Which Slate/Tablet PC should I buy for engineering school? - Page 2

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  1. #11
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    Default Re: Which Slate/Tablet PC should I buy for engineering school?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stan S. View Post
    If you are looking to be able to keep your unit for a number of years [...] then a top-end processor is a must for you.
    Depending on what you mean by "top end" that's either questionable or bunk.

    I agree that investing in a bit more than one of the most basic CPUs is worth it, but "top end" only makes sense when you need that last bit of performance now, in which case you would want to upgrade as fast as possible anyway or not get a tablet but something with a mobile quad core.
    A clock speed difference of 15% or less between otherwise identical systems is usually never noticed, even by people who think they are sensitive for that.

    That even holds true for systems beyond the 5 year mark. If you'd put a T7200 into my TC without telling me, I'm not sure how long I would need to sense a decrease in performance, but certainly not during "normal usage".
    I can tell you in an instant by just starting Outlook, PDF Revu or Eclipse whether I'm working on the TC with the slower or the faster harddisk, though.
    When that convertible was new, the price difference between the T7200 and the T7600 was higher than what I did pay for it used, in great condition.

    Currently even half a decade old upper mid end CPUs are more than enough for almost any common task. Hell, that T7600 is still twice as fast as the fastest desktop (!) Atom you can buy and easily five times as fast as a Z670.


    If you want a system to use some years without wasting your money, better be prepared to replace some peripherals and wearables. SSDs are going to improve still and after two to three years your battery might also show signs of age.
    If you want to spend more money, better do it on things that really matter and aren't easily replaceable. Like maybe better screen options with higher brightness or outdoor viewability.
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  2. #12
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    Default Re: Which Slate/Tablet PC should I buy for engineering school?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hattori Hanzo View Post
    Depending on what you mean by "top end" that's either questionable or bunk.

    I agree that investing in a bit more than one of the most basic CPUs is worth it, but "top end" only makes sense when you need that last bit of performance now, in which case you would want to upgrade as fast as possible anyway or not get a tablet but something with a mobile quad core.
    A clock speed difference of 15% or less between otherwise identical systems is usually never noticed, even by people who think they are sensitive for that.
    I guarantee that he will notice it when rendering in Inventor without a 'real' GPU and a full quad core CPU. My daughter just did some simulations in Matlab that took 40 hours as part of a research project for a major aerospace company- a newer laptop would have been much faster than the SL9400 she has installed. She might have saved 20-30% of the time with something newer and more powerful. I'm sorry that I didn't put a 9700 in there, now. And this is the real point, it is not now, today or next semester that the extra power would be handy, but two, three years from now when more intensive software is being run to do something even more exotic. I don't think that you're correct in your viewpoint, and when you have a laptop for more than two years, additional CPU headroom will keep you happy and be cost effective by letting you KEEP what you have. He's a engineering student, the demands increase with time, unless he wants to buy really cheap for a couple years' use (that he can pass to his family), and then something newer, faster better later that he might use for after school (assuming he gets out in 4) that will be more suited to 3rd, 4th year school requirements. But buying two units will certainly be more expensive than the top end cpu now or a middling unit that just makes it though the work.

    Certainly most everyone would probably be happy with a i3 in a unit with a fast drive and ram 95% of the time. Hell, I was away with my wife for a week and we (both IT people) were happy with smartphones and my $199 dual core HP Touchpad (with remote desktop software installed) instead of our usual dueling laptops and gadget bags.

    He's certainly welcome to save a couple hundred with a i5. But again, I'm not personally convinced by my visits to colleges (I have 5 nieces and nephews in college now, several in engineering) that tablets of whatever brand and style are the end-all for note takers over regular laptops and touch typing or even pencil and paper - unless the student is dedicated to OneNote - few are - and that they take the time to learn how to use it. [And there's always the issue of what MS is going to do with it as it moves to Office 15 and beyond.] Evernote is just not in the same class yet on it's own but with additional 3P integration and expansion stuff (LaTxt, People's Note, etc) it's getting there.
    Last edited by Stan S.; 04-17-2012 at 08:01 PM.

  3. #13
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    Default Re: Which Slate/Tablet PC should I buy for engineering school?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stan S. View Post
    IMHO, the Lenovo is only one that is sturdy enough with it's magnesium alloy case,
    While I can't say which one is tougher (Lenovo ThinkPad X220t vs HP EliteBook 2760p), I believe both companies use magnesium alloy in the construction of their Business-grade Tablet PCs. Furthermore, both devices meet military standards, which means that both are pretty tough.

