Is Cintiq Pro Engine Creative PC module Worth it? Or should you build a PC instead (with comparison with two PC builds & laptop)

Creative-Engine-Comparison-PC-Featured

Is The Cintiq Pro Engine Creative PC Module Worth It Cintiq 24

Wacom-Cintiq-Pro-24

With Wacom introducing the Cintiq Pro 24, and its 32-inch counterpart, they also introduced the creative PC module with it, a PC module you attach to the back of each of the two Cintiq 24 & 32 models. It contains a full-fledged PC you could integrate directly into the Cintiq Pro itself, and along with the Cintiq Pro itself, you get a huge integrated all-in-one-PC to use for drawing & creating contents.

It’s like Wacom’s response to the Microsoft Surface Studio, but a bit more flexible you could change the whole computer & keep the monitor. You could also upgrade the ram & SSD (you can only upgrade the storage with the Surface Studio). So if something broke, you’re supposedly in a better shape. While still providing you with a digitizer you’re accustomed with.

Giving a high price of the creative PC module, I will discuss if it’s worth getting, as opposed to building the PC or buying a powerful laptop, with the price of the creative PC module as a budget, there are two advantages for the Creative PC module I discuss here in details, mobility & cable clutter. As well as other aspects.

I tried to cover as much as possible about the creative PC module, including two builds that either matches the price of the Xeon model (or even less), while trying to obtain more computing power, or a build that tries to surpass the i5 model with less money. The two configurations I made are just examples with some expensive parts picked on-purpose. I am sure you could make way better builds if you like.

While I couldn’t find a PC that matches the GPU of the creative PC module, I picked laptops equipped with Nvidia Quadro P3000 instead. It has fewer cores but more supports mode bandwidth, as it has a 192-bit bus.

If you don’t want to build your own PC, you can find all sorts of pre-built PC in the following Amazon links:-

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If you’re looking for a laptop to use with your Cintiq instead of the creative PC Module Kindly find the available laptops with Quadro GPUs in the following Amazon links, you could refine the search in case you don’t specifically need a Quadro card in your laptop:-

Pros Of Wacom Cintiq Engine Creative PC Module

  • Mobility, the creative PC module makes it easy to carry your workstation with your Cintiq Pro 24 or 32 around to draw at any studio you work with.
  • Less cables clutter in case you care about that.

Cons Of Wacom Cintiq Engine Creative PC Module

  • Too pricy if you don’t really need it, you could get a better PC for the same price, or even less.
  • Less flexible than building a PC, or even a laptop in some cases.
  • It’s a Windows-only solution, so Mac users can’t have it.

What Kind Of Artists Is The Creative PC Module For

There are two main advantages to the creative PC module, making me guess the kinds of artists who would want to get it. There could be other kinds of artists I am totally not aware of course. :>

Mobility For Artists In Need For It

Mobility is one advantage of the creative PC module I totally agree with. the creative PC module is a great solution if you’re the type of artists that

work in a different studio with each project, you could take it with you to the studio you’re working on much more easily. I am not sure artists that work permanently in a certain studio will be allowed to take their Cintiq Pros with the creative PC module home with them to continue working on the project, but that’s a possibility.

Less Cable Clutter?

Cables-Clutter

While I am 100% sure that the creative PC module will make less clutter on your desk, I really wonder if that’s a big of an issue to pay much for. I mean, I totally admit that cables can create distractions, but for the price of the creative PC module, you could buy an office with cable management holes that lasts you virtually forever. For not much money, you could buy some cable management sleeves & ties can do you that for much cheaper.

However, if you, or the business you work for really cares about clean desks & looks, then the creative PC module is the best solution to get that look, while still being able to draw on a Cintiq.

Windows Only Solution

Windows-10-Logo

the creative PC module comes with “Windows 10 pro” or “Windows 10 pro for workstation”. So it’s not a viable option to those who prefer to use Mac OS. Wacom is not to blame for this, since Apple only makes their own computers themselves. I wonder on the possibility of installing a hackintoosh on it as a workaround for that.

