I'm looking at buying a new laptop. My last 2 have been HP's and I've been fairly happy with them. I dual boot with windows/gentoo linux. I game as well as run some very cpu intensive applications on them. My last laptop, dv9930us worked well in both operating systems and has held up quite well to my usage except for overheating. This thing would get so hot you couldn't lay your hand on they keyboard. I always had fans on it when i had it running at max. This eventually has lead to the video card starting to throw BSOD and doing some generally weird stuff.
I'm looking to see if there have been any issues like this with this system and also to see if you guys had any other suggestions in my price range, $2000. I need the i7 with at least the 6gb of ram, would like 500gb hd. Good linux compatibility is also a plus. Battery life isn't really an issue, I have access to power pretty much everywhere I use it. I do need a full keyboard. As far as optical, dvd will do just fine.
By far the most important aspect though is being able to maintain a very high cpu load for an extended time, at least 1-2 hours, and it not becoming something i can cook my dinner on.
In my experience, HP/Compaq's have been garbage. I know you said that your previous one was fine and others as well, but personally, I'd stay away from them. I'd shoot for a Toshiba, Dell, or Asus, as those brands tend to last longer.