The price of a mainstream notebook continues to hover around the $500 mark, with NPD reporting that the average consumer spent just $507 on a PC notebook in March and just $675 when you factor MacBooks into the equation. The average PC price is down slightly from February's mark of $513 while the average for all notebooks is $3 higher than February's $672 average.

In March 2012, the average PC notebook price was nearly identical at $508, but the overall average notebook price was much higher at $725. Because of Black Friday Last November saw the lowest average notebook prices ever with the average PC portable going for just $407 and the average notebook (including Macs) selling for just $560.

The incredible stability in PC notebook prices, both month-over-month and year-over-year, shows that the industry has not yet been successful in getting consumers to buy higher-margin products like Ultrabooks. However, with a slew of Ivy Bridge notebooks due out later this spring and Windows 8 notebooks expected to arrive this fall, shoppers may be attracted to higher end products. 

In the meantime, for less than $507, you can get you a notebook with a Core i5 CPU, 500GB hard drive and 4GB of RAM. However, there are plenty of features that require spending more than $500, including SSDs, high res screens, discrete graphics and extended batteries.