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Mini Tablet Mac


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#1
stulowe

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Hi all,

Wanted to share my work in progress on a nice new gigabyte m912x.

Brief video of it running here: http://hk.youtube.co...h?v=7ObbUsTaupA

It is a convertible tablet umpc type size thingy and runs osx 10.5.5 wonderfully well. I have the touchscreen working fully right out to all corners at lovely 1280x786 resolution. Also working currently is the wifi (airport card added, though stock card might work), ethernet, sound, card reader, bluetooth, full qe/ci. Not tested the express card slot yet.

I also have fitted an internal 3G mod by tearing up an old Huawei e220 and mounting it nicely next to the hard drive, above the wifi (its a perfect fit). oh... and upgraded the ram to 2GB.

The system is dual booting OSX 10.5.5 and Vista Ultimate, both of which run fantastically well as a convertible tablet.

Next job is installing coolbook to get the speed stepping working on the atom processor and then start using it to see how practical it is.


Stu

#2
jxd

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Cool stuff! Tho i don't really like tablet PCs, i think its cool to have the ipod-touch-like features in the laptop as well as ur ipod/iphone. Maybe someone could design 3rd party software for resizing windows and zooming in and out just like the ipod touch, then u'd be having even more fun

#3
lithium06

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your vid made it to engadget

http://www.engadget....heaper-modbook/

#4
stulowe

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Tablet Mac - Gigabyte M912


So its been a couple of weeks since I posted the video of my little project and I wanted to expand in more detail about how it is all done. Sadly, its not quite as simple as just a straight OSX installation. But, I now have it to the point where it is perfect for my needs (that may be different from the needs of others though). To summarise here is what currently is working and not working.

Working:

OSX runs pretty quick
Full 1280x768 resolution
QE/CI supported
Touchscreen works perfectly with pen and finger touch
Realtek audio through line out
Full Amplified 3D audio through internal speakers hardware mod
3G wireless HSDPA hardware mod
Ethernet
Sleep works using either function key option or power button and comes back to life with power button
Dual boot with vista ultimate

Not working:

Airport card no idea why this no longer works (it was working ok ish before, but stopped working) Ill explain in more detail later. **working again now**
Line in socket


So the original video I posted was an installation using ideneb 1.3 10.5.5 This is fine but on first boot the resolution is stuck at 1024x768. I found a driver which got the resolution correct but the Ethernet didnt work either and figured to maybe try the windosx installation dvd. However the airport was working.

The windosx installation provided a much quicker feeling OS with graphics working perfectly at the correction 1280x768 resolution. Chipset features all seemed to be much better with this installation and Ethernet worked.

This seemed the best installation to work with to get the rest of the features working. So I decided to stick with it.

Upgrading the ram to 2GB was the next thing to do as I wanted to run vista on the system as well.


Touchscreen

To get any touchscreen working in osx is always difficult. Let me explain the problems I have had on other devices first. With most simple touchscreen devices osx is able to detect it as an interface device and it kinda works. This is a big problem as there is no calibration for use with the osx driver and no way to disable it without disabling any other usb input devices you might attach. This has been the case for both my fujitsu p1610 and u810 as well as HP tablets I read about. So I was extremely pleased to see that the touchscreen wasnt working after installation. I identified it in windows as being a Penmount 6000. Next was to find a driver for it. The manufacturer only provides a windows driver so no luck there. So I went to www.touch-base.com who had provided one for my u810 (which you cant use over the native osx driver). I found Salt, Penmount 5100 Series (14E1/6000), usb for intel mac.. I download the 100 tap demo and installed it. It works great and calibrates perfectly. The problem with touch-base is that they are more for business and corporate use and so charge $200 US for a full version of the driver. I emailed them and they offered me 50% discount for home use. Still a little expensive but figured it was the only option. So $100US on top of the price if you want the working touchscreen. Easy to install though and then it just works.

The touchsreen on the m912 is very soft. This is excellent as it means finger touch is possible with a light tap, many umpcs have hard screens that really need you to use a pen.

For use within osx the touch screen is good for most things. Closing progs is difficult due to the tiny red close button on windows (use your finger nails or the pen). Handwriting recognition and inking is terrible in osx, but apple have never needed to develop it further as its not really used for anything. If you want a pad to write notes and use ink then vista is still a far far better experience. But I dont, I use the touschscreen for navigation in the os and apps, scrolling and web browsing, and tapping in simple text (like URLs) using the on screen keyboard.

