Inspiron laptop questions (Turion 64 x2 and Linux wireless)

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Hi all,
I'm trying to buy a new laptop to run Linux, on a grad student
budget.  I've already decided based on benchmarks that the Turion 64
x2 is a much better value at the low/mid range than the Core 2 Duo.
So the $534 Dell Inspiron 1501 ( /
features.aspx/inspn_1501?c=us&cs=04&l=en&s=bsd&~ck=FamCustom) ) fits
the ticket for me.

I'm trying to decide whether it's worth $60 to upgrade from the TL-50
(1.6 ghz, 2x256kb L2) to the TL-56 processor (1.8 ghz, 2x512kb L2).
I've always been extremely skeptical about mhz/ghz making much of a
difference in my use, so I often buy low speed grades for that
reason.  But I can see doubling the L2 cache as a valuable
improvement.  I do plan to do a lot of software development, some
number crunching with MATLAB/scipy, and virtualization for Windows
development.  Bottom line: Is it worth the $60 upgrade?

And secondly... the wireless cards offered in this laptop are both
Broadcom-based (yecch!!).  I've heard that the reverse-engineered
bcm43xx driver does not work with these cards.  Any input on that?  Is
it hard to get ndiswrapper working under 64-bit Linux, I've never
tried it...

Thanks for any advice,

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