I went through the exact same process two months ago. My primary intended use was to run SW2004-2005SE. The Dell M60 was my first choice. I watched the price yo-yo on the Dell website for months, but the configuration I wanted never fell below $3200, and was sometimes nearly $4000 (I'm in the states). And I really wanted a 17" screen and a numeric keypad. In the end, I bought a ZD7000 through Costco for about $2600. 6 month cash return policy; no questions asked.
I went with the 3.0 P4, 1G DDR SDRAM, 128 MB Nvidia GeForce Fx Go5700, Win XP Pro, 60GB 7200rpm hard drive, and the WSXGA BrightView Screen (1680 x 1050).
IMHO, the screen is absolutely magnificent. It's one of the nicest screens I've ever seen, desktop or notebook. Super rich, liquid-like colors. Extrememly sharp. The resolution is perfect for me ? tons of real estate for big CAD assemblies; Word documents displayed with two pages side by side are a breeze to read because the text is so sharp. I probably wouldn't want to go too much higher on the resolution though, as the icons on the task bar at the bottom of the screen are already pretty small. Yes, you can enlarge them, but then they're too big! Hi-Definition DVD IMAX Coral Reef Adventure looks fantastic on this screen.
I haven't run any really big assemblies yet. Currently I'm working on one with, oh, 40 ? 50 parts, including a couple that are quite complex. Combo loft/sweeps, with lots of fillets; shelled. I've got the Options/Document Properties/Image Quality/'Shaded And Draft Quality HLR/HLV Resolution' slider maxed out and I can spin the assembly super fast; no problem. Sometimes zooming produces a few nanoseconds delay.
Drawbacks: No RealView. Trying to open multiple parts usually crashes SW. Fortunately it restarts in seconds. In fact, the whole notebook boots up super fast. From the time I press the 'Start' button until the desktop is fully up and ready to rock is only about
45 seconds. Yeah, baby! Nevertheless, I wish I could find a driver that would enable the Go5700 to emulate a Quadro. That's really my only complaint. Oh, and it's a big ass notebook; I use it as a mobile desktop and wouldn't want to have to fly with it regularly. The power supply is about the size and weight of a brick. I've forgotten to plug it in once or twice and find I get about an hour to an hour and a half running SW on the battery.
For my purposes it's a great notebook, and Logitech makes a really nice wireless optical mouse that almost matches the color of the HP! FYI, rumors on the Dell forum suggest Dell may come out with a 17" notebook Nov./Dec.-ish.