Advice on $500 Laptop

I'm looking for a laptop within a $500 dollar budget range that will be "best for the money." Main focus will be grad school.

I'd like the following (if you think it’s possible, I'm not really up on my laptop hardware)

  1. SSD or SSHD (highly doubtful this is in a sub $500 without tanking other hardware)
  2. 6-8GB RAM
  3. Decent CPU
  4. Prefer 6-cell Lithium Ion
  5. Windows 7

I've done a bunch of searching myself and the best I've found from hardware standpoint is:

I like this one a lot for the price. The i3 does really well in benchmarks, I’ve given up looking for SSD sub $500, has 6GB RAM and good battery. I'm now trying to figure out if there is better or if this is pretty much as good as it gets.

I'd also like your input on brand quality. I'm not up on my Lenovo quality.

Thanks for the help. this cheap a8 is worth looking at.


I like this better: A10 Apu should be stronger than an I3.

I know you said $500 but for $50 more you can get this one it has everything you want 

*New Lenovo U510

*i5 1.7GHz - 2.6GHz Turbo

*8GB of 1600MHz RAM Dual Channel

*750GB HDD + 24GB SDD

*Light and Slim but still has a ODD

*Dolby Audio 

*Windows 8.1

I think this is the best option if he doesn't need good graphics power. Then I would still go with the A10 laptop I listed.

This is a pretty sweet setup.  Awesome recommendation.  I really like hybrid drives and graphics wont be a priority on this machine.  I have a dedicated desktop I built for gamming.

Thanks for the feedback!  I was trying to stay away from refurbished. Even though I’ve had good luck in the past with desktops, I'm hesitant buying laptop that’s refurb.