Ok, if you can push the budget a little more, it should allow you to get a better range of systems for 3DSMax.
Here are the basic specs I recommend for 3DS:
Core i7 920QM. I HIGHLY recommend this as the extra 4 threads will make a noticable difference with 3DSMax.
Preferably, a Quadro or other nVidia graphics card. Most CAD people stay away from ATI stuff due to driver issues. DO try and get a dedicated graphics card, not an integrated one.
I recommend this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834114803
It's $950 and is 16", but it does have a nVidia card.If you can wait a few months, wait for Sandy Bridge to hit stores. For the Mobile crowd, Sandy Bridge will make a LOT of difference in terms of performance compared to the current i7s,etc.