So, I'm done with Apple bootcamp, parallel, etc.

Im fairly sure that is what we have at work. I havent used it too much, but it does the job. Easily computes heavy 3ds files. I have yet to render on it though. Screen is very nice.

However, it is really heavy. I would be hesitant to call this ‘portable’. Also, I got about 2 hours of battery when just rotating around a scene (no modelling/rendering). I dont know if it is the CPU or the vid card, but it is not efficient at all. Be ready to lug around another 4 pound power cord that has a massive inverter on it.

Good point. Sometimes I get annoyed even with the weight (and the battery life) of my iPhone 4S that’s amplified when I lift up an iPhone 5.

I’m also looking into a Lenovo W530 with a smaller screen (15").

If you want a machine that’s portable stay away from the 17" form factor, that’s a desktop replacement.

You should be able to get plenty of horsepower in a 15" form factor like the Precison 6500 or HP 85X0’s

Two HDD’s is kind of crummy, even in RAID they’ll drain more power and not provide as much performance as a single SSD so I would consider that a must have, even if you decide to upgrade it yourself after you get the machine.

Great points and advice. I’m going to focus on Dell M4700 (15"), Lenovo W5300 with SSD. I’ll check out HP as well. Thanks!

I just want to add a quick point of dissent. Personally I love Windows 8. Yes, I did re-enable the start bar, but otherwise I have very few qualms with it.

It starts up significantly faster than Win7, has less obtrusive updates, is more secure, and is zippier overall. I’ve also not encountered a single compatibility problem…in fact it would surprise me if you ran into any problems; it’s basically a tuned version of Windows 7.

People worry that Win8 is “awful” or is just going to immediately render all your software useless. I’d personally say go for it unless your computer needs to be part of some fragile closed system of machines.

I agree. People have this knee jerk reaction to windows 8’s UI (which I love and have ever since Zune HD), saying silly things like it doesn’t improve anything for the work environment. The OS is much improved over win8, but its in small refinements. I would upgrade for the improved task manager and “window Key + X” menu alone. And as Hatts said, it boots sooooo much faster. There are a lot of other improvements to list. I’ve also had no compatibility issues.

I agree. People have this knee jerk reaction to windows 8’s UI (which I love and have ever since Zune HD), saying silly things like it doesn’t improve anything for the work environment. The OS is much improved over win7, but its in small refinements. I would upgrade for the improved task manager and “window Key + X” menu alone. And as Hatts said, it boots sooooo much faster. There are a lot of other improvements to list like the split pane thing. I’ve also had no compatibility issues.

I’ll definitely consider your points and real life experience with Win 8.

I’m looking at a Lenovo W530 with Windows 8 Pro 64-bit / Windows 7 Professional 64-bit downgrade - pre-installed: Windows 7.

Thanks for your input!