My current laptop, though venerable and durable, is definately on the road to immolation. (I'm writing on it now, and I can feel it get angry at me for typing such things, and the fact that its next incarnation will be as a server will annoy it no end.) It's a Compaq Armada M500, which I bought used and should've gotten repaired, because it had a few months of warranty left, but I snoozed and I losed, as the expression goes.
The onboard keyboard is hosed. Let me put it this way: abcdefijklnopqrstuwxyz is what I get pounding out an alphabet on it (I'm using a sleek IBM USB keyboard, which works fabulously and has a small enough form factor to fit in my backpack.) The HD sleeve is warped, so I can't replace it with a higher-capacity model. The locking latches, well.. don't. The keyboard hits the screen, a noted model defect. And the screen is slightly curved, due to a few drops. And the battery life is precisely zero, despite what the battery's diagnostics tell me. While this machine has survived at least three drops (to my knowledge) and several dissassemblies (bored), I need a newer machine in any event.
I want a machine that is top of the line, and for once, NEW. This was aquired used, and the previous laptop I had, a Toshiba Satellite with a P100 and 40 MB of RAM, were used. I want something that's going to blow my current hardware away. I use my machines for utility, but I want to be able to do 3D work, and play Tux Racer. I want to master and burn DVD's.
I also want a machine that has beautiful aesthetics. You can get a tricked out minitower that's been modded to the gills, but laptops seem to be black and gray. Some are starting to turn blue, but I want something that will stand out. I seriously looked at the Ferrari laptop that was being ballyhooed for that reason: it stands out from the crowd.
To short-list what I would like: High end processor, great graphics, DVD burner, Wi-Fi or better wireless, great appearance, and Linux compatibility.
Oh, and keeping it under about $2,000.
So far, a sampling of the rigs I've looked at:
Apple Powerbook G4: The 12" TiBook, with a SuperDrive, 256 MB RAM and 40 GB HD, runs about USD 1600 for students. (A note or so discount helps.) I upped the HD to a 60 GB, added an AirPort card, and Keynote software (I've seen it in action; it's pretty damn good.) In this config, it's $1800.
Upside is, I know it's very Linux friendly, and it's also super-lightweight. Downside is the screen size; for this outlay I would prefer a larger screen. Yes, I want my cake. I would gladly get the 15", but for some reason they charge $500 extra (above the price of the DVD-ROM/CDRW model) for the DVD burner, rather than the $200 extra they charge for the 12". FYI, base 15" with DVD burner and academic discount is $2300.)
Acer Ferrari: This caught my eye. Yeah, I got wind through a buy dot com email advert, but I looked at the specs, and at first glance they looked pretty damned good. On a by-the-numbers comparison with my enhanced baseline TiBook mentioned above, this has the numbers. 512 MB RAM, 60 GiB HD, 15" TFT display, DVD +/- RW drive, 802.11g, ATI RADEON 9200 GPU with 128 MB video RAM. This also has the dead-sexy Ferrari red shell.
The lambasting on /. notwithstanding, I started to have some doubts on the laptop. I found only two sites with information on conversion, and based on the hardware pains I'm seeing, Linux will be difficult, more than I would like. (I may enjoy using Linux, but I HATE spending more time than I need to on configging my localhosts. )
Alienware laptops (in general): They make me drool.
I can't help it.
They make me drool. Both the sentia (Centrino) models and the Area 51m's (Pentium 4) make me convulse. I am getting ready to hunt for a sponsored LAN party so I can get my hands on some significant rebates (they offer $100 rebates through sponsored LAN parties, as well as through purchases of certain games).
Save for the cost element. These are, so far, the most expensive I've seen and would consider. And yes, I would like to play a few more computer games, a few FPSs like Q3A, Counterstrike, AA.
eMachines : Worth a mention because of the M6807. This is the only mass-market laptop I know of with a 64-bit processor. This means that Linux is the only OS to take full advanatage. It runs comparable to a P4 3.0 GHz, from what I've read. It's a nice machine, ugly, but also on the cheaper side (website suggests $1650!), and that's potentially a big advantage. If someone can refinish the laptop, make it look better for a couple of bills, I'd dive into this rig.
I also like the Voodoo rigs, but I don't want to plunk down an extra thou for the priviledge of a pretty case. They have AMD Mobile64 processors, and are loaded to the gills as well, but again, the BASE price is nearly three grand, and that's WAY too much.
I don't think anyone else has them. If you can correct me, please do.
These are just the tip of the iceberg. I would like to know what sorts of custom makers are out there, and I would like to know more about the Linux compatibility.