Intel has lifted the embargo today on 32nm Intel Sandy Bridge benchmarking, so there is a lot of good information out there now. If you are in the market for a new laptop in the near future, I would be looking for a system with an Intel Core i7-2820QM processor, which will give you significantly better performance than any system with the older 45nm “Clarksfield” Core i7 mobile CPU, along with much better battery life.
The i7-2820QM (for mobile CPUs) seems to be the sweet spot in terms of price/performance ratio, since it costs $568 vs. $1096 for the i7-2920XM. It appears that, depending on the chipset, you will also get 6Gbps SATA III support. This would let you take full advantage of a 6Gbps 256GB Crucial RealSSD C300 SSD to put together an extremely fast mobile system.
You could spec out a i7-2820QM system from your vendor of choice, with the cheapest HD they offer, and then replace it with a Crucial RealSSD that you buy separately from someone like NewEgg , then do a clean OS install and be off to the races.
Here are some of the more interesting reviews:
One thing to keep in mind is that the server versions of Sandy Bridge (Sandy Bridge-EP and Sandy Bridge-EX) are not supposed to be available until around the middle of 2011. I have heard that there may not be as much of a delay between the two-socket EP version and the four (or more) socket EX version of Sandy Bridge as has been the case for Nehalem and Westmere.