My computer recently broke. According to the repairmen, the mother board is often the element that causes the computer to die an early death. It is broken by handling the computer horizontally rather than vertically. When you move your computer around, if you grab it by one side without giving the other side support, you are causing the weight to be disproportionately heavier on one side than on the other and if repeated enough, this can cause enough pressure on the mother board for it to break.
Considering a laptop generates 4000 times its own weight in waste, it's worth spending money on one that will last longer or getting yours repaired. Based on my knowledge of laptops (which is not extensive), I would say that the IBM thinkpad from the perspective of screen and mother card protection is the most likely to last long.
It costs £200, most likely £300 to send your laptop back to the manufacturer and for them to repair the mother board. On the other hand, some companies specialize in dealing with this particular repair. Laptop repair in Cambridge will collect and deliver laptops free anywhere in the UK and if the mother card is broken, is able to repair it for roughly £155 (http://www.cambridgelaptoprepair.co.uk 01223852777).
On the other hand, if you live in Colchester and your laptop's broken, I would recommend my repair man The Computer Doctor because he's successfully repaired my laptop a number of times and he's very cheap since he operates from home and his turnover is below the VAT threshold. His number is 01206520174.
Tree Hugger has just published an article about an upgradeable laptop that's 10 years old. That's pretty amazing for a laptop. They don't make them like that anymore. I've dreamed of something like that before and published it as a business idea here. I am convinced that there is a huge extraordinarily lucrative market for niche operators who know how to build laptops to create computers that are durable. Since all the main brands are decidedly positioned on short-term throw-away crap, there's another Michael Dell out there just waiting to happen. If that sounds like you, the world needs you urgently.