According to new data released by research group NPD, the average notebook purchased in Feburary 2012 cost just $513, down slightly from January's $527 average, but up dramatically from December's low of $456. The average cost of all notebooks, which includes MacBooks, was $672 in February, lower than January's mark of $724 but much higher than December's $631 mark.
According to NPD Vice President of Industry Analysis Stephen Baker attributed the dramatic rise in average prices since December to seasonality, saying that holiday sales always artificially deflate the averages in late Q4. However, the PC average is actually higher than February 2011's $481 average, but nearly identical to February 2010's $512 average.
November 2011 marked the lowest average PC notebook price ever with a mark of just $407, due in large part to Black Friday and other holiday sales. That month also saw the lowest average laptop price ever (including MacBooks) at just $560.
How much PC notebook can you get for February's average of $513? Typical specs for a sub-$500 notebook include a Core i3 CPU, 4GB of RAM and a 320GB hard drive. You can even, on sale, sometimes get a Core i5, 6GB of RAM, or a 500GB hard drive in this price range. To see the best notebook bargains available today, check out our list of the top 8 laptops under $500.