I've been using an IBM Thinkpad T40 for the past couple of years for my research. It's a fine machine, ordered and paid for by my advisor. Now that I've graduated though, he needs his sizable investment back of course, so I began researching what I should replace the machine with.
My needs were 1. thin and light, given that it would be used for travel to conferences and on the bus, 2. fairly powerful given that I will be running IDL and MATLAB, and 3. rock-solid and dependable. These requirements, along with a lot of help from the forum at NoteBookReview.com, led me right back to IBM/Lenovo's T42. I chose the T42 instead of the T43 primarily because I could get a faster hard drive. I spent about a month and a half researching models from Fujitsu, Asus, Toshiba, and HP before finally deciding that the T42 was indeed the machine for me. I placed an order and the machine should be shipping next week at long last.
Here are some specs:
* Pentium M 1.86 GHz
* 14.1" SXGA screen
* 1 GB RAM
* 7200 RPM, 60 GB hard drive
* Bluetooth and Wireless 802.11b/g
* model part number 2373m3u
I plan to run some basic benchmarks on the old machine before I send it back to my advisor, and then compare them to the new one to get a good sense for how much performance I am gaining.
One of the major issues I faced was whether I should wait until the new Yonah (dual-core) Pentium-M chips are released in January. I decided to buy now, however, because new models with Yonah would be much more expensive anyway, and I also need a machine asap since my advisor needs the old one back and can't wait until January. Plus, it is not clear that dual-core will be supported in most of the software I use at the outset (though that will change over time, a horizon of a year or two IMHO). I got a very solid config at a very reasonable price, which I think will be more than sufficient for the next few years to handle whatever I need. I could have saved another $150 had I purchased from an ebay reseller, but I think that the peace of mind of buying direct from Lenovo was worth the markup.
The machine should be here after Thanksgiving. Can't wait :) As for multi-core, I will build myself a Yonah-based desktop next year.