Mod parent up. Perhaps it is taken for granted at a place like slashdot, but I've seen no mention of the fact that a huge fraction of the high end pc market - even laptop/mobiles - target gamers rather than scientists and other who do technical computing. Depending on what programs you will be running, such hardware may perform very poorly when compared to workstation class machines. Workstation class laptops with a good GPU and software to use it properly will run circles around an equivalently priced machine designed for gaming.
Even if the heavy duty stuff is to be done on a supercomputer or HP cluster, selecting the right hardware to interface with can spare you a lot of headache during setup/configuration. I'm taking a parallel computing class right now where a remote system has the hardware features we need to learn the necessary programming concepts. My cheap commodity laptop has been experiencing a lot of hardware compatibility related issues as I'm trying to set up the GPU-driver-dependent Eclipse-based local development stack necessary for my projects. Maybe I'm just venting because I'm new and does't know my way around yet. But I can certainly attest to the fact that in my case at least, "Anything" is NOT the right answer.