Looking for a laptop under/around 500. I want to be able to play Minecraft, Planetside 2, Blacklight Retribution, Skyrim, at low settings. Mostly for the price range I've been seeing i5-3210m with HD 4000, A8s, and A6s.
When you're looking for a laptop to play games, especially in this price range the most important component is the video card. You'll be hard pressed to find an i3, let alone an i5, with a discrete video card.
Your best bet is an AMD A6, A8 (like you've already stated) or a refurbished A10 (like Mclovits linked). Remember that the HDD can be upgraded to an SSD (big performance boost) and system RAM can also be upgraded (check the system specs for max RAM) so the single most important thing is the video card.
The performance would be similar, though an i3 is probably a better processor in terms of raw computing power, to play games, an A8 or A10 will provide immensly better performance while still being able to do everyday tasks. Don't worry about the quality of the laptop, if it is below standard (gross, scratched, or malfunctional) it will be replaced and yoiu can find another one, but that HP is one heck of a deal for around 500 dollars.
AMD A8-4500M processor 1.9 GHz with 4 MB Cache
AMD Radeon HD 7640G Graphics packing 512MB of graphics system memory
4 GB DDR3 RAM.
640 GB 5400 rpm Hard Drive
15.6-Inch 720p screen
Windows 8 Operating System
8X DVD-Super Multi Double-Layer Drive
2- USB 2.0 Ports and 1 USB 3.0 port for ultra fast file transfer
1- HDMI port with HDCP Support
AMD A8-4500M processor combined with AMD Radeon HD 7640G Graphics can provide 30-40+ fps in minecraft on highest settings. It can also provide 30+ fps for latest games like Battlefield 3 and Skyrim on medium settings.
OR if you can increase your budget just a little more then you can buy Acer V5 571 which got Core i5 processor and 1GB NVIDIA GeForce GT630M dedicated graphics which is overall a better choice for running any latest software or play current games with 30+ FPS, priced at just $549.
3rd Generation Intel Core i5 Processor
1GB NVIDIA GeForce GT630M dedicated graphics
15.4 inch LED-backlit widescreen display
4GB DDR3 Memory
500GB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive
2 USB 2.0 Ports, 1 USB 3.0 port and 1 HDMI Port
NVIDIA GeForce GT630M 1GB dedicated graphics is capable of providing 30+fps for many latest games and Core i5 processor is also great for multitasking. You can check Nividia GT 630M graphic performance below.