El Cheapo Tablet (PC) for ZBrush

Discussion in 'What Tablet PC Should I Buy?' started by kidrow, Nov 2, 2014.

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  1. kidrow

    kidrow Pen Pal - Newbie

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    General Questions.

    1. What is your budget?
    Anything from ~$100 to $250 for used; to ~400 for refurbished. (Basically, the cheapest solution that'll meet all the requirements).

    2. Would you consider purchasing used/refurbished?
    Yes.

    3. Do you prefer a media/mobile tablet like the iPad, Windows tablet PC, or notebook convertible?
    Either. Windows Only.

    4. What size Tablet PC would you prefer?
    • 7.1 to 10-inches
    • 10 to 13-inches
    • Above 13-inches
    Preferably above 12 inches but can compromise.

    5. Which country do you intent to purchase from [where do you live]?
    USA (though I live in India). (Will be asking someone to carry it across).

    6. Do you have any preferences to brand loyalty or dislikes?
    None.

    7. How many hours battery life do you require?
    ~2 hours is expected. Anything above that is a bonus.

    8. What will be the primary usage scenario of this tablet? (Email/Web Surfing/Drawing/Word Processing/Entertainment/Notetaking etc)
    Sketching, & Sculpting (Zbrush).

    9. Do you have an OS preference? For example, do you own an iPhone and a Mac, or are you a Windows fan? Do you own an Android device and use Google services frequently?
    Windows.

    10. What software and tasks do you intend to run? (Microsoft Office or other Word Processing Suite/Photoshop/3D Studio Max/Autocad etc)
    Zbrush. It's alright if I can't multitask with 3ds Max, PS.

    11. Do you intend on playing Games? If so please list.
    No.

    12. Would you like to stream content through your home theater system?
    No.

    Screen Specifics

    1. Any preference on screen resolution?
    None.

    2. Will you be using the tablet outdoors? Do you need to be able to see it through glare from the sun?
    See the above linked FAQ for guidance
    Prepared to compromise.

    3. Do you require a pen? With or without pressure sensitivity? Do you prefer Wacom or N-trig?
    See the above linked FAQ for guidance
    Yes, though pressure sensitivity isn't probably much of a concern. Either Wacom or N-Trig is fine, so long as the functionality is there.

    Component Specifics

    1. What size Hard Drive and Memory do you require? Would you like expandable memory?
    ~64gb+, 2gb+ Ram.

    2. What sort of inputs do you require, if any? Would you like full-sized USB and SD card slots? Are microUSB and microSD ok? Do you require HDMI inputs?
    Any slot that'll help connect an external hard drive.

    Misc
    1. Other non specific items ~ please add other items you require not covered above?
    --

    2. Additional requests ~ anything other you wish to take into consideration?
    Hardware or Software buttons (Artdock etc.) that can be programmed to function as hotkeys.

    Hi all,

    I've just been drawn in by the exciting yet confusing world of tablet pcs. My search started a week back when I 1st experienced Sketchbook Pro on an Android phone. Being unhappy with the stylus, I started looking for a better one. That led me to active styli like the Joy Factory Precision & Lynktec Active Stylus. I soon discovered the Microsoft Surface Pro & was surprised to know that there have existed many such tablet PCs capable of running even 3d programs for a few years now.

    Initially, I was toying with the idea of a capacitive touchscreen Windows tablet paired with something like the Lynktec. But the main roadblock for me is the lack of programmable on-screen or hardware buttons, in such a combination.

    For Zbrush, it is very important that I have the ability to hit key/button combinations simultaneously along with use of the stlyus. For eg. being able to hit Alt+Ctrl+Shift simultaneously along with a marquee selection with the stylus.
    So a solution such as re-mapping h/w buttons like on the Lenovo X60t (which I saw on YouTube), or s/w solutions such as Artdock/Touchkey is essential.
    {Note that I do not think the actions in Zbrush associated with such button combinations, can otherwise be achieved from within the Zbrush UI. If my assumption is incorrect, then maybe this feature isn't as essential}

    This requirement, I believe, greatly reduces the pool from which a choice is available. A quick search on ebay revealed old Tablet PCs which might fit the bill, but I'm not 100% certain. Thus, for instance, the ones I have looked at include- <links to ebay>
    1. Lenovo X220t
    2. Lenovo X200t
    3. Samsung Slate 7
    4. Fujitsu Lifebook T5010
    5. Asus Eee Slate EP121
    6. Fujitsu Lifebook T900
    etc. .......

    The only safe bet it seems, albeit at about the maximum limit of my budget, is the Surface Pro 1st Gen at about $400 refurbished. At that price, the Sony Vaio Flip 14A looks more attractive. But again, I'm not sure about the functionality.

