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  #1  
02-19-2015, 11:07 AM
Prelude Prelude is offline
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Hi,

Here is my situation: I have this very expensive Mac Pro, display, all that stuff but it turns out that the consistent advise on this board is: get a stoneage piece of hardware to capture

So... I did! I came across a ATI AIW 8500DV for 20 bucks from a guy that lived only a couple of miles away. It came with everything included, nicely wrapped in anti-static bags and all. This is however where my luck starts running out.

It has been since, oh, 2002 that I last used windows for any daily work. Windows 2000 is the last OS I ran and I used XP quite a bit in multi-boot or vm but not for anything serious. Keep this in mind as you read on because you may think I am

I inserted the capture card into an old fujitsi-siemens scaleo600 which has 1.5GB of ram and a 2.8ghz P4 with HT. The machine came with a windows license on the casing but not with a CD. I used what I could get my hands on to install. In the end I had a booting system running windows XP SP3 and all the 107 updates that microsoft handed out to me. This is where the fun began. To begin with, the onboard audio would not work properly. After many hours of digging I gave up and placed a linux CD in the machine (that OS I DO know about ) and used lspci to identify all the hardware. I rebooted in windows and downloaded the audio drivers from some vague website. After a few drivers were tried I got this error that "the device could not be started". At that point I decided to concentrate more on the videocard and worry about audio later.

The videocard came with two cd's. One was the orginal and the other was an update the previous owner ordered, according to him. The discs are labelled as: 180-V01043-100 and 180-G01445-200. Windows XP recognizes the hardware if you auto detect plug 'n play devices so without installing any of the CD's I did get virtualdub to open the capture device but had serious trouble getting the capture settings right. To address this problem I downloaded vlc and used it's capture function to set the standard to PAL_B 25fps and 720x576. Close VLC and open VirtualDub and presto!

Trying to get the ATI software installed ended in some sort of error I can't recall but it comes down to not beeing able to isntall some of the software. The newer CD had similar problems. To my surprise the display resolution (1920x1080) is supported but somehow I have to scroll my display. The image is "blown up" on screen.

To get around all these infuriating problems after 2 days of trying and numerous reboots (geez) I made a windows 7 dvd and tried to install that. I guess this system does not like windows 7 because as soon as copying files emerged, the system halted with some huge number. I tried to get around that by installing windows 7 in a vm and copying the disk image to a hard drive. I got that booting but it would reboot every single time and system repair could not fix it. Back to ANOTHER reinstall of windows XP...

By now I was getting back into the windows-zone and I got this utility "driver genius". It suggested 6 new drivers for my system aannnddd it crashed on installing the second. Unphased with my newfound windows determination I kept going untill all of them were installed, or at least they seemed to be but the audio just. would. not. work. To get around this hinderance I dashed to the barn, dug through a pile of boxes and found my old collection of soundcards (upon seeing my GUS, some memories came back, second reality anyone?!). I picked the first PCI soundcard I saw and took out my trusty philips screwdriver.

Victory! I now had a working soundcard! alas, I seemed to miss the right channel. Giving up on audio all together for now I picked up an old usb<>audio dongle and moved on to actually capturing. I set the compression to huffyuv (I installed the MT version) checked all settings and double checked them! Set the capture file on the fresh and empty disk on the secondary controller (with not other devices) and hit test-capture.

what is this trickery! I see the counters going up for about 3 seconds and then... nothing. I tried uncompresed yuv2, disabling audio, all sorts of combinations I could think of but it just won't work.

I give up here. Throwing in the towel, admit my defeat to the microsoft boys

So you got this far, thanks for reading my rant The two real questions I have are:

1. can anyone help me out here? I could even set up teamviewer or something if need be but I must have been out of windows (fortunatly) for too long.

2. Could anyone please explain to my why this is so much better then my USB empia based videograbber in combination with videoglide on my mac? From what I understand the highly praised USB 600 by ATI is nothing more then some ti chip for tuner and an empia frame grabber? The reason I went the ATI route is that I WANT the best, but not at the cost of my health I would really love a well funded explanation perhaps with some examples to understand where to find/see the difference.

Thanks a lot!
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  #2  
02-19-2015, 11:08 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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XP SP3 was one problem. Most capturing hardware and software hates SP3. Use SP2. SP3 added tons of "security" junk that did little more than makes a mess -- and still didn't really do anything for security.

Onboard audio is usually based on the AC97 chipset, and rarely works well. Not only does it fight you on the install, but the audio is subpar compared to a $20 SoundBlaster card. You need a PCI audio card. Onboard audio is not suggested. It can sometimes work, but usually does not.

I'm trying to collect ATI disc images, so I'd like to get those ISOs from you. Upload them to Dropbox.

