Hey, my friend needs a new laptop for school. She'll be doing a lot of 3d animation and has a budget of about 1000 dollars. She has no preferences for Windows or apple. Any suggestions?
3D anmiation means LOTS of rendering. A minimum of 24 still images for every single SECOND of video. This is mostly (almost 100%) CPU-intensive. In some ways, rendering is like folding. Strenuous, uses power, and generates heat.
It is my feeling that even the fastest laptops may not make very good candidates for 100% local rendering, even if the software purchased can use GPU to assist the process. Don't forget, you'll also need memory to support high object and polygon counts.
Personally, for 3D imaging and animation, I would suggest the biggest, fastest, highest core-count CPU possible, with the fastest GPU possible (if your software can use GPU as mentioned above).
But for final videos for mid-terms and finals, she might need a renderfarm. Some applications allow you to set up your own renderfarm with PCs on your home network, but there are also commercial renderfarm services that allow you to timeshare with others and pay on a scale of either usage, or "preferred customer basis", etcetera.
If she plans to buy a membership to a renderfarm service, then a business-to-gaming-class laptop could possibly be just fine.