We found the A31p to be an excellent choice for users who are looking for the ultimate in mobile workstation technology. The A31p packs an incredible amount of punch for the cost. It is still a big notebook, but in order to pack all of the necessary features into such a small package, you have to allow for the extra weight and increased form factor.
The biggest "down side" of the A31p (in our tested configuration) is the price. However, if you are running mission-critical applications in the CAD, MCAD, EDA, and petroleum exploration industries, the extra cost to move up to a premier notebook like the A31p can likely be justified. The A31p is pricey, and when it ships, we expect the A31p in the H6U configuration that we tested to retail for close to $4000.
We strongly recommend the A31p as a value for its target audience, but you might want to investigate the A31 if you can live without all the features that the A31p offers. It will be difficult for our editors in the lab to let go of the most powerful and feature-rich notebook that we have tested so far.
At 1.7Ghz, the P4m delivers the best performance in mobile computing. As we have noted, there has not yet been a notebook that has been able to take full advantage of the performance of the new generation of CPUs, due to factors such as hard drive performance. The introduction of IBM's 5400 RPM 9.5mm hard drive is just as important as the release of a new, faster CPU. The sad part about the 9.5mm hard drives is that they are limited to 40GB at the moment. However, continued development on other minor components will also require full exploitation of all of the potential power of the Pentium 4m.