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11-22-2023, 06:28 AM
Frankysan Frankysan is offline
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I'm currently getting back into capturing VHS tapes, I was doing a lot of capturing in the early 2000s, so I have some experience.

I currently have (or have on order)
1. A Philips VR1100 VCR
2. A Sony PVM-9044QM CRT monitor
3. A cheapo AV2HDMI upscaler
4. An Elgato Game Capture HD60 Pro PCIe capture card

I know that the upscaler+Elgato combo is pretty far from ideal. So, what would be a good next step? I'm thinking of building a dedicated capturing PC with an ATi AIW card, as those can be found for relatively cheap. I don't think I'm going to have the budget for a full-frame TBC any time soon.

Last edited by Frankysan; 11-22-2023 at 06:56 AM.
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  #2  
11-25-2023, 05:15 PM
aramkolt aramkolt is offline
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The VR1100 is probably a good VCR at least, seems to have the Line TBC as it is a JVC clone. I'm still not totally sold on AIW cards just yet (even though I have spent the time to build a capture PC around the 9000 series). It can be quite frustrating to try to chase down a variety of issues that can occur with 20 year old hardware and I don't know that the bump in quality is necessarily that perceptible in the end. I think the main advantage of AIW is if you plan to capture to MPEG2 with ATI MMC which has good compression and maintains interlacing. It'll give you files that are more like 3-5GB per hour compared to 30GB+ for lossless captures.

All depends what you're going for I suppose. Newer capture cards like the GV-USB2 can be used with OBS and modern computing hardware and saved directly as your end format without having to go through multiple steps.

The irony of most analog to digital video captures is that most of them (home videos in particular) may only ever be watched a few times and a slight variation in quality isn't likely to change the overall viewing experience. You're unlikely to notice a dropped frame here or there, though you will be more likely to notice things like flagging/geometry issues that can occur without a line TBC or a panasonic ES-10.

All that being said, I'm still accumulating a bunch of random hardware (old rack mount full frame TBCs - particularly interested in those with line-dropout compensation and/or component output, video enhancers, proc amps, color bar generators-vectorscopes/waveform monitors for color adjust, USB audio interfaces that are super low-noise, and I'll probably even try VHS-Decode eventually) to test more for the science of it, but I won't at all be surprised if in the end I end up going with a nice VCR with line TBC, then directly to capture card (which will probably be the GV-USB2) and maybe an ES10 if there's image tearing or something. A lot of that hardware really doesn't have a use if the source tape is really good.

Heck, even the ADVC-110 which converts to DV format over firewire (which can subsequently be converted to USB-C/Thunderbolt and captured with modern computers easily looks really good, but it only does 4:1:1 chroma subsampling, so that's a no-go for a lot of people. Again, just kind of depends how picky you are about color accuracy which wasn't really great in a lot of home VHS tapes to begin with I'd imagine. For a plug and play solution, it doesn't get much easier than that, particularly if you have a Mac. Even QuickTime can capture directly from it with zero drivers required.

Personally I'd avoid converting to HDMI first unless there's something special about the HDMI converter such as, say, a line doubling feature like the Retrotink products have. That'll essentially convert the 480i into 480p 60fps
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  #3  
11-26-2023, 08:23 PM
Peter Dickow Peter Dickow is offline
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Hello folks,

My first post. This site has a lot of expertise, thank you in advance.

I have a storage bin of VHS, Sony Hi 8, Sony Handycam mini DVD, and Sony HDV material - family videos I recorded. I plan to archive most and reedit some of it in the months ahead. I worked in a TV newsroom and was experienced in shooting and editing, but am a bit challenged here at home. I still have the cameras they were recorded on.

The best method of capturing this material seems to be my main question. I've got the Elgato USB device, and have played around with capturing it into OBS. That seems to be work OK - I no longer have broadcast quality standards.

