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Opinions about Laptop and Debian - Nvidia vs Radeon

Hi all,

I'm planning to get a laptop soon and gonna run Debian on it. I'm
gonna need a few things:

- HDMI/DVI output support, as I usually use a 22' Dell external monitor;
- A good processor, at least i5/i7 Lynnfield/Arrandale;
- A good video card, with good 3D support on Debian - I develop a
VTK/OpenGL application, so 3D is paramount, even if I don't like to
run binary blobs;
- 4GB RAM at least.
- The bigger the screen the better, but the external monitor use will dominate;
- Need a laptop, not a desktop, for mobility purposes.

I've searcher fo a few options, and so far in the price range that
I've set ($1300-1500 US dollars, gonna buy the computer in the US) the
Alienware M11x with an 1GB Nvidia GT 335M or a Alienware M15x with a
1GB DDR3 ATI Radeon Mobility HD 5730. The Nvidia cards with the binary
installer so far has satisfied my needs of 3D and performance (both
with a GTS 9300M and a GTX 260 on a desktop), but there are some
threads complaining about the binary driver and this card, mainly
about the battery performance.

It seems that the Radeon, both the binary and the open driver are
working/getting better, but I still remember the times with the FGLRX
hell. The support for the rest of the hardware seems to be not
optimal, and even if I'm usually compile my own kernels, the closest
to the Debian way the better - or the easiest the better, as with the
Nvidia binary installer.

What are your opinions/thoughts about the requirements and the
problems? Any experiences with the especific hardware or suggestions
of other brands/configurations? The only brands that I avoid are HP
(REALLY bad screens) and Acer (too fragile).

Thanks a lot!


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