• Plano, TX

Top 8 laptops under $500

The price of Windows laptops continues to decline, with the average system costing just $456 in December 2011. However, you don’t have to settle for something that’s underpowered or poorly made when you opt for a bargain notebook. You can get a second-generation Core i3 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 500GB hard drive in this price range, which is plenty of power for everyday computing. Here are the 8 best laptops you can get for under $500 right now:

HP offers the 15.6-inch, 2.1-GHz Core i3 HP g6t for only $494. We reviewed its cousin, the HP Pavilion g6-1c77nr, very favorably in 2011, praising it for its solid performance, comfortable keyboard, and good speakers.The Pavilion g6t is no slouch compared to the g6-1c77nr, featuring a 2.2-GHz Intel 2nd Gen Core i3-2330M CPU, 4GB of RAM, and a 320GB hard drive. Although the Gateway NV55C54u (also on this list) offers slightly better performance and longer battery life, this is a great deal for a performance laptop.