What will change my mind about the Tablet PC is the noise level produced by CPU fan. I frequently attend meetings with clients where, Tablet or not, the whine of a CPU fan would be very disruptive. In one of my management classes, a colleague has a laptop with a very loud CPU fan. The whine of the fan is so disruptive that she usually turns her computer off during lectures. (So much for disruptive technology.)
I will be very disappointed if my new Tablet PC makes enough noise that I have to turn it off in order not to bother others. If it does, I can give you 4900 reasons why I will send it back promptly.
Many readers have written to ask me what I know about the noise-level of the Toshiba Tecra M4. I don't know anything yet. I'm still waiting for my Tablet PC to arrive.
I decided to take matters into my own hands; I contacted my helpful Toshiba sales representative to find out what she had to say about this.
Here's a summary of our exchange.
My question to Toshiba re: possible CPU Fan noise with the M4:
I have some concerns about fan noise on the Tecra M4 - Is it OK for meeting/classroom use?
A few readers have written to me, or posted on my blog, with concerns about the noise level of the Tecra M4. The concern is that excessive fan noise might make the Tablet too disruptive for use in a meeting or a classroom. I share this concern. I've been in meetings where someone -- usually with an older laptop - has a loud fan. It's very disruptive.
My ThinkPad T42p fan is almost unnoticeable after startup. It is my hope that the new Tecra M4 fan will be as quiet.
Would you please respond to this issue for me? I'd like to put these concerns to rest.
Toshiba responded promptly:
I have been informed that the Tecra M4 does have a louder fan then some of the other models. I do understand your concern, however if this remains a problem for you after you receive the notebook we have a 15 day return policy, there will be no penalty to you. Thank you
My follow-up question:
Thanks, for the swift reply.
I'm looking forward to receiving the new Tablet, as I will use it for client demonstrations and in meetings in a conference room.
Can you tell me, subjectively, how much louder? Are we talking Jet engine-loud?
If you are sitting at a conference table, will the people across and adjacent to you be able to hear it? My main concern is whether (or not) this will cause the Tablet to be a disruption.
And The response from Toshiba:
Toshiba does not consider the fan a distraction. However due to the upgrade in the processing speed; the power in the new FSB generates more heat. Therefore, the fan must regulate this increase. I am told it is louder then the Tecra M2. To be completely honest with you I personally have not seen the new Tecra M4. I have not heard any negative feedback. I do hope that when you receive your notebook you will not find the fan to be a problem, I know this machine offers many new awesome benefits. I want you to be happy with your notebook, so please let me know if this becomes a concern for you when you work with it.
There, you have it. Once I receive the M4, I'll compare the fan noise to the IBM ThinkPad T42p on my desk and let you know about my experience.