I also have a Canopus ADVC 110 that worked well at home years ago when I captured this material into the old Premiere CS 3. I like the device control and logging functions within Premiere, but I can't get the updated program (Premiere Pro 2023) to recognize my VHS device (Admiral TV/VCR combination), or the other cameras. I have firewire ports on my custom made computers, and, following advice on this site, updated the 1394 drivers to Legacy.

Thanks for any thoughts on best practices and solutions moving forward.

Peter
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  #4  
11-26-2023, 09:10 PM
aramkolt aramkolt is offline
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The ADVC should be recognized by most things, usually just requires a Firewire to Thunderbolt adapter - I've really only tried it on modern Macs, but they are recognized without any extra drivers usually. What's your current connection chain and computer/software setup?
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  #5  
11-27-2023, 10:11 AM
Peter Dickow Peter Dickow is offline
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Connection chain: RCA plugs from Admiral TV/VCR combo to front of ADVC Canopus 110 > Firewire from Canopus to PC firewire port. Running Windows 10 and using Premiere Pro 2023 (since latest version of PP no longer accepts capture). Device Manager tells me the firewire port is working.
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  #6  
11-28-2023, 07:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frankysan View Post
I'm currently getting back into capturing VHS tapes, I was doing a lot of capturing in the early 2000s, so I have some experience.
I currently have (or have on order)
1. A Philips VR1100 VCR
Welcome.

Decent deck.

Quote:
2. A Sony PVM-9044QM CRT monitor
CRTs have all drifted so much by now that their usefulness is over. These days, you really need the accuracy of a well calibrated IPS display.

Quote:
3. A cheapo AV2HDMI upscaler
4. An Elgato Game Capture HD60 Pro PCIe capture card
I know that the upscaler+Elgato combo is pretty far from ideal.
Yes, those will create low quality videos.

Quote:
So, what would be a good next step? I'm thinking of building a dedicated capturing PC with an ATi AIW card, as those can be found for relatively cheap. I don't think I'm going to have the budget for a full-frame TBC any time soon.
AIW will make for a fine system, but XP x86 only, and don't use an old P4 IDE box (SATA and dual core minimum). There are other options, with Win7 ideal for those. Win8/10/11 is a proble more than not. This is a legacy task (00s-10s), and needs the OS of that era.

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Originally Posted by aramkolt View Post
It can be quite frustrating to try to chase down a variety of issues that can occur
Agreed.

Quote:
with 20 year old hardware
It has nothing to do with age. New hardware is equally frustrating.

Quote:
and I don't know that the bump in quality is necessarily that perceptible in the end.
I think the main advantage of AIW is if you plan to capture to MPEG2
That's not it. It can be, it usede to be, but not really now. The main advantage is how accurate the values are (exposure, etc), and how it allows you to capture illegal levels (ie, not clipped to 16-235 legal, like almost all cards do, and rightfully so).

Quote:
Newer capture cards like the GV-USB2 can be used with OBS
That's not much better than using an Elgato or the HDMI adapter. Quality is compressed mess.

Quote:
You're unlikely to notice a dropped frame here or there, though you will be more likely to notice things like flagging/geometry issues that can occur without a line TBC or a panasonic ES-10.
Dropped frames cause audio sync issues.

Quote:
All that being said, I'm still accumulating a bunch of random hardware (old rack mount full frame TBCs - particularly interested in those with line-dropout compensation and/or component output, video enhancers, proc amps, color bar generators-vectorscopes/waveform monitors for color adjust, USB audio interfaces that are super low-noise, and I'll probably even try VHS-Decode eventually) to test more for the science of it, but I won't at all be surprised if in the end I end up going with a nice VCR
I did all that about 15-20 years ago. Interesting, but mostly me just wasting time, not accomplishing anything.

Quote:
A lot of that hardware really doesn't have a use if the source tape is really good.
Noting that good isn't about appearance. You can, and often will, have a video that seems to appear flawless, but it drops frames incessantly. That's because the signal and the visuals are not tied together. You can have either, or both.

