Maybe you have a teen or college student in the family and you want to buy them a new computer for their school work. Maybe you are that student and need to buy a new computer on a shoestring budget. Lots of websites exist showing you the best computers under $500. However, all of these sites assume you have everything already and you’re just going to buy the tower.
This is a collection of the best computers for under $500. Period.
That means computer bundles and laptops and netbooks. There are some seriously cool computers for less than $500. Problem is that these computers, though cool in their styles and interesting additions, have little in terms of what really matters: memory, hard drive space, and speed. Making sure these three things are considered means you shouldn’t have to buy another computer for years.
5. eMachines EL1352-07e Desktop and 18″ Monitor package (Bestbuy.com)
Anyone who knows me, knows I never recommend eMachines. They were once notorious for dying for no reason. But, I have friends who swear by them, and you’re on a budget. This machine has everything you will need for the next 10 years unless you are a serious gamer.
Think you can’t afford bells and whistles? 500 Gigabyte hard drive and 4 Gigabyte memory with a dual-core processor made by AMD will tell you otherwise. Also, its got an All-in-One media slot for all your media cards and more USB2 slots than you’ll know what to do with.
Not sure what I just said? Check out this AC article explaining computer jargon.
Buying a stationary computer has its benefits. You can usually get more computer for less money. The negative is obvious, it sits at home while you’re at school or work. And, with $40 to spare, you can get some cheap speakers or put it toward buying a Microsoft Office suite.
4. Asus Eee Netbook (Tigerdirect.com)
Tiny, loaded with speed and space, and just in your price range. Will it do as much as the eMachine above? Absolutely not. Will it give you everything you need to do your work or social networking from anywhere? Yes.
It costs more than the usual netbook because it has a better operating system and more memory and hard drive space than the normal netbook. Want super cheap? Buy any netbook from Walmart. Want style and a fully-loaded netbook that will not slow down when you try to run a program? You’ll have to spend the money. But its still less that $500, barely.
3. Toshiba Mini-Netbook (Bestbuy.com)
Small, well-equipped, and Toshiba. If you’re on the move and need to be on the Internet or do simple tasks offline, this is a great little computer under $500.
This netbook is easily upgradable to 2 Gigabyte memory. Most important is the price. For less than $400, the cost of the Toshiba Mini-Netbook will let you afford a Microsoft Office suite of your choosing.
2. Acer Aspire One (Tigerdirect.com)
Maybe you’re all business. You need a small netbook, but you’re unwilling to compromise speed and capability. No need to worry. The Acer Aspire One is a cheap and easy way to have your cake and eat it too when it comes to affordable computers under $500.
Acer Aspire One comes with 2 Gigabytes RAM and a huge hard drive for a small computer. Also, customers have complained about Windows 7 Starter (the operating system for netbooks). Skip potential headaches. This computer comes with Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit operating system.
With a small screen at 11.6″ and a realistic battery life hovering at 5 hours, you will not be disappointed.
1. Toshiba Satellite L655D-S5066BN PSK2LU-00Y001 Notebook (Tigerdirect.com)
I’ve owned a Toshiba Satellite for 2 years now and have never had a problem. Granted mine is not as fast or as well-equipped as this computer, but mine is older.
Everyone wants portability. Sure, desktops are OK for some people. Most of us want the option of getting up and going.
Toshiba computers are among the most reliable (source). Meaning you’ll only have a problem with your computer if you drop it or get a virus.
With enough memory and speed to entertain everyone but the most avid gamers on the planet, Toshiba Satellites have been around long enough to have perfected reliability and usability into a well-oiled computer under $500.
Of course, the best computer under $500 depends on what you are looking for. Looking for power, speed and capability one will be forced to purchase a stationary computer. If mobility is your primary focus, there is more than one computer under $500 that are great buys.