Laptops Under $500 That Still Pack a Punch

Laptops Under $500 That Still Pack a Punch

There are some very fast computers in the under $500 price range. These laptops are perfect for internet use, streaming video, word processing, basic photo editing and organizing and other day to day tasks.


2017 Lenovo 320 15.6 Inch Premium Flagship High Performance Laptop AMD A12 up to 3.6 GHz, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD, AMD Radeon R7, WiFi, Bluetooth, Webcam, HDMI, USB-C, DVD-RW, Windows 10 Home


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This Lenovo has a fast quad core CPU, very fast 128GB SSD hard drive and 8GB of DDR4 memory. It’s got an HD webcam, bluetooth, a very good AMD Radeon R7 video card and a Multi-format SD media card reader for camera and phone memory.



  • Windows 10 brings back the Start Menu from Windows 7 and introduces new features, like the Edge Web browser that lets you markup Web pages on your screen.
  • 15.6″ display Typical 1366 x 768 HD resolution. Energy-efficient LED back-light.
  • 8GB system memory for advanced multitasking
  • Substantial high-bandwidth RAM to smoothly run your games and photo- and video-editing applications, as well as multiple programs and browser tabs all at once.
  • 128GB SSD for ample file storage space and faster performance
    Holds a sizeable collection of digital photos, music, HD videos and DVD-quality movies. 5400 rpm spindle speed for standard read/write times.
  • AMD Radeon R7
    Integrated graphics chipset with shared video memory provides solid image quality for Internet use, movies, basic photo editing and casual gaming.
  • Weighs 4.85 lbs. and measures 0.9″ thin
    Balances portability and screen size, so you get a respectable amount of viewing space without the laptop being too cumbersome for practical portability. 2-cell lithium-ion battery.
  • Bluetooth 4.1 interface syncs with compatible devices
    Wirelessly transfer photos, music and other media between the desktop and your Bluetooth-enabled cell phone or MP3 player, or connect Bluetooth wireless accessories.
  • Ports: 1 USB Type-C port, 2 USB 3.0 ports, 1 HDMI output expands your viewing options
    Built-in media reader for simple photo transfer
  • Supports SD, MultiMediaCard, SDHC and SDXC memory card formats.
  • Full keyboard with 10-key numeric keypad
    Type comfortably, input numbers quickly and maneuver through games with ease.


2017 Dell Inspiron 15.6″ HD (1366 x 768) Laptop PC, Intel Dual Core i3-7100U 2.4GHz, 8GB DDR4, 128GB SSD, DVD +/- RW, MaxxAudio, HDMI, Bluetooth, WIFI, Intel HD Graphics 620, Windows 10

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This Dell Inspiron comes with a strong Intel Dual Core i3-7100u 2.4 GHz Processor, 128GB SSD hard drive and 8GB of memory, making it a good laptop for all basic tasks plus internet streaming and basic computer gaming.



  • 15.6-inch HD (1366 x 768) Truelife LED-Backlit Display,
  • Intel Dual Core i3-7100u 2.4 GHz Processor
  • 8GB Single Channel DDR4 2400MHz (8GBx1) SDRAM
  • 128GB Solid State Drive
  • Tray load DVD Drive (Reads and Writes to DVD/CD)
  • Intel HD 620 Graphics with shared graphics memory
  • Media Reader (SD, SDHC, SDXC)
  • Stereo speakers + MaxxAudio
  • HD 720P Webcam
  • 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.1
  • 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, 1x HDMI, 1x Headphone output/Microphone input combo
  • Windows 10 Home 64-Bit, Standard Keyboard, Color: GRAY


ASUS VivoBook F510UA FHD Laptop, Intel Core i5-8250U, 8GB RAM, 1TB HDD, USB-C, NanoEdge Display, Fingerprint, Windows 10, Star Gray (F510UA-AH51)

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The ASUS VivoBook F510UA FHD is a beautifully designed laptop, perfect for work or college. Featuring the latest 8th generation Intel Core i5-8250U CPU and 8GB of DDR4 RAM, it can handle your everyday computing needs easily. While this computer does not offer a fast SSD hard drive, the installed 1TB drive gives you plenty of storage space.


