I second the Dell refurbs. I have been using one for five years at home and my wife for four years.
But I also second the screen replacement. When my even more ancient little Dell laptop bit the dust I simply ordered a used screen from eBay for about $25 and stuck the thing on myself. It is still working five years later. Or it was last time I bothered to turn it on.
A man who can laugh, if only at himself, is never really miserable.