Looking at tablets

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Barry J. Doyle, Nov 30, 2005.

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  1. themulf

    themulf Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Hello, nice website.

    I am looking for a tablet pc, budget around $1500

    The Gateway CX200X with a pent M 750 looks neat.

    Primary use is with Photoshop, so latency and pressure sensitivity is important. Also the Radeon X600 64MB card is a necessity for Half-life 2 modding and MAYA. (maybe more on card ram would be nice).
    The stinky thing is, is that the max res is 1024 768. Also I used it at best buy and there was a lag between the curser and the pen. The sales woman said that can be configured...

    I don’t care too much about weight, and battery life is not tooo important, just as much as I could use Photoshop for a few hours on the battery.

    Anyone else use it in the same way? Is there a better alterative recommendation? Thanks.

     
  2. poetdante

    poetdante Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    well the Toshiba M4 has a much better screen.
     
  3. Barry J. Doyle

    Barry J. Doyle Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    The M4 is most likely the right choice for you since it offers a higher resolution AND the Wacom digitizer and pen which is much more responsive for artists. Half Life 2 will be no problem for this workhorse either.
     
  4. poetdante

    poetdante Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    told ya.
     
  5. themulf

    themulf Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Thanks, Now ill just have to search for the best deal with a Nvidia 6600.
     
  6. kingjimmi

    kingjimmi Pen Pal - Newbie

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    The cheapest M4 you can configure at Toshibadirect starts at $1599 with only 256megs of ram. That's not quite in your price range of less than $1500. Especially considering you want to run maya and will probably need a min. of 512 with 1 gig preferred of RAM. So, take the $1599 and add ~$50 dollars to that for some after market mem and the M4 is at least $150 over budget. This is not to mention the measly 40gig hard drive the thing comes with(at least it's a 5400rpm one though ;)

    There's no denying the M4 is a decent piece of hardware, but you can get more for your money with the Gateway. . . in everyway. It's a beast size-wise weighing somewhere north of 7lbs. The base Gateway CX200X w/ the 1.73GHz P-M comes in at $1400 even w/ 512megs of ram and a 60gig 5400rpm hard drive. This is exactly at your pricepoint.

    About the only other tablet that I can see w/ a discrete graphics solution is the Acer c300 series. You can configure it w/ the Nvidia go 6200. This is the standard version of the chip and not the underclocked TE version (Toshiba Edition). Newegg has one for $1529 . . .
    Acer TMC312XCi Pentium M 740(1.73GHz) 14.1" 512MB (256/256) 80GB Modular CD-RW/DVD-ROM combo drive Tablet PC - Retail

    I think the ATI X600 is slightly faster than the Nvidia go 6200.

    x600
    Pixel Fill Rate:
    1600 MPixels/sec
    Texture Fill Rate:
    1600 MTexels/sec
    Memory Bandwidth:
    7.36 Gb/sec
    Core Clock:
    400 Mhz
    Memory Clock:
    230 Mhz (460 Mhz effective)

    go6200
    Pixel Fill Rate:
    600 MPixels/sec
    Texture Fill Rate:
    1200 MTexels/sec
    Memory Bandwidth:
    2.4 Gb/sec
    Core Clock:
    300 Mhz
    Memory Clock:
    300 Mhz (600 Mhz effective)

    Toshiba seems to think their higher resolution screen demands around a $200+ premium. (This is just a rough guess assuming the M4 was equipped w/ similiar components as the other systems mentioned)

    So, what do I think? If the screen resolution is your most important factor go with the Toshiba. If you want the most powerful computer for your $$ then get the Gateway. If the Gateway is just too large and you don't want to pony up for the M4 go with the Acer. It's all up to you and your priorities.

    As for the Toshiba w/ the 6600 . . . well that'll blow your price point of 1500 way out of the water. Not to mention you'll have to wait until they can solve the heat problems they had with the 6600 and reintroduce it into the market. Of course you can always try and find one of the pre existing M4's w/ the 6600 and do some mods to it. I have a Dell Inspiron 8600 that I opened up and replaced the cheap thermal pads Dell used w/ copper plates. I'm not sure what Toshiba's solution was, but maybe you can open it up and do something similiar.
     
  7. poetdante

    poetdante Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    did you mention a budget? anyway try the r15 then. still about 1500 but less graphics.
     
  8. themulf

    themulf Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Thanks. If its worth spending more, yeah I'll deffintly do that. Too bad about the heat problems with the 6600. Im thinking about just adding the majority of the cost to my student loan. Yeah, resolution is nice.
    So what makes the m4 a better artist tool than the gateway? Pen lag? Pressure sensitive pen?

    edit: that acer looks pretty cool, not a bad price too. Max res is low tho and the screen isnt wide formated, which is a nice feature.
     
  9. kingjimmi

    kingjimmi Pen Pal - Newbie

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    What makes the pen better on the M4? I believe the M4 uses Wacom's solution whereas the Gateway uses Finepoint's. Wacom is the undeniable industry standard whereas Finepoint is a relatively small time player. Differences between the two technologies: I think they both support pressure sensitivity, but the Wacom's supports about double the numer of sensitivity levels. I think it's something like 512 vs 256 lvls between the two systems(Someone will have to confirm this as I'm just going off of my memory and if you knew me at all you'd know that's not something to be trusted) Also, I know the Wacom system uses a passive pen. Meaning you don't have to put any batteries into it. The Gateway's pen needs a battery, so you'll have to replace the battery every 5 years or so accoding to Finepoint's webpage. I included a link later in this post that has a link to artist specific info on tablet pcs. You should go through those forums and have all your art concerns answered there a lot better than I could answer them.