The onscreen keyboard comes already built in to leopard and tiger. It does need a little fiddling to reactivate it in ideneb but the windosx seems to work ok. To turn it on http://hackaddict.bl...ard-in-osx.html

Airport

The system comes with an atheros ar5007eg installed in it. I happened to have an original apple airport card lying around the place. So installed that. It worked great in windows but was not appearing in osx at all. I figured this was to do with the crappy function f2 you have to do in windows to turn it on. I found out that isolating pin 20 on the card disables this on/off switch. So it was now always on, and this worked in windows again perfectly. OSx also found it with the ideneb installation, but it wasnt quite stable and would only work with wep networks and wouldnt work on a non-broadcasting ssid network. After the windosx installation it no longer finds it at all. I think the problem is with the pci detection, as fiddling with the iopci kext seems to have some results. Ioreg can actually see the card fine and its ids as a Broadcom 4328 are correct. But no amount of kext fiddling seems to get it to work properly. If anyone has had similar experiences and success on another system let me know.

**As of writing this I have just got it going again, I think I might have worked out 'how to' on this.**


3G hardware mod

I decided that I really wanted my tablet to have 3G internet. I live in hong kong and 3g signal is always good everywhere (except in my apartment :)). I decided to use a huawei e220 I had lying around to do this.

First thing was to update it to 7.2mbps firmware. Then strip it down to just the board. Conveniently it fits perfectly in the space above the wireless card next to the harddrive. First time I soldered it to the contacts for one of the right side usb ports. I figured I could sacrifice one of them (it has 3). Once the sim was positioned well it worked first time in both windows and in osx. The e220 has its own internal antenna which was providing about 2 bars of signal when the case was all closed, not really enough to get good speed so I used the black wifi antenna on it. Which works good, wifi gets full strength still in windows on just one antenna and the 3g gets full 5 bars everywhere.

Audio hardware mod

Now audio is a little bit of a problem with this device. It has a relatek alc269 in it. Which as owners of the eeepc 1000h will know does not work. They are making very good progress here http://ipis-osx.wiki...a-kext-progress with getting it going on applehda.kext but I am not patient enough to wait for a software solution.

In another thread they have got the line out working but not the internal speakers. I figured I could use the azalia fix for line out but would need another option for the internal speakers. So bought myself a little usb HY551 audio device. It is very compact and works instantly with osx. I decided to mount it in the spare pci-mini slot space. This led me to the decision of whether I wanted to lose another usb port for this or not. I know I could have used the points from the pci slot but my soldering skills are not that good, or the camera but I use that in skype on windows. So decided to attach a hub to the port I had used for the 3g mod. Found a tiny little usb hub and removed all of its connecters. Then wired it to the usb audio device and to the 3g. I hard wired the internal speakers to the lineout on the usb audio, tucked it all away, switched on and its all worked great.

However, the internal speakers were not that strong. So went back to the shop and picked up an HY552, which is exactly the same but with an amplifier built on board. Now it is much better and actually louder than my macbook air was.

Azalia audio is working for line out. But you do have to select it in the system preferences -> sound. But actually havent needed to as I dont really use line out much.
General usage

I have been using this computer now a week as my portable. This is instead of my macbook pro so it has a lot to live up to.

For general usage it has been fantastic. The performance is good, and it will happily run word, iphoto, itunes and firefox all at the same time without significant slow down.

I love having the touchscreen and do find myself trying to open apps on my macbook pro with my finger. I love it for train rides and taxis as I can navigate firefox using the grab and drag plugin and 3g internet. I tend to do this in tablet mode and use the onscreen keyboard for tapping in URLs. Bash me for saying this if you like but if you want purely a tablet pc then vista still provides a better experience as it is designed for this job.

The battery life has obviously taken a small hit with having the 3g and usb audio. It used to give about 2 hours 20 mins and now gives about 2 hours. Again this is fine for my use as I am never away from the power for much more than an hour. I will buy the 6 cell battery when it is available though.

If you have any further questions then please do ask. This is still a work in progress and if I cant get the airport working then I will get a usb wifi attached internally to the hub and remove the pci airport.

Overall cost for the project is as follows in HKD and USD

M912x HKD $4200 USD $540
Touchscreen driver HKD $700 USD $90
USB audio HKD $60 USD $8
USB hub HKD - $50 USD $7
Huawei e220 3G free with contract

Total HKD $5010 US $645


I will post another video and some pics of the internal mods tomorrow.


Stu

#5
stulowe

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new video posted at http://hk.youtube.co...h?v=THsN1mtSRgQ

#6
stulowe

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and here is a pic of the inside back cover showing the usb audio and 3g before all the wires were tucked away

Attached Files



#7
betacoda

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I just did this as well. Here is what i got.
My model is m912m difference being an led screen and slightly lower res.

Video drivers / kext
http://code.google.com/p/darwin950/

You will still need the drivers like stu explained above for the touchscreen. ($90 bucks thats steep for drivers).
The installed atheros 5007 EG vid=168c pid=001c has yet to be successfully installed(leopard) as far as I have found. I would be very happy if someone would correct me about this.

