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HP m9715f - Worth considering? for home entertainment & general use

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July 25, 2009 7:05:48 PM

Fry's is offering an HP m9715f new for $649, not much user info available. Anyone have experience with this system? Purchase this weekend or keep looking..... Seeking quick and quiet for home entertainment center (internet, photo editing, watching Blu-Ray, Streaming Music and Video) and general use.

Specs:
AMD Phenom 9650 Quad
780G chipset
Motherboard is MSI MS-7548 (integrated graphics but appears not to be utilized)
ATI HD4350
8 GB DDR2 SDRAM
750 7200 RPM SATA HD
Hauppauge TV Tuner with Remote Control Media Cntr
Vista Home Premium with Win 7 Upgrade
DVD Burner and Blu-Ray Player
300 Watt PS

Pros: Quick solution (I have not built a system previously), small form factor, decent capabilities at an okay price
Cons: Meager PS, limited upgrade potential, not much info available / limited user reviews

Does anyone have experience with this system- worth consideration / purchase?
August 27, 2009 11:44:18 PM

Its a decent system at a very good price. I recently saw the system at a visit to the Fry's store in Palo Alto, CA and "played with it" for about 30 minutes or so to get an idea of what it is. The computer according to HP has been in production for only a few months or so, its probably built especially for Fry's to replace its now gone GV (great value) in store brand of computers. That said, you'd be hard pressed to built it for the price that its currently selling for $699 + tax.

If you have to have the latest, fastest, computer, then this isn't for you. Unlike many sub $1000 computers, it has an expandable memory to 16, instead of just 4 like many inexpensive machines. Nor does it have wireless N capabilities, though that's not a major problem. Its equipped with a blu ray player, DVD burner, has a decent graphics card (but you'll need a DVI supported monitor to take advantage of the card) that is a decent budget choice, and there is room for at least one 5.25" drive and/or 3.5" drive and at least a couple of open expansion card slots. Hard to go wrong for the price; you won't find a Blu Ray drive in any mainstream desktop for under $950 (at least none that I've seen).
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August 29, 2009 12:55:41 AM

DJHS,
Thank you for the feedback. I am now evaluating the possibility of a build (this will be my first build from scratch) using the AMD X3 720 or X4 810 and a mother Board with the new 785G chipset. However, using the on board graphics and without the TV tuner, it will likely be 700-750 with the OS and blu-ray player. I am wondering how much noticeable advantage I will gain with the build vs the HP solution ?
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August 31, 2009 12:20:29 AM

Probably the biggest thing you'll get is the experience of assembling your own unit and learning about what makes a system tick. Its hard to judge how much difference you'll have, its dependent upon software and other hardware issues and application; however, a fair guess would be in the range of 5% to as much as 20% dependent upon the above. For the run of the mill applications, many people might not notice much difference. I think you'd be better off with a seperate graphics card in the PCI e16 slot, rather than the on board graphics. You can purchase various very modest priced cards for 50 - 75 that would do a very good job, especially for the money spent, rather than the on board graphics.
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September 9, 2009 4:57:19 AM

djhs said:
Probably the biggest thing you'll get is the experience of assembling your own unit and learning about what makes a system tick. Its hard to judge how much difference you'll have, its dependent upon software and other hardware issues and application; however, a fair guess would be in the range of 5% to as much as 20% dependent upon the above. For the run of the mill applications, many people might not notice much difference. I think you'd be better off with a seperate graphics card in the PCI e16 slot, rather than the on board graphics. You can purchase various very modest priced cards for 50 - 75 that would do a very good job, especially for the money spent, rather than the on board graphics.



Thanks again djhs- 20% is quite a bit, but certainly understand it could be less. Appreciate the advise and recommendations regarding the graphics card.
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September 19, 2009 7:22:23 AM

It's probably too late to warn anybody off, but I bought the HP m9715f at Fry's when it was on sale back in late July. It was an amazing price for the hardware.

Unfortunately any purchase savings have been wiped out many times over by the more than 100 hours I've spent trying to fix problems with this ill-engineered lemon. The problems fall into two categories, but they seem to come and go together, so I assume they're related. 1. Unbelievable slowdowns -- logging off, shutting down, starting up can each take over 15 minutes...*each*. The problem is almost certainly not Vista, since I did a factory-state recovery and, with no new software installed and a minimum of hardware, the problem still existed. 2. The BIOS and Device Manager both acknowledge the optical drive, but the machine frequently refuses to read it; it barely spins, while Explorer tries to read the directory but can't. Explorer draws the outline of a directory window, but never fills it in.

I have had innumerable emails and chat sessions with HP support, each time with a new tech who hasn't bothered to read the previous emails and thus suggests things that have already been tried. HP seems a) clueless and b) not to care in the least. Over at the HP forums, there are reports of identical problems on several models dating back more than a year. But it seems as though HP keeps building them, even though they haven't figured out what the problems are or how to fix them.

So count me as another person who will NEVER buy another HP product.
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