  • Powerful 8th Generation Intel Core i5-8250U 1.6GHz (Turbo up to 3.4GHz) processor
  • 14.2″ wide, 0.8″ thin and portable footprint with 0.3″
  • NanoEdge bezel for a stunning 80% screen-to-body ratio
  • 15.6″ anti-glare Full HD display with ASUS Splendid software enhancement, 1920×1080 pixels
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM
  • 1TB HDD
  • Ergonomic chiclet keyboard with fingerprint sensor
  • USB 3.1 Type-C (Gen1), USB 3.0, USB 2.0, and HDMI
  • Lightning-fast 802.11ac Wi-Fi keeps you connected through any congestion or interference



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Cyber Monday 2017 Sale AncestryDNA Genetic Testing Test Kit


I have been researching my family tree for over 15 years, and members of my family have been working on it for over 35 years. I’ve been registered on just about every online genealogy website, used many different software programs, and scoured cemeteries and county clerk’s offices for as much information as possible.

The next step in that journey was having my DNA tested with AncestryDNA’s DNA Ancestry Test Kit. Taking the test was quick and easy (just some spit in a provided tube) and about 5 weeks later Ancestry emailed me with results.

There are 3 main areas to the DNA dashbboard.


In the DNA Story tab I was able to click for detail on my regional Ethnicity estimate to see what areas of the world ancestor’s are known to have come from.

A detailed view can break down your ethnic genealogy even more.

Clicking on a specific region will give you even MORE detail.

The DNA Matches tab displays anyone who has matched my DNA test, and estimates how closely related we are.

Clicking on an individual match will show you details on their DNA match, including an overview of their ethnicity and DNA circles they are included in (more about those in a minute).


If your DNA match has their tree entered into, this page will also show your tree next to theirs with your common related ancestor in the center. This is a great simple way to see exactly what your relationship is.


The third tab shows your DNA Circles. These are groups of people who are all descended from a common ancestor, automatically created by Ancestry created 4 DNA circles for me. This can be really helpful because it connects you to other people researching the same family members.

Clicking on one of the circles shows me other Ancestry users who are connected to the group and a few subgroups, while also showing how each of the users are related.


This is the perfect gift for anyone interested in their ethnic background or anyone researching their genealogy or family tree. Take advantage of this great Cyber Monday 2017 sale now.


Best Refurbished Desktop Computer Deals

If you are willing to go with a refurbished computer, you will save several hundred dollars, but the computer will only have a 90 day warranty so that needs to be weighed against possible repair costs down the line.

2018 HP Compaq Elite 6300 Tower Business Desktop Computer, Intel Quad-Core i5-3470 up to 3.60GHz, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD + 500GB HDD, DVD, WiFi, USB 3.0, Windows 10 Professional (Certified Refurbished)

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Computer processors (CPU’s)are really, really fast. Standard hard drives are really, really slow in comparison. If computers handled and processed data by writing and reading directly from the hard drive, computers would be extremely slow too, because the hard drive couldn’t keep up with the processor’s speed.

RAM (memory) is there to address this problem. It’s a place where data is temporarily stored that is really really fast. The processor can read and write to and from RAM to run programs, view web pages, and cache video, leaving the hard drive to store permanent files like documents, photos and music.

This HP Compaq Elite computer has a very fast Intel Core i5-3470 CPU, with 4 cores. The more cores there are, the more tasks can be running at the same time. So a quad core CPU like this can handle several tasks at once without bogging down.

The computer comes with 8GB of DDR3 RAM. This large amount of memory allows the computer to keep lots of things available to access very quickly. For example, more RAM means you can have more tabs open in your web browser before the computer starts to slow down.

