I would strongly recommend a Dell. Currently I am using a Dell Dimension 4400 2 months old bought directly from Dell.
Shipped directly from the Dell APCC Factory in Penang, malaysia to my doorstep which is like 8km away
oh but actually it went through the hub of the transport company so much more than 8km.
I have two laptops one Dell and one Compaq. But i would always buy laptops and in the future should build my own unless it is going to be frequently used and at top-notch performance like my current Dell dimension.