    My personal opinion though is that the two should be very similiar in practical use. Really, who's gonna be able to tell the difference between 512 and 256 lvls of sensitivity. And if double the lvls makes a difference to you, then you probably wouldn't be satisfied with a tablet experience anyways cause neither solution deals with pen deflection at all, something you'd have to go with a dedicated solution to get. When I say deflection I mean the pen angle compared to the screen. This is something that only artists would care about. For example if you were drawing something and chose a caligraphy pen in your art program you wouldn't be able to flatten the pen relative to the screen to draw a fatter line or hold it upright to draw a thinner line. So restating myself, if you were anal enough to be bothered by the lvls of sensitivity issues then the lack of pen deflection would really blow your lid.

    And yes Dante, Mulf did mention a budget. I know you are in love w/ Toshiba, but really your advice is less than helpful if you aren't going to at least take the time to read what TheMulf is looking for. Instead you use every post you find as an opportuinity to push a Toshiba on everyone regardless of their wants and concerns. BTW, the m200 contains nowhere near the specifications of the Gateway at a similiar price.

    As a side note Mulf, I'm gonna have to ask you how serious you are about your art. If you are really serious about it, a tablet PC isn't the way to go. If you're only gonna dabble in art, as in it's not the way you make a living, a tablet should be fine.

    Of course, if I were serious about my art and only had a $1500 budget yet needed a semi portable solution(You said weight was not an issue) I'd get the Dell Inspiron 9300. You can configure that with all the bell's and whistles for around $1300-1400 after using one of Dell's $750 coupons(2.0GHz P-M and a NVIDIA GO 6800 w/ 256 video memory). Then I'd get a dedicated Wacom drawing solution, maybe one of the Intuos. You get a hell of a lot more machine for your money than the gateway. Of course this solution is heavier and the drawing part isn't integrated like in a tablet. But hey, you'll get a much more professional setup.

    http://tabletpcbuzz.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=12320

    this is a link to a tablet pc buyers forum. This link contains a few links for artists and their considerations. To boil it down, the communal thought on the tablet PC's are that they can do artwork, but if you make a living doing art then you'll want a professional solution.

    I should mention this here. The professional solutions I mention from Wacom will not have an LCD screen to draw directly on( this is in regards to the Dell 9300 w/ a Wacom digitizer). Yes, you can get them, but they won't be in your price range (figure about $1500 for a Wacom digitizer w/ lcd). Instead you'll have to get one of the wacom digitizers that have no screen. Most professionals don't see this as a problem. But if you're a non-artist like me w/ less than stellar hand eye coordination the whole looking at the screen while drawing on a pad might be too much of a jump.

    As for the resolution of the M4, it's nice, but it's not widescreen which is something I've really grown to love and it's not HD (1920X1080). When they do make a 1920X1080 res tablet PC, that's when I'll come calling. So, as far as the resolution bump from the M4 over the Gateway . . . you gain more res, but it's not widescreen. Whereas, you lose res on the Gateway, but it's WS. Hmm, that's something for your personal preference. Me, I'd prefer a 1920X1080 widescreen tablet.

    One note about resolution and Photoshop. I personally think 1024X768 would be enough to work with. Most of the work you do will be zoomed in on the area of interest anyways. So the extra resolution wouldn't really come into play as you'll be zoomed in on a couple hundred by couple hundred portion of the image.

    I'm gonna throw Dante a bone here. The M4 when the 6600 option is available is definitely the tablet PC I would get. It has the best screen and the best graphics option on the market currently(Assuming the 6600 becomes an option again). Me, I'm loaded though and the $2300 it would take to get the machine I would want wouldn't make me flinch. You on the other hand mulf, with a price point around $1500, I don't think you could get the M4 w/ the 6600 installed for less than $1900. It's pretty obvious that money is no object for Dante either, but for different reasons. It sounds like his parents bought him his computer, so money wasn't a concern for him seeing as it didn't come out of his pocket.

    On the flip side, I think the M4 is an overpriced system w/o the 6600 as an option. Without the 6600 as an option I think the M4 just becomes another ordinary tablet that doesn't have much to distinguish it from the crowd.

    If money really isn't a concern for you themulf, yet you only want to spend about $1500 then by all means explore the R15. You get less for more. Wait that sounds wrong . . . pay more money for something with less performance. So where exactly is that extra money going? By all accounts Toshiba makes some pretty well put together machines. I'd assume the extra cash is being put into quality control. You buy the Toshiba and you can be pretty safe in assuming the machine will last you for about 3 years, which seems like a reasonable lifetime for a laptop. The Acer on the other hand . . . well, their laptops are notorious for having quality issues. Gateway's from what I've heard are fairly solid buildwise.

    So, for budget minded people, who do enjoy quality I'd go still have to go with the Gateway over the R15.
     
  10. poetdante

    poetdante Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    what makes the m4 or r15 better is that they have a screen size like a regular piece of paper, better graphics, and weigh less...just for starters.
     
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