I went with my dad to buy his laptop (he's looking for a new job, so he needs a portable machine to demonstrate his programs). We settled on the Compaq Presario 710CA. It's a beautiful machine: 1GHz AMD Duron (I despise Intel these days), 256MB SDRAM, 20GB HDD, 8x DVD-ROM, built-in 56k modem and a 10/100 NIC card. It has lots of other good specs too, and, what's more, it's under $2,000.
The laptop came with Microsoft Windows XP Home, but, since that edition sucks, I've installed the Professional Corporate Edition. God, I can't wait for Longhorn (Windows 5.2)!