Yeah, I think your laptop does have the core duo cpu in it. You can probably also tell by checking your cpu info (from cmd prompt: cat /proc/cpuinfo) It will list two cpu's there as long as you're running the smp kernel.
I know what you mean about the new hardware/driver situation. Fortunatly, Intel generally makes a decent effort to get linux drivers out there although they have been stingy with drivers for their laptop products and all the centrino crap. I was very surprised to see the 3945 project out there. As for ATI, they claim that they have strong linux support and made a big deal about it in the past, but have yet to produce anything close to the quality nvidia does for linux drivers. Unfortunatly, with laptops you don't get much of a choice for your video card. The major pc vendors like ibm, dell, hp, etc. generally give you the option of the intel on-board or either ati or nvidia, but not both.
As for which laptop I have now... I don't. I am still reading all over the place to see what is supported so hopefully I can avoid driver problems. It's turning out to be pretty difficult though when looking at the new stuff like you have.
Hope you're having some luck, and please post your results here for the benefit of everyone else who may be looking for a new laptop.