I'm going to college next September, to study engineering (I haven't decided which kind of engineering yet, but it's either Aerospace, Civil, Electrical and Computer, Information Systems and Computer, Mechanical or Physics) and I feel like I need a new laptop.
I need it to be able to smoothly use CAD and 3D design software, like SolidWorks, as well as any other engineering software. I want to be able to do some gaming, but nothing special nor necessarily recent (I'm perfectly happy with SNES emulators =P).
How important is having a dedicated GPU when rendering and doing other stuff like that? And is it true that quad core i7s produce considerably more heat than dual core versions? Any significant difference in processing power between dual core i5s and i7s? Also, is SSD technology going to lower in price any time soon?
In the past I've had a Toshiba Tecra A6 and right now I'm using a HP Touchsmart TX2 tablet. I'm looking for a business/sturdy style laptop, so far my top choices are:
Lenovo T, Edge, X and W series, for their excellent reputation and my father having a Lenovo T410 (as well as past IBM laptops which never failed him);
Toshiba Tecra and Portege, because of my positive experience with the Tecra A6;
Apple Macbook Pro, because of their excellent reputation and my positive experience with Apple products.
Please suggest other alternatives and recommendations. Screen sizes between 12 and 15 inch, low noise and heat, thickness and weight are not that relevant, but the least the better. My budget tops at around ?2000, maybe a little bit more.