So the most recent laptop I purchased was a Dell Alienware. Certainly double the price of comparable machines, but to me well worth it. Top of the line processor, video, and construction is excellent with metal case etc. Hopefully it will be around a lot longer than the batch of inexpensive ones I have laying around the house waiting to be erased and then sent to Goodwill.
You do not need to spend a lot of money to get cutting edge. You simple need to pay attention the part number of CPU in laptop you buy because it will tell you what chip set you have too. Dell helped Vista a lot in getting bad rap it never recovered from because Dell flooded market with non Vista compliant chip sets because they were cheaper. HP waited for proper chip sets before pushing Vista. ANY 3xxx series I3,I5 or I7 is state of the art .022 micron die and requires latest chip sets too. Also in laptop world the ONLY difference between a I3 and I5 is I5 supports turbo overclock otherwise CPU's are the same. HP makes a ProBook 4540 series that cost way less than Dell with similar parts and can be had with any of the I cores series CPU's and some models even have a optional hi-performance video card that can be used on demand for certain applications automatically. This series also comes with faster 7200 RPM hard drives rather than cheaper 5400 RPM drives. If you want speed and cool running long battery life, go with I3 because since it has no turbo overclock it has lowest power signature. I used a new HP I3 laptop recently that did not even get warm after several hours of installing updates. Quick too. When measured with software, the I3 used only about 2 watts idling.