Quote:
but it only does 4:1:1 chroma subsampling, so that's a no-go for a lot of people. Again, just kind of depends how picky you are about color accuracy which wasn't really great in a lot of home VHS tapes to begin with
The problem here is that it actually makes the marginal color look worse. View it on a typcial normal big screen, not a tiny preview windows or cell phone, and it's pretty obvious. It gets fuzzy, gray splotches (total desaturation of color), details are lost, color tints/hues are off ("why does grandma have a sunburn at Christmas?")

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Dickow View Post
Hello folks,
Welcome.

Quote:
The best method of capturing this material seems to be my main question. I've got the Elgato USB device, and have played around with capturing it into OBS. That seems to be work OK - I no longer have broadcast quality standards.
Not really. "OK" is really a stretch with these low-end devices, using webcam software (which is what OBS is). It can look so much better.

Quote:
I also have a Canopus ADVC 110 that worked well at home years ago when I captured this material into the old Premiere CS 3. I like the device control and logging functions within Premiere, but I can't get the updated program (Premiere Pro 2023)
The ADVC is 1990s tech, with a Pentium II minimum spec, and Pentium III recommended. It's not even legacy hardware, it's just plain damned old, like ISA cards and IDE drives. That fact that CS3 support it was honeslty more surprising than current versions not.

There are many better cards, but it depends on OS. Video conversion is a legacy task of the 00s in the 10s, so if you're trying to use Win10/11 or a new M1/2/3 Mac, you're going to have issues, or even find it impossible.

Beyond that, it's also about the playback quality, the decks used, and the presence of TBCs (which none of the capture cards have; and no, not that ADVC box either).

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  #7  
11-28-2023, 09:12 AM
Peter Dickow Peter Dickow is offline
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I'm using Windows 10 on a custom made machine. What capture process would you recommend from my VHS and other cameras?
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  #8  
11-28-2023, 09:44 AM
aramkolt aramkolt is offline
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Agree that with enough dropped frames you can definitely get audio sync issues, though don't apps like virtualdub do frame insertions to compensate on-the-fly which would prevent the audio sync issues? I can't remember if OBS does frame insertions though - it does show frame drop and rendering statistics though, so it seems to be aware of them at least.

I never quite understood why it would be better to have a TBC do frame insertions internally vs letting the computer do it since that will be the outcome either way if there are too few frames to work with - think if VCR ends up outputting 29.96fps instead of 29.97 (it's running slightly slow or has a slightly off clock speed)- you'll get one frame insert every 2996 frames. Frame drops on the other hand are not ideal since actual data is lost there. However, if the signal is messed up enough that the TBC also drops a frame, you just won't know about it as you can't see frame insert/drop statistics that the TBC does.

I think we can all agree that Elgato is the easiest and produces something you can look at, but trades quality for small file sizes (I think 2-3GB per hour?) which 95% of people won't be bothered by if they don't know something better exists - they'll just assume that is just VHS quality in a nutshell. If it's being viewed on a small cell phone screen, you probably won't be able to tell the difference between that and higher quality captures. I've actually seen YouTube videos of some professional services that just have a ton of Mac laptops running basic VCRs passed through ES-10's --> Elgato. The irony is that it probably does produce a better result than a lot of the other professional capture services (which don't use ES10's or TBCs). I do get the appeal that small files are easy to get back to customers and it is indeed watchable.

This one's for you, Lord Smurf if you haven't seen and want to cringe at an Elgato farm: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFm2bTUA9G4 I'm not actually knocking it - price just seems quite overpriced if you know what is being done. He is pretty transparent about what he's using in these videos - though it is not mentioned on his website that he uses very low cost and easily available consumer transfer devices, issue is that he charges something like $50 a tape (don't quote me on that) with a $350 minimum order on VHS (that is clear on his site), using $100 of equipment that is easily available on ebay.

