Tecra M4 Interrogation

Discussion in 'Toshiba' started by Kenobi, Dec 12, 2005.

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  1. Kenobi

    Kenobi Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Before I say anything, don't be put off because I'm wordy! All I'm trying to find out is the usual, "Is this a good system for me?" and some other questions about the Tecra M4.

    That aside, I think it'd be wise to say what I'd be using the laptop for and describe the laptop I was thinking about getting. I'm an eleventh-grade student, so college isn't the far off. In the meantime, I'd like to be able to use the tablet in as many classes as I can, whether it's number-crunching in Algebra II, note-taking in AP US History, using programs like Illustrator, Photoshop, and Dreamweaver in my visual communication and graphic design classes, and normal writing in AP Language and Creative Writing. I also spend a rather big chunk of time as a web designer and graphic artist to earn money, and I'm sure that as summer and college get even closer, I'll be doing that even more. Also, I play video games, like Civilization IV. I'm no doubt also going to be watching videos and listening to music on my laptop, and though I don't think I'll be editing these two types of multimedia very much, I do play guitar, so there's admittedly a slim chance I'll want to be able to work with what I make there. Also, though I probably won't be making any insanely intense programs, I'd like to learn to program a little bit this summer, and who knows where that'll lead? Anyway, that should give you a pretty good idea of how I'll use the laptop. Now, here's what I'm thinking of buying:

    -Intel Pentium M Processor 760 (2.00 GHz)
    -256MB of RAM (Cheapest option since I'd like to upgrade later)
    -40GB at 5400rpm (Cheapest option for same reason, but I also might build or make a giant external drive later)
    -8X DVD Super Multi-drive (Double Layer)
    -Intel PRO/Wireless 2200BG (802.11b/g)
    -No Bluetooth

    So, is that a good plan for me? Any suggestions? I'm not bent on getting a Tecra M4, so do you think I'd be wiser to get a different tablet?

    Now, I'm calling this an interrogation mostly because my sense of humor demands it, but also because of how I'm just going to make it a string of questions. Before you even read it though, forgive me for the somewhat random order of the questions, heh. :D

    1. There's been a good bit of talk just about the resolution of the Tecra M4. Can it be set to operate at 1024x768 and 800x600?
    2. Supposing one wanted to upgrade the hard drive, what would the checklist of requirements be for others drives' compatibility?
    3. For memory?
    4. For graphics cards?
    5. For the entire motherboard?
    6. The Tecra M4 already comes with discreet graphics in the 64MB and 128MB flavors. With this laptop, is it possible to keep using the discreet graphics and also use some normal memory so as to effectively have 256MB for graphics?
    7. The operating system is Microsoft Windows Tablet Addition. What are all of the differences and compatibility issues with this?
    8. How do you open the laptop up to do upgrades?
    9. What are all of the hardware components that come with the Tecra M4 that can be removed and upgraded?
    10. On the the spec sheet, it mentions PC Card16 in the second bullet under "Expandability." That isn't the same thing as PCI Express x16, is it? If it is, would I buy the same cards for this slot as I would for the PCI Express x16 slot in my desktop computer?
    12. The way it appears on the spec sheet, I'm not entirely sure whether or not that slot is free. Is this "PC Card16" slot free?
    13. When I was researching the Tecra M4, I found that laptopmag.com thought that there was a little delay between the Wacom pen writing on the screen and its "ink" appearing. Is this true? If it is, how irritating is this delay?
    14. The Tecra M4 has one of those Trusted Platform Modules. Is it true that the TPM chip hinders performance even a little bit?
    15. Can the TPM chip be disabled? Removed?
    16. The standard battery is only a 6-cell lithium, and Toshiba doesn't give any other options here. On my own, could I get a better battery for it?
    17. Does the Tecra M4 have a "Smart Swap" bay or not, and if it does, what are all the things I could put in that bay?
    18. I was looking at the Intel's diagram of the Mobile Intel 915PM Express Chipset. It says 8 USB Ports, but I'm pretty sure that the Tecra M4 doesn't have anywhere near that many. I've come up with a few reasons why it might say on the diagram 8 ports, but just for closure, what's the actual reason?
    19. It also says "PCIE Down." What's this?
    20. At Toshiba's and other merchants' sites, there's an education section that's presumably for educational discounts, but it appears exactly the same as the regular section, and it seems that only at Apple's site do the prices shift after you go in the education section. How much would a student discount save me on the Tecra M4, and would you happen to know what the best price is after the student discount is taken into consideration or at least give me a recommendation?
    21. Heh, any good listings of working coupon codes for that merchant? Or Toshiba? (Had to ask.)
    22. What does the warranty not cover and what will outright void the warranty?
    23. What should I know about Vista?
    24. Would I be smart to wait a little while before buying? If so, what would I be waiting for and how long?

    I tried to be nice and thorough, but of course, if I missed something or if you have any other advice or good ideas, I'd like to hear them. Thanks for all of your help!
     
  2. Barry J. Doyle

    Barry J. Doyle Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    1. There's been a good bit of talk just about the resolution of the Tecra M4. Can it be set to operate at 1024x768 and 800x600?

    Yes, but the native resolution looks the best.

    2. Supposing one wanted to upgrade the hard drive, what would the checklist of requirements be for others drives' compatibility?

    You would need a Serial ATA 2.5” drive.

    3. For memory?

    5333MHz PC4200 DDR2 SDRAM

    4. For graphics cards?

    The graphics chip is soldered to the board, you cannot upgrade this part.

