Tecra M4 - Back in Action and better than ever.

Discussion in 'Toshiba' started by thatcomicsguy, Sep 10, 2012.

  1. meddy

    meddy Pen Pal - Newbie

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    ya know i really should slow down this gpu fan =S even with fresh bearing oil in it its still noisy at night :/ may have to get the dremmel out and bolt a switch to the case or something.
    also the fudging new wacom drivers are driving me NUTS almost nothing works now :/ unless they use the win drivers. think i'm going to go back to tab xp =/ that hopefully will solve it.


    or go back to the 2710p or tc1100 but their batterers are naffed :/
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2013
  2. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    I currently use a Win XP Professional edition, (NOT the tablet edition) coupled with the Wacom driver version 5.08-2.

    The Win XP Tablet edition force-installs it's own pen driver which conflicts with the Wacom driver. Also, the Tecra was built around Win XP, and I find it works better than more recent ones.

    You can find older Wacom drivers quite easily, though the latest version would probably work fine.
     
  3. meddy

    meddy Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Well here is an update. After it decided that all it would do out of safemode was to be all prity colours on the screen. I finnaly figured out what was up (thanks in part to getting around to trying 7 on the tc1100 with its custom gfx drivers) the marvolas windows 7 auto driver instal thought a random vista grafix driver would be better than the one i put on it (lovely what junk visa drivers are XD ) and thus it was trying to force areo and all the new directX things through the gpu.
    Making for a verry angry gpu XD so ripped them out and forced it to never change from the xp drivers and now its running absolutly perfect! Heck i can finaly change the brightness without using the fn keys. The gpu is much cooler even with massivr canvases and lots of layers and stuff running in the background.

    the sleep mode can be awkward and not boot first time Quick force off and on again normaly sorts it though.


    As for the ducting idea still not gotten around to that. But the flap i put in front of the gpu fan unexpectly dos the job really well. as its only fixed on one side with gaffa tape it flapps about when the tablet is at diffrent angles. Such as if its flat it closes flat agent the case so air gets blown towards the cpu and whn you have it upin the portate position (cpu vent to top) it directs it mostly out of the hole in the bottm and to either side. woks quite effectivly.

    I cant stress how awesome the secondry battrey is and how much of a diffrence in life it gives. Currently from full to dead its giving 5hrs.58min cosistenly and more if i start bumping cpu down brightness and wifi/bt off. but still has the problem of taking just as long to charge when switched on.

    Still the biggist problem i have got is the darn dust under the screen T-T
    But still the the damn best and biggest pottable screen out there and not stupid cintique price and i missed it for the 3 months it broke for.

    One thing that really annoyed me though was a seller on ebay had 5 of them up for sale suposadly customised xp to look like win 7. But when i asked if they had a custom bios and coded in the gpu fan or had done the gpu fan hack on them so they wouldent fry the had noidea what i was on about :/

    I do feel sorry for thoes who bought it and no knew what flaws it had.


    And hers a random doodle :p

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. Arkarit

    Arkarit Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Hello,

    after looking at this thread and some youtube videos, I decided to exhume my good old Tecra.

    I exchanged the HD by a 128GB SSD (which is enough for me and even a lot bigger than the original drive ;) )

    And I decided to install Windows 8. After all I've heared and read, 8 needs even less resources than 7.
    Of course, I installed 32 bit - The Tecra is not capable of 64 bit and if it were, it would be useless, since 2 GB RAM is the maximum.

    Prior to installation, it required a BIOS update (3.50) and to switch on NX bit in BIOS.
    The installation was not completely without problems: I first tried the latest original Toshiba Vista graphics driver. This did install, but afterwards some software components always used 100% CPU, making it completely unuseable and even forced me to a second Windows installation attempt. So don't use this driver!
    Instead, I used the latest nVidia driver capable of the GeForce Go 6600 TE/ 6200 TE (198.01), which works flawlessly, except that it doesn't support the automatic screen rotation.
    All other drivers were collected around the internet and work without problems (latest Vista drivers). Also, the tablet button driver works, so I put the screen rotation to the tablet buttons, which is good enough for me.
    Also, I installed the latest Wacom TabletPC driver, which is specially designed for Windows 8. And this driver works like a charm! Painting in Photoshop is quicker than it ever was!

    At last, it got a professional cleaning from my workshop (8 years of tough usage left a lot of dust ;-)
    They didn't clean the screen (I think this is not common).
    The dust behind the cover was not a problem, since it is very easy to clean it. You just need to detach 6 screws on the front of the screen to detach the cover and clean it from behind. But be very sure to ground before, since this is sensitive for static electricity.

    When it comes to TabletPC user interface, Windows 8 is much worse than expected. You can't even scroll the start screen with the pen like you would with your fingers. With the pen, you have to use the scrollers! And also the other parts of the new user interface are very disappointing. E.g. there's a giant new screen keyboard, but even though it uses 1/2 of the screen (which is ~1400*500 on a Tecra), it doesn't show the special keys like "Alt" - it doesn't even have a number row! And it doesn't work automatically - each time, you want to enter something, you have to open it manually! This is one of the worst pieces of software I have ever seen. Quo vadis, Microsoft?
    So I decided to replace the whole unuseable "Modern UI" and install Classic Shell instead. I am still looking for a replacement of the bad onscreen keyboard - there are some alternatives out there, but I haven't found the time yet.

    Technically, Windows 8 works flawlessly. It is quick, and the boot time is a charm. And of course, it supports the SSD, and will be supported for a longer time (Original XP is running out of support next year).
    The file Explorer seems to be a lot better than that of 7, but since I replace it by Directory Opus (which is even better), I can't say too much about it.

