Are you surprised?

Monday, July 11th, 2005
I've received many emails from people telling me why, as a result of this blog and my podcasts, they decided to purchase (or perhaps not purchase) a Tablet PC - especially the Toshiba Tecra M4.

Michael did not send an email to inform me of his purchase. He simply showed up at the Digital Sandbox with his new toy in hand...




Discussion/Comments (12):

M4 Fan Noise

Paolo, here's my take on the M4 fan noise, after using it for a month.

1. Fan is loud when running in full-power mode.

2. Fan noise can be eliminated by using power management; you can virtually eliminate fan noise by running in low-power mode.

3. Something's horribly wrong with my M4, or more likely, the Tablet OS, and my M4 now no longer works well in low-power mode

4. I now hear the fan all the time

I realize that a reload will probably fix this, but I don't have the time (or the energy) to reload. (On the plus side, Michael Sampson's M4 is silent)

Posted at 07/11/2005 16:31:54 by Eric Mack

Are you surprised?

So I've read everything you've written on the M4 and am this close (fingers slightly apart) to buying it. The fan noise still concerns me - currently I've got an older Toshiba 5202 laptop (2.2 mhz P4) and the HP ZD7000 (3ghz P4 desktop chip). The Toshiba is dead quiet - and the HP - well is really loud and the fan is on all the time.

What's the final verdict on the M4 - is the fan noise ok - ie, do you notice it's on when you use it in general? With the ZD7000 you know it's on - it's noticible ALL THE TIME. I definitely don't want that.

Thanks in advance,


Posted at 07/11/2005 16:34:49 by Paolo

Are you surprised?

Why should we be surprised? The Eric Mack influence reaches far and wide!

Posted at 07/11/2005 16:57:36 by Warner Crocker

Are you surprised?

Hi Eric.

I purchased the M4 due to your posts, and have had it for a few days now. As far as fan noise, for me it depends on the ambient noise. If there is nothing else in the room, the fan can be quite loud. However if anything else is on, such as a television or music, the noise is unnoticable for me.

As Eric said though, Toshiba provides great power options that make the fan not run much at all.

Also, for Eric as well: Have you undervolted your M4? Doing so decreases heat and improves battery life without sacrificing performance, and it is all done in software. You can google it, or here's a link I used: { Link }

My major concern with the M4 is the viewing angle. I am considering removing the "screen protector" that comes on the M4 and replacing it with a writeshield... Someone else actually removed their M4 protective cover and said that the brightness, contrast, and viewing angle are greatly increased. If I end up doing it, I'll post a link to some pictures... As a student, I don't want to have to prop up the laptop to see the screen clearly in tablet mode.

Marcus C.

Posted at 07/11/2005 20:01:40 by Marcus C.

Are you surprised?

oh one thing i forgot - heat - does it like to burn you as you hold it in your lap/arm

Posted at 07/11/2005 22:39:47 by Paolo

The M4´s hot

Paolo, the M4 does run hot, but again, that can be managed to some extent through the use of the Toshiba Tablet PC power manager. Remember this is no ordinary Tablet PC - there's a lot going on under the hood. Heat, reduced battery life, and fan noise are trade-off for having desktop power in a Tablet PC. I knew this going in and I have no regrets in this area. I wanted desktop performance in a portable. So, yes it runs hot, but if you want performance, you can't beat the M4.

Posted at 07/12/2005 0:34:52 by Eric Mack

Are you surprised?

Thanks for the info - yeah I know there are trade offs - just trying to guage how deep they are - as I said I've got the older toshiba and the zd7000 - kind of different ends of the spectrum - the zd7000 is hot loud and not much of a laptop at all - I don't necessarily want to stay way over on that end of the spectrum - if the M4 is somewhere in the middle then I'm good.

Thanks again for the info.


Posted at 07/12/2005 1:19:28 by Paolo

M4 Noise

Gday Eric,

Mate I have an M4 and it has recently begun emitting a really high frequency noise from the vents in the base. Like the whizzing sound of electrical current flowing through an appliance. Do other M4's exhibit this? It seems strange that mine has only started this after 3 weeks with no troubles.

Posted at 08/14/2005 3:09:44 by Steve Mac

M4 Whizzing sound

Steve, I, too, have noticed an occaisional high-pitch squeal from the M4. It sounds like a power inverter and it;s coming from the mid-section beneath the laptop. I don't hear it today. Perhaps it's time for me to do a podcast with real sound samples. :-)

Posted at 08/19/2005 21:52:17 by Eric Mack

M4 Whizzing

Gday Eric,

Yes I agree it sounds like current passing through a coil. It seems to be emitted from the small vent at in between the battery and the harddrive. As soon as the battery is unplugged the whizz stops, which supports the idea of current through a coil.

I wonder if this is considered normal by design, or is it something that would be deemed reasonable for warranty. I dont know about others, but when this unit is in a quiet room the sound is ear piercing after a little while. It is also bothersome to others around you with sensitive ears.

Can you provide any feedback with your experience of this noise and whether you know of many others who have this trouble. I guess if its "normal" I will just tolerate it.


Posted at 08/26/2005 3:28:37 by Steve Mac

M4 Whizzing

I have the same noise on my M4, i did not have that before, and when i use it as a tablet and the sensors work, the sound get louder and goes on and off if u c wat i mean. I dnt think it is normal! it is really annoying and keeps me out of concentration!


Posted at 12/10/2005 16:07:00 by Wissam

feedback noise


I have a tablet pc. Its an IBM thinkpad X41. For some reason when i either run my palm over the right side (that's where the mic is) i hear a squeaking noise. The noise exists as long i keep my hand in that particular area. I dont even haveto keep my palm on the laptop, i hear the noise even when i have my palm say an inch above the tablet. Once i take my hand off, the noise subsides. I face the same issue when i play music. As long as the vol is below 50% i dont hear this noise. Once i increase the volume about 50% this noise comes back. I really will appreciate if anyone has an answer to why this is happening and if there is a solution to this problem.

Thanks again,


Posted at 03/29/2006 10:16:58 by AK

Discussion for this entry is now closed.