Thursday, February 16, 2006


M400 thoughts - Brrreeeport

I spec’d out an M400 Tablet PC for a customer – 2.0ghz, Core Duo, 100gb 7200 rpm harddrive, Dual layer CD / DVD, extended battery. $2744. I purposefully wanted as much tablet pc as I could get. Why get a 5400rpm harddrive when I could get a 7200rpm.

WOW! That is a lot of money for tablet pc. Granted I could have spec’d it lower, but the price differentials just didn’t seem worth it.

After sitting on it for a day or so, I canceled the order. Just for grins, I spec’d out an M4 Tablet PC (see both specs below. Same specs all around except for the following:

M4 price: $2211. Price differential: $533

So for $533 more, I get the Core Duo, faster memory, smaller unit, faster harddrive, but integrated video instead of dedicated card.

What would you do?

Toshiba Tecra M4-S115TD Tablet PC Intel® Pentium® M Processor 760 (2.00GHz, 2MB L2 cache, 533MHz FSB), Microsoft® Windows® XP 2005 Tablet Edition, 1024MB (512MBx2) 533MHz PC4200 DDR2 SDRAM, 14.1" Diagonal SXGA+ (1400 x 1050) display, NVIDIA® GeForce™ Go 6600 TE with 128MB DDR SDRAM, 100GB (Serial-ATA, 5400rpm), 8X DVD Super Multi-drive (Double Layer), WinDVD Creator software, Intel® PRO/Wireless 2915ABG (802.11a/b/g), Bluetooth® (Ver 2.0 + EDR), Li-Ion Battery (6 Cell, 4700mAh), 1-year Standard, Limited Warranty,

Toshiba Portege M400-ST9113 Tablet PC Intel® Core™ Duo Processor T2500 (2.00GHz, 2MB L2 Cache, 667MHz FSB), Microsoft® Windows® XP Tablet PC 2005, 1024MB PC5300 DDR2 667MHz SDRAM (512MBx2), 12.1" Diagonal SXGA+ Wide View Angle Display (1400x1050), Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 950 with 8MB-128MB dynamically allocated shared graphics memory, 100GB HDD (7200rpm, Serial-ATA), Ultra SlimBay DVD SuperMulti (+/-R double layer) drive, Intel® PRO/Wireless 3945ABG (802.11a/b/g), Bluetooth® Version 2.0 +EDR, Li-Ion Battery (6-cell, 4700mAh),


I went for the spec'd out M4 (saved a bit by installing 3d party 2gb RAM and 7200rpm 100gb HD).

I don't believe that the as yet undemonstrated improvements in the M400 justify the price.

While I'm an early adopter by temperament I'll wait until Vista is being sold installed in tablets and we have reports on actual performance before I make my next large investment-although I might be convinced to purchase a Dualcor if it comes out close in price and performance to the current promises.
One thing to keep in mind - VERY few programs are made to take advantage of the dual cores. It will improve multitasting - one program on each core - but it will not be 'twice' as fast for a single threaded program (probably 99 percent of the programs right now), it would probably be the same as the same program running on a single core.
I'd go with the M4.

Yes, despite my challenges, it's an amazing Tablet PC. The 14" Screen at 1400 is great!
I'd lean towards the M400. The OS should be able to take advantage of the dual core. In addition, more and more programs will be able to use the two processors.

The M4 seems too large to me. I think the form factor of the M400 would be more to my liking.

I am actually trying to decide between an M400 and the Acer C204.
It depends how you work, the m200 is portable, the m4 isn't, it's that simple.

If you want a large laptop why not just by a fast cheap 15inch widescreen and not even bother with the tablet feature, because the amount of time the m4 would be portable for would be very limited.
It depends how you work, the m200 is portable, the m4 isn't, it's that simple.

If you want a large laptop why not just by a fast cheap 15inch widescreen and not even bother with the tablet feature, because the amount of time the m4 would be portable for would be very limited.
I'd go with the M400. Smaller size, small resolution, but on a smaller screen. Video card for 2D probably doesn't matter so much for a tablet.

Personally at the moment I'm thinking about a x41t, since I much prefer TP software and support. ThinkVantage is very well engineered. However the M400 is tempting me greatly. Mainly the high resolution screen.

As other commenters have said, if I wanted a larger system I'm just stick with a laptop. I figure if I want a larger screen, I'll just get a external monitor.
It appears the 1400X1050 option is no longer available on the M400 (at least for now).
For many people, this is a tough call that frequently comes down to a pocketbook decision.

Always buy what you will use today. (Or in this case what your customer will use.)

The Intel Centrino Core Duo T2500 processor (2M L2 cache 2 GHz 667 MHz FSB 65nm) costs $492 in qty 1000. The Pentium M 755 and 760 (2M L2 cache 2 GHz 400 or 533 MHz FSB 90nm) cost $294 in qty 1000. The chipsets cost different amounts too. When you start to get into the specs most people really just want to know, "is it fast enough or good enough for what I do?" The newer boots faster, loads faster, runs more faster, etc. But there are also factors like battery life that come into play. The newer processor and chipset were designed to have better performance to battery life ratio. That goes a long way for business people and consumers.

Here's a set benchmarks (from Intel)
You know the answer Rob of course. It's the same answer that comes from asking "What are you planning to do with it? How are you planning to use it? What applications are you planning to run on it?"

Answer those and you'll have it.

For me, I will stick with my M205 a while longer. I really want to run Vista glass so I want to see one that I absolutely know will run it and run it easily. I can do everything else I need to do with the M205 while I am waiting.
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