Looking for opinions on the older Cintiq 15x + ultra portable PCs recommendations

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pior hero character
Hello all -

I have a bit of an odd question. I plan to move around quite a bit in the coming year (say, one month at a time, in different countries) and I am thinking of bringing along a decent desk workstation. By decent desk workstation I mean, not a laptop+tablet combo, and not one of the recent Cintiq Companions/Hybrids either, as these feel somehow too cramped to me. But rather, a very tiny PC with something along the line of the 15inch Cintiq which I believe might be compact enough to fit in a traveling case. And of course a regular-sized keyboard :)

Now the resolution on these older 15inch Cintiqs is pretty low at 1024x768 but since I very much dislike the highres/tiny icons feel of the 12 and 13 inchers I am starting to think that these older ones might actually be good enough. Pressure sensitivity is only 512 levels, but that doesn't bother me too much either : I am mostly interested in knowing how well it responds to the initial touch, ie, whether or not it can detect very light strokes.

So ... anyone has any experience to share about these ? That's how they look and perform (and I have to say I am very impressed by the cursor accuracy at the border edges, which seems better than on the most recent black 21UX...)

[ame=" 15x - YouTube[/ame]



The next question is about a PC to power it. I am actually very satisfied with my current (aging) machine : i7, 16 gigs of ram, gtx470, so performance-wise I am looking for something comparable. Does anyone know of a tiny, compact PC that would deliver similar (or even, superior) horsepower at price point of around the $500 mark ? I don't mind a ready-made solution, especially if it comes with a guarantee of both stability and performance. Something the size of a mac mini would be awesome, but slightly bigger is acceptable. The bottom line is that it has to be able to run a regular Marmoset 2 scene without struggle. I do not mind the idea of an integrated graphics card, if performance is good enough.

Thanks a lot for your help !


  • pior
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    pior hero character
    Alright - I took the leap of faith and ordered the 15x. At $350 including fast shipping I think it might be well worth it.

    I am now trying to narrow down my choices for a small form factor PC. So far I have been looking at devices that would be comparable in size to the Mac Mini, or even smaller, and came across this little guy :


    [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Lenovo-IdeaCentre-Q190-Desktop-57323863/dp/B00HEIG7CQ/ref=dp_ob_title_ce"]Amazon.com: Lenovo IdeaCentre Q190 Desktop (57323863): Computers & Accessories[/ame]

    The idea would be to make it mostly a Photoshop machine. The bare minimun that I need is basic OpenGL support in order to support canvas rotation and smooth zooming. Hopefully it should be able to run Marmoset too, and maybe a few games ... What do you think ? I do not have any experience with integrated graphics cards, but I would think that by now these should be powerful enough to carry at least some decent realtime shaders ... right ?

    Here are some other very compact machines, for the sake of comparison :


    I would greatly appreciate your recommendations on this ! Thanks in advance :)
  • kurt_hectic
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    kurt_hectic polycounter lvl 7
    hehe, I made that video! what a coincidence!

    Cintiq 15 is ok, If you can buy a new unit....but I thought wacom made them a 10 years ago?

    I had:
    - 15x
    -2 or 3 intuoses
    -tablet pc
    -and cintq 24hd

    IMO the most important is accuracy, then screen size, then this huge number of pressure, like 512-2048 - differences are small.

    To be honest I have similar problem, dunno how to transport 30kg packed with cintiq 24hd ;(
  • Ben Apuna
    I kind of like the size of the Intel NUC, especially with traveling in mind. Also it's got the newest Intel HD 5000 graphics chipset. Still I wouldn't expect it's performance to be near as good as a dedicated GPU.


    Don't get the Lenovo IdeaCentre Q190 Desktop, a review says it's only got the most basic Intel HD graphics... so it's not powerful enough for what you want to do with it. See: http://www.itpro.co.uk/desktop-hardware/19842/lenovo-ideacentre-q190-review/page/0/1

    Quotes from that review:

    "There's no sign of Intel's HD Graphics 2500 or 4000 GPUs, either - this chip uses the base-level HD Graphics chipset."

    "The entry-level Intel graphics core makes Windows 8’s Live tiles flash by smoothly, but it’s not got the power to handle graphically intensive applications."

