If you are a beginner music producer or a DJ who is looking forward toward a promising future, then your laptop will be your best tool.
Of course, as a beginner you must be quite restrained in terms of your overall budget.
Therefore, in this article we will only have a look at the best laptops for music production under $500.
Our most recommend music production laptop under $500 is the HP Pavilion 15. We believe it checks all the boxes including affordability, performance, and style.
Our second most recommended option costs slightly more than $500, but it is a deal that we could not have simply missed out on. It is the Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-51DJ. It boasts the latest components and an awesome overall configuration with an SSD.
Lastly, if you are looking for the cheapest possible laptop capable of running music production software, we recommend the Acer Aspire E5-576-392H. However, we would keep our expectations low.
Comparison of Best Music Production Laptops Under $500
Since under $500 can mean anything ranging from $1 – $499, we will have a look at several suitable laptops from varying price categories.
Before you look into the selected laptops here, it is important to realize that while they are quite affordable, they are not typically built for professional levels of work.
Once you plan on making Music Production your full time job, then you can consider investing in notebooks built specifically for such work.
Unfortunately, professional laptops can put a serious dent in your wallet.
List of Best Laptops for Music Production under $500
- HP Pavilion 15 – Most Recommend Laptop for Music Production Under $500
- Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-51DJ – Exceptional Hardware Configuration
- HP 15T – Functional and Large Storage
- Lenovo IdeaPad 330 – Cheaper Suitable Laptop with Core i3
- Acer Aspire E5-576-392H – Acer Aspire E5-576-392H – Cheapest Laptop for Music Production
Reviews of the Selected Laptops for Music Producers on a Budget
1. HP Pavilion 15 – Most Recommend Laptop for Music Production Under $500
Firstly, this notebook just looks great. Music production is all about style. Therefore, it only makes sense if you get a gadget that looks pleasing to the eyes as well.
However, the looks are a secondary aspect when it comes to performance.
The best apart about this laptop lies underneath the hood. It offers a fantastic Intel Core i5-8250U processor for under $500. This is an 8th generation Quad Core processor that has one of the best values in the market.
As far as the performance goes, Core i5 from the 8th generation is the most capable processor in this budget range. Compared to the same level processor of the previous generation i.e Core i5-7200U, this is far more superior.
Previously, all ‘U’ designated Core i5 processor for laptops were dual core with 4 threads. This generation changed the game around. As such, the Core i5-8250U is a quad core processor with 4 threads.
As a result, this processor is about 30% faster than its previous generation kinsman and it is better not just on paper but also on benchmarks.
Along with that, this laptop also offers an ample 8 GB of RAM and 1 TB of HDD. While 8 GB may not have been sufficient if you were a video editor, for music production it should be quite sufficient.
You can always upgrade the RAM as well as the HDD in the future should you need to. However, as it stands, the out of the box specifications are more than ample for beginner level music production.
Besides that, it also offers a gorgeous screen. It offers a 15.6″ IPS Touchscreen with FHD resolution.
IPS panel offers superior colors and viewing angles as compared to the conventional TN panel screens. While a screen won’t have a direct impact on your music production, it can indirectly help by uplifting your working experience.
This laptop also offers the USB Type-C port for interfacing with the latest gadgets out there. Therefore, this is fairly future proof machine to be had.
All in all, we find this to be one of the best laptops for music production under $500 due to its overall performance/dollar value.
2. Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-51DJ – Exceptional Hardware Configuration
In terms of hardware, this is superior to the HP Pavilion 15 above. However, we have listed this as #2 because it costs slightly more than $500 range.
However, this laptop is such a great deal that we could not have possibly left it out from this list.
For starters, it offers the upgraded version of the Intel Core i5-8250U processor i.e the Intel Core i5-8265U.
The performance difference between the two variants is more noticeable when operating on high load. The Core i5-8250U and the Core i5-8265U processors both have the same base clock speed of 1.60 GHz.
However, the Core i5-8265U has a maximum frequency of 3.90 GHz as compared to the Core i5-8250U that has max frequency of only 3.40 GHz.
Basically, when running heavier loads, the Core i5-8265U will have a far superior performance.
