Trying to compare the current choices available. I'm looking for a laptop that will primarily be used for audio and video calibrations in home theaters (not super powerful programs, because I have standalone real-time-analyzers, and both audio and video signal generators that I will be using aside from the laptop).
But I will be running several different software programs simultaneously, for importing graphs, making reports, adjusting EQ settings in a DSP box, analyzing readings from spectrophotometers, etc. I would also like to have a web browser open with multiple tabs running. I may also have various programs running like word or excel. I want it to work without hiccups, shutting down, freezing, blue screens, etc.
It's important that the noise level be fairly low so it does not interfere with my readings. I'd also like it to run relatively cool for longevity reasons. An IPS screen would be great for off-axis viewing, but I realize these are not common. Size is not particularly important. I prefer strong battery life in case I am travelling. I do need at least 3 USB ports. Ideally the cost is kept as low as possible.
So far I've looked at adkproaudio's 1Q AR, the HP Elitebook 2740p, and the Sony VPCZ1290X. The last 2 are a bit pricey though, and I think a bit overkill, I was trying to keep it around $1000, but maybe that's not realistic. The adk gets pricey when I start adding options as well. I've been thinking some iteration of the i7 would be best. I may consider splurging for an 80GB X-25M hard drive for the extra speed and quietness, especially since I shouldn't need more than 80GB.
I've read about designs lacking an optical drive which allows more ventilation, or automatically switching a GPU on or off depending on the need, as well as auto-reclocking the CPU for better battery life. All of these concepts appeal to me.