If you are going to be using wi-fi (wireless internet) unplugged a lot you will benefit from the HPZT3000 (or sister Compaq X1000) -- see dedicated forum X1000forums.com -- as you will get 3.5 - 4 hours battery life using wi-fi or longer not using it (4-5 hours).
Also, the keyboard on the ZT3000/X1000 is better than the one on the HP Athlon unit. They both have a similar LCD panel but the Athlon machine is somewhat thicker and heavier as the Pentium M cpu is cooler than the Athlon cpu.
And, the touchpad on the Athlon notebook is not centered under the spacebar as it is on the HPZT3000/Compaq X1000. If you use an external mouse this is not a big deal but if you use the touchpad then you should check out this issue.
64bit machines for most people will make a big difference when Microsoft Longhorn (follow up to XP) is released in late 2006 or beyond. There are some Windows XP SP2 security enhancements for 64bit and some other programs but for most people it is not significant right now.
I have a Compaq X1360US and it weighs 6.5 pounds with the 15.4" widescreen so it is still light enough to carry in a student backpack, is excellent with the widescreen DVD's etc --but you will also get that on the Athlon if it has a 15.4" widescreen.
Note: there is a $100 custom order HP or Compaq rebate good through 9/1/04 (and 1 that supposedly goes later) and you can get a 6% APP student discount if ordering custom at HPshopping.com
For details see X1000forums.com -- the discounts would apply to either notebook if custom ordered.
Note: get at least a 725 Pentium 1.6 Dothan Pentium M if ordering the HPZT3000/Compaq X1000 as that has the 2mb L2 system cache (older ones only have 1mb).
If ordering custom you should get 64mb dedicated video (can't upgrade later) for only $50 more than 32mb. And, the hard drive upgrade to 5400 rpm will make a larger difference than a processor only a bit faster.
Also, if custom ordering you can order 256mb RAM only and then get Crucial, Kingston, PNY, etc memory 512mb RAM yourself for under $100 and have a total of 256 + 512 = 768mb for much less than you will pay for 512mb from the manufacturer.
Many students with the 6% student and $100 custom order rebate have been getting great notebooks under $1500 and even down close to $1000 in some cases.