Buying a computer

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Hi, I am 37, a " quite old (~55yr old)" friend of mine who is a bioscientist asks me which computer is good to buy.
He used to buy laptop: toshiba, celeron 30GB, 256-RAM, CD-DVDROM, XP-Home installed, at t.price of $1650. Having quite a lot of money on hand, he was so happy to take it home but most of other people who are "computerists" said he was not "smart" at all. About computer I am completely dumb, give me some ideas so I can tell him later.
 

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because he's going to run windows XP, i recommend atleast 512+256 MB of RAM.
the rest is unimportant and should be the most basic setup.

And the only way to do that and save money is at your local computer shop that can custom build a laptop.

And make sure he buys a USB memory stick also.
 

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