpad T43p 2668H2U
I chose a machine of this class, because I wanted an OpenGL card for some apps I run. Mostly CAD/3D rendering related. (There are much better game cards,)--but I wanted a notebook.... And The software I use won't run on a Apple OS Machines (those are sweet)....... That narrowed my choices to
(1) Big Clevo's with nVidia Quadro's
("Portable, with a gas generator,,, but amazingly powerful and full featured"
(2) Dell M70 with nVidia Quadro
(Lots of people like them, and they have the openGL graphic card to beat in notebooks.... In a plastic case that's half the size of he Clevo's.--- with all of the heat... I dunno... I don't care for Dells, to get a graphics card that strong, in a case that size, for that price.... they had to cut corners.... And support is in Banglador
(3) HP nw8240, with Ati FireGL5000
Have heard very good things about this machine, and seen good reviews, with a good card.... but talked to 4 different folks who told me the machines tend to run hot, even to the touch --like the palm rests get noticably warm...
Which brings me to
(4) Thinkpad t43p 2668 H2U with ATI FireGL 3200
The Thinkpad has the weakest graphic card of the four... But it will do the job. What sold me is this is the Laptop that Autodesk gives its employees... and they could have anything they wanted... PLUS Autodesk tweaks their software for nVidia cards.... and they STILL chose this machine with an ATI card...
And all I can think of is Thinkpads must do the job, and they don't break. Because Autodesk can get "cheap" from anyone
The build is astonishing... The thing is a tank, magnesium case with "air-bags" around the hard disk. but slim,,,, Plain almost, certanly minimal.... I like the way it looks... But you better like black.
The screen is everything I could hope for.... Beautiful... AND NOT GLOSSY....I HATE GLOSSY... At this price.... You don't have "dead pixel" worries.
People have raved about the keyboard. Until you type on one, you won't get it.... it's TIGHT
My old Toshiba, I had to set it on something so air could flow around it enough to keep it cool... and that was with a 4500 rpm drive.... this is 7500 rpm drive and a processor that's easily 2.5 times as fast.... and I can run this sitting with it sitting flat on a fleece blanket.... I can actually use it sitting directly on my lap for hours... blows my mind
It's quiet.... fast.... has a hot swap bay.... Bluetooth,,,, great support....
Port selection sucks.... "No firewire" come on guys.... And it's certainly NOT a gamer machine/home media center (likethe built in speakesrs, nothing special), but if you want a notebook computer that is seriously reliable.... Like you are going to use it run a business, or provide a service or product you support your family with, not play games --so you can't afford to have it go down., and then ship it somewhere for a week...
One down side is... You'll probabay want to get an other XP license, because they have this stupid back up system you (may)to get rid of, (it eats about eight gigs of drive space) but Folks at Tech Support (in Atlanta) are cool about supporting XP issues that aren't on an "IBM/Lenevo" factory installed system... XP is XP.
But.... there's a lot of good computers, depends on what you want; need and can afford. If I didn't want/need this specific type card, I'd go for an Asus
Z70va or new Sager, If I wanted a 3D multimedia workstation and didn't care for anything but occasional portability, and was willing to ship it for a hardware problem... A big Clevo would be hip.
And you can serious find deals, Even without being in the IBM Employee Program. I paid 30% less --months ago-- than what I'm still seeing the machine sold for at some dealers.... Just by hanging around eBay --and it was brand new in the box, full 3 year warranty. Perfect.