Not trying to reinvent the wheel by re-trying a bunch of old hardware, but there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of direct comparison videos out there. Hardware testing is kind of half the fun for me with the idea that I'll eventually post results to prevent anyone else from needing to do the same sort of experiments and have more confidence in their video chain.

I will say the GV-USB2 should vastly outperform the elgato since it does output interlaced video correctly, preserving both fields whereas the elgato definitely does not.
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  #9  
11-28-2023, 03:23 PM
Peter Dickow Peter Dickow is offline
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So, you recomend the GV-USB2 as a capture device over the Elgato?

I note the comment from LS: "There are many better cards, but it depends on OS. Video conversion is a legacy task of the 00s in the 10s, so if you're trying to use Win10/11 or a new M1/2/3 Mac, you're going to have issues, or even find it impossible."

Discouraging to hear it may be impossible to use Win 10 to capture video. Shall I revert to an older version of Windows for capturing? And what about capture cards? Again, quoting LS:

"In terms of the capturing software:
- Use Pinnacle USB with VirtualDub, audio preview is allowed, WinXP/Vista/7/8/10 all work well."

Is that a suggested route? And that Pinnacle differs from the widely available Dazzle?

Please remember, this is for family viewing, perhaps only 2-3 times over the years ahead. I expect any video that results will have some glitches we all can live with.
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  #10  
11-29-2023, 02:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Dickow View Post
So, you recomend the GV-USB2 as a capture device over the Elgato?
It's not recommended, but rather "less worse".

Quote:
Please remember, this is for family viewing, perhaps only 2-3 times over the years ahead. I expect any video that results will have some glitches we all can live with.
You need to understand that you won't just have "glitches we all can live with", like momentary tracking noise in a VHS tape, or a quick digital booger you might get from cable/satellite/antenna. Bad conversions severely reduce the quality, worse than the original tape was. It often has lots of audio sync issues, jerky video, wrong colors, blown-out exposure, etc.

Quote:
I note the comment from LS: "There are many better cards, but it depends on OS. Video conversion is a legacy task of the 00s in the 10s, so if you're trying to use Win10/11 or a new M1/2/3 Mac, you're going to have issues, or even find it impossible."
Discouraging to hear it may be impossible to use Win 10 to capture video. Shall I revert to an older version of Windows for capturing? And what about capture cards? Again, quoting LS:
"In terms of the capturing software:
- Use Pinnacle USB with VirtualDub, audio preview is allowed, WinXP/Vista/7/8/10 all work well."
Is that a suggested route? And that Pinnacle differs from the widely available Dazzle?
Dazzle is junk, not recommended. The cards I have in the marketplace are specific versions of specific models.

Windows 10 and 11 will fight you. It's an OS from the post-capture era, and treats all capture cards like webcams now. Whereas Windwos XP and Windows 7 will generally just work, no issues.

You have to ask yourself this:
- Do you want to actually capture video?
- Or waste all your time trying to make the computer cooperate so you can hopefully maybe capture video? And that's generally the outcome of being cheap or lazy.

To a large degree, using Win10 is like voluntary punishment.

Certain cards do generally work, but each successive Win10 updates is a new situation, generally nuking cards that once worked. Certain pieces of other hardware, such as Nvidia cards, also conflict, for whatever unknown reason.

Of all the cards out there, the certain Pinnacles are the most resilient, and your best option with Win10.

But you also need to remember that the capture card is only part of the workflow, not the only piece. At very minimum you need a non-junk VCR, and an ES10/15 as TBC(ish). But realize this is far from ideal, but better than nothing, better than those Chinese garbage/scam cards (including "name brand" like Roxio, etc) on eBay/Amazon. FYI, "GV-USB2" is now a scam target, buyers are getting Easycaps now, beware.

