Portable Zbrush tablet PC needed


After using a Zbrush trial version I am contemplating purchasing a liscence.
But without a tablet I cant see any decent productivity.
As my PC is failing I need both a new PC and a tablet.
But only have around $1500 to spend.

I have my eye on this Lenovo Thinkpad X220 tablet PC:



- Windows 7 Pro 64-bit

  • Intel i7-2620M 2.7Ghz (3.4Ghz Turbo), 1333MHz system bus, 4MB L2 cache

  • 8GB PC3-10600 1333MHz DDR3

  • Intel HD Graphics 3000

  • 12.5" Multi-Touch HD Premium (1366 x 768) (wacom technology 512 levels pressure sensitivity)

- 160GB Intel SSD Hard Drive

Does anyone have any opinions/comments as to how Zbrush might run with this machine.
And if they have any better ideas in this price range.

I appreciate everyone opinions on this board.


If ZBrush is your main concern then the specs look fine. My impressions…

  • I’ve got a Wacom Cintiq 12wx that I use with my desktop. That’s a 1280x800 display tablet. The ZBrush GUI makes it a little tight, but it does the job quite well. This Lenovo has a slightly larger resolution so you should be okay. The smaller display WILL wear on your eyes though. My netbook is about 12" and I can only use it for a few hours before getting a headache. I can’t imagine using a 12.5" as a replacement for a proper monitor. It’s not 1995 anymore.

  • Currently, ZBrush is a 32-bit application so it only uses up to 4GB of RAM. That 8GB is more than acceptable for this task. For future work, especially once ZB goes 64-bit, 8GB might seem underpowered. If you use other non-ZB 3D apps then you know that you can never have enough RAM. I’ve got 24GB on my desktop and still wish for more sometimes.

  • The fact that the screen is Gorilla Glass is a nice plus. The more durable you can get the better.

  • The Intel HD 3000 is a big step up from older portable solutions. It should be enough to even allow you to get in some casual gaming. For ZBrush’s purposes, it really doesn’t matter. ZBrush is highly optimized and is far more dependent of CPU speed and the available RAM, up to the 32-bit limit.

  • The i7-2620M is a slight disappointment in that it’s only dual core. ZBrush likes multi-threading. With only 2 cores and 4 threads to spare, the 2620M isn’t exactly a speed demon. Performance-wise, it’s on par with a Core2 Extreme Q6850 that was released 4 years ago. It’s not a CPU that will age well, especially if you intend on keeping it for a while. ZBrush should do okay with this though. I’ve used ZB on an Atom N270-based netbook which is only about 10% as fast and it performed surprisingly well, all things considered. As a desktop replacement, the i7 2620M might not be your best investment for the future. Just something to think about.

  • The 160GB SDD is good enough for a portable. Naturally, if you do a lot of graphics work, you might want to invest in portable storage. It’s easy to rack up many GBs worth of WIPs for one model alone.

  • The external port situation is a mixed bag. It has 3 USB ports, but only one is powered. That could be a big issue if you use small portable external drives or devices that use USB to charge. This machine also only has an older analog VGA port. No HDMI or DVI.

Given that you intend on spending only $1,500 you might better served with a desktop. For about $1k you can get a desktop with nearly 2x the speed, 50% more RAM, and a 2TB HDD. Pair that with an Intuos4 medium (small will even do well for some people) and you should fit well within your budget. You lose portability, but you gain in power. My real concern is the aging 2620M CPU. CG work requires a meaty PC. At 2 cores, it’s not a great multi-tasker. It literally performs at about half the speed of a 4-core of similar GHz. It’s a decent CPU for a convertible PC, but it’s certainly no desktop replacement solution.

Thank you for your excellent information.
It truely helps alot.

What do you guys think of this tablet as it has a Nvidia 1GB dedicated card (probably the only tablet pc that does afaik):


$1800 at this website:


Its upgradable to 8 GB RAM.
Would this be a possible PC/Cintiq replacement combo for a few years?

I’m looking for the same portable solution for ZBrush and Maya right now (but still using my desktop as the real work horse). It seems that in another year or 2 (3?) tablet PCs will be an awesome solution for digital artist (assuming they’ll still make them!!!). Even by the later half of 2012, Windows 8 should be out and newer tablet PCs should be arriving soon after to take advantage of the benefits of the new OS. Waiting is torture, but I know if I crack now and spend $1,500 to $3,000, I’ll be kicking myself for not waiting a little longer to get more bang for the buck.

If the manufactures actually put more thought into making tablet PCs attractive to digital artists and not just business professionals, I think they would really take off. Currently, I don’t see any marketing geared towards artists whatsoever.

Again, just seems like a bang for the buck issue at the moment.

The Samsung series 7 Slate looks promising, not as powerful, but apparently getting decent results…

Check this out for ZBrush specific use…

I’d wait just a little longer until their are more windows 8 tablets available.

Definitely wait. Like you mentioned tablet pcs are more geared for the average person. Once they start getting better and start targeting the graphic users you’ll get much better hardware geared for your needs.

Jeez windows 8 uses 16-20 gigs of hd space! I’m not sure how much you get in the latest tablets. I can’t wait to have a tablet to use to run zbrush on, but it sound like its best to wait a few years.

i also thought i´d wait for the next win8 generation of tablets, but i guess it will take some time until we get something like the slate7… also it is in doubt if zbrush will run on win8 arm mode

that´s why i ordered the slate7 just two days ago - because it seems to be the best tablet for zbrush at the moment, and i don´t want to wait for a few years, as you put it.