EEE Slate Win7 tablet and Blender Performance for those interested

Two weeks ago I bought myself a tablet pc (eee Slate epe121), mainly because of the built-in wacom tablet en pen, for reading and taking notes, Photoshop and other ‘on the road’ activities.

Because I think some of you might be interested in knowing more about how Blender behaves on a tablet pc, here are some of my conclusions based on the last couple of days of using Blender on this Windows tablet: First off, this is NOT supposed to be used for heavy duty 3d work.

The specs are pretty good overall: i5, 4gb, great ips screen (12" @ 1280*800, 64gb ssd. Except for the video hardware, which is Intel (unfortunately one gen before hd3000). Weight is about 1kg, and battery life about 3.5 - 4 hours (depending on what you do). For 2d work it’s brilliant: pretty much like a portable Cintiq - I had to install the newest wacom driver from Asus to get pressure sensitivity in all apps, and it works like a charm. Photoshop is extremely responsive, and works in hardware acceleration mode (up till the point you rotate the screen, and it loses the hardware acc, so I have to be careful about that one).

Mypaint works great too. One niggle is the fact that I have to display the onscreen keyboard to control the view in many applications. It is obvious many Windows apps are not especially suited for tablet use without certain modifications.

The pen works great, except for one thing: no buttons! On my desktop I have two extra buttons on my wacom tablet pen, which solves a lot of usability issues (example: orbiting the view in Blender). No such luck here - though I have read there is an alternative pen for sale that does offer buttons. I may have to purchase that one.

For Blender the tablet works reasonably well - as long as the poly count does not exceed about 150.000 polygons. In my opinion it does work well for low poly (game) work, or quick prototype sessions.

Sculptris was just too slow for comfort. Sketchup was okay for relatively simple stuff.

Check the image above - to work with Blender, I must activate the onscreen keyboard, otherwise orbiting, panning, etc. is just plain impossible. It would be nice if someone would make Blender a bit more tablet-friendly in the future. However, none of the 3d apps I know of offers a tablet-oriented interface at all (except zBrush?). A keyboard is required.

That said, the onscreen keyboard works very well (up to a point, of course): to activate orbiting, I turned on 3button mouse emulation in the preferences, and the alt, shift and ctrl keys, when pressed, remain activated, so it works about three times as slow compared to a traditional keyboard. The Slate does come with a very good mobile keyboard, though it is a pain to bring that with me on every trip I make.

Sculpting IS very impressive, though - very tactile, and I prefer this over my regular Wacom tablet. If only the 3d hardware would be stronger, this machine truly would shine. A standard cube can be sculpted up to level 7 (but starts to lag). But as it stands now, it shines for 2d creative uses (drawing, 2d animating, Photoshop, etc.), and works reasonably well for 3d low poly work.

Perhaps the second generation?

ps written on my tablet :slight_smile:

Hey, thanks for the quick review. I was wondering how higher end tablets performed using blender and stuff. Sounds about like what I expected.
I had not seen that tablet yet, looks really nice. Oh well. I do not have the money for a $1000 tablet right now.

I got one of these too and am also haring problems running blender. Ubuntu would help a lot with the graphics part, but if they had included the 0+ finger multitouch like was promised, we could use gestures instead of the keyboard. I’m still hoping it’s just a firmware limitation to keep it Winblows 7 friendly.

I installed Zbrush, and did not expect much out of it - however, I was completely blown away: since it does NOT use hardware acceleration, and only their own 2d software view, it works completely smooth!!! Zbrush is only limited by the cpu and ram, so with 4gb I can easily sculpt smoothly up till 8 million polys. Fun and impressive. Rotating is no issue: just grab empty space. Zooming, etc. works quite well with the ui buttons.

It should be a simple matter to create a little floating panel with rotate, pan, zoom, select buttons. I’m no coder, but could someone write a script?

I guess you’re already at a disadvantage because Blender is so hotkey-driven. Something like Maya’s shelf would be handy for all frequently used hotkeys.

There are keyboard utilities out there that will allow you to create a custom shaped keyboard, with any custom keys set. But I feel Blender just does not work very well (yet?) on a tablet, even if I do use a virtual keyboard.

Herbert123,thanks a lot for the feedback!
I’m keeping an eye to the Asus’s tablet, It’s an interesting product.
Some questions,if you could answer it could be great…
Do you experienced any delay/lag with painting application(for example mypaint)?
From some videos on youtube it seems there is a bit of delay.
I like to do fast strokes,this makes the lag more visible?
How much long the battery wear?
Thank you very much

They’re releasing a B121, but still with no dedicated graphics.

The delay is there but only for some programs. Mypaint is one of them. My fast strokes went from a nice curve to straight lines and angles.
I get 2-3 hours with windows 7. Probably double that with Ubuntu.

Thanks a lot pirohmaniac for the answer.

Quick addendum: I purchased a bunch of compatible pens with side buttons on eBay ($9 each) - Blender works much better now.

how does MeshMixer run on it?(i know it hard to find the program right now the links on the website seem down at the moment)<br>

with basic rendering enabled i bet it would be able to sculpt really well on that system.

i wish Nvidia would get into the desktop CPU market, buy out VIA or something, and start merging the Nvidia GPU’s and CPU’s<br>
(like AMD did with ATI)<br><p>
OR what would really but would be a cold day in hell, is If AMD or Intel did a joint venture with Nvidia to make an integrated CPU. <br>

Intel Core x9 Powered by Nvidia With CUDA and physics technology. ;)<br>