I am just in the process of building a system for uncompressed video capture and will be using an ATI all in wonder 9800 card. From what I understand this card works best under XP but which specific build should I go for e.g. service pack 2, 3 etc?
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I don't know about this "works best" stuff. It would be more accurate to say that there are no drivers for this card for any version of Windows after Vista. I would recommend service pack 3. You need the security features of SP3 if you're going to have this computer connected to the internet. Please note that Microsoft will eventually stop patching XP and even now they keep such patches to a bare minimum.
In my opinion uncompressed capture is highly overrated, but it's your decision to make. You're going to need a fairly beefy CPU as ATI cards rely on the CPU for encoding on the fly rather than containing a chip on the card to do it, so don't skimp on your CPU. Note too that XP may have issues with very large hard drives (anything over 2 TB) and you may have to do special things to get those to work if you intend to use them.
Not worried about security as the computer won't be connected to the internet and will be used for capture only. So if security is no issue what build of XP should I go for with respect to driver stability etc?
I suggest XP SP2, not SP3. SP1 is next best.
Don't use non-SP versions.
SP3 forced some "security" features into the OS, and that can cause problems.
Lossless capturing or high bitrate MPEG-2 (15Mbps+) capturing is definitely not overrated.
Uncompressed is a waste of space, and identical image quality to Huffyuv.
CPU doesn't need to be any more beefy than a P4 with 1.8Ghz. Preferably anything in the 2.5 to 3.5Ghz range.
Drivers are here: ATI All In Wonder Hacks, Drivers, Codecs and MMC (@digitalFAQ.com)
Pretty much anything you'd ever need or want to know about ATI cards is at that site, in guides and in the forums.
If you are really and truly not ever going to connect this PC to the internet and I absolutely mean NOT EVEN ONCE, then I agree with lordsmurf that XP SP2 is probably best for you. He and I have to agree to disagree on the merits of lossless capturing, but I do certainly agree that high bit rate capturing is perfectly fine. Please understand that I am quite serious about not connecting your PC even once to the internet with SP2. I've read too many horror stories about how little time it takes to hack into SP2 systems to advise putting such a PC on the internet any more. SP3 exists specifically to address the truly horrific security problems in SP2 and below. However, if you could run an SP2 system behind a firewall it would mitigate the risk to a good extent.
What's with this SP3 security business? It's no more secure than anything else Microsoft has ever designed. Get a good antivirus (Kaspersky should do it, and works well with XP. All the other guys are either worse than a virus or screw up XP in one way or another (NOD32 v5 blocked all USB sticks and external USB drives, and AVG tried to tell me VirtualDub was a virus!). SP3 screwed up font display in several of my apps and slowed everything down so seriously that I reverted back to SP2 the same day.
I've been using 9800, 9600 and 7500 AIW's on 1.8 and 2GHz Intel and Athlon PC's for years with never more than 2-GB RAM. Except for seriously crappy, damaged tape, I've yet to have a dropped frame or audio sync problems during capture with VirtualDub, and even then I counted only 3 or 4 frames from several hours of really bad -- I mean really bad -- tape, maybe only a handful of those in 8 years. As for the MMC stuff that comes with ATI, forget it. Don't even install it; it screws up some of your codecs in the registry, and you'll never use it or ATI's obsolete media player. All you need are the drivers, the desktop control panel, and the capture drivers. I'm still using 2004 Catalyst 4.5 software. Be careful when you first install the card and boot up, Windows might try to load its own ATI drivers by default (refuse the offer. They suck).
Last edited by sanlyn; 22nd Mar 2014 at 03:29.
XP SP3 works fine with the ATI drivers and software. ATI's latest drivers don't work with the older VideoSoap enabled versions of MMC however, so stick with the older drivers.
I have over 500 hours of MPEG video recorded via MMC. Worked fine (I didn't care for the way it cropped off some of the image, though). Looks pretty good, at least as good as with my Toshiba RD-XS34. I just don't capture VHS directly to MPEG any more.
Last edited by sanlyn; 22nd Mar 2014 at 03:30.