With this post I would like to share my experience with my ex-T61 (video: Quadro 140M), which was exchanged with my current T500 (video: Radeon HD3650). I used T61 till Feb 2010, since then I use T500. I specifically waited long enough for my experience with ATI to be comparable to previous experience with nVidia.
This will expose my personal experience with nVidia and ATI. This post is intended to compare cards in laptops I owned/own right now.
This is meant as objective comparison as possible using HW I had.
Previous posts shows exactly what problems I had. It was hard time for about 2 years using that laptop, I was struggling to get basic laptop features to work with nVidia driver. Those were:
*) resume from hibernate was slow as hell because of nVidia driver, which made computer to beep couple of times and halted it for 30 sec after every beep, resume was successful and extremely annoying
*) power management kicked in too slowly, like when scrolling page in FF, it was slow until you scroll page hard for at least 3-5 sec, then scrolling became better, but such behavior was not acceptable and was really annoying
These problems were present until the time I changed laptop to T500 with two video cards: Intel and ATI HD3650.
About the change to T500...
At first I used intel graphics, but due to problems with composite performance I stopped using it - I switched to Radeon, but with problems at that time because I wanted to use Catalyst.
When I tried to switch to Radeon, xserver 1.7 was not supported by catalyst, I used ArchLinux, which is pretty much bleeding edge software, I had to downgrade xorg to 1.6. After couple of weeks 1.7 was already supported by Catalyst and I could upgrade to mainline xserver. Since that time I have no problems with X or kernel not being supported.
Feature and performance wise Radeon was superior to nVidia. I had NO problems whatsoever, no hibernate issues or scrolling problems. Additionally switching to virtual console from X and back was roughly 2-3 times faster on Radeon than nVidia, xrandr support was quite better as well. I was greatly pleased with changes like these, happy, after 2 years with annoying previous laptop.
I changed laptop to get rid of nVidia and I never looked back, it is so relaxing to work on machine which works properly! Additionally Catalyst is getting better every day, there are problems, but not critical ones, one I can mention is XVBA.
There are no power management or other laptop related related problems since day 1 I received laptop.
I have very positive experience with ATI in my desktop and laptop.
One thing I use nVidia is my HTPC, for VDPAU, that is the only thing I can imagine right now to buy nVidia.
In the future things might change and so my mind, but after 2 years I struggled with PM features on nVidia and now they all are working on ATI, I will continue to use ATI until they screw up
I hope people will find this useful, this is no fiction or rumors, it's real life experience.