    HP EliteBook PC Testing
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    If, however, there's any consensus on which model is the toughest, I'd sincerely like to know.
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  4. #14
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    Default Re: Which Slate/Tablet PC should I buy for engineering school?

    Quote Originally Posted by e-schreiber View Post
    If, however, there's any consensus on which model is the toughest, I'd sincerely like to know.
    A toughbook is.
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    Default Re: Which Slate/Tablet PC should I buy for engineering school?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bronsky View Post
    A toughbook is.
    That's the only one that meets God's toughest standards to survive a Nuclear Holocaust, Meteor Impact or Sun Growth.
    Hi! I'm a Tablet PC....and I'm not a goddamn toy.
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    Default Re: Which Slate/Tablet PC should I buy for engineering school?

    Hmm... This is a lot to take in and consider. :/ I am of course contemplating whether or not to just stick with pen and paper, but... My parents are asking me to pick out a graduation gift, and they say that if I get a tablet now and end up needing a new laptop later, they'll get it for me. So that's not really a big problem.

    As for using OneNote, I am willing to learn how to use it. I understand that these are expensive devices, and my main purpose in buying one is not simply for recreation. Rather, I'm considering getting one because I believe that these types of devices are the future in designing and notetaking in business and educational environments. Not to mention, I certainly think that when I get used to taking notes on a tablet that I will find it much more convenient than carrying several notebooks, pens, and pencils. One thing I like about the HP EliteBook 2760p and the Lenovo X220t is that because the keyboard is attached, I can type notes as the professor speaks/writes on the board... Then when he begins to draw a diagram or equation, I can flip the screen down and draw it next to my typed notes. This would be extremely efficient in my eyes, especially considering I can't write very fast while I can type around 100 words a minute.

    So... A few questions based on the above posts...

    1. How does the Samsung Series 7 compare with tablets like the HP EliteBook 2760p and the Lenovo X220t? I know its keyboard isn't built in, but I just love the look of it. :P

    2. So... Just making sure here... I should buy the highest end processor (if I want to) and get the least amount of ram and the smallest HD and buy those things later on NewEgg and install them myself? ...seeing as this would be cheaper.

    3. I'm STILL unsure of what to do as far as buying one now or waiting a year until Windows 8 and a new set of tablets come out. Are they going to be that different? Will it not be much different than just getting one now and upgrade to Windows 8 when it comes out?

    - Thanks so much for helping me guys. I also apologize for not using the "form" on here. I didn't notice that post until a day after I posted this. I'm totally new to this forum.

  7. #17
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    Default Re: Which Slate/Tablet PC should I buy for engineering school?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stan S. View Post
    I guarantee that he will notice it when rendering in Inventor without a 'real' GPU and a full quad core CPU. My daughter just did some simulations in Matlab that took 40 hours as part of a research project for a major aerospace company- a newer laptop would have been much faster than the SL9400 she has installed. She might have saved 20-30% of the time with something newer and more powerful. I'm sorry that I didn't put a 9700 in there, now. And this is the real point, it is not now, today or next semester that the extra power would be handy, but two, three years from now when more intensive software is being run to do something even more exotic. I don't think that you're correct in your viewpoint, and when you have a laptop for more than two years, additional CPU headroom will keep you happy and be cost effective by letting you KEEP what you have. He's a engineering student, the demands increase with time, unless he wants to buy really cheap for a couple years' use (that he can pass to his family), and then something newer, faster better later that he might use for after school (assuming he gets out in 4) that will be more suited to 3rd, 4th year school requirements. But buying two units will certainly be more expensive than the top end cpu now or a middling unit that just makes it though the work.
    Well, yes, if you take an almost entirely CPU bound task and a low voltage CPU three generations behind you sense a lot of difference. If it takes 40 hours with an SL9400 and you assume a linear increase, an SL9600 (9700 afaik does not exist) would have taken 30 hours. That's entirely different of course.
    And for the price difference 4 years ago you could have just bought some used desktop with a quad core and have done it there in 6 hours
    The problem with your example is that it is more of an example of "when not to use a portable device sacrificing power for portability and runtime".
    Idk what the premium would have been back then, but for lesss than $400 you can get a complete laptop now that features a low end i3 that beats every mobile core 2 by a margin and the SL9600 easily by a factor of 2.

    That's right. The lowest end Sandy Bridge i3 (2310M) easily beats the fastest Core 2 (T9900). The same goes for low voltage variants etc.
    How many years are between those?
    Pretty much 2 years, less if you figure in exact release dates.