A More Suitable Solution For The Mobilestudio Pro

wacom-mobile-studio-pro-screen

Having the creative PC module & the Cintiq Pro 24 & 32 as separate pieces is a nice feature compared to the Surface Studio, as it’s less costly to change the PC module while keeping your drawing pen display as is, or to do the opposite. But I really, really wish to see this feature on the Mobilestudio Pro, which could became outdated way to draw once your software demands grows. The current way the MobileStudio Pro work, you need to pick the model that fulfills your needs once & for all. At least having the ability to add more ram or change the SSD would be a lovely addition.

Configurations Of The Creative PC Module

Wacom-Cinitq-Pro-Engine-Creative-PC-Module

the creative PC module comes with two configurations:- i5 & Xeon (the detailed specifications for each configuration are below).

Both of the creative PC module configurations are powered by NVIDIA Quadro P3200, a new GPU based on the NVIDIA Pascal GPU architecture. The Wacom Cintiq Pro Engine memory and SSD are exchangeable and upgradable if needed. Giving them the same flexibility of a laptop. One of the worst things about the integrated solutions Wacom have like the MobileStudio or Cintiq Companion 2 are that you couldn’t upgrade anything in them (there were other issues like fans noise, but we won’t talk about that here). The Xeon model has more ram & storage out of the box.

the creative PC module is compatible with both Cintiq Pro 24 & 32, you could unplug it from your Cintiq Pro 24 & right into a Cintiq Pro 32 & continue working on the same environment.

Kindly find the specifications for both the creative PC module i5 & Xeon

Cintiq Pro Engine I5 Specifications

  • Operating System:- Windows 10 Pro
  • Processor:- Intel® Core i5HQ (Quad Core)
  • Graphics:- NVIDIA® Quadro® P3200
  • Dedicated graphics memory:- 6GB GDDR5
  • RAM:- 16GB
  • Storage:- 256GB SSD, PCIe Gen3
  • Wireless LAN:- Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11 ac
  • Bluetooth:- Bluetooth® 4.2
  • Security:- fTPM(TPM2.0)
  • Input Voltage:- 100 to 240 VAC, 50/60 Hz
  • Connectivity:- Internal (communication between PC & Display) 1x USB-C, 1x Power
  • Connectivity:- External (customer interfaces) 1x RJ45 (LAN), 2x USB-C, 1xmHDMI, 1xmDP, 2x DC-in

Cintiq Pro Engine Xeon

  • Operating System:- Windows 10 Pro for Workstation
  • Processor:- Intel® XEON
  • Graphics:- NVIDIA® Quadro® P3200
  • Dedicated graphics memory:- 6GB GDDR5
  • RAM:- 32GB
  • Storage:- 512GB SSD, PCIe Gen3
  • Wireless LAN:- Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11 ac
  • Bluetooth:- Bluetooth® 4.2
  • Security:- fTPM(TPM2.0)
  • Input Voltage:- 100 to 240 VAC, 50/60 Hz
  • Output Voltage:- 19.5V/11.8A (230W)
  • Connectivity:- Internal (communication between PC & Display); 1x USB-C, 1x Power
  • Connectivity:- External (customer interfaces); 1x RJ45 (LAN), 2x USB-C, 1xmHDMI, 1xmDP, 2x DC-in

Isn’t The Creative PC Module A Bit Overpriced? Wouldn’t Building A PC Much Better

PC-To-Build

I personally think so, especially when compared to building a PC, where you get more power but less mobility.

I used PC Parts Picker to build a PC that rivals the higher-end the creative PC module, it cost around $3100 for the Xeon build, and about $2200 for the i5 build that’s more powerful:-

