Hmm, reading through a few posts, I've managed to put together a bit of a summary:
a) Dells screw you over horribly
b) IBMs screw you over horribly
c) Compaqs suck terribly
d) Toshibas are super expensive
e) Packard bells are bottom-of-the-line
So, my solution is: Buy a Mac :D They're not overly expensive, they boot fast, run fast, don't crash, and they even look good.