    5. For the entire motherboard?

    Better call Toshiba for a stunt like that!

    6. The Tecra M4 already comes with discreet graphics in the 64MB and 128MB flavors. With this laptop, is it possible to keep using the discreet graphics and also use some normal memory so as to effectively have 256MB for graphics?

    The architecture is already set to use no more that 128MB total.

    7. The operating system is Microsoft Windows Tablet Addition. What are all of the differences and compatibility issues with this?

    Windows XP Tablet PC Edition is identical to Win XP Pro + added Tablet PC functionality and features.

    8. How do you open the laptop up to do upgrades?

    Very carefully. AND you will most likely void your warranty.

    9. What are all of the hardware components that come with the Tecra M4 that can be removed and upgraded?

    hard drive, RAM and your pen

    10. On the the spec sheet, it mentions PC Card16 in the second bullet under "Expandability." That isn't the same thing as PCI Express x16, is it? If it is, would I buy the same cards for this slot as I would for the PCI Express x16 slot in my desktop computer?

    No, you will use cards that fit in the notebook type slot.

    12. The way it appears on the spec sheet, I'm not entirely sure whether or not that slot is free. Is this "PC Card16" slot free?

    Yes

    13. When I was researching the Tecra M4, I found that laptopmag.com thought that there was a little delay between the Wacom pen writing on the screen and its "ink" appearing. Is this true? If it is, how irritating is this delay?

    This is subjective to personal opinion

    14. The Tecra M4 has one of those Trusted Platform Modules. Is it true that the TPM chip hinders performance even a little bit?

    Any software that runs in the background (i.e. antiv-virus) will make an impact on system resources. The tradeoff is protection of your privacy and data.

    15. Can the TPM chip be disabled? Removed?

    The process can be disabled.

    16. The standard battery is only a 6-cell lithium, and Toshiba doesn't give any other options here. On my own, could I get a better battery for it?

    You can choose from a variety of solutions which are basically external batteries.

    17. Does the Tecra M4 have a "Smart Swap" bay or not, and if it does, what are all the things I could put in that bay?

    The optical drive can be swapped.

    18. I was looking at the Intel's diagram of the Mobile Intel 915PM Express Chipset. It says 8 USB Ports, but I'm pretty sure that the Tecra M4 doesn't have anywhere near that many. I've come up with a few reasons why it might say on the diagram 8 ports, but just for closure, what's the actual reason?

    That's a question for Toshiba.

    19. It also says "PCIE Down." What's this?

    I believe that this is referring to the flow of data via the PCI Express BUS "downstream" instructions.

    20. At Toshiba's and other merchants' sites, there's an education section that's presumably for educational discounts, but it appears exactly the same as the regular section, and it seems that only at Apple's site do the prices shift after you go in the education section. How much would a student discount save me on the Tecra M4, and would you happen to know what the best price is after the student discount is taken into consideration or at least give me a recommendation?

    I would call Toshiba directly for that info. 1-800-316-0920

    21. Heh, any good listings of working coupon codes for that merchant? Or Toshiba? (Had to ask.)

    Toshiba runs 10% off every so often. We usually post this in the news. Your best bet for a comprehensive price list is to look here: http://www.tabletpcreview.com/price/default.asp?productFamilyID=588&display=priceDetail

    22. What does the warranty not cover and what will outright void the warranty?

    (See above) Opening up this machine and tinkering with the MOBO is sure to kill your warranty. Otherwise there is a one year limited warranty for parts and labor.

    23. What should I know about Vista?

    It is due in May 2006. Get dedicated graphics to take full advantage of the Vista GUI.

    24. Would I be smart to wait a little while before buying? If so, what would I be waiting for and how long?

    Rumors are that the M4 pricing may be lower after the new year's, but we have no confirmation on this.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2015
  3. poetdante

    poetdante Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    you write almost like me. I am a senior in high school even though it is online. I use my r15 all the time. it is my desktop replacement. I occasionally have to write up something and mail it in. believe me, writting on the tablet is great because you don't have to worry about teachers loosing your stuff. if a teacher looses some of your work, it is already written up with the date created or last edited stamped at the bottom (onenote does this for sure). A tablet is a students best friend. I also got the r15 becuase it could type. I was not too sure about the whole tablet concept but I was optimistic. As for the USB issue the r15 has 3. I just hook up a hub to one and use that. as for vista, the developers said that even 2nd generation tablets can use it though ones like the m4 that have really good graphics will get the most out of it.
     
  4. Kenobi

    Kenobi Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Thank you very much, both of you. Where could I go to follow those new year price lowering rumors, Chief Doyle, and also, just to confirm, there's no way to get 256MB graphics then?
     
  5. Barry J. Doyle

    Barry J. Doyle Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Obi-Wan, my guess is that you will see 256MB graphics cards available in Tablet PC's down the line. Right now the average Tablet PC user just has no need above the 128MB. By the way, the 128MB PCI Express interface provides absolutely stunning performance. I tried Doom 3 on the M4 and the framerates and detail provided by that NVIDIA GPU blew me away.

    Oh, and where to follow new year price rumors? Right here on this site of course! ; )
     
  6. Kenobi

    Kenobi Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Heh, fair enough.

    I'm still a wee bit uncomfortable about the TPM chip though. I mean, I suppose the security benefits are okay, but- I'll talk about the chip in the hardware forum I suppose. As for the Tecra M4 though, is the TPM chip discreet or integrated?
     
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