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.
The PC specs are:
|HP m9340f Specs|
|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|
|CPU Type||Core 2 Quad|
|L2 Cache Per CPU||2 x 4MB|
|CPU Socket Type||LGA 775|
|CPU Main Features||64 bit Quad-Core Processor|
|GPU/VPU Type||NVIDIA GeForce 9500 GS|
|Graphics Interface||PCI Express x16|
|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|
|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|
|WLAN||802.11b/g/n Wireless LAN|
|Front Panel Ports|
|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|
|Video Ports||1 VGA, 1 DVI, 1 HDMI|
|Rear IEEE 1394||1|
|Rear Audio Ports||6 ports|
|S/P DIF||SPDIF out (coaxial)
|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 Type||HP PS/2 optical mouse|
|Keyboard Type||HP multimedia keyboard|
|Dimensions||16.61″ x 15.51″ x 7.00″|
|Parts||90 days limited|
|Labor||90 days limited|
Oh and they gave me a region free DVD drive/burner in this refurb.