    • I could make the build cheaper by choosing some cheaper parts, but I chose to splurge on high-end components, like a very quiet Noctua cooler, I also picked some expensive parts on purpose.
    • Components are expensive nowadays, thanks to the cryptomining bubble.
    • Since NVIDIA® Quadro® P3200 wasn’t there in the list, I chose to pick up the slightly more powerful PNY – Quadro P4000, with 8GB of memory. And a 256-bit bus, which provides more bandwidth.
    • The PC I build is much more upgradeable than the creative PC module, With the motherboard I picked, I could make the ram up to 128GB for one, giving the system more lifespan.
    • You could change any of the parts at any time if the need arises
    • I don’t know the Xeon model used in the creative PC module, so I arbitrarily picked Intel Xeon E5-1650 V4 3.6GHz 6-Core here.
    • I couldn’t find Windows 10 Pro for Workstation in the website I used, so I opted for Windows 10 Pro OEM 64-bit.
    • Some parts in the creative PC module, like the motherboard & power supply, are not known, so I marked them as either “Unknown” or “N/A” in the comparisons below.
    • I made some of the specifications for the i5 higher than the creative PC module i5.
    • If you like, you could install multiple SSDs to your PC build, and benefit from the different raid arrays to increase performance or reliability. This is one of few advantages of building a PC, as oppose to buying the creative PC module.
    • The builds I made are for comparison purpose only. You don’t really need to spend that much on your computer if you don’t want or need to.

If you don’t want to build your own PC, you can find all sorts of pre-built PC in the following Amazon links:-

Kindly find comparisons between the creative PC module & the computer I picked parts for, for both the i5 & the Xeon builds:-

i5 build:-

Component PC You Could Build Cintiq Pro Engine i5
CPU Intel – Core i5-8600K 3.6GHz 6-Core Processor Intel® Core i5HQ (Quad Core)
CPU Cooler Noctua – NH-D15 82.5 CFM CPU Cooler Unknown
Motherboard Asus – ROG MAXIMUS X CODE ATX LGA1151 Motherboard N/A
Memory G.Skill – Ripjaws V Series 32GB (2 x 16GB) DDR4-2133 Memory 16GB
Storage Samsung – 960 EVO 500GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive 256GB SSD, PCIe Gen3
Video Card PNY – Quadro P4000 8GB Video Card NVIDIA® Quadro® P3200 6GB GDDR5
Case Cougar – Panzer Max ATX Full Tower Case N/A
Power Supply EVGA – SuperNOVA G3 750W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply Unknown
Operating System Microsoft – Windows 10 Pro OEM 64-bit Windows 10 Pro

Xeon Build:-

Component PC You Could Build Cintiq Pro Engine Xeon:
CPU Intel – Xeon E5-1650 V4 3.6GHz 6-Core OEM/Tray Processor Xeon
CPU Cooler Noctua – NH-D15 82.5 CFM CPU Cooler Unknown
Motherboard Asus – X99-E-10G WS SSI CEB LGA2011-3 Motherboard N/A
Memory G.Skill – Ripjaws V Series 32GB (2 x 16GB) DDR4-2133 Memory 32GB
Storage Samsung – 960 EVO 500GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive 512GB SSD, PCIe Gen3
Video Card PNY – Quadro P4000 8GB Video Card NVIDIA® Quadro® P3200 6GB GDDR5
Case Cougar – Panzer Max ATX Full Tower Case N/A
Power Supply EVGA – SuperNOVA G3 750W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply Unknown
Operating System Microsoft – Windows 10 Pro OEM 64-bit Windows 10 Pro for Workstation

There’s a chance components prices will get better once the Cryptomining bubble is gone, so you may build your PC much cheaper.

In case you own both Citniq 24 & 32, you could unplug the cables connecting your Cintiq 24 to your PC and right into the Cintiq 32. You could plug the PC to any Cintiq model or graphics tablet if you like to, while keeping the same computing environment.

How About Buying A Laptop Instead?

Since laptops are much more easily to carry than a PC, they can make a flexible alternative to the creative PC module, even if you’re an artist that change workplace often, but want to save on the cost of having a portable workstation, a laptop can still serve you there.

