Apple fanboy but should I buy a Windows box just to encode MP4s?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by RealEvil, Oct 12, 2009.

  1. macrumors 6502


    I have a iMac 2.8 (about 2 years old - so its the new style but a 800Mhz FSB Core 2 Duo). Decent quality MKV -> AppleTV 720P MP4s with Video Monkey take ages ( 2 hours or so) and then I also want a lower quality MP4 for my iPhone.

    So, I have a old mATX case and I have spent the last few days looking at what Quad Core you can get for very little cash. I can go either:

    - AMD. 3GHZ Phenom 2 X4 940 for about £120. 785G MBoard for £65. 4GB DDR3 RAM £65. 1TB HD £60. £310 in total approx.

    - Intel. Core i5 750 £150. MBoard £105. 4GB DDR3 RAM £65. 1TB HD £60. Cheap PCI Express Video Card £40. £400 in total approx.

    Both of these machine would smoke my current CPU for encoding AND can be overclocked too.

    What do you think? I would love to go Intel Quad Core + HyperThreading but its a little too expensive.

    Anyone else considered this route? I wont use this machine as a primary machine at all, just for encoding and maybe in the future a Blu Ray burner etc.

  2. macrumors P6


    its a good idea i guess. but why arent you using handbrake to queue all your conversions? then you can leave them overnight or something.

    personally i would go for a lower end CPU (E8500 @3GHz) or something, then get a decent graphics card. use the GPU to do your video converting using CUDA :D

    THEN you will have a system that can convert movies fast.

    a GPU can convert movies at least 10x faster then any CPU can.
  3. macrumors 6502

    I am looking around and very few people seem satisfied with any apps or their output that use CUDA. Do you have any experience of it?

    I could batch everything up and run them at night... but where is the fun in that!

    I thought about the Turbo.264 HD but the reports seem mixed.
  4. macrumors P6


    i have used nvidias CUDA application once, it was a pretty good experience! it was a demo so i could only convert a limited portion of the movie but it was very fast, even though i only have the lowest supported model (8500GT).

    FWIW, snow leopard using QT can export using the GPU (i am fairly certain). nice speed increases there

    haha converting movies isnt meant to be fun!

    its a piece of crap, dont get it.
  5. macrumors 6502

    Is the Turbo.264 HD that bad? Some people complain about audio sync issues but since later versions of the s.w these seem rare. It cannot do 2 pass, but if it could do a very decent 1 pass I could maybe live with it.
  6. macrumors P6


    from benchmark memory it will be slower then what you have now, or just about the same. seems like a piece of junk imo.
  7. macrumors 6502

    How many movies do you have to convert?
  8. macrumors regular

    I was also wondering about the same thing. Short of buying a Mac Pro, does anyone use a dedicated machine for conversion ? If so, could you please share impressions and details. Thanks !
  9. macrumors newbie

    I have a Core 2 Quad hackintosh that I built primarily for encoding. I went with the hackintosh to have easy bonjour access to the rest of my machines, to be able to control it from my MBP, and to not need different programs. It does a good job, at least a lot better than my MBP. My machine is a C2Q9550, GA-EP45-DS4P MB, 8800GT gfx, with 8 gb ram. I initially ran it using EFI-X and leopard, and it did its job, but that company has been less than supportive as of late (a whole mess of issues involving SL compatibility with their v1 chip) so I upgraded to SL on my own with few issues.

    Here it is in it's shiny, mirror polished g5 case glory
  10. macrumors P6


    WOW verdee.... i love the shiney MP.
  11. macrumors 6502a


    I just built an i5 system with 4GB of RAM and a GTX260 for about $500 to use for encoding videos and a bit of Windows gaming.

    I was originally going to get a new mini for my video encoding needs, but I couldn't resist the i5 once I started reading reviews. I haven't gone the Hackintosh route with it yet, but once I have some time over the holidays I'll tinker with it.

    Using Handbrake for Windows and the Apple Universal preset, I can encode a 2 hour movie in about 20 minutes. On my 2.4GHz MBP, it takes close to two hours. I no longer have to queue Handbrake to encode overnight, and I've got a system that plays games better than any current Mac, for less than the cost of a mini.

    My MBP is still my main computer, but until Apple once again makes a desktop computer with desktop parts, I'm keeping my ugly but powerful box.
  12. macrumors G4

    Looks like you too have figure out how to build a Hackintosh without vilating Apple's license. All that Apple requires is that you have an "Apple labelled computer" No one could argue a Powermac is not an Apple labelled computer. Apple has never had a problem with people doing CPU upgrades like you did.

    I have an old G4 tower that I might also upgrade to a quad core Intel CPU.

    Actually what you have is not a "Hackintosh". It's a "Real Mac" with some of the parts upgraded.
  13. macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    I think you ought to build one of these. :)
  14. macrumors 6502

    That looks pretty sweet. So once you install SL, all Software Updates etc are fine to download... except EFI ones?

    I have a Samsung N300 netbook which I 'hackintoshed' but that involved downloading a custom disk with (i think) a custom modification to Leopard. I dont want to do that again.

  15. macrumors 6502


    Hi - sounds like you had the same thoughts as me. So I guess for $500 you got the i750? I have been reading about the 860 which has HyperThreading which looks like it blows the i750 away. I hate the 'another £50 gets me X more' syndrome which buying Macs tends to take you away from (its 'another £150 to get X more' on a mac so its often a easier decision ;-) ).

    Does anyone know if HyperThreading is solely at the CPU level and not controlled by Windows... i.e. does a Hackintosh HT system utilise it well?
  16. macrumors 6502a


    The HyperThreading is on the chip and not controlled by Windows. It can be turned off in BIOS, however. All the reports that I read said that HT had to be disabled to get a stable overclock, so keep that in mind if that is your plan.

    The price was the other big factor for me in going with the i5. I got it for $160, whereas the i7-860 was $290. With both processors having the potential to break 4 GHz, I couldn't justify the price difference. I'm running my i5 at 3.2 GHz right now, but I'm only using the stock cooler. I'm sure I'll be able to see the speeds reviewers did once I get better cooling.

    I haven't built a PC for myself in years. I forgot how fun it can be!

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