In the end, compared to the previous generation same series processors, the i5-7200U or the i5-7500U, the i5-8265U processor is about 30% as powerful.What does this all mean for you as a Music Producer? Anything that requires editing, composing, or rendering requires a good processor. Therefore, a better and a newer processor will always provide a better music producing experience.
Besides an excellent processor, it also offers a 256 GB of SSD. While the capacity is not as large as 1 TB as seen on HP Pavilion 15 above, a true pro would choose SSD over a conventional HDD over a heartbeat.
Just as everything benefits from a faster processor, it also benefits from a faster storage. As such, SSDs are some of the fastest hard disks and therefore well worth it.
Besides that, it offers an average 8 GB of RAM. This is also upgradeable but for music production it should suffice.
Other than that, it offers a beautiful Full HD IPS display. Unlike the HP pavilion 15 above, the screen here isn’t touch capable.
Furthermore, it also offers robust connectivity including USB Type C port.
3. HP 15T – Functional and Large Storage
Here we have a laptop that is truly under the $500. Although this isn’t comparable to the #1 or #2 in performance, it does have a few tricks up its sleeves that could easily make it the number #1 choice for you.
Firstly, instead of the Intel Core i5-8250U featured in the HP 15 above, this laptop offers the Core i5-7200U from the previous generation.
In terms of performance, therefore, this laptop is weaker as compared to the two laptops above. however, it is also cheaper.
While this laptop offers a good 8 GB of DDR4, what truly separates this laptop from the rest is the whopping 2 TB of HDD capacity.
As a music producer, you simply cannot have enough disk space. For most multimedia enthusiasts, 1 TB is quite lacking. Therefore, 2 TB of disk space is truly worth it.
Furthermore, this HP 15T also offers an optical drive. If you are going to be recording your music on CD/DVDs, then this is an essential feature to have.
It does have some drawbacks though. Other than the weaker processor (relatively), it also lacks an FHD IPS display. Instead it offers an HD Touchscreen with a conventional TN panel.
All in all, if you want a laptop that is truly under the $500, then this is one of the best laptops for music production under $500.
4. Lenovo IdeaPad 330 – Cheaper Suitable Laptop with Core i3
Unlike the laptops mentioned above, this notebook does NOT offer the Intel Core i5 processor.
Instead it offers the weaker Intel Core i3-8130U processor. You should note, however, that the Core i3 processors from the 8th generation are far more superior to the i3s from the previous generation.
Anyhow, you should only consider investing in a laptop with Core i3 if your music production work is truly going to be at a beginners level.
If you are simply planning on learning the ins and outs of music production then this is good to have. However, once you go professional, then you will definitely need to upgrade.
Other than that, this laptop offers a good 8 GB of RAM as well as 1 TB of HDD. Therefore, as far as the RAM and HDD goes, this laptop is quite adequate.
If you are looking for a beginner level laptop, then this is one of the best laptops for music production under $500.
5. Acer Aspire E5-576-392H – Cheapest Laptop for Music Production
It offers the same Intel Core i3-8130U processor like the Lenovo Ideapad 330 above, yet costs significantly less.
Whats the catch? Well not much. Instead of 8 GB of RAM, this laptop offers 6 GB of RAM.
That isn’t really a big issue since RAM can be upgraded fairly easily should you ever need to in the future.
The other issue with this notebook is that it is not a very aesthetically appealing machine. Therefore, it may not be suited for all.
However, it has two features that very few ultra budget laptops tend to offer.
Firstly it offers a Full HD resolution instead of just HD. A higher resolution makes your screen sharper and also provides you with more pixel real estate. This translates to better multitasking.
Secondly, it manages to fit an optical drive. Therefore, should you ever need to write/burn your music on to CDs, you would easily be able to do so.
If you are looking for cheapest capable laptop, then this is one of the best laptops for music production under $500 out there.
In this article we had a look at some of the best laptops for music production under $500.
While these are no way near being professional laptops in any capacity, if you are just starting out with your music production career then they are great.
Consider these laptops as a stepping stone for your career.
You will definitely need to upgrade in the future as you hone your skills.