Surface pros as a cintiq via USB over Network,lets do it!

Discussion in 'Microsoft' started by miko3d, Dec 7, 2016.

  1. miko3d

    miko3d Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Hey guys,first apologizes for the long post specially if this has already been touched..

    .I thought it would be interesting to create this thread were the main goal would be to use our tablet (Surface Pro 4 in my case ) as a cintiq.

    I would like to start by sharing some information that I found while on my search of the holy grail of tablets: the "perfect" tablet.In my case (VFX artist) the tablet had quite steep requirements,fast CPU lots of RAM, fast GPU and of course an active pen with pressure sensitive, I have to run on a daily basics software like Zbrush,Mari,Maya,Substance Painter,Photoshop,etc...

    The main conclusion on my search has been that there is no such a tablet, and the best solution is what wacom does with its latest companion 2 and pro range: when power is needed just connect it to the workstation.

    The surface book is not powerfull enough, the GPU is a paltry 940m with 1 gb (Seriously Microsoft??) and the refreshed one is very very expensive and still is an old gen 2gb 965m.The lenovo 14 or even the new wacom mobileStudio pro uses a very weak Quadro card (similar to the940m)

    The closer i personally got to a decent experience was a couple of years back,with the vaio Flip 15 , 12 gb ram, core i7 (dual),2gb nvidia gpu ,ntrig digitizer,and still it was miles behind in speed and productivity from my workstation, then while searching online I stumbled on a very interesting IT programs about USB over Wifi, this programs (there are quite a few!) would let you use any plugged USB device over Wifi on another machine, I tested on my Vaio and to my surprise the Ntrig sense duo digitizer was fully available to share over my Local network either by wifi or 1GB ethernet... after a quick and easy setup and install of the pen drivers on my workstation I had a perfect lag free ntrig digitizer fully with pen pressure and Wintab fully functional.
    the pen is pretty much "bridged" over the network to the main machine, and by doing that it disconnected from my tablet, so basically you finish having a clasic "wacom-Intuos-esque" tablet wirelessly plugged to the other powerful computer but whats pretty remarkable:its lag free.
    Now the other piece of the puzzle was to bring the image output to the tablet,this was the easy part : "remote desktop" programs like Splashtop,logme in,Radmin,etc...

    Remote desktop program have a very ,and well founded,stigma of being too slow, too laggy,low image quality and pretty useless for a comfortable pen inking,however, because the pen is "unplugged" and data is going over the net on its own directly to the workstation and not needed to be encoded and send via the remote program ,the inking feels as lag free as inking in the tablet, which is pretty awesome :)

    So far I have narrowed to a few remote desktop programs that would fully work with the image quality I need,and of course with no compromises on GPU or other device installed in the Workstation (Microsoft remote desktop is not an option).
    My best experience so far has been with Radmin,but would be nice to hear alternatives!,R
    admin is one of the few that doesn't use any kind of quality loss compression like h.264 to encode the data, whats is more it fully supports 32 bits and only transmit what has changed on the screen, this is important and really great for inking as most of the time its only the stroke that changes so the machine can easily keep up at a very healthy 60fps,to be clear here, radmin is really not an option when there are big screen changes, like HD youtube videos, as the amount of data over the net gets pretty damm heavy and very choppy.
    Now about he bad news... unfortunately this method seem not to work with modern tablets under the new Intel connection (like with the surface pro 4) basically the pen is not plugged anymore via "internal" usb... I believe that this standardization of the pen promoted by intel has lots to do on how now the pen hid is hooked to the machine,and its NOT via USB :( , One of the reason of this thread would be to see if there is a workaround to do something similar to the usb over wifi but with this intel bridge connection, not very promising, but there are some clever guys maybe reading this that may come out with something...
    Good news? well in theory any tablet that has usb connection should do the trick and be used as a cintiq, remote desktop clients are not very heavy so even old tablets or small ones like the surface 3 may well do the trick.

    So far here is a small list of devices that I have checked that have/dont have USB connection to the pen, it would be awesome if between all of us interested in this we created a small table of potential "cintiq" candidate tablets.

    So far here is my list:


    ---Surface pro 4 ---- Connected via Intel Precise Touch Device--->PCI root
    ---Huawei matebook---- Connected via Intel Precise Touch Device--->PCI root
    ---Lenovo 900s---- Connected via Intel Precise Touch Device--->PCI root
    ---Asus transformer 3 pro---- Connected via Intel Precise Touch Device--->PCI root

    If we could make a backdoor,maybe by using the remote desktop for windows were we only send the pen information... or if we could use a program like "virtual desktop" that would be functional over any program and not just ots own grey screen (cmon guys at sunnyside)

    Compatible and/or candidates for a "cintiq" over network use:

    ---Sony Vaio Flip 15---- Connected via USB input Device,Tested and working with pressure and Wintab drivers!

    ---HP envy x360 , I check in a store a SKYLAKE model and it is Connected via USB input Device!,haven't tested the USB over wifi though....Potential great tablet specially with the dell Pen ( Synaptics ) and now that Wintab drivers seem to be working.

    Would like to see if Surfaces pro 1 ,2 and 3 ,EMR wacom tablets like the Lenovos are over usb
    How to check:

    go to device manager: find and select the pen inside the"Human interface devices" usually HID compliant pen, select it, and then go to---> view---> devices by connection

    It would be amazing if between all of us could make the Surface pro 4 even better by allowing this kind of "cintiq" connection! or maybe for the compatible tablets we could create a list of best tools (which USB over wifi is free/cheapest,best Remote desktop for this purpose,etc....)

    I hope it helps ,Let me know any tests,thoughts or other options you guys may come up with!

  2. honeyboy

    honeyboy Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I know this is over a year old, but I'm extremely interested in this as well.

    As for software, I can personally recommend Parsec for low-latency, high performance streaming. I use it to stream from an EC2 server with excellent results.

    My dream is to carry around a lightweight tablet without owning a workstation and connect to a server when I need more performance.

    Right now the obstacle I face is the same as what you mentioned -- I haven't found a way to stream my Surface Pro 3's pressure sensitivity.

    I checked the settings you mentioned, and the HID-compliant pen is connected through an Intel(R) Serial IO Host controller.

    I don't really know the implications of that.

    Have you found any solutions now that it's a year later?
  3. wazah

    wazah Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Awesome, this is exactly what I was also trying to do.
    I used the method with usb over network tool. Some of them don't send the pressure. It's a thing to test out.
    Working was a yoga p40 to a yoga 720. They both got a wacom stylus with batteries. So they both got the necessary compatible drivers naturally and sent the pressure to each other.

    But I want to have it work with a yoga to my bigger desktop pc. The pc has a wacom bamboo tablet connected. A different wacom type.
    The stylus movement+buttons work, but won't send the pressure. But even without the pressure it works awesome.

    But for the finishing touch I still want to have it work with the pressure. I suspect the desktop pc has to have the touch/wacom drivers installed which are on the yoga's. Don't know if the desktop will accept it, because it doesn't have the special wacom-touchscreen.

    Also I tried it with a surface pro 2 to a desktop PC. And also was figuring out how to connect it with pressure activated.

    Did anybody have come up with different approaches/solutions?
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2018

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