Lenovo-P71

In all fairness, I couldn’t find a laptop with the same specification as the creative PC module i5 or Xeon, the best one I found was Lenovo ThinkPad P71, it has 1TB SSD, with a higher Intel Quad-Core i7-7700HQ processor. It’s equipped with NVIDIA Quadro P3000 6GB GPU, the closest graphics card I could find to Quadro P3200, which is a new card. There were many cheaper laptops with Quadro P1000 & Quadro P2000 as well. Since computers change over time, what you could find is different, for that reason. Kindly find the available laptops with Quadro GPUs in the following Amazon links, you could refine the search in case you don’t specifically need a Quadro card in your laptop:-

Kindly find a comparison between that laptop & the i5 the creative PC module:-

Component Lenovo ThinkPad P71 Cintiq Pro Engine i5
CPU Intel Core i7-7700HQ (6M Cache, up to 3.8 GHz) Intel® Core i5HQ (Quad Core)
CPU Cooler Unknown Unknown
Motherboard Unknown N/A
Memory 64GB PC4-19200 DDR4 SDRAM, 2400MHz SODIMM 16GB
Storage 1TB Solid State Drive (SSD) 256GB SSD, PCIe Gen3
Video Card NVIDIA Quadro P3000 6GB VRAM NVIDIA® Quadro® P3200 6GB GDDR5
Case N/A N/A
Power Supply Unknown Unknown
Operating System Windows 10 Pro 64-Bi Windows 10 Pro

Here’s the comparison between that laptop & the Xeon the creative PC module:-

Component Lenovo ThinkPad P71 Cintiq Pro Engine Xeon:
CPU Intel Core i7-7700HQ (6M Cache, up to 3.8 GHz) Xeon
CPU Cooler Unknown Unknown
Motherboard Unknown N/A
Memory 64GB PC4-19200 DDR4 SDRAM, 2400MHz SODIMM 32GB
Storage 1TB Solid State Drive (SSD) 512GB SSD, PCIe Gen3
Video Card NVIDIA Quadro P3000 6GB VRAM NVIDIA® Quadro® P3200 6GB GDDR5
Case N/A N/A
Power Supply Unknown Unknown
Operating System Windows 10 Pro 64-Bi Windows 10 Pro for Workstation

Comparison notes:-

  • You get some advantages in laptop, like a 2nd monitor (laptop screen + Cintiq Pro 24 or 32 screen), in case of ThinkPad P71, you get a large 17-inches monitor.
  • You can carry the laptop workstation and do some work that doesn’t require the Cintiq on the go, since the laptop has its own battery & all.
  • Any time you want, you can connect the laptop to either the Cintiq 24 or 32, or even any other Cintiq model, like Cintiq Pro 13 or Cintiq 13HD (as well as Wacom competitors, if you like).
  • To add to the last point, if your studio doesn’t allow you to take your Cintiq back home, you could probably take the laptop home and use another Waco product to continue working.
  • Depending on the laptop you picked, you could end up with more ports than the creative PC module (sometimes with less ports).

Final Word About Wacom Creative PC Module

the creative PC module is certainly a pricy model for those who don’t need it, as there are many way for artists to get the power they want for their creative needs. While the creative PC module is sure pricy, I don’t really dislike the idea of it. It’s a neat idea to be honest, especially that it’s an optional module with a flexibility a bit close to a laptop (I still believe laptops are better when it comes to that). I won’t be surprised if Wacom competitors made a much cheaper alternative to it in the future.

It turns out it’s easy to see that building a PC that surpasses the creative PC module in multiple ways, especially if you spent more time than me picking your parts, or if you picked a bit more affordable parts that provide good performance. With the PC configurations I made, you get more powerful Quadro GPU for 3D, VR & other applications, and much more ability to upgrade your system to fulfill your needs, or to last you for a long time to come.

While there’s no laptop with the same Quadro GPU by the time of writing this post, I guess that you could get one in a matter of time. Laptops are still a good choice for working on the go, and better than the creative PC module for that, as long as you don’t mind having some cables on your desk.

If money is never an issue for you, then I see nothing wrong with having the creative PC module with its compact design & all. Let’s wait to see how artists fair with it after some time from now.

If you don’t want to build your own PC, you can find all sorts of pre-built PC in the following Amazon links:-

If you’re looking for a laptop to use with your Cintiq instead of the creative PC Module Kindly find the available laptops with Quadro GPUs in the following Amazon links, you could refine the search in case you don’t specifically need a Quadro card in your laptop:-

SweetMonia
I am an anime artist, and huge fan of digital art. I love drawing with pencils too. But I rarely do that anymore nowadays. Since some aspects of digital art can be tricky, I try my best to explain the concepts as easily as possible.

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