"great deals" aren't always feasible for everybody, you know (i.e. people who don't have jobs, or have part-time jobs, or have low-pay jobs). I for one only have about 600$ canadian in my bank account, which is probably not enough for any decent laptop.
you could get a decent one, its just harder.
it wouldnt be a p4 but it wouldnt be that bad. look for the little sites. off lease laptops are normally great, refurbished are pretty good to.
if you buy from the company your normally going to get ripped off. some of the littler ones will give you a good price and the companies support(like mine).
but i get the point, this stuff is pricey.