Quote:
This one's for you, Lord Smurf if you haven't seen and want to cringe at an Elgato farm: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFm2bTUA9G4 I'm not actually knocking it - price just seems quite overpriced if you know what is being done. He is pretty transparent about what he's using in these videos - though it is not mentioned on his website that he uses very low cost and easily available consumer transfer devices, issue is that he charges something like $50 a tape (don't quote me on that) with a $350 minimum order on VHS (that is clear on his site), using $100 of equipment that is easily available on ebay.
We've re-done Got Memories low-end work more than once in the past decade. I have some samples somewhere. I vaguely remember a wedding conversion that was almost unviewable, and the main reason was lack of quality hardware. They blamed it on the tape, but the tape was perfectly fine. Their crap gear was the problem.

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  #11  
11-29-2023, 01:30 PM
camry_dude camry_dude is offline
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I am glad I found this thread. I have been reading a lot on the forums the past few days and I only have a few questions left regarding starting the VHS home video conversion project.

I tried this project several years back using a Dazzle device but was not impressed with the results (I know better now reading the forum)

I have recently purchased a Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U for this project as the Panasonic VCR's were more than I wanted to invest at this time.

I have a Windows 7 Ultimate PC, Dual Core, 8GB memory which I believe should work just fine for this project, it is also my Windows Media Center PC but that shouldn't cause any issues from what I have read

The question I have left is the capture card. For the ATI AIW card, I have seen a few options eBay. Either I can get a ATI All In Wonder 128 MB 9600 or would the ATI TV Wonder HD 650 with the RCA/S-Video input work just as well. Funny thing is I had a AIW card back in the 2000's and still have the purple dongle but the card is long gone now Unfortunately.
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  #12  
12-01-2023, 12:39 PM
BW37 BW37 is offline
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@camry_dude: Iím a bit surprised you havenít received a response from the usual sources yetÖ

Anyway, ATI AIWís donít work with Windows 7. AMD never developed the proper media drivers for the Rage Theater 100 and 200 based AIWs. Some pretty clever folks tried hard to overcome this and achieved some initial success force feeding the XP drivers into 32 bit Win 7 (and Vista?). In the end they all abandoned their efforts since they were always unstable and usually unrepeatable even then.

The later AIWs based on the later Theater chips, 500 and up, all had undesirable characteristics for analog SD capture, AGC problems being one of the primary complaints.

Windows 7 does provide a broader selection of viable capture options than Win 10, most of which are USB2 connected boxes and dongles, e.g. the ATI TV Wonder 600 HD and many others.

BW
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12-01-2023, 11:44 PM
camry_dude camry_dude is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BW37 View Post
@camry_dude: Iím a bit surprised you havenít received a response from the usual sources yetÖ

Anyway, ATI AIWís donít work with Windows 7. AMD never developed the proper media drivers for the Rage Theater 100 and 200 based AIWs. Some pretty clever folks tried hard to overcome this and achieved some initial success force feeding the XP drivers into 32 bit Win 7 (and Vista?). In the end they all abandoned their efforts since they were always unstable and usually unrepeatable even then.

The later AIWs based on the later Theater chips, 500 and up, all had undesirable characteristics for analog SD capture, AGC problems being one of the primary complaints.

Windows 7 does provide a broader selection of viable capture options than Win 10, most of which are USB2 connected boxes and dongles, e.g. the ATI TV Wonder 600 HD and many others.

BW
Thank you for the reply! I was starting to get that impression about the AIW and Windows 7. I think I may have to install a 2nd partition and dual boot into Windows XP for this project, which shouldnít be a big deal.

