Looks pretty nice to me. I don't have experience with that specific video card but other mobile Qaudro FX cards I've used have worked well.
I have a Dell M4400, and I have been really disappointed with the quality. The hardware itself has been reliable and performed well, but the case is really junk. The paint is peeling off the speaker grills, the screen bezel flexes like a pop can, the keys are wearing out. The outer case and hinges are solid, but the parts you touch are really disappointing.
Here is what I am comparing it against: I have used several HP and Think Pad laptops at work over the years. I put a lot more hours on them and I didn't have any problems like this. My wife's ~7 year old Inspiron has held up better, and it has seen a lot of (ab)use- my daughter has used it since she was kindergartner, we have taken it on road trips, camping, etc. Even the cheap netbooks my kids take to school have better cases.
Part of the reason I bought a Dell is because I was impressed by the way my wife's laptop has held up. I wouldn't be as concerned if it was a $500 laptop, but I expect a lot more for mobile workstation money. I don't know if the newer models are better, but I doubt if I will buy another Dell.
To sum it up, they saved a few bucks on the case and I am giving them bad word-of-mouth advertising in return. On the plus side, I do a lot of volunteer work in schools and I use it as an example of the importance of perceived value.
Do you need 10 key input?
In the field, wil you do anything but zoom & pan?
Sorry to harp on this, but with the menu structure adsk has gone to, if you want to SEE any part of your drawings, you really need a 17" screen as a bare MINIMUM. If your just going to use it as a device to hook up to a projector, or a plotter for presentations, you might get away with 15".
Keep an eye out for the M4600 which is about to hit the market any time now:
Latest generation intel cpu, nvidia graphics, and led display, I would suggest waiting just that little bit longer before you buy.
The resolution on this 15.6" is the same as most 17" screens. The menus will thereby occupy the same percentage of screen space... however I don't think my eyes can see that tight a pixel spacing with the resultant miniscule fonts. As to its being a Dell therein lies an issue I can't accept. Dell's quality and customer support have fallen so badly that I would never consider them an option. And paying the premium price for a quadro videocard for the described usage? Give me a break!
As for numeric keypad, that for me is a must. My HP 15.6" has one, this one doesn't, unless it is an upgrade option. I don't use the numeric keypad for numbers, but as preprogrammed quick-keys.
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