Michael J. Bugeja
To remain true with your cheapness, check out some of your local universities or colleges. Sometimes they sell used laptops at a reduced rate. Where I work I’m purchasing my Lenovo (formerly IBM) R60 laptop for less than $400. You might need to know someone at the school, but it’s worth checking out.
Along that line, I prefer a PC to a Mac because for writing I like to use Word 2003/2007. I tried the free software out there such as AbiWord or Open Office and had issues with them both. I do have a co-worker who swears by her Mac, but she admits that there are compatibility issues between PCs and Macs. PCs are not perfect, but I’m use to Windows and don’t plan on switching anytime soon.
Let us know what you come up with.