Asus TAICHI Owners' Lounge

Discussion in 'ASUS Reviews and Owners' Lounges' started by crabnebula, Dec 30, 2012.

  1. crabnebula

    crabnebula Notebook Enthusiast

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    Hi everyone,

    I just received my TAICHI 21 today after months of anticipation.

    I know the TAICHI is still on preorder in the US, but here in Canada it was just released on December 21st.

    Only the TAICHI 21, with the 11.6 inch screen, is currently available.

    So far it is perfect, except for one thing: both LCD panels have very noticeable uniformity problems. These seem to be due mainly to the backlighting because they are partially symmetrical on the inside and outside panels (which I assume share the same backlight), but it is probably also due in part to the panels themselves because it is not entirely symmetrical either. I wonder if the particular construction of this device causes pressure or flex to be applied to the panels. I have contacted Asus support and sent them pictures and am awaiting a response.

    I'm very curious whether anyone else has noticed this issue as well. I hope it is just a defect with my unit and that I can have it replaced.

    Regards.

    Note: I will be updating this post with relevant information for Taichi owners below.


    USEFUL INFORMATION AND TIPS FOR THE TAICHI 21

    Processor power management bug

    EDIT: take the info below as preliminary. I've had the min processor state reset to 100% once, even after upgrading the driver. Also, I've noticed that despite it being set to 100%, sometimes the CPU will still scale down its speed anyway. So, in other words, there is something else going on with power management that I haven't figured out. FYI you can check your CPU frequency in Task Manager (Performance tab) or with CPU-Z.


    There is a bug that causes the Minimum processor state to be automatically reset to 100%, and the System cooling policy to be reset to Active, even if you change these settings manually. What this means is that you end up constantly running your CPU at full speed and full voltage, even when it is not required. This negatively impacts battery life.

    Strangely enough, this bug is due to the Touchpad drivers that come installed on the Taichi which Asus calls Smart Gesture. To solve this problem, you need to remove Smart Gesture 1.0.35 and install version 1.0.36 that can be downloaded from the UX31 support page here http://support.asus.com/download.aspx?SLanguage=en&p=3&m=UX31A&hashedid=DNit7f9PxhWaH1Wi (note that 1.0.36 is not currently posted on the Taichi support page, but this version works fine on the Taichi as well).

    Once you have updated your driver, follow these steps to set the optimal configuration:
    - Press Fn+Space to open Power4Gear
    - Click Advanced Settings
    - Select the Power4Gear Battery Saving Profile in the drop down list
    - Under Processor power management, set the Minimum processor state to 5% for both On battery and Plugged in, and set the System cooling policy to Passive for On battery and Active for Plugged in.
    - Next, select the Power4Gear High Performance profile
    - Apply the same values as above for Minimum processor state, but this time I suggest setting the System cooling policy to Active for both On battery and Plugged in.

    These settings will effectively give you power on demand, but will favor performance over battery life when you select the High Performance profile, and vice versa.

    (source: http://forum.notebookreview.com/asu...tting-itself-100-minimum-processor-state.html)
     
  2. toastman91

    toastman91 Newbie

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    I have not gotten mine yet to comment, but I am wondering if you got the i5 or i7? I still have time to cancel my preorder and switch to the i7, but as of right now I am going with the i5/128gb option and am not sure if it is worth the upgrade?
     
  3. crabnebula

    crabnebula Notebook Enthusiast

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    Personally I got the i5 and I think it is plenty fast. I posted my benchmarks here WPrime and WEI Benchmarks for Tablet PCs and you can compare with the Sony Vaio Duo 11 in its similar i5 and i7 configurations. The performance increase is marginal and not worth the extra money in my opinion, unless you're running very specific tasks. The main reason to purchase the i7 version would be to get a larger SSD (and save yourself the hassle of having to upgrade it yourself, assuming it is user upgradable).

    Note that because of the recovery partition, usable space on the 128GB SSD is only 94GB.

    I will be updating this post with information that I'd normally put in a review. I don't have time to do a full write-up, so I'll add bits and pieces as I go on based on my personal bias. Feel free if you have any questions or special requests.

    Sound quality

    The Taichi has a Realtek ALC3329 codec (can't find specs online) and is branded as having Bang & Olufsen ICEpower audio, which I assume refers to the amplification circuitry (which should be class D, as that is what ICEpower is).

    It also comes with DSP software called MaxxAudio by Waves. Waves makes high-end audio processing software used in professional recording, so you'd think they know what they're doing.

    I haven't done much listening yet, but here are a few preliminary remarks:

    - Audio from the speakers is above average for a notebook, but nothing exceptional. Music still sounds tinny and there is no bass, as is expected from small speakers of this size. In general sound is clean and pleasant with a good sound stage, though at maximum volume levels, some material causes distortion especially when Waves MaxxAudio is activated. There are several settings and a full 10-band EQ to play with in MaxxAudio so you can tune the sound to your liking.

