The Toshiba M700 Benchmark Scare

Like me, other power users are finding that the Toshiba M700 has most of they've been looking for in a tablet PC. It is:

  • Powerful -- more so than the Lenovo X61t or the Fujitsu T4220
  • Highly configurable -- like the X61t but unlike the T4220
  • Relatively inexpensive -- costing less than an equivalent X61t or T4220
  • Feature rich -- with more features than the X61t or 4220

And though it suffers a little in the weight department (but only by a couple of hundred grams or so) and its screen resolution isn't as high as some of us would like it to be (though that's offset by the wide screen), its has lots of bonus features -- like that wide screen, a touch screen, a webcam, and a built-in optical drive -- that more than make up for its shortcomings.

Because of all this, we were very surprised when Tiffany Boggs from Tablet PC Review posted its benchmark scores and, strangely, they came out very low. It's PCMark05 score, for example, was 3,399 while an equally spec-ed t4220 scored 4,171 and a lower spec-ed X61t scored 3,473. Most of us had expected the M700 to score somewhere in the mid-4,000s. Curious and concerned, a number of M700 owners ran the same test and came up with similar, low-3,000 PCMark scores.

Quickly the Tablet PC Review forum participants realized that this wasn't a hardware issue but a software one. That, fortunately, was when GBM's Matt Faulkner stepped in. First, he did a clean install of Vista and, lo and behold, the M700's PCMark05 score jumped to a whopping 4,528. Then, he went a step further and installed each system driver in turn, re-running the PCMark test after each reboot. After doing this for about four hours -- and working late into the night since he had to return his review unit the next morning -- he found the main culprit.

It turns out that the Intel Robson Technology Driver for Windows Vista -- a driver used to run the Turbo Memory that wasn't even in that machine to begin with -- was messing the system up. In fact, with the cleanest possible working install, one of the forum participants managed to get a PCMark05 score of 4,737!

What does all this mean? It means that the Toshiba M700 rocks and that, if you want to squeeze the most out of your machine, it is best to do a clean install. Importantly, it reinforces the fact that we have an awesome tablet PC community. If any of you read this post: thanks a million!