ATI cards (and most capture hardware in general) is best in XP, or even XP only. Windows Vista was sometimes workable, Windows 7-8 are usually terrible. Analog video capture was an activity of the 2000s, and anything from the 2010s will not work well. You're time locked.

All video capture needs a specific install order. Video is not a quick or easy task, and requires patience. That appleis to install as well. You have to install the graphics driver, then the WDM/Catalyst drivers, then test in VirtualDub, then install ATI MMC and test it.

USB audio often has a time lag, and is not suggested. If you had right-channel-only issues, it's almost always a hardware error. Try another card.

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  #3  
02-20-2015, 09:38 AM
Prelude Prelude is offline
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Thanks LS.

Hmm ok, so I have done some digging around and found a XP SP2 disc which fortunatly had the serial written on top of it I installed this version and disabled the automatic updates (else I would be upgraded to SP 3 correct?)

I tested the system directly after the install with the WDM (microsoft) drivers installed and it seems that everything works as expected, that is I still have that weird right audio channel problem but that is hardware I am convinced. I was excited to see that the test capture [F7] worked out just fine but the moment I set my capture file [F2] to any of my drives, be it the system or scratch drive the test capture showed the same problem as described above. The audio frames would add up but video stops counting after 3 seconds or so.

I will try installing the ATI stuff from those discs and see what happens next.

I do not like dropbox and other types of sites like that so I put the images up for you, I'll pm you the link.

-P
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  #4  
02-20-2015, 09:59 AM
NJRoadfan NJRoadfan is offline
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What type of hard drive is in the machine? Odd frame drop/sync issues can be disk I/O related.

I haven't had any problems running the ATI hardware on XP SP3. I would recommend a clean install and stay away from the driver genius!

For sound, Creative Labs is known to have awful and annoying drivers just like ATI. Seek out the daniel_k driver pack if its a Live! or Audigy card. XP should auto install at least a basic driver for a SB Live! card, but there were many models released and some weren't supported.

I'll take the GUS if you don't need it. My 486 has an empty slot.
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  #5  
02-20-2015, 10:34 AM
Prelude Prelude is offline
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I have two hard drives in the system. One is a 160GB 7200rpm drive made by seagate, it hosts the OS and software. The other is a sata drive, 320GB 7200 RPM forgot the who made it. Since the machine has no SATA ports I use a PATA <> SATA converter. I tried benchmarking software and I get 70mb/s sequential, which I am asuming video capture is.

The install method of drivers first and mmc later worked out. I now have all the drivers functioning it seems but my capture woes are still there. It is my understanding that the "test capture" function does not write anything to disk but rather tests the capture software stack (and writes output to the windows equivalent of /dev/null)

Even though I now have all the ati stuff working, including mmc, got my audio card working (some pci card I still had that did work) and I have a dedicated capture drive, I still get no decent capture. Please check the attached image. The framerate keeps dropping down to 0 (eventually) this is with no capture file set, if I do set a file the video size goes up to about 9000KB and just stops and the framerate is not even calculated.

As far as the GUS is concerned, I have stacks of old hardware but only one GUS so I do not beleive I will be parting with it

-P


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  #6  
02-20-2015, 10:56 AM
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It's a drive issue. Try it with an IDE, and see what happens. It's likely that the IDE/SATA converter has issues. Either that or the drive.

Don't use "test capture". Just capture something. Delete it when done. That's real test.

What's a GUS?

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  #7  
02-20-2015, 11:08 AM
Prelude Prelude is offline
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I understand that the converter would be the first to be suspected but I do not beleive it to be the bottleneck at this point since (admittedly synthetic) testing with a benchmark suite shows more then adequate throughput. I tested the OS drive for the capture since I do not have any working IDE drives of any usefull size available to me right now.

Having said that, capturing to a drive displays the exact same behaviour. The virtualdub pane shows me that 263 frames were dropped and 484 frames were inserted on a sample recording of 47 seconds.

I am used to using *nix based systems and CLI tools with ample logging, does virtualdub log somewhere or can I increase the debugging level?

-P
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  #8  
02-20-2015, 11:11 AM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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Be sure that you're not capturing uncompressed. Use loss Huffyuv.

Also be sure that it's capturing 29.97 fps. I've caught a fresh VirtualDub install set to capture 59.94 or 60 fps. The source is only 29.97, so it has to drop the extras. It can't cap what doesn't exist.

EDIT: You're PAL. So 25 fps is right, and 50 fps is wrong.

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  #9  
02-20-2015, 11:16 AM
Prelude Prelude is offline
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I am capturing PAL_B 25fps and that is what it is set to. I use huffyuv_mt (multi threading) and I tried it with MT on and off. I am beginning to suspect problems with IRQ lines since a lot of the audio devices I tried keep giving me the inexplicable error (10) device cannot be started. With the original (also ati) videocard in the system I did not encounter this problem so either the card has a problem or auto-configure goes wrong somewhere.

