The Dell Inspiron 1501 I bought after seeing the ad on TV nearly a year ago is a good bang for your buck, except when it comes to the wireless card shipped with this notebook.
Because of the efforts of the ndiswrapper and bcm43xx developers I managed to use the wi-fi card until I started using the AMD64 binaries for Debian Etch.
If you are buying a notebook and plan to use Linux in it, stay away from the Broadcom wireless cards or any other cards that require loading a firmware at run-time.
I got tired of struggling and I'm now waiting for my Intel 2915ABG mini-pci card to arrive in the mail. Hardware is too cheap nowadays to justify wasting my time getting a vendor to work.