I own several Dell's, two are Laptops. I vacillated between the Toshiba and the Dell quite a bit as well. I went with Dell as they had more hardware flexibility to customize a system. The most challenging task you have is the CAD program. Either system should handle your needs. However, consider:
1. Proprietary business or industrial software does not work well on Windows Home or Office XP
. You'll need Windows Professional or 2000 NT
. I use 2000 Pro NT
as it runs well with my proprietary software and networks well. Check your CAD program requirements, it may suggest a preferred OS
2. Graphics! What video card do these machines have? If your CAD pgm. Animates, this will definitely be a factor. Radeon is a good one.
3. The RAM is barely OK
. 256 1dmm will be taxed. If you want to run CAD and post on A.net at the same time, get the 512 2dmm which is actually two 256 1dmm chips. This will allow faster multi tasking.
4. Dell tech support and repair is very accessible. One of the better ones.
The wireless card is smart. Weight is comparable. My Dell Inspiron 9100 is on t he heavy side and not a good traveler. It's more of a portable desktop. What I did not consider is the weight of the power supply. Those suckers can be heavy.
474218, Carl, You will be missed.