    It looks like Marmoset needs at least a Intel HD 3000, http://www.marmoset.co/toolbag/support

    FWIW here's some benchmark comparisons between the two CPUs (I haven't a clue what the numbers mean...):

  • Stirrup
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    Stirrup polycounter lvl 7
    I have an old 15 inch wacom. I've mostly drawn line art on it and it works like a charm. Having an area of 15 inch starts to feel cramped though with most programs' ui. The resolution is ok if you zoom in/out a bit. The color display is way off, no matter how you calibrate it. And it weighs quite heavy.
  • igi
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    igi polycounter lvl 10
    I think you can consider building your own little pc in miniITX form factor. There's an AMD cpu series with embedded GPU inside.

    You'll need an mini-itx computer case, a microPSU, an AMD a8 or a10 series CPU(includes amd 8670 gpu which is way better than crappy intelHD onboard thingy) and a FM2 socket mainboard in miniITX form. That would be most optimal mini-system if you ask to me :)
  • pior
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    pior hero character
    Thanks a whole lot for the suggestions everyone ! This is very much appreciated :)


    Kurt, that's awesome !! Your video was the only one I could find showing an actual artist working on a 15x and it all seemed very responsive - so that was the tipping point pushing me to buy it :D

    I too went through a whole lot of tablets over the years, all the way back to the Graphire/Intuos2 days ... But now I pretty much settled on the on-screen paradigm of the Cintiqs, and not turning back ... It has its downsides but the overall net benefit is too big to ignore. I'll make sure to let you know if I manage to make it all portable !

    Ben, thank you so much for these words of caution, as I was just about to buy the Q190. I had no idea that something like the NUC existed - that tells how out of the loop I am hardware-wise ... I'll research it a little further. Thanks for the links ;)

    Stirrup - glad to hear of someone using the 15x :) I do have an old, slow tablet PC running at the same res and it doesn't bother me *too* much, so I am hoping that resolution won't be a problem either with the 15x ... Crossing fingers !

    igi : I did look at mini-itx solutions earlier but found them a tad bulky for my needs ... however you are making a good point about the graphics card. Would you know of a very compact mini-itx case by any chance ? It seems like the smallest ones are around the size of an older xbox360 - which is not bad at all compared to my huge tower case but still a bit cumbersome to carry around ...


    At this point I am starting to consider "gaming" laptops again ... it's not exactly my preferred solution as I would have to plug my own keyboard anyway and mess around with weird setups for dual monitors, but at least it would fit my weight, size and spec needs perfectly ... So if there is a tiny, cheap one out there within my desired specs I am all ears ...

    Thanks again for all the input so far ! You guys are great :)
  • igi
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    igi polycounter lvl 10

    It seems this is the smallest you can get based on miniITX mainboards since their measurements are 17cm*17cm (7'').
    This kind of cases needs a low-profile cpu cooler and a laptop-like adapter for power supply, apparently. But still you may want something more portable or simply avoid the hassle of building a new rig :)
  • pior
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    pior hero character
    Oh man igi that case looks awesome ... If I was still in the US and had time on my hands I would totally get all the parts from Newegg and build it myself !

    I think I will go for a pre-build NUC - it's a bit expensive but I think it will fit my needs. I am a bit worried about the integrated graphics but I guess I'll test it out and return it if it's really too low end ...
  • pior
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    pior hero character
    Alright, it's shaping up ... Got the unit yesterday, the viewing angles and colors rendition are pretty bad and the resolution is of course very low *but* the pen accuracy is really, really good - even a bit better than a 21UX, maybe.

    Still driving it with a rather heavy laptop ... If the 15x turns out to be useable enough then I'll start considering the NUC. Will see !

    It fits nicely in a carry-on :

  • phaedarus
    I use a really low cost alternative which is a stylus for my ipad2 and employ that as a poor man's wacom cintiq. Good for initial sketching. Serious work can be done on the desktop at home.

    I hope one day Apple will consider adding levels of sensitivity to their tablets, even if a small amount, it would at least give wacom pause and reconsider their pricing structure. It's ridiculous that their cintiq's cost more than a PC workstation.
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