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11-02-2009, 01:28 PM
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There is a lot of discussion concerning the vcr’s and outboard equipment for video capture, however, there is not information concerning the computer. Since the prize capture card are the older ATI AIW, I under the opinion it’s best to build a dumb down system. The plan is to build a box to use exclusively for capturing. One thought is to purchase a P4 dell workstation such as a Precision 380 or would it be better to build one from scratch. If from scratch, what would be some recombination for motherboards? Does the chipset make a different? Also is there any advantage of using an AGP over PCI capture card?
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11-03-2009, 06:59 PM
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I don't know that I'd call it "dumbed down" necessarily, but the minimum power/resources required for capturing video in standard definition was surpassed years ago now. Anything that is 2Ghz or faster, P4 or AMD, tends to work perfectly fine. Edge goes to Intel, however, when using certain tools that require SSE2 or SSE3 CPU instructions -- something missing from many AMD chips.

The biggest reason to get an older system is for the coveted AGP slots, using one of the highly-regarded ATI All-In-Wonder Radeon AGP cards. Guides, of course, are at:
http://www.digitalfaq.com/guides/video/capture-ati-mpeg.htm
http://www.digitalfaq.com/guides/video/capture-ati-avi.htm

The second reason is that you can build a box very low-cost, and without "messing up" your normal computer. Or inversely, you can create a system that is free of the mess often found on a person's regular computer (and that includes the Internet!!).

The Precision 380 appears to be a dual-core system with PCI Express bus -- so that probably isn't the best option for a capture box, if you were looking towards those ATI cards. "Isn't the best" as in "won't work".

The only thing to maybe avoid is the VIA line of motherboards, that were often used on cheaply-made AMD and Intel Celeron systems. Aside from that, stick to normal good advice. Meaning a good board is one from Intel, Asus, nVidia, ... and that other brand I always forget (the one nobody's ever heard of).

There is really nothing for or against the slot types, AGP vs PCI capture cards, it's all about the card itself. A Matrox PCI card is going to be better than an ATI AIW AGP, but a Hauppauge PCI is not as good as the ATI. It's not really about the slot.

You are wise to consider the whole enchilada here. It is "DIGITAL VIDEO" after all, don't forget the "digital" part! The computer and capture card can be just as important as that VCR.

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11-04-2009, 01:12 PM
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After doing some price checking the best value (that is something under $100 or less) seems to be the Dell’s. Not to mention finding and assembling all the pieces. The Dell workstations seem to be pretty solid workhorses. All the Precision 380, 370, 360 or Optiplex GX620, GX520, GX280 are available with P4 HT processors. But they also have, as you call, PCI Express bus.

The small towers do have 2 or 3 PCI slots available. Could an ATI AIW PCI card plugged into one of these slot to meet the video & capture needs?

Is the same card used for both the computer monitor out and for capture; or should there be a video card for the computer monitor and use the ATI AIW PCI card strictly for capture?
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11-04-2009, 01:37 PM
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Graphics (monitor signal) and video in/out both pass through the ATI All In Wonder cards, yes. I don't know that you can have it capture, but not use it as graphics. I don't think that's possible, no.

I would suggest the AGP route over using the PCI card route, if possible. You'd have to either switch between the ATI card and the other one (PCI-e) as needed, or just leave it on the ATI PCI card. I don't really suggest that, I suggest going with the AGP cards.

I'm not fond of Dell, too many proprietary parts inside.

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