Windows 10 (64 bit) and your programs are installed on a 256GB SSD hard drive. These drives are incredibly fast (roughly 100 times faster than standard SATA hard drives) because they have no moving parts that need to spin. They are also not affected by vibration, heat or damage from dropping- but they are more expensive. This is a similar type of storage used in digital cameras and smartphones, only on a larger scale.

Audio is High Definition with Realtek ALC221 codec SRS Premium Sound, with a microphone and a headphone jack. For ports, this computer has 4 USB 3.0, 6 USB 2.0, 1 serial, port, 2 PS/2 ()older mouse and keyboard connectors), 1 VGA (blue standard video connector)  1 ,DisplayPort (newer video connector), 1 RJ-45 (network connector) and built in Wi-Fi. Also has a DVD drive.

For the money this system has a very fast CPU and SSD hard drive and ample memory for multitasking.

Dell Optiplex 990 Tower Premium Business Desktop Computer (Intel Quad-Core i5-2400 up to 3.4GHz, 16GB DDR3 Memory, 2TB HDD + 120GB SSD, DVD, WiFi, Windows 10 Professional) (Certified Refurbished)

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Designed for professionals, small businesses and college students with  high-end performance computing needs, this Dell Optiplex 990 Tower brings serious computing power to help you manage even your most demanding multitasking. Featuring an Intel Quad-Core i5-2400 3.1GHz CPU processor and 16GB DDR3 RAM it is capable of delivering super fast speed and super efficiently managing any demanding operations


For hard drive storage space, It has 2 hard drives. A super fast 120GB SSD for Windows and programs, and a huge 2TB 7200 rpm standard SATA hard drive for storing your files. 

It also includes a DVD ROM, USB Keyboard, Mouse, Integrated Audio, 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet RJ45 LAN; 10 x USB 2.0 ports, 1 x Ethernet port, 1 x VGA port, 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x audio out jack, 1 x line-in jack, 1 x microphone jack. Also includes a USB Wi-Fi adapter for wireless capability. 

It’s designed to flawlessly handle your everyday computing or entertainment needs such as listening to music, watching or downloading files.

Refurbished Dell Gamer / Intel Quad Core i5 3.1GHz Windows 7 Pro / 24GB RAM / “NEW” 256GB Solid State Drive SSD / WiFi / Desktop Computer + 1GB HDMI NVIDIA

Refurbished Dell Gamer / Intel Quad Core i5 3.1GHz Windows 7 Pro / 24GB RAM / “NEW” 256GB Solid State Drive SSD / WiFi / Desktop Computer + 1GB HDMI NVIDIA

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Fast Intel Core i5-2300 3.1GHz Processor with 24GB High Quality DDR3 RAM & Huge *NEW* 256GB Solid State Drive with 2 year Manufacturer Warranty. The system comes Pre-installed with Windows 7 Professional 64-bit Operating Syste.

Also includes an nVIDIA GeForce 1GB HDMI video card. This gives you the option of dual monitor capability as well as some RAM dedicated to video processing. Plus Microsoft Office 2007 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, Publisher & More).

HP Z210 Workstation Desktop Tower Intel Core i7 3.4GHz 16GB 240GB SSD Windows 10 Pro (Certified Refurbished)

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Processor: Intel Core i7-2600 3.4GHz (Up to 3.8GHz Turbo Boost)
Memory: 16GB DDR3 RAM
Hard Drive: 240GB SSD (Solid State Drive)
Video: Intel FirePro 3D Graphics V3800
Audio: HD Realtek ALC261
Networking: Intel WG82574L Gigabit
Optical Drive: DVD+/-RW
Accessories Included: HP Keyboard, Mouse, Power Cord


Acer Aspire Desktop, 7th Gen Intel Core i5-7400, 12GB DDR4, 2TB HDD, Windows 10 Home

