Trouble with Toshiba

So I haven’t kept it a secret that I work in the services organization of a very large software company based out of the pacific northwest.  I’ve come to rely very heavily on the different technology that is offered by that technology, and my tablet pc is one of those pieces of technology.  So after living in misery with a compaq TC1000 tablet (I can spend paragraphs ranting about the crappy performance of a transmeta based tablet with no RAM capabilities above 768M, but I’ll spare you) I have offered the chance to utilize Toshiba’s second generation Portege tablet, the M200.  I can tell you, I have never been happier with a laptop in the nearly 10 years that I have been working for this company.  It is plenty powerful with a 1.7GHz processor and has plenty of available resources with 1GB of RAM.  It is a perfect size for someone who does the job that I do because I can carry it to meeting and take notes with it (as you should with a tablet using OneNote I might add, best piece of software I’ve seen in a long time).  Its isn’t very heavy either, making it a very attractive package.  Recently though, abuse took its toll and the system board went on mine.  Not a big deal, the techs at my company did their work and gave me, effectively, a new PC by replacing the systemboard.  All was good in the world until I noticed that my "new" PC ran dog slow.  No explanation, had the RAM and processor I had previously.  Then, I checked the processor performance and found that my 1.7GHz processor was only running at 598Mhz.  I was dumbfounded.  I spoke with my techs, they suggested a myriad of software updates that weren’t helpful.  Finally, I did my own search and turned up a thread on  What I learned there was that for some reason, Toshiba had a separate test & diagnostic disk that provided a CPU utility that loaded microcode for specific processors.  If you had the wrong code, your processor was stepped down to 598MHz.  I was amazed that I could find nothing about this on Toshiba’s website and that I had to download aforementioned CPU utility from a participant website to get the disk and utlity that was required.  Once I had the utlity, it was only a matter of 5 minutes before I had a machine that Intel’s processor ID utility said was identified and perfroming to spec.
So what I’m trying to understand, why would a vendor do that?  It is well within expectation to think that a system board would go, so it would mean that potentially you could have a mobo/CPU mismatch that would require correct calibration.  Why would you withold either the info on what was necessary to repair the situation as well as the utility.  I read many postings in the thread on tabletpcbuzz that the tech’s from Toshiba on their phone support were unable to assist customers.  It just doesn’t seem right.  At this point though, my machine is behaving properly again.  While I was at it, I put a fresh image of Windows XP Tablet PC edition on my "new" tablet and it is now running like it did the day I originally received it.  Oddly enough, I was offered a new Tecra M4 tablet.  I said, ‘No, the M4 isn’t really Engagement Manager material.  Too much weight’.  So as I type this in on my M200, I say again, this is the best machine I’ve had in almost 10 years with my company.

About scavali

20 years of Information Technology experience, including 15 with Microsoft Services and Sales to some of the largest and smallest companies in the world, give me some unique perspective on the technology industry as a whole. Now I am the Unified Communications Practice Manager for Janalent, 2 time UC Worldwide Partner of the Year in 2009 and 2010. Combine that with my passion for photography, scuba diving, all things Key West and my time volunteering with the Madison, NJ Fire Department and you will find an eccletic combination of thoughts and experiences conveyed on this blog. Please contribute, I value people's productive feedback.
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