I'm settling on a 'business' Dell model; a Vostra. Ironically, the business models have a GeForce 8600 GT.
Again, I greatly appreciated the input everyone made to help.
P.S.: A few firsts for me in this laptop: my first Intel processor since my 2.6C Northwood, my first nVidia product, and my first dual-core processor, and the obvious my first ever, non-company-provided laptop. At first, I was hoping to go to an IBM-Lenovo model like at work, however, they are very expensive, partly due to their near-indestructible design.
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