Should I upgrade my X220T, and if so, to what?

Discussion in 'What Tablet PC Should I Buy?' started by KD35isaBeast, Jun 23, 2013.

  1. KD35isaBeast

    KD35isaBeast Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Hi guys,

    I've owned my X220T for 2 years now, and I still quite love it. I got an SSD last year and it works perfectly. Only issue is the build quality is pathetic and stuff has chipped off, and the screen is scratched up and what not. So I'm just wondering if there is anything out there (outside of the X230T) that I can look into. I saw the ATIV Q, and the ATIV Smart PC, both of which seem cool, but I really want the digitizer to be as good as my X220T. Is there such a thing on the market right now at that price point, or am I better off sticking with what I have?

    Thanks for the help guys! I appreciate it!
     
  2. stoneseeker

    stoneseeker Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    According to the many complaints I have heard of the X220t digitizer edge issues, ANY wacom tabletPC will be on par if not better than what you currently have.

    However, your X220t still has a full voltage processor and is one of the few left with that. Any slate you buy will feel slightly underpowered compared to your x220t by contrast. The Fujitsu T902, X230t, and Modbook Pro are the only systems that would technically be an "upgrade" power wise.

    The rest of your options (Like the ATIV 700t, Lenovo Helix and the Surface Pro) will be slightly better onboard GPU, and a bit slower CPU and most likely less options and upgradeable features than your X220t. And, if you had a slice battery, less battery life.

    If I were you, I would hold on just a bit longer with that X220t, and wait for the next gen of devices (Haswell) to reveal the best replacement for your needs. There will be significant increase in battery and some increase in onboard GPU performance. This will make your upgrade feel a bit more substantial, and you have a perfectly fine machine to last you in the meantime.

    Ones to look out for in the coming year are Fujitsu T903, Samsung ATIV Q, and hopefully HP and Lenovo will put out some high res power tabletPC's like what you have.
     
  3. meow9th

    meow9th Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Actually, I have a T420s with a very similar processor to the X220t (i5-2520M), as well as a Surface Pro with a 3rd generation i5 U-series, and I can tell you that the Surface Pro feels way faster. Way faster. Even in straight up computation (i.e., running statistical routines, although not that I have not timed anything; just run the same code on both and it's a subjective thing).

    It's true that I haven't yet upgraded my T420s to an SSD, so that might be some of the experience, but I think it's the whole package, including Windows 8. What's most telling to me is how fast my SP is at performing straight up computation. Unless you're a whiz at parallel computing, the fact that any given program will only be using one core at a time, and your processor is split into 4 virtual cores, will mean that there's not really a difference, even from a computation standpoint, between M and U.

    So, while the specs may look to be in favour of the T420s/X220t, I can tell you that from a user experience standpoint, you will either not notice a difference, or you will actually find the Win 8 machine to be faster.

    Edit

    However, I'm not arguing against the general recommendation not to upgrade your X220t. I agree that a little bit of maintenance will go a long way. I just wanted to offer an observation from my own experience.
     
  4. stoneseeker

    stoneseeker Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    I think this may be the first time I have ever disagreed with you! lol :p

    I don't understand/believe how the Surface Pro with a U series i5 could outperform a M series i5 of the same or even previous generation though. When running Flash and other computational heavy applications that hog CPU, you notice it. I had a ep121 with a low voltage CPU and a much much older gen laptop with a regular voltage CPU and it ran large FLash files soooo much faster than my little ep121 could. It was after that I vowed I would never buy a low voltage CPU tabletPC for animation again.

    Not sure how it could be reasoned that it wouldn't make any difference between U and M... ? We are talking about the difference between being able to push 3.6ghz on turbo with a 2.9 ghz base (my i7 3520m), vs. Surface Pro with a lower turbo speed (2.6ghz) than the base speed of the T902! low voltage vs. regular voltage absolutely makes a difference with many content creation programs. 1.7ghz base speed is crippled in my field of work at least.

    I could understand most people wouldn't need the extra speed surfing, checking e-mail and such, but people using heavy applications and demanding software can always benefit from more speed. My CPU is constantly full throttle when I am painting or animating. In fact, just to test it, I turned on "Throttle stop" and throttled my cpu to 2.6 ghz (The Surface Pro top turbo speed) to see if it felt different and it did. Brushes were much laggier and less responsive. Everything dragged a bit more on a large canvas. That would irritate the heck out of me now that I am used to full voltage.

    Here is a benchmark between the X220t and the Surface Pro...

    i5 2520m (x220t) PassMark - Intel Core i5-2520M @ 2.50GHz - Price performance comparison

    i5 3317u (surface pro) PassMark - Intel Core i5-3317U @ 1.70GHz - Price performance comparison

    Those numbers aren't drastic, but prove that even after a full generation passes, having the extra watts still makes a difference.
     
  5. meow9th

    meow9th Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Yes, I really didn't want to disagree with you. =P

    I think there might be a little more going on that just numbers. My T420s CPU never runs at 100% - it tops out at 25% because unless I explicitly program for parallel computing, my statistical software is single-threaded. Maybe your animation software is super pro and multi-threads for you?

    I also pretty much never use Flash (sure, the occasional YouTube video, but I wouldn't watch the same one between the two computers multiple times, so can't really offer the same type of judgment that I can for my statistical routines).

    I agree that the M should be more powerful than the U, second generation or not, and that if you are performing demanding tasks or using demanding software, then you should see a difference.

    I don't. Probably because I'm performing the wrong tasks or using the wrong software. =)
     
  6. dri

    dri Pen Pal - Newbie

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    When I first got it it had troubles with pressure sensitivity and it did lag somewhat.
    When I found the right drivers and the right technique to install it the pressure sensitivity was great for my 2d drawing.
    Beefed it up to 16gb and a 120gb ssd which sped it up somewhat.

    I can't see anything within it's price range to be as good. The x230t would have the better graphics card but if there's nothing wrong with your x220t keep it until the Haswells come into play. I had a Helix too and I just can't do drawings the way I can do it with my x220t.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2013
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