it has been a long time.
Regarding the laptop, I bought a Sony VGN-A690 upon my instructors recommendation and I do all my proceesing on this laptop. It is very quiet,fast and has not given me any trouble in over a year.
But it is also heavy, probably because of it's 17" screen.
I believe there are similarSony laptops with smaller screen which might be lighter than mine.
A proffessional photographer I talked to,loves the Apple but I dont know much about them.
I hope this helps.