Perhaps I am way of here but it's a fairly simple test to rule out.

-P

PS a GUS is a Gravis Ultra Sound

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravis_Ultrasound
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  #10  
02-20-2015, 11:22 AM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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Ah! I remember Gravis cards. I used a PAS: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pro_AudioSpectrum
I did a lot of early a/v on a 486, eons ago.

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  #11  
02-20-2015, 01:23 PM
Prelude Prelude is offline
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Yes!

I have made some progress finally. Removing the audio card (and disabling the onboard audio) gave me 0 dropped frames so from there I started to work back. It would seem that the option "enable audio playback" was the cause of all the trouble. I had initially turned that on to be able to monitor what was going on but I simply switched to having the line-in playback on in the windows mixer.

All in all this has been a fascinating journey through windows From this I can conclude, but I would have to test all other scenario's to rule everything out though, that:
  • SP3 seems to not have been of influence directly.
    The drivers installed by microsoft for the ATI card seem to be enough for capture
    the pata <> sata converter is not the bottleneck
    huffyuv_mt has a different magic bit/flag/identifier/whatever so although VLC supports huffyuv, HYMT is not recognised and not played. The same goes for my mac. I will have to revert to the normal huffyuv or just stick with YUV2. Not that big a deal.

The fact that this old machine only has 100mbit networking, and that old PCI busses can't decently do gigabit anyway is a bit of a bummer. I am going to look into capturing on USB2 drives since copying from the windows system to my mac is a loooong wait. Perhaps capturing on the builtin drive and copying to USB2 will work just a well, still making up my mind on that.

Thank you all for your support! The other topics I mentioned I'll split of into different subjects because I AM very interested to see how the capture card stands out from my USB device.

Finally the GUS thing, great audio cards back then and yes, I started video capture way back in the 90's as well with those brooktree BTxxx cards. I still have two of those laying around somewhere even, perhaps 3. Back then my 486 DX266mhz could not keep up though I stopped with video because of hardware restraints and only recently decided to pick it up again because I felt that it was time to migrate my old analog collection from the medium it was/is on now to a newer medium. I work in datamanagement so lifecycle management is something I am all to familiar with.

-P
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  #12  
02-20-2015, 01:56 PM
NJRoadfan NJRoadfan is offline
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Those PATA to SATA converters can be hit or miss. Even though its supposed to work, they usually don't. PCI SATA adapters are cheap enough and generally work better. What model sound card is in the machine? It sounds like the card or its drivers is holding up the PCI bus. Also what chipset is on the motherboard? Creative cards have been known to cause MAJOR problems with VIA chipset boards.

As for gigabit Ethernet, it'll work fine on the PCI bus (my P4 system have built in on the PCI bus), it just won't have optimal throughput due to shared bandwidth between other devices (1000Mbit links come close to saturating PCI's 133MB/sec bus speed). It will transfer noticeably faster then a 100Mbit link though. Many board vendors got around this problem by connecting the Ethernet controller directly to the southbridge, but the feature only really appeared on Intel i865 boards.
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  #13  
02-20-2015, 02:11 PM
Prelude Prelude is offline
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Hmm, Well I do have a sata raid controller laying around. The busses have been shot but I can fix at least part of that so maybe I'll hook that up without the raid function.

I had a SB PCI card (that it what it said it was anyway) but replaced it with a Aureal Vortex 8820. Not sure what it is, SB clone no doubt but it works. The chipset as far as I can figure out is made by SiS.

I know about PCI bandwidth. I currently have a gigabit PCI card which is actually a 64 bit card but they work in 32 bt slots in a dual pentium 233 but it won't go over 14MB/s which is barely faster then 100mbit. I do have a bunch of other cards laying around to check but I don't think I'll bother since I do not expect to see speeds close to the drive limit anyway.

Because of the operating system, the specs and in short all the shortcommings (imho) of this systsem I intend to only use it for capturing, nothing else. If I run into the need to do avisynth or anything (which I'm sure I will) I'll run all that in a XP VM on my mac pro. Even with the virtualisation layer that machine is so many many times faster than that old crappy P4 that it makes no sense to do anything else on that machine. Besides, compared to my mac it's as noisy as a 747. Also, vmware fusion integration makes for a much nicer place to work with windows apps where needed.

My workflow for now will be to capture video to the internal harddrive, with or without the sata card that is yet to be determined and then copy the resulting image over to either my lan (I have oodles of online and nearline storage) or to an external drive that I can hook up to my mac pro directly. The copying I would do during the night when I am not bothered by the noise and I'd pick up with the "real" work on my mac the following day.

Thanks for thinking along!

-P
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  #14  
02-20-2015, 02:23 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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eSATA is your friend.

See my recent post here: Capture using Windows 7 and using new capture card?
Do that. Make your life easier.

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