When doing an online quote, the config I chose came up around $1680 before tax. HP was a tad bit cheaper, and Dell was right about the same. All three machines were to be shipped with Vista Pro. I didn't want Vista.
I spoke with Dell and HP and neither was willing to swap out Vista and put in XP. Their responses were that the only machines that had XP as an option were a few of their business machines.
However, Gateway said they were willing to ship any machine I wanted with XP, regardless of whether the website showed it as an option.
I sent an email to the gateway guy asking him for the best price on the config, and told him he had some competition and that the best price would win. I told him there would be no second chances.
Gateway came back with a quote of $1500. I bought. The arrival date was supposed to be, IIRK, 10-14 days. The laptop arrived in 5.