Surface Pro 2, Cintiq Companion, What Do You Recommend?

ZenShredder

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Jul 28, 2014
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So as digital artists, my girlfriend and I have decided to buy a portable Tablet-PC because it's just something we'd like to have. We mainly work in Photoshop, Illustrator and Flash, with the exception of my girlfriend working in Maya and similar programs for animation. I've been looking at Tablet-PCs for a while, all of them being incredibly expensive and around the same performance specs, especially in the graphics department. Here's where my question comes in: Are Intel HD graphics sufficient enough to run programs like Photoshop, Illustrator, or even Maya for that matter? I'm a bit wary because I know Intel HD graphics are absolutely horrible for games, even if it's their 4000 or 5000 series. The worst part that worries me is that on the Microsoft website for the Surface Pro, it says that it is can play games like Civilization V and The Elder Scrolls Online, which I find incredibly hard to believe. I'd feel better if these tablets had an AMD processor with an integrated R7 card or something at least, but maybe someone here can reassure me? Is Intel improving their graphics bundled with their CPUs? Or is this just some good ol' fashioned BS marketing?


Another issue I have is the fact that we cannot use our Wacom pens on the Surface Pro 2, we would have to buy another pen from Wacom that is not similar to the Intuos/Cintiq pen styles or use the one that comes with the Surface Pro, which I've heard is crappy. I don't think this merits the $600 price gap, but it is a bit annoying.


I saw a Sony Vaio Fit Flip with a dedicated Nvidia card and a digitizer, the problem though is that they were out of stock, out of our price range, and an N-Trig digitizer. We're looking for something similar, but with a Wacom digitizer and closer to $1000-$1500. That being said, if recommended unanimously we would probably buy the Cintiq Companion.


Any help, insight, recommendations, etc. on this subject is definitely appreciated because while I'm not entirely lost, I'm a little confused as to why the market for these is so...irregular, especially considering they've been around since the mid 2000s at least. My friend has an old HP tablet laptop from 2005 I believe, so it's not like this technology hasn't been around for a while, it just doesn't seem to be easy to decide on what to get. Perhaps I'm looking in the wrong places, so that's why I came here!

 

rhysiam

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Mar 24, 2013
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I'm no digital artist, but I just got a Surface Pro 3 and am pretty damn impressed with it. I've loaded Photoshop and Illustrator and both run fine. No doubt if you're doing advanced editing, applying complex filters, etc, it's going to run slowly compared to a dedicated desktop offloading processing to a 150W+ graphics card... but it's completely usable.

I have been playing Civ5 and confirm that it works fine (at the fairly high native res too).

I read somewhere (can't find it now) that you can, with a few simple tweaks, get full pressure sensitivity in Adobe applications (it doesn't work out of the box though).

You might be interested in this youtube review, he's an artist considering upgrade from a Wacom tablet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgfzm1g3lv4
 

turkey3_scratch

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Jul 15, 2014
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No tablet computer will be good for any digital image programs, especially Photoshop.

If you do not need the mobility, I highly recommend looking into a desktop PC. Desktop PCs have much better processing power and have a GPU better than the integrated Intel HD. You will experience slowness and lag on any tablet. If not a desktop at least look into a laptop, but those overpriced tablets can be matched with a 2X as powerful desktop for the same price typically.
 

ZenShredder

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Jul 28, 2014
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I already have a beastly AMD PC build that runs everything great, the tablet is more for her but I will be using it too since I'm helping pay for it. The mobility is necessary because he needs to take it to school when she cannot use the lab, which is of course filled with Cintiqs, but there's either always another class going on or too many people doing their projects at once.
 

ZenShredder

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Jul 28, 2014
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Well yeah, I already know that. The problem is finding a laptop with a dedicated GPU AND a Wacom digitizer. The Sony that I mentioned was $1799, not too far out of our price range and I'd honestly just splurge the extra cash to buy it, but they're out of stock and not Wacom digitizers, instead they're N-Trig which is a company that competes with Wacom. And while they're not "bad", they have some issues with their technology that Wacom does not, making Wacom the superior technology choice. So all of that being said, I have been looking around but it's hard to find a tablet laptop with dedicated graphics AND a digitizer for drawing it seems.
 

ZenShredder

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Jul 28, 2014
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Well I don't expect to be able to use the brush tool at 5000 pixels and have no lag lol, but I just don't want it to run incredibly slow, not be able to handle the performance necessary for high resolution documents up to 500 ppi. My main concern is whether it can do what they claim it can do. As for playing games, I'm not planning to use it as a gaming machine, but it does give you some insight on the computer's graphical processing performance so that's why I was also curious about that. And you can get full pressure sensitivity with third party drivers but honestly if I'm going to go this far, I think the Cintiq might be the better solution. I will have to discuss this more with my girlfriend, but I feel like that's the way to go, and that's what I expected to happen but looking into something that's almost half the price isn't such a bad idea lol.
 

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