The best non-16:9 laptop?

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by EternalTireKicker, Aug 7, 2017.

  1. EternalTireKicker

    EternalTireKicker Newbie

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    I know all laptops made these days have 16:9 screens but I hate that aspect ratio with a burning passion. I'm quite accustomed to 16:10 but I'd consider 4:3 as well if it means getting better (i.e. newer) hardware, which I highly doubt. In any case it's obvious that I'm going with used hardware here.

    1) What is your budget?
    I don't really have one to be honest.

    2) What size notebook would you prefer?
    d. Mainstream; 15" - 16" screen
    e. Desktop Replacement; 17"+ screen

    Either one, it doesn't really matter.

    3) Where will you buying this notebook? You can select the flag of your country as an indicator.
    United States, probably via eBay.

    4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?
    a. Like: HP, Dell, Lenovo
    b. Dislike: Acer
    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?
    Absolutely. What I want cannot be found brand new these days.

    6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook?
    Internet browsing with multiple tabs, watching YouTube videos in at least 480p, light 3D applications and casual gaming.

    7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both?
    It will most likely only be used on vacation trips. But I don't mind if it has to be a 10 pound brick.

    8) Will you be playing games on your notebook? If so, please state which games or types of games?
    I may be emulating retro games from time to time, and I know I will be ridiculed for saying this, but I do play Minecraft once in a while.

    9) How many hours of battery life do you need?
    I don't care. I'm one of those people who always plugs in their laptop.

    10) Would you prefer to see the notebooks you're considering before purchasing it or buying a notebook on-line without seeing it is OK?
    I'd want actual pictures (not stock photos) on the listing. But I don't need to see it in person and considering the fact that I live in the literal middle of nowhere, that would be asking too much. (As if everything I've already said isn't asking too much!)

    11) What OS do you prefer? Windows (Windows 7 / 8), Mac OS, Linux, Chrome OS, etc.
    I will only ever use Windows 7.

    Screen Specifics

    12) From the choices below, what screen resolution(s) would you prefer? Keep in mind screen size in conjunction with resolution will play a large role in overall viewing comfort level. Everyone is different. Some like really small text, while others like their text big and easy to read. (Scroll down to see screen resolution information.)
    WSXGA+ (1680x1050) or higher. Must be 16:10 or 4:3. Anything lower or any 16:9 aspect ratio is a dealbreaker.

    13) Do you want a glossy/reflective screen or a matte/non-glossy screen? (Scroll down to see explanations.)
    Matte. A glossy screen is a dealbreaker.

    Build Quality and Design

    14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you?
    I want it to look simple. I don't like those "gaming" laptops with sharp corners and backlit keyboards.

    15) When are you buying this laptop?
    Sometime in the near future.

    16) How long do you want this laptop to last?
    I'd like to get at least a couple of years out of it.

    Notebook Components

    17) How much hard drive space do you need? Do you want a SSD drive?
    Don't care because I'll be replacing the drive with one of my own SSD's anyway.

    18) Do you need an optical drive? If yes, a DVD Burner, Blu-ray Reader or Blu-Ray Burner?
    Don't care because I can use an external drive.

    ==========
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2017
  2. ThatOldGuy

    ThatOldGuy Notebook Deity

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    Windows has abandoned the 16:10 and 4:3 ratios
    The Microsoft Surface products (Pro, Book, and Laptop) are all 3:2. As well as HP Spectre x2. All small screen devices though, with the Surface Book the largest @ 13.5" (I have my doubts of Windows 7 working properly on Surface Book though)

    Macbook Pro 15" laptops are all 16:10 if you don't mind paying such a premium (or getting used older ones). Then you have to run parallels
     
  3. saturnotaku

    saturnotaku Notebook Prophet

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    Unless you're willing to buy a much older machine, you're pretty much SOL for current hardware that has the screen you want with the capability to run Windows 7.
     
  4. EternalTireKicker

    EternalTireKicker Newbie

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    I am willing to buy something used to get 16:10 screen resolution. Intel Penryn architecture is the oldest I'd like to go.
     
