In the past two years I have purchased a new Gateway & a Toshiba.
I really like the Toshiba with the i7 core and 6 GB of RAM. It's pretty quick and does not get warm on my lap. Battery life is pretty good.
I have a few older ones also that still work as back ups and a couple directly hardwired to printers for different projects. One is an older HP, a Sony and a Compaq...they are much slower, but work when I need them.
I also purchased a Dell off ebay for my sister as a gift last year. She has not had any problems. It looked brand new and cost me less then $200.
I am sure no matter what you find, it will function much better then what you have now.
I think the one SR posted about would of been a good unit for $300. Rock and I have a difference of opinion.