"The best deal you can find currently for $500 (10/11)"4.0 starson by FauxSoul
Pros: AMD A-8 CPU (Among the best of AMD notebook processors, another plus is that this CPU has 4mb L2 cache, an area where AMD is usually skimping.)
Integrated Radeon 6620g graphics.
Cons: The memory is only @ 666Mhz when the standard is usually 1333Mhz.
This normally wouldn't be a big deal but the integrated graphics rely heavily on the speed of the RAM, because the 6620g has no integrated RAM.
Summary: All in all this was the best deal I could find when I looked for notebooks up to the $650 price range.On a side note, as far as the memory goes fry's currently has a 2x4gb RAM set @1333mhz from PNY for $35 as a one day sale today.
The graphics could definitely smoke the Intel HD 3000 graphics found with the Sandy Bridge core i3 & core i5.
Even with everyday computing this should run much better than a similarly priced Intel machine. (Based on the fact that you probably are not going to be using it for encoding media and such.)
Updated on Oct 2, 2011
I would recommend updating the RAM
In this review, even though it is for the desktop counterpart you can clearly see the benefits of a higher speed RAM setup.