New computer: My review of my HP m9340f and OSX86 (iDeneb).

Well not so new, I bought it back in March. And while I have been enjoying the 6GB of RAM daily, I haven’t really utilized the system fully. That is until today. I have been practicing escapism this week by watching complete seasons of various TV shows and other DVDs. A couple of my discs were scratched causing the player to skip which was driving me crazy. Jokes and dramatic scenes ruined by a scratch on a disc is aggravating. Creating soft copies was my solution to this problem. I have plenty of space, 1.5TB of space to be more precise on this new machine. Of which .93TB is already claimed.

The new PC is a pre-built; which is a deviation from my norm but it was more cost effective doing so. Not to mention I had been out of the game (PC hardware) for some time now and wasn’t sure what was the absolute best. Not suggesting that I would of bought the best, merely noted the performance and outrageous price then bought a generation or two back. I had thought of buying from Apple but eventually decided not to; again price. I ended up buying from NewEgg.com a refurbished HP Pavilion Elite m9340f, an ASUS VH222H 21.5″ Widescreen 16:9 Full HD 1080p LCD Monitor with HDMI input, and a 1TB bare SATA drive from Hitachi.

The PC was chosen on narrowing searches. First price, $800 total including monitor. Second, I wanted a Intel processor because I intended to put Apple’s OSX Leopard on it and Intel processors are better supported. Then I started looking toward the Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quads because the speed of Intels weren’t much faster than my previous 4 year old PC aside from the faster bus rate. During this search I noticed in the sigs of a few members on a OSX86 forum the m9340f coming up frequently. It wasn’t too far over my initial budget which soon was increased, justified by claiming that I wouldn’t be buying another PC for at least 2 years.

Well I placed the order and waited. UPS can be so slow; too bad NewEgg doesn’t offer a reasonable FedEx option. During this time I decided to further read on what is involved in installing OSX86. Turns out there are several distro’s of hacked, binary drivers, and other general modifications needed to get OSX running on non-Apple produced hardware. I downloaded and burned each distro with eager anticipation of UPS delivering the goodies. The day they were to be delivered I was scheduled to work a double and could not be there to sign for them. I left a note instructing him to leave it at the back door. He did and ever since he always delivers to the back door which is awesome.

I unboxed the PC and immediately cracked open the case, removed the TV tuner, removed the modem (seriously who the hell uses these nowadays), and installed the 1TB Hitachi drive. I then created a wiki on my Powerbook to note each advantage and disadvantage of each distro. Luckily there were only 5 note worthy distros but I ended up installing each about 4 times. Each time installing a different set of drivers trying to find the most optimal fit. With these hacked binary drivers you couldn’t just install all the drivers at once; most of them were only slight variations of code with the same driver name; just addressing different hardware addresses/resources. But yes I ended up installing OSX about 20 times before coming to my current install.

After I was sure I found the one; I started settling in. I started FTPing all the data on my previous 4 300GB HDs onto the 1TB drive. I was downloading at 9.5Mb/sec which was great; it was maxing out the old PC’s processor trying to throw all that data at the new SATA drives. It still took a considerable time because that high speed could only be held on large files, smaller files spent more time dealing in formal transmission code than transferring data.

The ASUS VH222H 1080p monitor is freakin’ awesome. Going from 17″ CRTs and a 12″ LCD this is…well I can’t think of a better adjective than awesome. It has three video inputs, VGA, DVI, and HDMI. I have my old PC on the VGA, new PC on the DVI port, and if I get a PS3 I’ll be putting it on the HDMI port.

I can’t believe I went this long with what now seems like crap. I mean I thoroughly am enjoying this great setup.

Oh but back to the original intention of this post. I started making soft copies of the DVDs I have been using HandBrake. Which is an all in one solution to going from DVD to (MKV, OGM, MP4, or AVI). HandBrake is an open-source, GPL-licensed, multiplatform, multithreaded video transcoder, available for MacOS X, Linux and Windows. Multi-threaded means it will utilize all the processing power of each core. Which makes it remarkable fast in encoding videos.

Literally in the time it has taken me to type up this post I have converted The Matrix (1999) to MKV (H.264 video and AC3 audio) using a two pass method. Something that would of taken my previous machine about 14 hours of exclusive use to encode to DivX codec and MP3 stereo, single pass. And running a browser would of been impossible without increasing the time substantially and lagging like hell.

