questionswhere can i find a good deal on an i5 or better…

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I really like the Dell Outlet to get a decent price on a nice condition machine. My last 2 computers (laptops) have been from the Dell Outlet, if you sign up for the newsletter, you'll also get promotional codes every few weeks which have some great savings.

Check it out, you may have to monitor the stock a few weeks to find what you're after, but the prices are decent.

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We just got this http://www.amazon.com/A53E-XA2-15-6-Inch-Versatile-Entertainment-Laptop/dp/B00568V8S4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1326218269&sr=8-1 at Christmas and are very happy with it. We also wanted an i5 and found them hard to come by for under $500. We paid $530 in mid December, but it is up to $590 now. As prices fluctuate a lot on Amazon, I recommend tracking a few models you are interested in on camelcamelcamel.com.

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Look everywhere! Retailers like Staples, OfficeDepot, OfficeMax, and Best Buy usually feature a few computer deals every week - their weekly circulars are good places to look at. However when looking at their prices be sure to calculate taxes.

Staples for example has a Toshiba (L755-S5360) i5, 750GB HD, 6GB RAM, 15.6" laptop for $549.99 just over your $500 mark.

I would also recommend looking at Newegg and Amazon. I signed up for Newegg's emails which usually give you good deals with promo codes. Anyways do a lot of research and compare prices and features. Web site's like pricegrabber and Google Shopping will also be good for comparing the prices for the same model. Anyways, good luck with your search!

Edit: Also, you may also want to consider the AMD processors, specifically the AMD Quad-Core A6 processor series which is comparable (in benchmark results) to the Intel i5 series. I would recommend you go to cpubenchmark.net when comparing processors -- very helpful.

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I got an i5 2430, 4gb ram, 500gb asus laptop from Best Buy for $449.99. They still have them, you should get one. I love mine. Its a 15.6 display too. They had a amd quad core last week for $399.