If you’re just getting started with music production, you’ll need to get a laptop capable of handling the demands of music production. While a super high-end laptop may be ideal, they can often cost upwards of $1000 which may be out of your budget when you’re just starting out.
Fortunately, there are some laptops out there that will be able to keep up with your needs for under $500! So in this article, we’re going to go over the best laptops for music production that will fit into your $500 budget.
Best Budget Laptop For Music Production
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2020 15 HP Premium Laptop
10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G1
ASUS VivoBook 15
AMD Quad Core R5-3500U
Lenovo 320 IdeaPad
AMD A12-9720P Quad-Core
Acer Aspire 5
8th Gen Intel Core i5-8265U
Lenovo IdeaPad s340
8th Generation Intel Core i5-8265U
Apple MacBook Pro MC721LL/A (Refurbished)
Intel Quad Core i7
Acer Chromebook 15
Intel Pentium N4200
It would definitely be one of the most powerful laptops at this price point, with a 10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G1 processor and 16GB of DDR4 Ram this laptop should have no problem handling the demands of music production.
It also has a 512GB SSD giving you plenty of space to store your tracks. As for ports, it has an HDMI port that would be handy for connecting it to an external monitor, a USB-C port that could be used for connecting a USB-C hub, a headphone/microphone jack, an SD card reader and two USB 3.1 ports.
The body of the laptop is made of plastic which gives it a slightly cheaper feel, but all in all, getting these specs for this price is a pretty good deal.
Want to Buy The 2020 15 HP Premium Laptop?
It comes equipped with an AMD Quad Core R5-3500U CPU and 8GB of DDR4 RAM so you should be able to produce music on it without any performance issues.
It has a 256GB SSD so there should be enough room to store all your tracks but you might need to purchase an external hard drive.
As for ports, it has a USB 3.1 Port, an HDMI port that would be handy for connecting it to an external monitor, a USB-C port that could be used for connecting a USB-C hub, a headphone/microphone jack, a micro SD card reader and two USB 2.0 ports.
Something to keep in mind is that it comes set to Windows 10 s mode, when it’s in Windows 10 s mode you won’t be able to install any software such as Daws, but you can very easily switch it out of Windows 10 s mode by following the instructions here.
Some other things to keep in mind are that fan makes a fair bit of noise when it starts to get hot and the USB-C port can’t be used to output video signal.
Overall, if the issues mentioned above don’t bother you, this is a pretty good laptop for the price and should do quite well as part of your music production setup.
Want to Buy The ASUS VivoBook 15?
At the time of writing this article, the Lenovo 320 IdeaPad is at well under the $500 budget, but the CPU is less powerful than any of the other laptops mentioned in this article so you may notice worse performance.
The CPU is an AMD A12-9720P which is still a fairly powerful processor but as mentioned above is not quite as good as the others.
As for RAM, it has 8GB DDR4 Ram which should be enough for music production.
It has a 256GB SSD so you should have enough space for all your tracks but you might need to purchase an external hard drive.
As for ports, it has 2 USB 3.1 ports, a USB-C port which could be used to connect a USB-C Hub, an HDMI port which could be used for connecting an external monitor, a headphone/microphone jack, an SD card reader and an Ethernet port which you don’t always see in laptops these days but it could be very handy if you want to connect to a wired internet connection.
One cool thing it does have that most modern laptops don’t is a disk drive, which means you’ll be able to play and burn CDs on it.
Overall it’s a fairly good laptop for the price with the added bonus of a disk drive, the less powerful CPU is something to keep in mind though, it should be perfectly fine for simple tracks but if you plan to be producing music with lots of different tracks in it you may run into some performance issues.
Want to Buy The Lenovo 320 IdeaPad?
It has a Quad Core 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8265U CPU and 8GB of DDR4 RAM so it should have no trouble meeting your music production needs.
For storage, it only has a 256GB SSD so you should be able to store most of your tracks on it but you might need to get an external hard drive.