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The PC specs are:

HP m9340f Specs
Brand HP
Series Pavilion Elite
Model M9340F(KQ497AAR)
Recommended Usage Media Center / HTPC
Processor Intel Core 2 Quad Q6700(2.66GHz)
Processor Main Features 64 bit Quad-Core Processor
Cache Per Processor 2 x 4MB L2 Cache
Memory 6GB DDR2 800
Hard Drive 750GB SATA 7200RPM
Optical Drive 1 SuperMulti DVD Burner with LightScribe Technology
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce 9500GS, 512MB GDDR2 memory
I/O Ports: HDMI, VGA, dual-link DVI
Audio High Definition Audio
Ethernet Integrated 10/100/1000Mbps network interface
Wireless Card Wireless LAN 802.11 b/g/n
Keyboard HP multimedia keyboard
Mouse HP PS/2 optical mouse
Special Features HP Personal Media Drive Bay NTSC TV tuner, over-the-air ATSC high-definition Digital TV tuner, and FM tuner HP Media Center remote control with IR (infrared) receiver
Motherboard
Chipset Intel G33
CPU
CPU Type Core 2 Quad
Installed Qty 1
CPU FSB 1066MHz
CPU Speed Q6700(2.66GHz)
L2 Cache Per CPU 2 x 4MB
CPU Socket Type LGA 775
CPU Main Features 64 bit Quad-Core Processor
Graphics
GPU/VPU Type NVIDIA GeForce 9500 GS
Graphics Interface PCI Express x16
Memory
Memory Capacity 6GB DDR2
Memory Speed DDR2 800
Form Factor DIMM 240-pin
Memory Spec 2GB x 2 & 1GB x 2
Memory Slots (Available/Total) 0/4
Maximum Memory Supported 8GB
Hard Drive
HDD Capacity 750GB
HDD Interface SATA
HDD RPM 7200rpm
Optical Drive
Optical Drive Type DVD Super Multi
Optical Drive Spec SuperMulti DVD Burner with LightScribe Technology 16x DVD±R, 8x DVD+RW, 6x DVD-RW, 8x DVD+R DL, 8x DVD-R DL, 12x DVD-RAM, 16x DVD-ROM, 40x CDR, 32x CDRW, 40x CD-ROM
Audio
Audio Chipset Integrated
Communications
Modem 56K
LAN Chipset Integrated
LAN Speed 10/100/1000Mbps
WLAN 802.11b/g/n Wireless LAN
Front Panel Ports
Front USB 2
Front IEEE 1394 1
Card Reader Front panel 15-in-1 memory card reader: supports SmartMedia, xD, MultiMedia Card, Secure Digital (SD), Mini Secure Digital, Compact Flash I, Compact Flash II, IBM Microdrive, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick Pro Duo, RSMMC, MMC Mobile, MMC+
Back Panel Ports
PS/2 2
Video Ports 1 VGA, 1 DVI, 1 HDMI
Rear USB 4
Rear IEEE 1394 1
RJ45 1 port
Rear Audio Ports 6 ports
S/P DIF SPDIF out (coaxial)
SPDIF in
Expansion
External Bays 2 x 5.25″ external
1 x 3.5″ external
Internal Bays 2 x 3.5″ internal
PCI Slots (Available/Total) (0/1) PCI slot
(0/1) PCI-E x16 slot
(0/2) PCI-E x1 slots
Mouse
Mouse Type HP PS/2 optical mouse
Keyboard
Keyboard Type HP multimedia keyboard
Physical Spec
Dimensions 16.61″ x 15.51″ x 7.00″
Weight 24.25 lbs.
Manufacturer Warranty
Parts 90 days limited
Labor 90 days limited

Oh and they gave me a region free DVD drive/burner in this refurb.

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3 Responses to New computer: My review of my HP m9340f and OSX86 (iDeneb).

  1. Damien says:

    I have the exact same pc as you, and have been desperatly trying to figure out how to install OSX86 properly. Is there any change you could tell me how to install it, and possibly get the drivers off you. Thanks for the post as well. Eagerly awaiting your reply.

  2. Corey says:

    Hey-
    I’m also looking at purchasing the same machine on eBay for the MacOS compatibility. Would you mind sharing your information with me, or linking me to your solution if found elsewhere?
    Thanks in advance!

  3. Dagaza says:

    Can you post all your information on how you did it?

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