First, let me apologize for what I'm sure is yet another "do my research for me" thread. I am rather far out of the loop technology-wise these days, and I just don't know of any sites that cater to the graphics-design computer field. If there are any such resources, I'd be indebted it someone would clue me in.
My wife needs a new laptop. The old one (specifications below) does the job but somewhat slowly and is suffering from component death. She works in animation, and while this will not be her primary machine, she will need to do some work for business and pleasure on the side. Chief applications are:
Adobe CS3 package, especially
And of course, Final Fantasy XI (although she's not too picky about graphics)
Old System (wow, it's ancient)
Dell Inspiron 8600
CPU Intel Pentium M @1600mhz
RAM 1G @600FSB
HDD 60GB @5400RPM
GFX ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 Pro Turbo
Monitor 15.4", not sure on max res
New System expected parameters (subject to alteration)
Cost: Preferably less than 2000USD
Brand: ??? Was looking at Dell Precision workstations
OS: XP ideally, not familiar if Adobe has compatability problems. Looking forward to Windows 7, 64 bit environment
CPU: Core 2 @???mhz ? Quads are still a little pricy.
RAM: No less than 4G @???FSB
HDD: Balance of size and speed. Animation projects take up a lot of room, but my understanding is that CPU and HDD speed impact the programs in question more than raw graphics power. It seems SSDs are still pricy, at least for the models reviewed favourably on Tom's Hardware Guide.
GFX: I have no idea, open to suggestions.
Monitor: Wants to keep midsize ~15.4"
If anyone can help out with resources, recommended parts for any parameter, or point me towards a make and model I can check out, I'd appreciate it. Thanks!