I am in the process of specing a new laptop for engineering work. I will do a little bit of CAD, but mainly processor intensive mathematical simulations in Java, Matlab, or Scilab. I am considering purchasing either the m4500 or m6500. I don't think I will mind lugging around the m6500. The positive attributes, as I see them, of the two machines are shown below. Other than that they seem like they are on par, though I can't help but think the m6500 will be able to better handle the cooling requirements of their components than the m4500. What does everyone think? Is it even fair to compare the two?
Graphics power (I would get ATI graphics)
1600 mhz memory supported
4 RAM slots
Large track pad
Build quality and aesthetic advantage (from what I gather from looking at m4400 and m6400 notebooks that my co-workers have)
Enough room in the budget for a docking station and monitor (which may negate the m6500 advantage of larger screen)
If you aren't doing anything GPU intensive, that negates the M6500's advantage. Also, memory speed have zero performance benefit so don't think of that as an advantage. Both can get rather powerful CPUs, though if you find that you can benefit with more than 4GB of memory, the 4 slots in the M6500 would be a much cheaper upgrade to 8GB. Personally, USB 3.0 isn't a big factor me but it's a nice bonus. The M6500 screen is supposed to be better than the M4500 but I haven't compared them, so it depends if you're going to mainly use the laptop screen or use an IPS/MVA desktop monitor w/ your M4500. Is cost a factor for you? How often will you be traveling?
My budget isn't tight, but I can't break it. It's company money. I max the budget out on the m6500 with the i7 extreme, 4 g of 1600 mhz RAM, ATI graphics card, WUXGA with webcam, 128G SSD, Intel 6300 wifi, slot load DVD RW, a slim power adapter, and a second power adapter. With the m4500 I can spec it pretty much the same, but with 8g of 1333 and the fx1800, but still have the cash to get the docking station and extra monitor. I guess another point of information for me to add is that I probably o 75% of my work at work, and then 25% at home in the evening. At home I would not have the docking or external monitor.
I will do some traveling but not much. Maybe 2 business trips a year. I use my bike to get to and from work though , so the daily lug is really the bigger concern.
I have read that about the 1600 Mhz memory. In reading the below article though, it sounds like I would get a performance boost as long as I have it with the extreme edition processor.