Gadgets & Gizmos

MobileStudio Pro 2019 with Capture One running. Photos from a recent trip to Bhutan.

As a Wacom Amassador, I get to play with all their latest toys and I’ve just taken delivery of the newest 16” MobileStudio Pro (MSP). It’s what I take away with me when travelling because the screen is the closest in a laptop I’ve found to my wonderful EIZO monitors back at the ranch. It gives me a really great rendition of my photographs, meaning they are not overly contrasty or colour saturated like some of the popular laptop screens. Don’t get me wrong, if I want my photos to look highly saturated and contrasty, I can do that on the MSP, but the default setting is very neutral in contrast and colour  - and that’s exactly what I want as a photographer.

What I also want is to go on a trip and not fill up my hard drive with photos and videos. I always seem to run out of space!

If I’m shooting on my Fujifilm X-T3 with a 26-megapixel sensor, I am usually okay, but once I pull out the Phase One XF 150MP, my drive fills up a little more quickly! Invariably I’m copying my photos across to an external drive, like Lacie’s Rugged SSD – and I will continue to do that as I need a backup. But wouldn’t it be nice to have the whole shoot on the MSP and not have to plug in an external drive at all?

The new MobileStudio Pro has a faster quad core i7-8559U processor and a faster Nvidia Quadro P1000 graphics processor, but still ships with a maximum 16GB RAM and a 500GB SSD. However, the good news is that it’s upgradeable. You can unscrew a panel at the rear of the computer and replace both the RAM and SSD.

I touched base with Leo at Wacom and he suggested in turn that I contact www.upgradeable.com.au. He also told me what I needed: 16GB DDR4-2400 SO-DIMM and a 2TB PCIe Gen3x2 M.2.2280 NVMe SSD. That sounded like Latin to me, but I copied and pasted the information into the chat box at upgradeable.com.au. The person at the other end helped ensure I had the right parts and delivery took only a couple of days (often it’s quicker, but they needed to order in the 2TB SSD I think).

What’s great about Upgradeable is they provide dummies like me with instructions on how to do it. Even so, dummies like me took a while to work out how to open up the slot to slip in the extra RAM – the slot was already open, I just had to slide the RAM in and press down! It was done and now I have 32GB RAM.

For the 2TB SSD, it was a little more complicated, but not because of the installation. Pulling out the old SSD (they are so small) and pushing in the new one was easy. The challenge was taking the Windows operating system and all my applications off the old drive and moving them to the new one – and again, Upgradeable had the answer with a couple of ‘hint sheets’.

As I was using a Samsung SSD, I needed to download a copy of Macrium Reflect (there is a free version designed for punters like me). Upgradeable also provided me with a case for my SSD so I could plug it into my MSP. The software then cloned my existing drive onto my new drive, so when I slotted the new drive in, everything worked perfectly!

One little challenge. In the Macrium software, you have to manually set the drive partition sizes. If you don’t and you just accept the recommended sizes, you end up with a 2TB drive that only lets you use 25% of it! And when you do specify the drive sizes, you have to do them in order, which is a problem because the big partition (the one where all your data sits) is the third one, and you have to leave enough space for the fourth and final partition. This is probably sounding like more Latin, but when you get to this step, check out how big the fourth partition is first (I think the partition is for recovery purposes). Then, when you adjust the size of the third drive using the slider (you click on the Cloned Partition Properties link to find this screen), leave enough space to fit in the recovery drive. That’s it – and reading this back to myself, it sounds far more difficult when written down than it was to actually implement!

So now, not only do I have a super fast computer for processing my photos and videos, I have plenty of storage space. Thanks Wacom for a great solution!

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