Now, running Fedora 8 is possible in Parallels on a MacBook, but she didn't want to do that -- she wanted direct access to the hardware with no hassles.
We looked around. PC Connection and the local Microcenter have various PCs, but Lea's colleagues have advised that Hewlett Packard PCs don't have the best quality parts. And she's very allergic to Dell. We had a bad experience buying a notebook from Dell a few years ago and ended up sending it back. Also, the cheap retail PCs use shared memory for the graphics card which we wanted to avoid.
A friend of mine suggested we look into eracks.com. These guys will build a custom PC to your specifications, install the OS of your choice, and ship it to you. The order page has popups just like Apple's store. If options you chose are incompatible or haven't been tested, they're generally blocked. In any case, the technicians at eRacks will size up your machine profile and let you know if you've done something too far out of the mainstream. We ordered one of the BOOQ series computers with a Core 2 Duo, 2 GHz, 2 GB RAM, 320 GB drive, and a very good graphics card with 256 MB VRAM.
I was very impressed with this outfit in California. I had a personal sales rep who clarified some ordering options, kept me advised of fab progress and provided the tracking number when it shipped. They'll even include the install disk for the Linux distribution you select.
It took a little longer than quoted for build process, and we had a one day delay for President's Day, but it was well worth the wait. Order day was Feb 5th and delivery was Feb 22nd, UPS Ground. (You get to pick the carrier.) It was packed very well. If you don't want to build your own PC from scratch, and you want a solid PC built to order, these guys are the next best thing. I recommended them.