I will stay away for Toshiba laptop is poorly design.
You can try configure Acer, Dell, HP and Sony laptop and see what has the better price.
I know Dell has discount for University/College. (You can sometime tell if you school has only dell pc.) The link will be http://www.delluniversity.com/
only USA I think.
Also I hear some good thing about Lenovo ThinkPad (Was made by IBM).
Some good online site to buy laptop from http://www.newegg.com
go out and find the best deal from dell.com hp.com, Best Buy , Staple....etc
EXPIRED Dell Studio XPS 13 Intel Core 2 Duo P8700 2.53GHz 13.3in Laptop (4GB/320GB/NVIDIA 9400M/Win 7) $599.99
this was a good deal to bad it gone ($949 laptop for 599.99).
Just one bit of advice try to get a 32-bit system as most of the tools we use are not 64-bit compatible
I think he mean Operating system.
Don't get Vista!