Seeing as my Inspiron 8000 arrived a week ago, I can't help but say good choice.
Two suggestions for you. . .
1. Get the CompleteCare warranty. It's a little more money, but it's an awesome warranty. It covers your laptop for *anything* that might happen (except "intentional damage, fire, and theft/loss").
Which means that if you drop it 4 months after getting it, and shatter it into a dozen pieces, they'll fix it at no charge. And it's a 3 year warranty.
Basically, it's a guarantee that you'll have a perfect working condition laptop for the next three years. I dunno 'bout you, but when I'm dropping this much on a laptop, I wanna make sure it lasts a long time. ;-)
2. Don't order it immediately, and watch the price. Dell does different specials every week or so, and also the prices of the laptop itself will vary every week or so.
I spent a month pricing out the exact same laptop at Dell's website, and it constantly changed. Mine ranged from $2518, up to $3254, depending on when I priced it. Unless you have a need to have it right now
, wait a couple weeks to do some pricing and see what you find. Also, price it out under "Educational", "Home", and "Small Business". You'll get different pricing results and specials (and sometimes, options) under each. Make sure you're getting the best deal you can.
For comparison pricing, I got:
- P-3 850
- 15" UXGA
- 32 MB Mobility M4
- 64MB RAM
- 20GB HDD
- NIC/Modem internal combo
- CompleteCar Warranty
- MS Works
Total Price as listed on web page: $2518
Total Price as confirmed via e-mail: $2405
Price after RAM self-upgrade: $2465
 Order it with the minimum amount of memory you can, and buy more RAM someone else. Dell charges outrageous prices on memory. Personally, I'd suggest Crucial
. They're Micron's retail memory division, and Micron is one of the best
names in the business, for memory. Additionally, they'll not only guarantee the RAM for life, but they'll also guarantee compatibility with your system. They're also very reasonably priced. Not quite the cheapest you can find, but always reasonable, and for their quality, more than worth it.
I've never had a bad experience with them.
Additionally, I just bought memory
from them, for my Inspiron 8000, and it's working great. Also, unlike most laptops I've seen, the Inspiron 8000 has a small screw accessible hatch on the bottom, making RAM upgrades a piece of cake. Lastly, they dropped the price on the 128MB DIMM's two days before I bought mine, so they're priced well.
 As I recall, you have
to buy a modem with the Inspiron 8000. For $30 more, you can make that internal modem into a NIC/modem. It seemed worth it to me. They ship with one of two combo cards for this, either an Actiontec that uses a Lucent Technologies chip for the winmodem, and an Intel chip for the NIC, or a 3com which ships with 3com chips for both. The NIC half of both is compatible with Linux, and the LT WinModem on the Actiontech can be made to (sorta) work in Linux.
 You save yourself a hundred bucks or more by getting Works as opposed to Office, which I think is what you selected on the link you pasted, but I wanted to mention just in case.
If you have any questions about the laptop itself, or anything like that, feel free to ask. I'm happy to offer any help I can based on my experiences with mine. ;-)