You have to indicate more of your desires as far as LCD size, weight, whether or not portability and/or battery life is important.
However, here are a few tidbits:
1) Some versions of Linux already use 64bit processing so you should heavily consider an Athlon 64 notebook. Currently, HP/Compaq (sister models) and E-machines offer these. Dell doesn't as it is joined to Intel at the hip but that may change if AMD gets its 2 cpu 64bit chip out next year before Intel does.
2) I have a Pentium M (Centrino) Compaq X1000 series which is the same as the HPZT3000 series. See X1000forums.com - you will see a Linux section there were Ahmanster has developed a free version of Linux for download customized for the X1000/ZT3000 and people post there everyday regarding tweaks necessary to get everything working on the notebook for Linux (like wifi, Winbond SD card drive, etc.)
3) Based on our video and high end processing needs, you should look for a notebook with 1GB of RAM, at least a 5400rpm hard drive (4200rpm too slow for intensive use -- 7200rpm hard drive is an option or you can install it yourself later -- see X1000forums.com)and at least 64mb Dedicated video --- 128mb Dedicated video is essential for gamers and you might want this also (Dell 8600 has that) but at least get 64mb dedicated video.
Don't even think about getting a notebook with shared video memory with your requirements.
4) If battery life and size is not important to you consider a Pentium 4M behemouth (literal desktop replacement) like the high rated HPzd7000 (see zd7000forums.com) which is highly rated at Cnet also.
This is heavy, runs hot, does not have the 64bit processing capability like the Athlon 64 and has horrible battery life. But it does have hyperthreading and if heat, weight, and battery life are not factors you may want it (also can get 128mb dedicated video RAM).
Whatever you buy get a faster rpm hard drive, 1gb of RAM (but cheaper to order 512mb RAM 1 stick custom and add 2nd stick yourself -- only 2 slots), and most important at least 64mb dedicated video RAM (128mb if a gamer and you want the best video performance possible).
I am a researcher and need to buy a good laptop. To satisfy my work and entertainment requirements, I need a laptop that will be able to do following:
1. molecular graphics and numerical calcutations/
2. be able to run graphics applications like photoshop
and scientific suits like ChemOffice & SPSS.
3. be able to record, edit, copy & play movies/music,
and run other multimedia applications.
4. I also plan to have a Linux partition on Hard drive.
Since I have a very limited knowledge of the technical jargon used by various vendors and don't have a strong technical background, I need advise regarding the notebook(s) that would best meet my requirements.
Any suggestions/help in this regard would be appreciated.