I totally agree with you - Dell PC's and Laptops used to be the dogs bollocks - they are shite now - very plasticy (is that a word?) and the components aint nothing to shout about!
If you have the know how - or know somebody that does - build the bugger yourself or get somebody to do it for you. Sometimes works out cheaper that way?
or try www.savastore.com
- they are really good! for most stuff! They have very nice ACER laptops for just under the Â£500 mark - they have a 1gb ram!
Here are the specs if you are interested . . .
Acer AS 5101WLMI_Cam Turion MK36 1GB 100GB 15.4" XP MCE
The slim and stylish Acer Aspire 5101AWLMI models feature the AMD Turion 64 X2 mobile Dual Core technology with AMD PowerNow!, HyperTransport, Enhanced Virus Protection and 3DNow!
Professional technology support for exceptional system battery life together with HyperTransport technology that ensures the world's fastest communication between components. Designed for self employed professionals and power users from small- and medium-sized businesses looking for a powerful 64bit Dual Core system - on the spot mobile workplace, the Acer Aspire 5101AWLMI guarantees stunning business results. The Aspire 5101AWLMI is also suitable for space-conscious home users looking for dynamic multimedia capabilities and gripping home entertainment.
Product Description Acer Aspire 5101AWLMi - Turion 64 mobile technology MK-36 - 15.4" TFT
Dimensions (WxDxH) 35.8 cm x 26.9 cm x 3.4 cm
Weight 2.8 kg
Localisation United Kingdom
System Type Notebook
Built-in Devices Stereo speakers, wireless LAN aerial
Processor AMD Turion 64 mobile technology MK-36 ( Dual-Core )
Cache Memory L2 Cache
RAM 1 GB (installed) / 4 GB (max) - DDR II SDRAM ( 2 x 512 MB )
Card Reader 5 in 1
Hard Drive 100 GB - 5400 rpm
Optical Storage DVDÂ±RW (+R double layer) / DVD-RAM - integrated
Display 15.4" TFT active matrix 1280 x 800 ( WXGA ) - 24-bit (16.7 million colours)
Graphics Controller ATI Radeon Xpress 1100
Audio Output Sound card
Telecom Fax / modem - 56 Kbps
Networking Network adapter - Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g
Wireless NIC Acer InviLink 802.11b/g
Notebook Camera Integrated - 0.3 Megapixel - CMOS
Input Device Keyboard, touchpad, 4-way scroll button
Power AC 120/230 V ( 50/60 Hz )
Battery Lithium Ion
Run Time (Up To) 2.5 hour(s)
Operating System Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition
Manufacturer Warranty 1 year warranty
I know what you mean I had a Inspiron laptop (a few years ago - it was a celeron 900mhz!) and it was solid as a brick - It never crashed once in the three years I had it!!! Running Windows XP Home!!!!!!!!