3 replies [Last post]
Joined: Jul 25 2001

I need some advice. I want to buy my dad a computer for him to edit his home movies on, so that he can make video cd's and play them back on a home dvd player hooked up to a 80cm pal tv. I am looking at getting him a
Amd Athlon 1.4ghz(266 fsp) processor running on a Asus A7A266 motherboard. Since this board supports both Sdram and DDR ram what would be the difference in using say for example 512mb of DDRam compared with 512mb of SDRam.(the SDram is 3 times cheaper to buy in Australia than the new PC2100 DDRam)
The graphics card that i am looking at getting is the Asus AGP-v8200 Geforce 3 which has 64mb of DDR memory. Would this be a suitable combination. I don''t have a video capture card yet and also need advice on this as well. My dad will be using a panasonic Vhs-c camera. What card would you recomend. I know that it has to be Mpeg-1 encoded to make video-cd's. Is there a card that capture's and encodes at the same time.(we have used software encoders but they take far too long) Also what is a raid controller and do you need a special hard-drive. Sorry that this letter is so long but by asking you-the experts at this subject i wil be getting the best advice. If you have any better recomdation's for the above setup i would appreciate to hear of it. Finally can a firewire card be used with a Vhs-c camera or is only used with a digital camera.

Joined: Jul 9 2001

Regarding the A7A266 I personally as well as many other people have not been able to get the board to work with the DVRaptor DV capture card. On other forums I`ve noted problems with ATI All IN WONDER analogue capture cards apparently fixed with a patch from ATI but it still leads you to believe there is a problem with the ALi chipset on this board and Video Capture. So I would recommend you look elsewhere for a board and bite the bullet and get DDR Ram now as the price difference is only 10-20% (for instance I just bought 256Mb of DDR from for £39 including VAT and delivery.

Joined: Jul 13 2001

Video editing is one of the areas where memory speed really matters.
Normaly, you can see a 5%-15% increase when working with faster memory.
But I have found (from personal experience) that more memory can really make everything faster in Video editing.

As for the display card, check up the Matrox G550.
As long as your father doesn't play games, I think you will find this card a much better choice for Video editing


Joined: May 7 1999


Buying a computer for your dad - commendable idea (maybe my son will buy me a new one one day)!

There's several ways to approach using a PC for video, and I think you're confusing your requirements.

You've said that you want to go from VHS-C tapes to VCD, which is a sensible conversion, and you've correctly identified that you need MPEG encoding, and also that software encoding is slow. For that you can buy external capture devices, complete with software, that will capture analogue to MPEG-1 VCD compliant, check out the Dazzle range among others.

One advantage of these devices is that the computer only has to handle data at MPEG speeds, and in VCD format that's no faster than CD audio, so you don't in fact need a powerful PC, with huge fast hard drives, or whatever.

Where you do need lots of fast hard disk space and a powerful processor is when working with DV - i.e. capturing digital video directly from a DV camcorder using Firewire.

That said just about all current PC hardware is easily adequate for DV. A year or two back you had to get the latest, fastest, biggest for it to be man enough for the job. PC hardware has got faster, but DV is still the same (thank goodness!), so now an "ordinary" PC is fine. However, ideas like "you need the fastest suff you can get to do video" persist.

RAID is a system for effectively clustering multiple disk drives so they appear as one. It can be done for reasons of space, speed, or reliability, depending on how you configure it. You don't need it, and unless you have multiple, preferably identical, drives a RAID controller does nothing. An 80 GB drive is easily fast enough for DV, and is cheaper than two 40 GB ones.

You can't connect a VHS camera to Firewire. What you can do though, is to buy an analogue-to-DV converter box, then connect that by Firewire to a 1394 port. OHCI 1394 ports are cheap, but the converter's are quite expensive. If your target format is VCD, then you're probably better off with an MPEG capture device instead.

Hope this helps more than confuses!

Richard Jones,
Home of the new MediaStudio Pro 6 Tutorial

Richard Jones,
Home of the MediaStudio Pro Tutorial - Edition 3 for MSP 7