There is clearly great scope for rugged laptops that can withstand much more than a simple drop on the floor. While consumer laptops may never work again a military laptop must be able to withstand this with ease. The best processors around for laptop computing are from Intel who can offer multiple core machines that can run multithreaded programs to give desktop-like performance on the go. The processors are also optimised to emit less heat and use less energy, thus increasing the lifespan of the battery charge.
Rugged laptops are all about what protects the CPU and motherboard, however, a military laptop should ideally conform to Environmental and EMC requirements while also being TEMPEST certified and CESG approved. If it is also compliant with NATO SDIP-27, then the laptop is highly likely to be trustworthy and will perform in a variety of different scenarios. Various other accreditations may include Def Stan 59-411 (MIL STD-461) Air Class Land Class and Above Decks Class.
Laptops for military use should all be about functionality in harsh environments. Having a display that received ample protection is vital since, aside from the internal electronics, these can easily fail. Even a partially damaged screen can render the entire machine unusable. The hard drive of choice is also very important since many commercial options are simply not designed to be knocked around. The best option is obviously a Solid State Drive that has no moving parts. This can make it effectively impervious to drops and will only be interrupted when there is some physical or electrical damage.
Having a wide range of input and output ports will also increase the chances of out of the box compatibility with other equipment. Ethernet ports are a must along with fibre optic options for super-fast transfer speeds.