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  • 7th Generation Intel Core i5-7400 Processor (Up to 3.5GHz)
  • 12GB DDR4 2400MHz Memory
  • 2TB 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive
  • 3 – USB 3.1 Gen 1 Ports (2 Front, 1 Rear)
  • 4 – USB 2.0 Ports (Rear)
  • 1 x HDMI Port and 1 x VGA Port
  • 8X DVD-Writer Double-Layer Drive (DVD-RW)
  • USB Keyboard and Mouse
  • Windows 10 Home

The Best External USB Hard Drives For Backing Up Your Computer

A good backup is like an insurance policy for your files. If you are infected with a virus, if the hard drive crashes or fails, or if you just accidentally delete your files, a thorough and recent backup can be a life saver.


External USB hard drives come in various sizes, styles and configurations. There are the larger desktop sized hard drives designed to be set up and kept in one location, but be aware these usually require a power cable in addition to the USB cable.  The there are the smaller 2.5 inch external hard drives that are much smaller and lighter and are usually powered via the USB cable itself. These are much more portable and will easily fit in a laptop bag, backpack or purse.

You can see the size difference between the 3.5 inch desktop drive and the smaller, more portable 2.5 inch drive. Desktop drives come in larger capacities, but usually require a separate power supply.


External USB drives generally connect with some type of USB cable. USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 cables are the same size and shape on the end that goes in your computer, and work in the same ports, but USB 3.0 devices are capable of faster file transfer speeds. If  you’re not sure if you have any USB 3.0 ports, look and see if you have any blue USB ports on your computer.

Here you can see the different types of USB connections common in external hard drives.


Blue cables and blue connectors are an easy way to distinguish 3.0 devices and cabled from 2.0 devices. Either way, USB 3.0 drives are backward compatible to work in a 2.0 port, they will simply run at the slower 2.0 transfer speed. Some newer drives may connect with USB 3.1 cables (USB-C) , but your computer needs to have a USB 3.1 port in order to use them.

This chart above from can give you an idea how much storage you need. The estimate is calculated based on average file sizes- professional photographers will use more space per photo for example, especially if they shoot in RAW mode. People will movie collections should know that movies can be in various formats that range in size. But the graphic is a good indicator for the average person’s files.

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This is a USB 3.0 1TB hard drive that works with both Apple MAC OSX and Windows PC’s. It comes with a free trial of WD SmartWare Pro auto and cloud backup software, or you can use the backup software of your choice. It is one of the smaller drives, measuring 4.4 x 3.2 x 0.6 inches and weighing only 4.8 ounces. This is perfect for the average person’s needs and works well for backing up both desktop and laptops. Also available in 2TB, 3TB and 4TB sizes.



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This is another 1TB USB 3.0 external hard drive, but this one is specifically designed to stand up to the rigors of travel. The casing is made of specialized rubber with a custom suspension system to reduce damage from accidents. The drive passed both crush testing and transit drop testing to US military MIL-STD-810G standards. It’s also resistant to being sprayed by water, which should protect against spills. If you are prone to accidents or just want the extra peace of mind, this is the drive for you. Also available in 2TB, 3TB, 4TB and 5TB sizes.


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This 4TB USB 3.0 desktop style hard drive includes an NTFS driver that allows it to be used by both Windows and MAC computers interchangeably. It also includes a 2 port USB hub so you can plug USB devices directly in to the hard drive, including cell phones and tablets. And the ports will work for charging even if the computer is turned off. The hub is especially helpful if the ports on your desktop computer are hard to access or if your laptop computer doesn’t have many USB ports. If you install the Seagate Mobile Backup app on IOS or Android devices, you can back up to this drive from those devices via the cloud. Available in 4TB, 6TB and 8TB sizes.


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8TB of storage space in this desktop drive, but it weighs a little over 2 pounds so it’s certainly made to be left in one place. It connects via USB 3.0 and works with Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10 right out of the box with no drivers to install.


Any of these drives will be helpful in setting up a backup system for your personal or business files.