Whether you don't need the quad-core power of the Dell Precision M6500 mobile workstation (or the competing HP EliteBook 8740w) or just can't afford it, Dell is offering a far more affordable, if still powerful option in the Precision M4500.
For $1,549, the M4500 comes with an Intel Core i5-520M dual-core processor, 15.6-inch LED-backlit display, and a 1GB Nvidia Quadro FX 880M graphics card, though the other specs for the base configuration are more meager: just 2GB of RAM, a 250GB hard drive, and not even built-in Wi-Fi. Dell will have no qualms if you want to upgrade the rig, which you can with up to 8GB of RAM, a pair of 500GB hard drives, and a Blu-ray burner (the latter only a $546 extra). You can also choose one of those quad-core processors or even an i7-920XM Extreme Edition for a mere $850 addition to the price tag.
If you're doing heavy graphics work, you're more likely to splurge on a Quadro FX 1800M video card for $265 and maybe a 1,920x1,080 display for $129. As for the wireless card that Dell didn't bother to include on a $1,500 system, you can tack on an extra $15 for a 802.11a/b/g/n connectivity.