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.
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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.
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.
Intel Core i5-8250U
1 TB HDD
Intel Core i5-8265U
256 GB SSD
Intel Core i5-7200U
2 TB HDD
Intel Core i3-8130U
1 TB HDD
Intel Core i3-8130U
List of Best Laptops For Music Production under $500
- 1HP Pavilion 15 – Most Recommend Laptop for Music Production Under $500
- 2Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-51DJ – Exceptional Hardware Configuration
- 3HP 15T – Functional and Large Storage
- 4Lenovo IdeaPad 330 – Cheaper Suitable Laptop with Core i3
- 5Acer Aspire E5-576-392H – Acer Aspire E5-576-392H – Cheapest Laptop for Music Production
5 Best Laptops For Music Producers Under $500 Reviewed
1. HP Pavilion 15 – Most Recommend Laptop for Music Production Under $500
We highly recommend this model of the HP Pavilion 15 for your music production endeavors 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
- 8th Generation Intel Core i5-8265U Processor...
- 15.6 Inches Full HD (1920 x 1080) Widescreen...
- 1 - USB 3.1 Type C Gen 1 port, 2 - USB 3.1...
- 802.11ac WiFi | Backlit Keyboard |...
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.
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
- 15.6-Inch WLED-backlit Touchscreen HD...
- Intel Core i5-7200U 2.5 GHz (Turbo Boost up...
- 2 TB 5400 rpm SATA HDD | 8 GB DDR4 SDRAM |...
- 802.11ac Wireless + Bluetooth 4.2 Combo |...
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
- 15.6” HD 1366 x 768 Energy-efficient LED...
- 8th Gen Intel Core i3-8130U mobile processor,...
- 2 x USB 3.0 Type A Ports, 1 x USB 3.0 Type C...
- Wireless-AC WLAN, 10/100/1000 Ethernet,...
Here we enter the realm of somewhat weaker laptops. This Lenovo IdeaPad 330 is well under the $500 range and therefore great for those looking to save up as much as they can.
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
- 8th Generation Intel Core i3 8130U Processor...
- 15.6 inches Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen...
- 6GB Dual Channel Memory, 1TB HDD and 8x DVD
- Up to 13.5 Hours of battery life
Lastly, we have this cheapest laptop in the list. It offers the minimum recommend specs, but it offers an extraordinary value for money.
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.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
What Features Do You Need for Music Production?
Music production is a professional field. Therefore, professional level of music production requires high quality and fairly expensive machines.
Nevertheless, if you are an amateur music producer or a DJ, you can certainly begin with a rather cheaper budget.
Music Production demands a lot of processing power as well as RAM. When you are dealing with loads of tracks and large files, RAM and processing power needs to be high.
Therefore, when you are looking for laptops under $500, we recommend that you find a laptop with at least an 8 GB of RAM and an Intel Core i5 processor from the 8th generation.
You can also go for the Intel Core i3 processor, if you want to save up a bit more, but that won’t be future proof. As you grow more experienced and when your projects get more complex, you will need at least an Intel Core i5 to give you a fairly good experience.
RAM can always be upgraded, however, the same cannot be said about the processors.
What about the Intel Pentium and Intel Celeron processors? The laptops featuring those seem really tempting due to their extremely budget price tag, however, for music production, we would recommend that you steer clear of them.
Laptops with entry level processors like Pentium and Celeron are built for work like word processing. They are not at all capable of performing professional work like music production, photo editing, video editing, DJing etc.
Learn more about entry level Atom, Celeron and Pentium Processors here.
As far as the storage goes, the larger the better. Since you are dealing with multimedia, you will need to store up a lot of stuff on your laptops. T
he minimum we recommend is 1TB. However, it is not uncommon to find 2 TB HDD being offered under $500 as well.
Lastly, we recommend that you upgrade your HDD to SSD in the future. SSDs provide a far better and smoother overall experience as compared to HDD. Unfortunately, they are quite expensive and they are not so readily available in the stock models under $500.
What Hardware Do You Need for Music Production?
In case if you want to know about the rest of the hardware that you need for music production, watch this video.
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.
Andrew White is the founder of TechGearoid, a leading technology review & information website that is designed to help consumers make better decisions when it comes to their IT purchases. As a specialist tech writer (nerd) with over 10 years of experience, he enjoys writing about everything there is to do with modern technology & the newest market innovations. When he isn’t providing value for his readers, he’s usually drinking coffee or at the beach. Andrew lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife and family.