Hey, I am looking for a laptop, too. I'm not going for something in the OP's price range but for that kind of money, I suggest to consider the Dell Vostro 1400 like the other poster provided. Also, consider the HP dv6000 series (or dv2000 series if you want the smaller 14" screen) as some have the dedicated Nvidia 8400 GS chip.
Btw, could anyone who knows give info on how this chip does in Linux? Is it an easy install? Does the Linux drivers for the 8400M GS work well?
I am considering an HP dv6000 series with that video chip. The wireless is Intel 3945 or 4965 (I forget) but both are supported in Linux AFAIK.
To the OP: beware of the Acers. I've been given mixed reports on them. Some insist they are of low quality and you get what you pay for. There are claims of many returns for repair. Other people claim they are not tier one laptops but do the job. I think for your budget, you can consider the HPs and Dells over the Acers. I think Acers are for the low budget-minded (such as myself :-( ).
The HP I found is not much more than the Acers and few Acers have the Nvidia chip unless you want to pay big bucks or find certain vendors. Btw, I want a laptop with an Intel cpu (preferably core 2 duo).
What's the big deal with Vista? Either dual boot or format the drive. Right?