    So you wanna tell someone that the additional several hundred dollar premium is going to be an investment in the future, when in just 2 years you can't even buy a CPU of the same class that's not faster by a margin?

    To get back to your example:
    If you would have topped out the CPU back then, you would now still have a system that's crippling slow compared to every common low end budget laptop.


    Your example of an engineering student is similarly flawed. If you buy a high end laptop now, when can you expect it to be used for complex rendering and CAD tasks?
    Here the first semesters in engineering cover basics that are quite far from running complex simulations. That stuff usually is not relevant before the fourth semester, when that high end laptop will have become as powerful as your usual entry level machine. And then you still want to keep it for another 2 years for demanding tasks, when it will be just as powerful as a netbook is today?


    There's two simple rules for processing power and price that has held true for more than a decade:
    Everything you can buy now is slow in 2 years.
    The last 20% of performance cost 50% more.
    So if you don't have money to waste or an immediate need for that power, you're going to buy a tiny piece of headroom for a huge price.


    And in addition to that there's currently no Tablet PC available that really is well designed for computationally heavy tasks. Even the only one with a discrete GPU has a pretty slow one and there's not one available with a quad core.


    @ Kaelin
    2. I'd say see how expensive CPU upgrades are and when they start getting overpriced and get something around 2/3 of what's possible. That's usually the sweet spot between price, performance and future proof.
    And totally yes to memory and harddisk. They're easy to upgrade and OEMs charge not rarely a multitude of what those parts cost separately.

    3. If you're going to just start studying, maybe try to find out what you're going to do the first semesters and if you really need a powerful laptop. Chances are you'll be doing a lot of math by hand and need to write and draw a lot. In that case you should consider getting a cheaper, used Tablet PC. Even really old ones handle that absolutely fine.
    This way you can save your money and get something new and more powerful when you really need it instead of blowing your money now and having to live with something that has become too slow before you could really use it.

    And waiting, well, given how fast computers evolve you are always saving money if you wait. The next generation will likely be like all the ones before, no dramatical change but a step forward. So if you can, wait and either get what you could have now a bit cheaper or get something better for the same money.
    HP TC4400 - T7600, Wifi Link 5100 (modded BIOS), Momentun XT 500GB, crazy undervolting - retired
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  8. #18
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    Default Re: Which Slate/Tablet PC should I buy for engineering school?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaelin View Post
    Hmm... This is a lot to take in and consider. :/ I am of course contemplating whether or not to just stick with pen and paper, but... My parents are asking me to pick out a graduation gift, and they say that if I get a tablet now and end up needing a new laptop later, they'll get it for me. So that's not really a big problem.

    As for using OneNote, I am willing to learn how to use it. I understand that these are expensive devices, and my main purpose in buying one is not simply for recreation. Rather, I'm considering getting one because I believe that these types of devices are the future in designing and notetaking in business and educational environments. Not to mention, I certainly think that when I get used to taking notes on a tablet that I will find it much more convenient than carrying several notebooks, pens, and pencils. One thing I like about the HP EliteBook 2760p and the Lenovo X220t is that because the keyboard is attached, I can type notes as the professor speaks/writes on the board... Then when he begins to draw a diagram or equation, I can flip the screen down and draw it next to my typed notes. This would be extremely efficient in my eyes, especially considering I can't write very fast while I can type around 100 words a minute.

    So... A few questions based on the above posts...

    1. How does the Samsung Series 7 compare with tablets like the HP EliteBook 2760p and the Lenovo X220t? I know its keyboard isn't built in, but I just love the look of it. :P

    2. So... Just making sure here... I should buy the highest end processor (if I want to) and get the least amount of ram and the smallest HD and buy those things later on NewEgg and install them myself? ...seeing as this would be cheaper.

    3. I'm STILL unsure of what to do as far as buying one now or waiting a year until Windows 8 and a new set of tablets come out. Are they going to be that different? Will it not be much different than just getting one now and upgrade to Windows 8 when it comes out?

    - Thanks so much for helping me guys. I also apologize for not using the "form" on here. I didn't notice that post until a day after I posted this. I'm totally new to this forum.
    The form isn't very useful anymore, don't sweat it.

    Onenote doesn't really have much of a barrier to entry. It has a hierarchical page organization structure; you create notebooks that hold sections, sections that hold pages, and pages that can hold subpages. Each page is sort of an infinite canvas that you can type or write anywhere on. You can insert any kind of file as an attachment, and any printable document can be inserted onto a page as an image. The pen has different settings for colour thickness and highlighter options, and the handwriting and image text is automatically indexed so as to be searchable with typical ctrl-F type commands. It's fairly intuitive.

