I'm getting ready to install Linux on an old laptop that will never, ever be suitable for running X. Its screen is natively 800x600. What options are there for character-mode fonts, and how are those options set in Linux?

I don't necessarily need step-by-step instructions... right now, I'd be happy just knowing what to search for on Google to read more about it (like the name of the app/setting that determines how character-mode works under Linux)