Is it time to go quad-core?

I need a new laptop. My oldest son's laptop finally bit the dust, and he's pretty well attached to it, both for personal and school purposes.

I need a new laptop. My oldest son's laptop finally bit the dust, and he's pretty well attached to it, both for personal and school purposes. As a likely film major, my Mac would serve him well (at least through the first year of college, at which point he'll be due for a serious upgrade if he sticks with the film program).

At the same time, we're looking at some interesting virtualization technologies for a big refresh in July and more and more often I find myself needing to run and test multiple operating systems. I think I can justify the cost of a quad-core laptop for my own purposes, both at my day job and blogging/reviewing/testing for ZDNet. For just over an extra pound, I can jump to a 16" widescreen display on models from HP, Dell, and Lenovo and give my eyes a break from my current 13" screen.

The introduction of Intel's quad-core Core i7 processors has also caused another drop in price on mere Core 2 Duo-based laptops, making for a very cool buying season (and what looks to be very competitive prices for the 2011 fiscal year). But are there any other users for whom a quad core is justified? I don't even think I could justify it for myself if I wasn't spending my own money and using it as a work, home, and writing machine.

Quad-core servers? You betcha. Maybe even a quad-core desktop or two in a media center or video production classroom. And certainly outside the K12 space, plenty of fields will benefit from dropping prices on quad-core workstations.

However, this is much more an opportunity to pick up cheap dual-core machines in general than it is to look at quad-core chips for most educational settings.

How about you? What settings or labs will see quad-cores soon in your schools?