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Maximum 08-10-2017 08:49 AM

Old computer specs for ATI AIW VHS capturing?

I am looking to archive several dozen family VHS tapes and need an opinion on my PC specs.

I tend to keep my old computer hardware for nostalgia purposes, so I am lucky to still have my ATI AIW Radeon 8500DV. I didn't realize until searching recently that the AIW cards are so highly regarded for this purpose.

The basic system specs are as follows:
AMD Athlon XP 1600+
512MB ram
ATI AIW Radeon 8500DV
ASUS a7v266-e (no sata, no USB2.0)
HDD is IDE 7200 rpm 40-200GB

I'm just wondering what kind of system all of you bundle around these cards. Do you use the last generation AGP motherboards and processors or do you get by with even older hardware? My biggest concern is using old/very slow IDE drives for capture. Do most of you either use mobos with sata onboard or throw in a sata pci card?

I remember back in the day dropping frames often in virtualdub during analog capture with this system, but that may have been the codec I was using, as HDD space was at a premium back then.

lordsmurf 08-10-2017 09:02 AM

Your hardware is fine for both
- Huffyuv lossless capturing via VirtualDub
- MPEG-2 DVD-spec capturing via ATI MMC

IDE is not really that slow. The bigger issue is having an IDE drive dedicated to capture. You cannot share the IDE drive with the OS, as there is too much activity. That will cause dropped frames. (SATA-I is also not good for sharing OS, which is what you'll find with most SATA AGP systems.)

At this late date, you need to keep that box offline permanently. So uninstall any unnecessary startup programs, anti-virus, etc. Those old system are just good for offline specialty tasks like video capture.

512mb is a bit small. I'd feel more comfortable if it had 1gb minimum. However, 512mb can suffice.

The bigger issue is you need a quality VCR and TBC. Note that I have some available, so PM me if interested.

The dropped frames were likely due to:
- sharing HDD with OS
- no TBC
- not a good capture codec

Maximum 08-10-2017 09:29 AM


Originally Posted by lordsmurf (Post 50543)

The dropped frames were likely due to:
- sharing HDD with OS
- no TBC
- not a good capture codec

I have always used a separate HDD from my OS for capturing purposes, but good point!

I may have access to a decent JVC S-VHS deck, but I'm not sure if I can justify the cost of a decent TBC at this point.

In you opinion, if the footage/tapes are in ideal shape, will a TBC still make a great difference? I know that the answer will be subjective, but I don't have a large budget to work with. Are the gains made by using old hardware such as the AIW cards negated by not using a TBC (weakest link in the chain situation)?

lordsmurf 08-10-2017 09:43 AM

TBC isn't an option. Without one, you'll (at minimum) have lots of dropped frames. More likely, the video will simply refuse to capture. Analog video isn't friendly to being captured, and this is one of the hidden truths to transferring video.

Most people
- give up entirely
- give up, then seek out services to transfer for them
- just deal with the horrible setup that gave miserable quality, and did not let them transfer some tapes (all the while assuming that's how it works for everybody, and thinking VHS is a horrible format)

TBC isn't a permanent cost. Buy it, use it, resell it. Same for the VCR.

What model JVC do you have access to?

Maximum 08-10-2017 09:57 AM

I will have to ask about the JVC deck as it is a friends. As for the TBC, I will have to start looking I guess :laugh:.

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