nothing really has ever been as cutting edge as the 770Z in its time..
Amen to that! I'd actually say, though, that this pretty much has to go for all of the 700-series laptops as they were released. I remember thinking, at the time the 760s were released, "Wow! Pentium Tillamook CPU, 12.1" active matrix LCD and a built-in dedicated MPEG decoder!!" And then when the 770 was released, "14.1" XGA LCD, DVD!!, TV output, video capture, and a dedicated MPEG2 processor!"
For the high-end ThinkPads, the thing that I've always enjoyed seeing is just how much it is all the "little" things that enhance one's appreciation of the machine. The EXCELLENT keyboard (not only on touch and key travel, but also in layout...no Windows keys!, the arrows are in an inverted-'T', the function keys are in 3 groups of 4, the navigation keys [Insert/Delete, Home/End, PgUp/Down] are all together in a block just as they should be, relatively huge spacebar, the tilde ~ and backslash \ keys are JUST where they should be, and so on...the only laptop keyboard I've ever been able to touch-type on after sitting down with one for the very first time), the 3-button TrackPoint, the fit-and-finish of the case (though I have a love/hate relationship with the rubber finish on the 770), the little LCD status bar (whatever happened to these? I love my LCD status display on the 770...all the new models have LEDs), the software-configurable SMAPI BIOS...I could go on.
For these reasons, I cannot possibly see myself using another laptop from another manufacturer (what can I say...I've been spoiled; my first laptop was a ThinkPad!), which is why I started to despair a bit when I went to IBM's ThinkPad website and was unable to find the 770Z's modern-day equivalent. Computers have always been a passion of mine, and as a kid, I remember pouring over the Ziff-Davis computing tabloids trying to feed my "techno-lust." The computers were far out of my financial reach ("Mom? Dad? Won't you buy me this $6K laptop? What do you mean, 'No!'???"), which just made them all the more desireable.
And except for a brief fling I remember having with Toshiba (remember the T4400C? It was a 486! and had an 8.5" 640x480 active matrix LCD!!), the ThinkPads almost always managed to satisfy.
However, it appears that perhaps, as "cynic" pointed out, I was a bit late for this rant, or at least not properly informed. Shortly after posting it, I did go back to IBM's site and discovered that there were indeed models in the T series that had better video chipsets than I thought could be had (as well with the R series...the R50p seems pretty much like what I was looking for). It's just that a lot of these models don't appear to listed for sale any longer on IBM's web store (including the R50p), so I missed them.
And NOW that I've seen the specs on the T42p 2373-KXU, my "techno-lust" is back in a bad way. It's also ~$4,600, so it's currently out of my college-student-budget reach (hopefully not for long
), but also seems to be on-par with IBM's high-end laptop pricing.
So, welcome back, IBM!