Do you know of a listing of the cards that used the rage theater 100 and 200?
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12-02-2023, 11:09 AM
aramkolt aramkolt is offline
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There's a list here towards the top showing the PCI Express versions which is most likely what your motherboard would have: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All-in-Wonder

I believe the main ones are AIW 2006, X600, X800, X1800, X1900. There are variants that will have the same part number but won't say AIW and they'll be missing the input ports that you need. Whatever auction you are considering buying, you should see a clearly labeled square chip that says "Theater 200" on it, or don't bother buying. You also want to be sure it comes with the breakout cables specific to the card. I just looked up the AIW 2006 on ebay and there are several for cheap, but none have the breakout cables required to input your analog video. Sure, you could probably remove the original connector and directly hook up S-video and composite lines to the PCB, but that's probably some pretty fine soldering.
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12-02-2023, 12:50 PM
camry_dude camry_dude is offline
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Thanks for the feedback!!

So I think this is my plan due to the hardware availability.

I will procure an older Dell P4 computer with an AGP slot so I am able to use the AGP AIW cards, should be able to find one under $100. Would a P4 be sufficient to capture the video? I assume I can post process the capture on a more modern PC if need be.

I found an ATI AIW 9000 AGP that is only missing the purple dongle and has a DVI out, I can find the purple dongle pretty easy.

Or would it be better to get a AIW 9800 and get a separate PCI video card to gain video output since the output dongles for those are almost impossible to find.

Thanks everyone for all the input!!
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12-02-2023, 08:09 PM
aramkolt aramkolt is offline
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I have a 9000 AGP and it seems to work well. I always seem to get a little image noise no matter what AIW card I try (I think I have tried 3 now), but that could have something to do about noise coming from something else like my mains power, power supply, or motherboard. 9000 seems pretty ideal in that it has DVI out and the purple domino adapters are easy to find for cheap. You should probably be able to get both for less than $60 combined.

I will say that old graphics cards often will have caps that test bad from an ESR standpoint even if they were never used, but I didn't see any change in the image noise or doing a full recap on mine.
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12-03-2023, 01:34 PM
BW37 BW37 is offline
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Did you recap your 9200 as well as the 9000 and if so how do the two cards compare once recapped?

Thanks,
BW

Quote:
Originally Posted by camry_dude View Post
Thanks for the feedback!!

So I think this is my plan due to the hardware availability.

I will procure an older Dell P4 computer with an AGP slot so I am able to use the AGP AIW cards, should be able to find one under $100. Would a P4 be sufficient to capture the video? I assume I can post process the capture on a more modern PC if need be.

I found an ATI AIW 9000 AGP that is only missing the purple dongle and has a DVI out, I can find the purple dongle pretty easy.

Or would it be better to get a AIW 9800 and get a separate PCI video card to gain video output since the output dongles for those are almost impossible to find.

Thanks everyone for all the input!!
It might be worth doing some more research on buying or building an AGP compatible XP box for capture using a AGP AIW. There are lots of threads on this forum discussing the various pros and cons. A P4 can work but most prefer to use a Core 2 Duo if possible.

Itís the AIW 9600s that absolutely require that special 29 pin dongle to function, even as just a normal graphics card, not the 9800s. Also note that for the capture function to work with any AIW, it must be the actual display card when used for capture. It wonít work for capture as a secondary display card.

Hereís a page with a lot of useful information and images.
https://videocardz.net/browse/amd/all-in-wonder

There are some errors (as on the Wiki page) but it is a useful reference.

Thx for the update on the comparison.

BW
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12-03-2023, 02:09 PM
aramkolt aramkolt is offline
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I didn't see any difference in capture quality across any of those AIW 9000 series. I did recap them all, but the AIW 9000 has the fewest caps which makes it the easiest by far to do if you're considering doing that. Also of note, the aluminum electrolytic through hole caps all tested at or better than spec when removed, so you can probably skip those. It's the SMT electrolytics that were often off spec for me. In one instance, I'd seen that someone before me had done a couple of individual recaps which was probably years ago.

If I had to do it again, I'd just get the basic AIW9000 and recap (or not). Like I say, I didn't particularly see a quality difference after the recap, but I "feel better" knowing the caps aren't making it worse.
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