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When the power button is pressed, the M58p starts with a couple-second burst of whooshing sound from the fan, which then slows to a much more moderate level. With the Windows Vista Business 32-bit OS, the system feels speedy and responsive with all the usual tasks most people undertake on a PC: Web browsing, email, creating and examining office documents, viewing and editing photos, downloading files, listening and viewing music/video.
The optical drive is typical; it can get quite loud when accessing data at high speed, but the maximum speed can be limited using software. The included keyboard feels a bit mushy, but the keys have a soft muted sound that quiet seekers would probably welcome. The center wheel optical mouse feels and behaves quite conventionally.
How does it sound? It is a bit noisier than the specified 24 dBA@1m SPL would suggest. The subjective impression is that the fan seems to be running faster that it needs to, there is some vibration from the HDD, and some higher pitched tonal elements make the overall noise signature more obtrusive than it has to be.
Before we delve further into the acoustics, let's test this PC for performance and value.
Measurement and Analysis Tools
- Eset NOD32: in-depth virus scan of a folder containing 32
files of varying size with of them being file archives.
- WinRAR: archive creation with a folder containing 68 files of varing size
(less than 50MB).
- iTunes: conversion of a MP3 file to AAC
- TMPGEnc Xpress: encoding an XVID AVI file to VC-1 (1280x720, 30fps, 20mbps)
SpeedStep was enabled, and the following features/services were disabled during
testing to prevent spikes in CPU/HDD usage that are typical of fresh Vista installations:
- Windows Sidebar
Our main test procedure is designed to determine the overall system power
consumption at various states (measured using a Seasonic Power Angel), and to
test the integrated graphics' proficiency at playing high definition video.
Standard HD-DVD and Blu Ray discs can be encoded in three different codecs: MPEG-2, H.264 / AVC and VC-1. MPEG-2 has been around for years
and is not demanding on modern system resources. H.264 and VC-1 encoded videos,
on the other hand, are extremely stressful due to the complexity of their
compression schemes and will not play smoothly (or at all) on slower PCs,
especially those with antiquated video subsystems.
We use a variety of H.264/VC-1 clips encoded for playback on the PC. The clips
are played with PowerDVD 8 and a CPU usage graph is created by the Windows Task
Manger for analysis to determine the approximate mean and peak CPU usage. High
CPU usage is indicative of poor video decoding ability on the part of the integrated
graphics subsystem. If the video (and / or audio) skips or freezes, we conclude
the board's IGP (in conjunction with the processor) is inadequate to decompress
the clip properly.
Video Test Suite
1080p | 24fps | ~10mbps
Rush Hour 3 Trailer 1
is encoded in H.264 with Apple Quicktime.
The Quicktime Alternative 1.81 codec was used to make it playable in
1080p | 24fps | ~7.5mbps
720p | 60fps | ~12mbps
1920x1080 | 24fps | ~19mbps
VC-1: Drag Race is a recording of a scene from
network television re-encoded with TMPGEnc using the WVC1 codec.
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