I have asked these questions in a lot of forums and I still don't have a conclusive answer. I am looking into buying a new laptop, which I would like to be able to play 24mbs AVCHD files with (and edit, but I've got patience and not so much to edit anyway).
It is essential for me to buy a laptop, so there is no way of convincing me otherwise. I can buy cheaper HP Pavillion laptops that were used in expos, so I'd like to limit my self to them (I already own one, but it's more than 2 years old). Today I saw on HP's website that dv5t series laptops offer a top CPU C2D 2.53 (I'd prefer the smaller weight, because I already own a 24" LCD) and dv7t and dv4t series offer up to C2D 2.80. Top configurations offer nVidia GeForce 9600M GT and 9200M for dv4t (4gb RAM and 7200 rpm discs).
I don't know if these would be good enough and if Linux drivers offer GPU support for decoding H.264. Please let me know if I top configurations could handle AVCHD playback (24mbs is a must) in VLC and editing in Kdenlive).
Cheers and a happy new year!