I've built SharePoint development laptops for around $1300.
A more detailed guide here: http://charliedigital.com/2010/08/12/laptop-buying-for-developers/
But a quick summary:
- Dell E6410 from Dell Outlet with 25% off coupon (see http://twitter.com/delloutlet) with an i7-620m or i7-640m. I'm done buying laptops new; the Dell Outlet machines are as good as new and delivered faster than new. Perfect if you intend to do a teardown and rebuild anyways.
- Mushkin Callisto Deluxe 120GB SSD (Sandforce based controller)
- Newmodeus drive bay (http://newmodeus.com/) for Dell E6400/E6410
- Western Digital Scorpio Black 500GB 7200 RPM
- If the Dell chassis didn't come with 8GB of RAM, find any decent RAM on Amazon or Newegg and get it to 8GB.
This will come in around $1300-1400 after shipping and any applicable taxes.
I've built two of these now for the developers in my startup and use one myself. Runs SharePoint 2010 VM (including Active Directory, SQL Server, DNS) with 4GB of memory plenty fast. Faster than many of the enterprise virtual machines I've encountered at Fortune 500 clients.
With the SSD, the Dell E6410 will run for around 4-5 hours on a full charge with the 9 cell battery. 2-3 if the VM is running.
The 14" is a good size for me personally. Light, relatively compact, 1440x900 resolution (though I'm mostly connected to my 27" anyways), lots of ports, good battery life, great for traveling.
The Dell Outlet 25% off coupons happen maybe once per quarter but the 15% off coupons are relatively common. Watch the twitter stream for these.