Dell is taking forever to ship their Inspirons, so I wouldn't go with that.

Here are some options I looked at:

Best Buy and Circuit City have pretty good prices that are constantly changing.

NewEgg.com is a great site with SUPER fast shipping. I chose mine there- a refurbished for only $500- really nice too!

Dell Outlet has some good deals..

HP is good too.

I wouldn't spend $1000 for one just for school. You only need the high-end ones if he's going to be doing some serious gaming- which I don't think you'll want him to have his mind on during school! I would look for one in the $700-$850 price range new, or $500-$700 refurbed.