    I also considered the Asus Vivotab Note 8 (new) but it might be too small & probably underpowered, & the model seems to have many issues with regard to reliability.

    On the question of reliability, how old is too old? Since I'm planning on buying used models, the expected lifespan will need to be considered. I'd be happy if I can get one good year out of them.

    As for performance, I'd be happy if I can work with ~5-10 million points in Zbrush, without multi-tasking with other graphics programs.

    I had created another thread to resolve my confusion but doubts still remain. Hence this call for help. Please advise.

    Thanks for your time. Much appreciated.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2014
  2. kidrow

    kidrow Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Any help would be appreciated, :). Thanks.
     
  3. stoneseeker

    stoneseeker Animator and Art Director Senior Member

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    Zbrush is actually very CPU dependant so your best off with Sandy Bridge era and on, and FULL voltage CPU's.

    So save searches for the following used:

    -Fujitsu T900, T731, T901, T732
    -Lenovo X220t (bad edge drift)
    -HP 2760p like this one: http://www.ebay.com/itm/HP-Eliteboo...97089086?pt=Laptops_Nov05&hash=item2c9027cf3e

    Upgrade yourself when you can afford it to max RAM and SSD and you will be flying through Zbrush. At least, better than a new low voltage slate at least. .. dont expect desktop performance here. For $400 and under, its impressive you can even find machines that will paint in Zbrush on a screen!
     
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  4. kidrow

    kidrow Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Hello & thanks for replying.

    1. For the Fujitsus, will any Wacom pen currently available in the market work? The issue with buying used is that often the stylus might be missing. So availability of a replacement is a concern. (With the Lenovos, the original Lenovo stylus is at least available.)

    2. Yes, I'm not looking for a desktop replacement. In fact, I'll be happy if I can just 'sketch' in Zbrush on this. Just being able to work on the forms & not much great detail will be enough.
    The attraction for me is being able to eliminate (hopefully) the disconnect between drawing on a grapics tablet while viewing the computer monitor. (I have a Wacom One/Bamboo.)

    3. By 'bad edge drift', do you mean the lack of precision on the edges of the screen? Is it tolerable or a deal-breaker? I don't mind making compromises.

    4. Is HP as well known for their build quality as Fujitsu? Since I'm buying used, I'm also leaning towards the ones which generally have a reputation of being long lasting. I believe the Lenovo Thinkpads & Fujitsus have such a reputation?

    5. Any idea about which of the models will allow customization of the hardware/software buttons to allow for simulataneous ctrl+alt+shift? Or am I better off just assuming that I'll need to buy a separate numeric keypad/accessory? Cross the bridge when I come to it, so to speak.

    6. Any idea about which of the models have simulataneous touch (fingers) + pen touch? A few of the models I came across seem to have touchscreens which are pen only. How do I distinguish between the ones that do & do not fit this category?
    If I am to try software solutions for hotkeys, then having a pen-touch-only screen might be a barrier. In Zbrush, certain operations require calisthenics such as ctrl+alt+shift+spacebar with marquee selection with the pen, :).

    7. The Lenovos seem to have versions without the pen touch, such as x220 vs x220t/x220 tablet. Are there any versions of the Fujitsu which are like that?

    Again, many thanks. Really appreciate it. Cheers!
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2014
  5. stoneseeker

    stoneseeker Animator and Art Director Senior Member

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    1. Fujitsu replacement pens that are Wacom are cheap and easy to find on Ebay and will work. Jut avoid the Ntrig Fuji pens for some of their slates. There are plenty of other options though. A whole thread of pens that will work with any of these tabletPC's I listed is here: http://forum.tabletpcreview.com/threads/tabletpc-compatible-wacom-pens-work-with-surface-pro.55416/

    3. Do a search for X220t on Youtube and see for yourself. I don't think its a deal breaker, no.

    4. The high end business grade HP tabletPCs were some of the most respected here when they were still made. I imagine it will last as long as any other of the same year. It matters more how much its been used, if refurbished, etc.

    5. I use a Logitech G13 gaming pad. Many artists here use little bluetooth USB keyboards. On screen customizeable toolbars made by our members help too.

    6. I think all of these have less common versions with pen only, though the newer they are the less likely of it. Asking the seller if the only way to know for sure.

    7. Fujitsu has different names entirely for their notebook line, so it won't be an issue. The T in front of the 902 or 732 means its a tablet. Much like the t in the end of the Lenovos.
     
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  6. kidrow

    kidrow Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Thanks a lot. Clears up many things. Much obliged.
     
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