  5. Ionising_Radiation

    Ionising_Radiation ?v = ve*ln(m0/m1)

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    I like the fact that you like 16:10, but I can say with full confidence that every Windows notebook that was released in the past half decade or so, has never used a 16:10 screen. You might see some oddballs with 3:2 (Surface Pro, Google Chromebook Pixel comes to mind) or 5:4, but 16:10 is on its last bated breath. I have tried looking high and low for a relatively modern notebook with 16:10, but besides MacBooks, there's nothing I have found. Either that, or I haven't been looking hard enough.

    My suggestion is to go with a refurbished 15" MacBook from last year or 2015 (you'd get much better value than buying a Mac new, and AppleCare is included), and Boot Camp it. You won't get great battery life if you go with one of the higher-end machines that have a discrete GPU from nVidia or AMD, but if not, then your Windows battery life will possibly rival that on OS X. The integrated graphics from Intel will certainly suffice for light gaming, but if you do intend to use those fancy shader or texture mods for Minecraft, then you'll have to get a higher-end model with a discrete GPU.

    If you don't ever want to use or see OS X (you will need to boot it at least once to create the Windows install image and download the necessary driver files), you can reformat your disk, thereby removing OS X (which is not recommended, since that's the only way you'll get firmware updates), install Windows, and you're good to go. You might get some weird looks if you're seen using Windows on a Mac, but it's your notebook and you can do whatever the heck you want with it.

    See here for a how-to, and here for Apple's guide if you're interested.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2017
  6. saturnotaku

    saturnotaku Notebook Prophet

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    I think the last MacBook Pros that support Windows 7 are from 2014. Apple's refurb store doesn't stock those, so you'd have to hit up the used market and hope whatever system you buy has an extended AppleCare warranty.
     
  7. Ionising_Radiation

    Ionising_Radiation ?v = ve*ln(m0/m1)

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    I'm not sure of hardware support (even the Z270 chipset from Intel doesn't officially support Windows 7 installs without hacks), but Apple apparently released OS X Sierra 10.12.2 which:
     
  8. ZaZ

    ZaZ Super Model Super Moderator

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    A notebook bought today is much more likely to offer you a good IPS screen. I'd rather have a good screen than an aspect ratio, but that's me. Granted a FHD 16:9 screen is more squat, but offers more pixels in every direction. In 2008, when the last round of 16:10 Windows notebooks hit the store shelves, the only notebooks offering good screens were tablets. Most other notebooks came with craptacular TN LCDs, which offer poor colors and limited viewing angles. A notebook from 2008 is probably OK as a daily driver as long as you don't ask too much of it, but can't keep up with a newer machine when pushed.
     
    Starlight5 and ThatOldGuy like this.
  9. saturnotaku

    saturnotaku Notebook Prophet

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    The key there is "on supported Macs." Nothing after 2014 is listed on Apple's Windows 7 compatibility page.

    Another thing to keep in mind with Macs, if the OP gets a model with the Retina display, Windows 7 scaling is absolutely abysmal, which will create significant usability problems.
     
  10. t456

    t456 1977-09-05, 12:56:00 UTC Moderator

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    The best, non-Apple, ≥15.x" 16:10 option that comes to mind is the 2010 HP EliteBook 8740w (Dreamcolor 2 optional).

    There's both WSXGA+ and WUXGA/DC varieties (all matte). Prices of a used model are quite low and an i5 model can be cheaply upgrade to a Clarksfield i7. Add an ssd, new battery, a docking station and, perhaps, a new gpu and you have a more-than-adequate DTR. Upgrading to a DC later on is pretty much impossible since that needs the decoder board+cables and these are exceedingly rare. These two listings might actually be Dreamcolors, without the seller being aware of that fact:
    Some listings also claim 'fhd', but that can't be right. Might inquire with the seller for the panel nr.; it it's the LP171WU8-SLB1 then you're in luck.

    Hmm ... actually have one of these systems, come to think of it. Going to transplant the Dreamcolor to a Haswell platform; it should fit and it will run (after cable modding and driver hacking), but it does require an extensive overhaul of the display lid, needing +2cm of height. Swapping it to the Clevo P870xMx with the AUO ZAN display lid is less of a hassle since this can almost fit the 16:10 DC without serious modification of the lid (the ZAN display has a +2cm dangling pcb). The eDP cable that goes into the decoder board (output is 50+20 pin LVDS) is a simple matter of soldering to the correct wires, resulting in an i7-7700K+GTX 1080+16:10 system :vbcool::vbcool::vbcool: (if you don't mind a bit of modding).
     
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