OK, well I can answer some of your questions and leave you hoping for more with others.
A) By Centrino Pro you mean the new Santa Rosa, correct? Not out yet so no laptops have it or are spec'd with it.
B) Dell- opinions vary from person to person. I have had nothing, but good experiences with them.
Sager- Manufacturing company of many of the laptops you see today. From what I have heard, good build quality, but tech support is non-existent(buy from a re-distributor).
Toshiba- nice looking laptops with good performance. No idea about tech support.
Sony- don't even waist your time.
HP and Gateway- same as Dell.
C)DX10 is not out yet for laptops, so no recommendations can be made. Estimates put arrival during this summer or fall.
If you want something that can reasonably play the average game, hit officemax online and pickup an Everex XT5000T...699.00 with a 7600 go...
2 drive bays and a single 1gig stick of ram. It's a nuts good deal.
Well, if Santa Rosa is what you want then go for it Brand won't matter much as they will all be entirely new platforms, different cooling solutions etc. You'd best wait till they hit the market and base your decision on the individual machines. Brand means little unless it translates into service as almost all of these boxes are oem'd anyway. I've had great luck with Gateway service, horrible experience with Toshiba, and it was some time ago that Dell built its reputation for service, the more recent reports are definitely non flattering.
Everything sony seems to always cost a fortune relatively speaking LOL. I have refused to even consider their units since they refused to replace a client's clearly defective screen under warranty. Not only that, their quoted repair price on just the screen was about 90 percent of the original retail price....since that incident they've lost about 50k in referrals from me...and will continue to do so. I'm a fan of the asus boxes, and they seem to be coming on strong. Acer is also competitive but i'm not impressed with the build quality. MSI seems inconsistent. Several of their units are real tanks, others flimsy as the dickens..so again...
bottom line is, look over the new boxes and buy the box, not the name.
One very good way to tell the quality of engineering is to examine the units cooling solution... For example, the 7200 c2d in my Gateway nx860xl churns away all day with core temps of around 11 C...you read that right..11 C, at idle just downloading i get between 4 and 7C.....confirmed by Speedfan, Core Temp, and Everest Ultimate. Find me ANYONE ELSES 7900GS 1900x1200 2gig , 7200rpm HD machine that can do that.....yet there is at least one other Gateway lappie I wouldn't have if you gave it to me, its all in the oem...
Good luck but i'd watch the 3k...everyone will sell you a 3k lappie...whether its worth it or not heheh