i am not a *nix guru but i like the topic and i would like to comment some things.
first, from the comments from this forum, the 5680 has already been proven to be a really nice laptop. so if you go that way, there is little danger. there is a comparison between the Sager 8890 and the new Mitac AMD64 here:http://www.extremetech.com/print_art...=113016,00.asp
(the Mitac AMD64 is the equivalent to the Voodoo and the panther4HR is equivalent to the Sager 8890)
The Mitac laptop will arrive to the US next week (except for test samples that were ship to places like Voodoo) and it may be too early to reach a conclusion. i am planning to get one and install Mandrake_64 (i don't like Suse very much).
i am not a gamer either. the way i understand the difference between the ATI64 and the ATI128 is that the performance of the ATI with 64 megs is the same as the ATI with 128 except that it will not play as well as the 128 with newer (not yet released) games that have a high demand of graphics, ie 'half life II'. i guest that if you are not a hardcore gamer, the ATI64 will not play a difference in your future. if i made a mistake, please someone correct me.
in my personal opinion, you have more to gain (future proof) if you go with the AMD64. first, the 64 bit OS should let you use 32 bit applications. second, the 64 bit OS will let you use 64 bit applications (of course). As of this time, there is no benchmarks that evaluate the performance of the AMD64 in its home environment (64 bit) because M$soft has not released its 64 bit OS, and usually these evaluations have to do with games.
As for the price, you can get a $1600 AMD64 with ATI M10P herehttp://www.hyperdatadirect.com/produ.../Model8350.htm
again, this laptop is new and it will probably have some bugs to work out. i don't know. if you are going to run critical applications, i would recommend the Sager (proven). my guess is that nxt year will be atransition year to 64 OS after M$ releases its new 64 XP (it is in beta now). well, maybe 3 years