    - With headphones, sound quality is actually very good, except for one thing. Asus have not isolated the audio circuitry from EMI interference, so you will hear the usual annoying squeaks and noise it generates, especially in quiet passages. You'll probably want to turn off MaxxAudio processing too if you have good headphones or IEMs and like neutral sound.

    Inking experience

    As a point of reference, I've been using Tablet PCs for over 8 years, and have always had Wacom-based devices, except for a Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet which I resold due to the subpar inking experience.

    A few initial remarks on the new N-Trig digitizer in the Taichi. First, the lag is more than I was expecting for an i5-based machine. It isn't terrible, but it is noticeable when drawing long continuous lines or just hovering the cursor around the screen. It's about the same as my HP tm2, perhaps a little worst. When handwriting, I'd say the first impression is an experience between a Wacom digitizer and the older N-Trig tech in the Lenovo tablet, though it is closer to the former. One thing I disliked about the Lenovo is that it felt imprecise with very short pen strokes (often not picking them up at all), and it seems there might still be a little bit of that with the Taichi too, though it is slight in comparison. I'll update this once I've used it more, but my current impression is that it won't be a nuisance as the Lenovo was, but Wacom still has the edge.

    One thing that anyone who's used Wacom digitizers will appreciate: there is no cursor shift at the edges of the panel, the cursor position is precise all around.

    Finally, the entire outside display (including the LCD panel itself) does flex a little bit when you apply light to moderate pressure with the stylus or a finger, but it is not bothersome.

    To be continued...
     
  4. toastman91

    toastman91 Newbie

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    Thanks for the reply and the useful review info!

    I am so anxious to get mine, freaking ASUS keeps pushing the dates back for the US. It looks like it wont be until the end of January at the earliest now....

    As long as the extra 0.2 GhZ and extra 0.4Ghz when turbo'd difference between the i5 and i7 isn't huge, or the 1mb cache difference, I think I will be okay with the cheaper i5/128gb combo. I thought I would need the extra space but I am only using about 60gb on my current hdd, plus I have a ton of flash drives and external hdds if I ever need a lot of extra space.

    Its disappointing to hear about the new Ntrig stylus, I was hoping it would at least be on par with Wacoms. I suppose it is nice to not have to deal with the edge sensitivity and ,manual calibration that comes with the Wacom though. So I guess its a decent compromise, but hopefully it wont be terribly noticeable for note-taking in class.

    Do you think battery life is a lot better now that you fixed the CPU constant 100% issue? I wonder if that wasn't the reason most reviewers were only getting 3 hrs or so of battery when ASUS states between 5-7 hrs?
     
  5. crabnebula

    crabnebula Notebook Enthusiast

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    If you write in script, you'll probably find the new Ntrig to be on par with Wacom. I write in detached letters and there is a slight but perceptible difference between the two because of the very short pen strokes I make.

    I haven't had the chance to test battery life properly yet, but I also suspect that many reviews might not have realistic figures due to the bug described above.
     
  6. jaybird4522

    jaybird4522 Newbie

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    crabnebula,
    Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts on this site. One thing I'm really curious about is the performance of the Touchpad driver you're using. Many complaints I have read about Zenbooks and early reviews of the Taichi were that the cursor jumped around the screen and selected things unintentionally. Did you ever run into problems like this with either the Smart Gesture driver or the UX31 driver you downloaded?
    Thanks!
     
  7. farcryo

    farcryo Newbie

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    I'd like to also thank you for all the information you posted so far. Can you please post a photo or two of the screen problem too?
     
  8. crabnebula

    crabnebula Notebook Enthusiast

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    FYI the UX31 driver is also called Smart Gesture, it's just a newer version.

    No, I did not experience any such issues with the touchpad, I find it works very well.

    However, I am having a strange issue where the device registers phantom touches on the touch screen for a few seconds after resuming from sleep, even in notebook mode. I also saw a review in which the touch panel remained active in notebook mode, meaning you could put your hand around the screen and use touch when the outer screen was off. This might be what was happening.

    I forgot to mention it but I installed all available Asus updates as soon as I got the machine and I haven't been experiencing any issues when switching displays from notebook to tablet, like some reviews have reported.

    Here is a picture taken in the dark to avoid reflections, comparing the Taichi with 3 other IPS panels. It's hard to get the right exposure with the camera, so in the second picture I reduced the brightness to emphasize the problem.

    DSC_0110.jpg DSC_0110_min_brightness.jpg
     
  9. farcryo

    farcryo Newbie

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    The uneven light is very clear in the lower brightness photo. Seems it's hard to get it working right with 2 screens in a very thin space like we have here.
     
  10. crabnebula

    crabnebula Notebook Enthusiast

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    Possibly so. One thing I realized is that there are in fact probably two backlights, because when the outer screen is off there is no light bleed at all.

    However, by looking at pictures in reviews around the web, it does seem that my unit is noticeably worse than others.
     
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