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04-29-2021, 12:09 PM
haoyangw haoyangw is offline
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Hi everyone!

After reading through much about digitising VHS and the best VCRs and video cards, I have tried searching for some of the recommended hardware online to find still-available ones to buy, and would like some advice on picking a suitable complete setup for digitising my old PAL VHS tapes. My plan is to get an old PC, install Windows XP SP2 on it, and buy the ATI Radeon All-in-Wonder VE 7500 PCI card in it to do analog-to-digital conversion. The setup should be VCR -> TBC -> All-in-Wonder 7500 -> PC.

VCR options:
-Panasonic NV-HS1000 with original box and accessories(accessories included are shown in the images attached below)

TBC(still finding an available one from the recommended list of DigitalFAQ's TBC Purchase Guide)

Video Card options:
-ATI Radeon All-in-Wonder VE 7500 PCI card(accessories included are: A/V in breakout box w/S-Video, Composite and L/R RCA audio S-Video, Composite, RCA Digital audio and 3.5 mm cable . See attached picture from listing. Are those all that I need?)

PC builds:
1) Dell Dimension 5150
-Windows XP SP2(Pre-installed with Windows 7 32bit SP1, will self-install XP after buying)
-Intel Pentium D 820 Dual-core 2.8GHz
-DDR2 Dual-channel 1GB RAM installed(sufficient right? not planning to use it for any other purpose)
-ATI Radeon X300/X550/X1050 Series pre-installed(Do I need to remove this? Or I can just uninstall the drivers and use my own ATI AIW without issue)
-2 * PCI(either will work with the AIW 7500 right?), 1 * PCI-e x16, 1 * PCI-e x1(both irrelevant since I'm not gonna buy a PCI-e AIW)
-2 * SATA II 3Gb/s(one with 153GB HDD already installed, planning to buy another 1TB for storing the digitised video files)
-1 * 4-pin CPU Fan connector
-7 * USB ports

2) Dell Vostro 200
-Windows XP SP2(Pre-installed with Windows 10, will self-install XP after buying)
-Intel Core E7400 Dual-core 2.8GHz
-DDR2 4GB(4 * 1GB) RAM installed(a little overkill right?)
-ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT GPU(installed in PCI-e x16, I don't need to remove it either right? Just uninstall the drivers?)
-2 x PCI(one already occupied), 1 * PCI-e x16, 1 * PCI-e x1(irrelevant like above right)
-1 * SATA I 1.5Gb/s(installed with 160GB HDD)
-8 * USB ports

3) Custom built PC
-Windows XP SP2(Pre-installed with Windows 10, will self-install XP after buying)
-MSI P45T-C51 motherboard
-Intel Core 2 Quad Q8400 Quad-core 2.66GHz(overkill right?)
-DDR2 4GB RAM installed(overkill right?)
-ATI Radeon X300 GPU
-3 * PCI, 1 * PCI-e x16, 2 * PCI-e x1(irrelevant too right), 1 * IDE
-6 * SATA II 3Gb/s(one installed with 320GB HDD)
-6 * USB ports

With those out of the way, here are my questions:
1) Which of the 3 PC builds do y'all think is sufficient? Obviously PC #1 is the cheapest, and I'm leaning most towards it since it should suffice as a machine purely for VHS digitisation and nothing else.

2) Would the All-in-Wonder card fit in all of the above PC builds? I have no clue about custom building PCs at all, so I'm not sure if there's any space constraints within the enclosure that I'm overlooked or what.

3) When installed in the PCI slot, I just connect the analog cables from the VCR/TBC directly to the analog ports of the All-in-Wonder right? And then my computer monitor connects directly to the VGA port of the All-in-Wonder as well? Not the VGA port that comes with the motherboard? And do I need to do anything else hardware-wise(e.g. remove something from the motherboard to make space or get a new CPU fan or something)?

4) How important is getting a high speed CPU fan to cool the All-in-Wonder card? I know that PC #1 already has a CPU fan, but is that sufficient?

5) I read on another thread that the cables for the All-in-Wonder cards are very rare and irreplaceable, so when purchasing them I should go for complete sets that have all the cables(see the image of the All-in-Wonder card listing below), which I have. But for VCRs, does the same advice apply? What cables do I need for VCRs? Because I can find quite a few listings for the recommended VCRs on the VCR Buying Guide thread, but most of them come with no cables at all. Do I just need the red, yellow and white cables(those are what's called 'component cables' right?) + the S-Video cables? What are the cables used to connect to a TBC?

6) On a related note, does a TBC require specialised cables like the All-in-Wonder too? Or can I purchase the cables separately relatively easily second-hand online?

7) I can't find any of the recommended TBCs on the TBC Buying Guide thread online(I live in Singapore, so my options for purchasing items from EU/US online retail websites, especially specialised ones like B&H, are limited), do you all have any other ideas apart from regularly searching eBay/Amazon/my local second-hand online market(called Carousell) for one?

Thank so much for all your help! Just FYI, I haven't bought anything yet, so feel free to make new suggestions that I haven't listed here!

-- merged --

Additional questions that I just thought of:
8) I read that it's best to keep the OS and the digitised video files on separate hard disks for best performance, is that true? I know SATA II 3Gb/s is quite fast already, but it still helps right?
9) I also read that TBCs are sensitive so it's best to attach it to a power surge protector. So for best safety, I should hook up my digitiser PC + VCR + TBC all to a UPS + power surge protector right? Are these two(UPS + power surge protector) sufficient for preventing any and all electrical issues or are there any other hardware that can help make this absolutely fault-resistant? Because my home occasionally has power outages due to a leaking roof short-circuiting the internal electrical wires in our cement walls and triggering our main circuit-breaker, so I think electrical issues may be rare, but still likely.
10) Any performance/quality/form factor(e.g. is there sufficient space to fit AIW card) comments on the PCs I listed above? Especially the Dell Dimension 5150 as the seller is very interested in selling and it's the cheapest(just US$15).
11) Should I upgrade the RAM on PC #1(Dell Dimension 5150) to DDR2 2GB total? Found second-hand 2 * 1GB DDR2 RAM on my local online market for US$6 total(unsure of quality, but good price)
Thanks again!

Attached Images
File Type: jpg All-in-Wonder-accessories-cables.jpg (32.3 KB, 4 downloads)
File Type: jpg Panasonic-VN-HS1000-accessories.jpg (75.9 KB, 2 downloads)
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