    The samsung seems to use low voltage versions of sandy bridge core processors whereas lenovo and HP convertibles use full voltage ones. The x220 and elitebook still get better battery life however, due to their larger battery options. The series 7 is also pretty expensive so in every concievable way the current gen business convertibles are better except for the fact that they're not slates.

    Yes you should pretty much never buy RAM and hard drives from the manufacturer. However there's not much value in the upgrade from an i5 to an i7. There definitely is from an i3 to an i5 however.

    Not sure what to tell you about waiting for windows 8. Microsoft seems to be pushing for high standards of resolution and touch/pen sensitivity in the next generation of tablet hardware, which is a relief since, honestly, touch performance is weak on most windows 7 tablets not just because of the inappropriate UI, but because the hardware is just not as good as in your average cellphone or media tablet. Since windows 8 will use lots of gestures at the edge of the screen, this is one way this generation of hardware will let you down. Windows 8 tablets will have accellerometres as standard gear, and while the x220 for example already has one as a hard drive protection feature, it's unknown whether windows 8 will recognize these features. Ivy bridge will also feature much improved graphics performance and power efficiency and this trend is expected to continue. So those are some reasons to wait.

    Reasons not to wait include that current generation tablet PCs will all run windows 8 anyway. Besides that, well, mobile devices are in the process of getting streamlined but not faster. It's not really the case that increased clock speeds will give you more capabilities like it used to, which is why for example so many people buy used tablet PCs for their note taking. So while the slates are getting thinner and more powerful and getting longer lasting batteries, the full sized convertibles about maxed out their power as tablets a couple of years ago during the core 2 duo era, as in, they boot quickly, they have beautiful bright screens, they run digital art software and onenote without a hitch, and they last 5 or 6 hours on a charge. What more do you want? This will be as true when windows 8 arrives as it is today.

  9. #19
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    Default Re: Which Slate/Tablet PC should I buy for engineering school?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaelin View Post
    I'll be starting at the University of Texas at Tyler next fall to get my core courses out of the way, then plan on transferring to UT Austin after a year. I would like to get a Tablet PC either next fall or after my first year. I'll be using it to take notes containing technical drawings (formulas, diagrams, etc.) and possibly for typing documents on, although I do have a notebook for that. Basically, the tablet needs to have digitizer capabilities, and I prefer a full fledged OS, especially so I can load the Microsoft Home and Student Suite on it. Another thing I would like to be able to do on it is load AutoCAD/Inventor drawings on for purposes of presentation and reference, as well as possibly drawing some basic designs while in class.

    I've been looking at several tablets with Windows 7 (soon 8?):
    - Samsung Series 7 Slate
    - ASUS EP121
    - Lenovo X220

    Besides picking one of the above (or another if anyone suggests one), I also don't know whether to buy one now or wait until Windows 8 - and it's respective tablets - come out later this year and decide then. I do not plan on updating for 3 or 4 years, so I want to make sure I get something that will keep up with the new changes, such as Windows 8, that will come in the near future. Will I be making a mistake by buying one now? If not, what do you suggest based on my situation?
    Here is what they sell at Va Tech

    Fujitsu and sometimes Hp when they can get it.

    Virginia Tech Bookstore - Convertible Tablets

    Here is there policy for students.

    Virginia Tech Bookstore - Need To Know
    Toshiba 3500 and HP TM2 and Lenovo X230

  10. #20
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    Default Re: Which Slate/Tablet PC should I buy for engineering school?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hattori Hanzo View Post


    Your example of an engineering student is similarly flawed. If you buy a high end laptop now, when can you expect it to be used for complex rendering and CAD tasks?
    Here the first semesters in engineering cover basics that are quite far from running complex simulations. That stuff usually is not relevant before the fourth semester, when that high end laptop will have become as powerful as your usual entry level machine. And then you still want to keep it for another 2 years for demanding tasks, when it will be just as powerful as a netbook is today?
    My daughter did rendering her first year. As for the rest of it, if you're not getting a huge discount like when I post the $1200 off periods, and are paying $2800 for the unit with upgraded networking, 3x3 mobile ready - even if you only get a 2x2 wifi card,-built-in camera, bluetooth, fingerprint reader and the $200 dock for cable management/optical/storage, the $200 more that the i7 cpu currently costs extra over a i5 is not significant. If you're discussing the $1700 base i3 unit going to the i7 and the $400 difference, then that's significant.

    IMO, spending $2K or more for one of these units and NOT using it for 4 years is a real waste of money when they come with processors that can be had in units for 1/4-1/2 the price.

 

 

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