"How much extra will people people pay to avoid Vista? Dell has pushed the price of avoiding Vista up to $150." Hardware 2.0 | ZDNet.com
And worth it! A new machine with XP installed is hard to find and I am hearing horror-stories from folks trying DIY retro-fitting of XP on machines that come with Vista.
An alternative? You can pick up an off-lease IBM Thinkpad running XP for about $350. I just ordered one for a family member. Will report back on the results.