Handbrake just updated to 0.9.4 which uses x264 libraries to encode faster and smaller file sizes. On my iMac Core i7 a DVD ripped 25% faster. It also has better xbox and ps3 presets, among other things. It depends on a now unavailable 64-bit version of VLC but you can still download the nightly builds here. [Handbrake]
On my 1.73 GHz dual core 32-bit Vista laptop, it ripped a movie about 46% faster. It usually took about 7.5 hours to rip a movie that was an hour and a half long. Now it takes about 4 hours.
File size also went down from a 1.4GB average per movie to 840MB average.
This was done in Power saver mode. Even when I did that, my laptop still overheated and I had to have a fan blow air on it. It ripped a two-hour movie today without the fan and I had uTorrent running at the same time.