I read an amusing but cautionary blog entry from someone who had purchased an Alienware laptop, and then was told it was essentially "dead" after just 22 months.
You really need to read it to understand.
Speaking of laptops, if you are looking for an inexpensive laptop that is perfect for a non-techno whiz, and has plenty of "good stuff" inside and out (so that it won't be "End of Life" in 22 months), I'd recommend checking out the HP Compaq v5000 series. It's a sliver-colored laptop with a medium-gray colored keyboard.
The keyboard is particularly good for people who aren't used to typing on a laptop, as the keys are nice and big and spaced apart from each other. (Although nothing can match the keyboard of a Lenovo ThinkPad, but those are much more expensive.)
It also has a great little screen - a widescreen 15.4" LCD. The touchpad is very good, and I typically hate touchpads. Performance is excellent for an inexpensive laptop.
The software bundle is *OK* - nothing special - unless you get one with a nice bundle. But I never buy a PC for the software that's included, because I like to install my own. (And I usually uninstall all the junk that comes on a new PC.)
Always get at least 1GB of memory (RAM) when buying a new PC these days.