I have a vista/os X dual boot has well. Vista is running ok on the 1gig but I have plans for the upgrade.
Always a good site to get the windows beast under control.
http://www.blackvipe...supertweaks.htm

Hey stu, now toss an accelerometer in there.
http://www.phidgets....product_id=1059

#8
dondula

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Great work, I should be getting my m912x in about a week. I just want to make sure I got this all straight, you used the iDeneb 1.3 as your OS install image, which kernel did you install, did you try speedstep? Did you use the drivers available here http://code.google.com/p/darwin950/ to fix the video? Which zip file do I install, there are 2 on this site? Also I thought this version of iDeneb included drivers for GMA950, did they just not work right? Are the $90 drivers for the touch screen our only option? How well / accurate does the touch screen work with the default drivers, what improvement is seen with the purchased driver. I have a Dell 1390 mini wifi card (broadcom chipset) I was using in my aspire one for osx, do you think that will work for this install as well? Also what is this windosx you talk about, I don't really understand where to find these files. Sorry for all the questions, I just want to get this right. I had a great setup with my aspire one running osx with everything working and I messed up the insides when trying to install the touch panel mod (bridged a bunch of connections on the mini pci slot, and can't seem to clear all the solder) so I decided to go with the m912. I've been following the alc269 driver progress, I hope someone comes out with an easy software driver for the internal speakers. What else do I need to worry about, do the webcam and card readers work off the bat?

#9
fuzzymcwuzzy

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Hiya folks, First post!

Dondula, the easiest Windosx to get to try out the m912 as a mac is MSIwindosx, a version of OsX that has been tweaked for the MSI Wind. if you google 'MSIWindosx86.iso' you will find a link to it very quickly.

For now, I cannot get the ethernet working as the Mac address shows up as ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff and the wireless is as you know also not working due to the Atheros 5007 not having any available (or easily available) drivers. So for now I'm stuck with no internet at all! Get yourself a mini-pci express wifi card that is OSx compatible and replace the atheros card in the service bay on the underside of the M912.

Next the touchscreen is not working and I haven't been able to find any free drivers for it, so for now it is just a netbook with a swivable screen.

Finally I have no sound. The built in functions for volume up and down on the keyboard do show up on the OS, but I still get no sound through the built in speakers or the headphone port.

Anyway, there's not many of us who are trying to do this at the moment, I think Stulow has shown that it can be done. I'm normally one of those people who will put in the time and effort to get things running just to prove I can do it, but these days I don't have much time to myself so I wait for new instructions from others who've led the way. Let's try and keep any info we find out updated on this forum so that we can all benefit.

And of course thanks Stulow!

#10
humanbulk

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Could you tell us if the pen is pressure sensitive? and if it is working with photoshop or similar programs like art rage or painter?

#11
gunplay

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Has anyone tried the wacom drivers to enable touchscreen calibration on the m912 instead of purchasing the driver from touch-base?

#12
dondula

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Ok so I got this all up and running, but for some reason I can't get the wifi to work. I switched out the wifi card for a dell 1390 mini pci-e (broadcom 4311) which worked on my aspire one, but it does not work on the gigabyte under osx, the os doesn't see the pci card at all. I know OSX is supposed to support these cards natively, so if anyone was able to get their wifi card working can you please let me know how you did it.
Thanks in advance.

#13
Alex DeWolf

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I just ordered this from Dynamism. I am looking forward to finally having a usable MAC tablet.

Alex

#14
Alex DeWolf

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OK I got the msi wind distro to install. Ran the update and lost QE/CI. Is there some way to turn on the internal WIFI (Fn+F2 does not work)

Alex

#15
Alex DeWolf

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Anyone get a Dell 1490 MINI-PCIE wifi to work with this?

#16
chalettu

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I just ordered my M912x and it should be arriving this week. Hopefully I will be able to get it working as good as the few people who I have seen on these forums who have gotten it working so far. I found a possible $15 software based solution that I am hoping should take care of the touchscreen calibration. I will share my findings as soon as I finish testing it. I plan on doing a writeup on my blog based on everything I have learned from these forums and my install experience. Stay tuned.


Chris H

#17
Alex DeWolf

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Anyone get 10.5.6 running?

#18
troep

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Hi stulowe,

Very impressing stuff. To me at least. I own a m912 myself ans was wandering what installation procedure you have used to get dual boot setup (vista/osx) and in particular what boot-loader setup. Can you give me a few hints.

My ideal setup would be osx/ubuntu/winxp plus a data partition. If anyone else can give me a few tips, please do. :)

Fer

#19
RCC

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Can you tell me the make and model DVD drive you used to do this? I've gone through 3 different drives and have yet to find one that the M912 will read DVDs from. It'll read CDs just fine but with DVDs it just locks up.

#20
RCC

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Can you tell me the make and model DVD drive you used to do this? I've gone through 3 different drives and have yet to find one that the M912 will read DVDs from. It'll read CDs just fine but with DVDs it just locks up.


Never mind, got it working. The only real problem I have with my installation now is that OS X does not seem to recognize the touch screen as a touch screen at all. It shows up in System Profiler as a USB device but not an input device. I still have a lot to learn about kexts and such so I'm not real sure where to start to trouble shoot this.





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