    All in all, I am very happy with my "renewed" Tecra. It was the most expensive computer I ever bought, when I purchased it back in 2005, but it turns out that it will become the one with the longest time of duty as well ;)
    Photoshop works excellent. I tried some big (~1.2GB) PSD's, and it worked. It is definitely slower than a decent machine, but it is fairly good useable. Thanks to the good Wacom driver painting is fun.
     
  5. tovarishluca

    tovarishluca Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Hi folks!
    Can anybody point me (or help me) with reassembling back the Tecra M4 motherboard? It was working kind of fine (the usual overheating problem). I disassemble it to apply new thermal paste. Now, after assembling it back together, the orange led is blinking. Does anybody have an assembling/disassembling guide? I'm afraid that some flat cable might not be in the right place.
    Thanks for your help!!!
     
  6. Arkarit

    Arkarit Pen Pal - Newbie

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    @tovarishluca: Sorry, I don't know anything about the Tecra mechanics.

    Here's a short video of my Tecra booting Windows 8, starting Photoshop, turning screen and shutting down:

    [video=youtube;dSOq8qWTtxw]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSOq8qWTtxw[/video]
     
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  7. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Wow. I didn't look at that video until just now.

    Win8 is FAST! It's boot up time is easily half of my WinXP setup, (which is still blindingly quick compared to the old spinner HD).

    Maybe your SSD is also a newer/faster model than my little Crucial 64Gb.
     
  8. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Whoa..!

    It's October 3rd, 2015 as I type this.

    I ran across this thread again by accident and read through it. The dates amaze me. I honestly thought I'd be running a Lenovo Yoga 15" or some suitable replacement machine by now. Well, that didn't happen. There's STILL no decent replacement machine out there which can match the screen characteristics of this Tecra M4. How is that even possible?

    It has been two years and I'm still being productive with the same unit I started this thread describing. -The one I bought for $30. -It hasn't let me down at all; since performing the original cooling fan hack and doing the WinXP housekeeping and installing an SSD, it hasn't complained. I've cranked through hundreds of illustrations and graphic arts shenanigans on the thing, (mostly using Photoshop and Mangalabo); I have it actively running for at *least* 20 hours every week, and it has performed like a trooper. I can't even remember the last time it crashed or gave me problems. It's a tank.

    Would I trade it in for a better machine?

    Sure!

    I'd love more speed, more memory, more battery life and something weighing less than 6 pounds.

    But unless that new machine comes equipped with a good stylus, (the Wacom EMR system on this thing performs flawlessly for drawing and inking, putting down cleaner lines than my studio Cintiq 21UX is capable of), and unless that new machine offers a nice big screen.., well...

    I'm still waiting.

    The new 14" Lenovo Yoga being promised might be the closest thing to being a viable option, but with its wide-screen format, its 14" screen isn't the same at the Tecra's. It's like, 14" light. And with Lenovo, it's a total gamble as to whether or not it will ever actually occupy a physical place in reality. -Their 15" Yoga, (on paper), was the closest thing to a true contender, -and it vanished in a cloud of make-believe.

    So that's where we are today.

    What a joke. I do not want to turn into a crusty old gentleman with a gnarly patched together millennial computer named "Bessie". Though at this rate...

    Ah well.

    Back to drawin'!
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2015
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  9. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Well.., that was an unexpected turn of events...

    My new foray into the modern age has come to a crashing halt. -Or perhaps, a cracking halt.

    Yeah. I busted the screen glass on my Dell Inspiron 7568.

    A replacement screen was going to be $200 in Canadian Bux. -And a replacement computer would be more than three times that.

    So you know what..?

    Phooey!

    I pulled out the old Tecra M4, the battered beast from 2004 and prepped it for action. Like the grizzled old movie star revived from cryo for another mission because the new kids just couldn't cut it.

    And a quick trip through the R&D bunker outfits it with some new tricks.

    A spiffy new high-speed 256 GB SSD, replacing the old 64GB drive. One of those secondary battery slices pulled from eBay; fits into the removable DVD/CD bay so it's not entirely lost without a wall socket handy. -And a long overdue update from WinXP.

    Windows 7 loaded on sweetly, and the old soldier is grinning with appreciation as it flexes its newly minted OS muscles. Clip Studio Paint, -surprise- is running fast and smooth for the first time ever on those old bones. Woot.

    So yes, it's noisy and heavy and dinged and dented, but boy, you'd be best to avert your eyes when that bear enters the room. Your fancy new hardware may let you finger swipe and charge to your credit card the latest candy-coated app from the game channel, but your uncertain Windows 10 OS is soft, showing the decay of today's materialist fashion-first man-child world. When there's a job to do, there's no substitute for experience and a steady hand.

    Nobody can draw a straight line like the Boss.

    It may not be able to handle all that new media and video gaming glitz, but the Tecra M4 ain't here to screw around.

    Undrawn comics pages beware. This Pre-collapse Toshiba 6 pounder 4:3 mech warrior is going to confuse the enemy with screen flipping action you young 'uns only heard about in bed time stories, sporting an EMR side-mounted stylus -Battery Free- because it's a tool, not a toy. And it runs the Old Photoshop; another weathered soldier which never knelt or wimped out due to the litany of idiot corporate mandate "Features" nobody asked for or wants. The Creative Cloud is made of vapor.

    Tecra M4, service designation: "Reactivated"

    ~~~~~~

    But seriously though.., I found the Dell was a little harder to use in several ways for content creation, more annoying, -but it was a lot easier to waste time on with entertainment media. I was finding that to be a bad combination.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2017
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  10. kvoram

    kvoram Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Some old models never give up:

    Great post, there must be some good comic story around there, adding some scifi/fantasy elements, drawed characters coming to life and ending in an epic battle in toontown between AES- and EMR-created characters deciding once and for all who shall rule the digital ink world.
     
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