Thanks meuchel & rotor123.
I used to have to be compatible w/ other's computers [pc's], but now I only have to consider me. I'm interested in a mac because all my win2k and winxp computers performed very poorly - I've spent way too much effort trying to get them to do basic things like burn data cds/dvds reliably, wordprocess w/out crashing, file share - and periodically - boot into windows. I've only known a few mac users but they were all very happy w/ their computers whereas I've been very sad.
I haven't been able to tell from browsing the win 7 forums if win7 is a significant improvement from MS's previous OS's. I wish I could try out a win 7 pc and a current mac, but I don't know anyone w/ either at this time.
I don't know what a channel-marketed system is, but I'll take a look at lenovo. I looked at Acer, but I didn't find a configuration that fit. I have a thinkpad x41 - it's from 2005 which I think is about the time the change from IBM to Lenovo occurred. It's a terrible computer, but I wouldn't want to judge lenovo's usual quality w/ it. It has an unfortunate hdd and I've wondered if MS paid even less attention to winxp tab ed than they did to win2k. The thinkpad is still plugging along and I've found lenovo support above average so far.
I've read wikipedia's info on hyperthreading & multi-cores and it very quickly gets too technical - the bottom line for me is will win 7, word, paperport, firefox, etc be able to utilize that technology so that I
see a difference in a quad vs a dual vs a non-multi. I found a list of programs that can utilize SMP, but I haven't been able to find any articles that compare how multi-cores compare to non-multi's in real life use and whether a quad would be worth the price/heat generating problems vs a dual for non-gaming use. Winxp was supposed to utilize the hyperthreading of the intel processor on my dell desktop, but I found winxp on the dell s-l-o-w and it didn't multitask any better than win2k on a non-multi. With pc's I've never had the impression that hardware & software providers communicated well w/ each other. One of the reasons I'm interested in trying a mac.
I looked at the Qosmio's. They have 7200 rpm hdd's, which I think is important, and the numeric keypad which would be nice in a desktop replacement laptop. The intel i5 & i7 and NVIDIA GeForce sound high performance, but the Qosmio's are all non-configurable and only offer win 7 home.
I also looked at Toshiba's Satellite P500-ST6844, which per phone help is supposed to have the 1394b I want, but if Toshiba provides the tech specs for its laptops I couldn't find them. The Satellite is configurable so I'd have a choice between 4 processors. I really
like that I could add a 2nd hd, but its OS choices are all 64-bit, about which I know nothing. So I guess I better see what wikipedia has to say about 64 bit.