Lots to read here.
Good, good. Capture VHS to AVI, restore as needed. VirtualDub
can restore many things, Avisynth is for tougher problems.
s-video is s-video. I've never seen a difference between $1 cables and $10 cables. I get many of mine from Monoprice
as well. Note that these can go bad in time, so just toss it and get a new one when that happens. I probably toss one per year.
Cable-based interference is actually rare. More commonly you get internal noise to the card, computers, etc. In 15+ years of digital capturing, I've had maybe 3 issues with cables? And in those cases, ferrite did nothing. The cable needed to be replaced or moved.
I'd be more worried about heat in the VCR, or with the TBC. They get testy after 4-6 hours, depending on heat.
For AVI, 720x480 for NTSC, 720x576 for PAL.
Yes, internal audio wiring for ATI AIW is best. But both work.
I saw Turtle Beach mentioned. The Santa Cruz card is best. Less issues compared to others. Some SoundBlasters are fine, others not. The big problem with cheap SB cards is that it really distorts the audio. Too loud, etc. The TBSC cards are from the XP generation (early-mid 2000s), not 98/2K.
SP3 has too much junk running. SP2 was best. If using SP3, make sure all that internet and "security" stuff is shut off. No bubbles, no notifications, nothing. It can cause dropped frames. XP SP3 was the beginning of the nuisance we know as Vista.
You'll need more space. And have the OS drive separate from the capture drive on single-core systems.
JVC VCR looks fine.
Sharp VCR may be fine. "to rewind tapes" --
Good job cleaning with 70%+ IPA and non-cotton swabs.
PFC UPS? Is that a PFC power supply in the system? I've actually never tried a PFC UPS with anything not PFC. I'm using the non-PFC UPS for video and capture systems.
You should post a test capture here for us to see as well. I'm mostly concerned about your audio. I'd open it in Sound Forge
and visually analyze the waveform.
@dp: No, different 4-pin cable. Those are wide, flat and black. These are small and white.
@sanlyn: Dropped frames on an ATI can also mean that the drivers are fubar and/or the card is having problems. I'm in that pickle right now. Main system is down again.