My current machine, God Rest Her, is an Acer Aspire 17something, and I loved it to PIECES. I covet another 17" laptop, but am open to getting a 15" and buying a monitor for home. It doesn't have to be exceptionally portable - I don't travel with it a lot, but I DO need to be able to take it with me for a day doing graphics or drafting at someone else's office and still be comfortable.
I do NOT NOT NOT want Windows Vista. Whoever at MS had the genius idea that 'let's release an operating system that doesn't run AutoCAD!' should be shot. Preferably in the kneecaps so they have lots of time in agony and will never do so again. Also, it's slow and everything I've read says I don't want this system. I will pay extra for a laptop that runs XP, SP2, or I will get something with Vista and wipe it clean to start over with again and take that hassle into my pricing consideration. Vista is decidedly not a selling point.
My needs are not terribly extensive. I do run large art and CAD programs, but not intensive gaming 3D graphics stuff. 1 Gig of RAM is minimum. Big harddrive a plus. Full keyboard and numberpad a must. Windows is a must (this isn't a 'convert Ellen to Apple' opportunity. :P).
I have a decent budget. I'd like to pay less than $1000, but for the right machine with the right stuff, I could go a little higher.
What would you get? Any words of warning?