As for ports, it has a USB-C port that could be useful for connecting a USB-C hub, 2 USB 3.1 ports, a USB 2.0 port, an HDMI port that could be used for connecting to an external monitor, an Ethernet port which you don’t always see in laptops these days but it could be useful if you want to connect to a wired internet connection and a headphone/microphone jack.
It also has some other nice features such as a backlit keyboard and a fingerprint scanner, but one possible issue to keep in mind is that when it’s under a lot of strain the fan noise can get a bit loud and the laptop gets a bit hot.
So overall for the price tag, it is a pretty powerful device that should be perfectly capable of handling the demands of music production.
Want to Buy The Acer Aspire 5?
It has a Quad Core 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8265U CPU and 8GB of DDR4 RAM so it shouldn’t have any issues keeping up with the demands of music production.
Unfortunately, for storage it only has a 128GB SSD so you should be able to store all the relevant files for the projects you are currently working on but you will probably need to buy an external hard drive for some more space.
For ports, it has an HDMI port that could be used for connecting to an external monitor, a USB-C port that could be used for connecting a USB-C hub, a headphone/microphone jack, two USB 3.1 ports and an SD card reader.
As it is made mostly out of plastic, it can feel a little flimsy but as long as you handle it with care, it will be perfectly fine.
So overall, it’s a pretty good laptop for the price, it doesn’t have any major stand out features but it has pretty much all you need for music production with a price tag under $500.
Want to Buy The Lenovo IdeaPad s340?
With a budget of $500, you’re obviously not going to get a brand new Macbook Pro, but if you really want to use a Macbook instead of a Windows laptop, buying a refurbished one might just be a possibility.
In the Amazon Renewed program, you can find Macbook Pros from a few years ago that are under the $500 budget and could actually still do a pretty good job at music production.
This Macbook Pro has a Quad Core Intel Core i7-2635QM and 4GB of SDRAM RAM so it’s less powerful than all the other laptops mentioned in this article but MacOS is a bit lighter weight than Windows so it should be able to handle the demands of music production.
As for storage, it has a 500GB HDD, so there is plenty of space to store all your tracks but the read/write speed will be quite a bit slower as it is a HDD (Hard Disk Drive) rather than a SSD (Solid State Drive).
As for ports, it has 2 USB 2.0 ports, an Ethernet cable, a FireWire 800 port, a headphone jack, a mic jack, an SD card reader and a Thunderbolt port.
Because it is a few years old, it also has a disk drive which could be handy for certain purposes.
Of course, buying an old computer may not always be the best idea, but if you really want a Macbook and you want to stay under your $500 budget, this old refurbished Macbook pro should get the job done.
Want to Buy The Apple MacBook Pro?
Chromebooks might not traditionally be laptops that you would use for music production, but Chrome OS has evolved and come a long way in recent years and a few months ago, we even wrote an article on how you can record music on a Chromebook. Chromebooks are also often cheaper than Windows laptops so they are great if you’re on a budget.
This Chromebook has an Intel Pentium N2400 CPU and 8GB DDR4 RAM so it’s not quite as powerful as some of the other computers in this article but Chrome OS is a much lighter operating system than Windows so the performance should still be excellent.
Unfortunately, as it’s a Chromebook it only has a 32GB SSD so you will almost definitely need to get an external hard drive or pay for cloud storage on a service like Google Drive.
As for ports, it has 2 USB 3.0 ports, a USB-C port that could be used for connecting a USB-C hub and a headphone/microphone jack.
So overall, if you like the idea of trying out Chrome OS and you’ve read our article on recording music on a Chromebook and you believe it will fit into your workflow, then this Chromebook might be the laptop for you.
Want to Buy The Acer Chromebook 15?
So there you have it, 7 different options that are under $500 and could be great laptops for music production. Comment down below if you decided to purchase any of these for music production and if so, which one?