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Posted: 12/16/2003 7:03:05 PM EDT
Getting ready to order a new box for Dad (how does he need more upgrades than I do???)

Looking at a Dell Precision 360 workstation (they've got a sale going with some free upgrades)

Here's where I need a bit of input: I'm not current on the latest & greatest in video cards & DVD drives & I want to get him a system that will NOT need upgrading next year)

The choices for vid cards are:

1) nVidia, Quadro NVS 280, 64MB, dual monitor VGA capable

2) nVidia, Quadro NVS 280, 64MB, dual monitor DVI or VGA capable (+$29)

3) nVidia, QuadroFX 500, 128MB, dual monitor VGA or DVI/VGA capable (+$99)


I know the basic one would probably work fine with the old monitor, figure flat panel displays are dropping in price (and would make a nice birthday gift next year) so my questions are:

Is the DVI interface worthwhile? Is that the only thing flat panels run from?

Is the 128MB card worth the upgrade? (especially if we decide to get him dual monitors)


2nd question: DVD drives - he wants to play around with taking old home movies & such and putting them on DVD's and editing them... the choices are:

48X CD-ROM
48X/32X/48X CDRW with Roxio® Easy CD Creator [add $79 or $2/month1]
48X CD-ROM AND 48X/32X/48X CDRW with Roxio® Easy CD Creator [add $119 or $3/month1]
48X CD-RW/DVD Combo Drive w/ Roxio® Easy CD Creator and DVD decode [add $119 or $3/month1]
48X CD AND 48X CD-RW/DVD Combo with Roxio® Easy CD Creator/DVD decode [add $159 or $4/month1]
16X DVD-ROM with DVD Decode [add $49 or $1/month1]
16XDVD-ROM AND 48X/32X/48XCDRW with Roxio® Easy CD Creator/ DVD Decode [add $129 or $3/month1]
4X DVD+RW/+R with Roxio® Easy CD Creator and DVD decode [add $199 or $5/month1]
8X DVD+RW/+R with Roxio® Easy CD Creator plus DVD decode [add $199 or $5/month1]
4XDVD+RW/+R w/ Roxio® Easy CD Creator and Sonic DVDit! SE [add $249 or $6/month1]
4X DVD+RW/+R AND 48X CDROM with Roxio® Easy CD Creator and DVD Decode [add $229 or $6/month1]
4XDVD+RW/+R AND 48XCDROM with Roxio® Easy CD Creator/ Sonic DVDit! SE [add $279 or $7/month1]
4X DVD+RW/+R AND 16XDVD-ROM with Roxio® Easy CD Creator and DVD Decode [add $249 or $6/month1]
8X DVD+RW/+R AND 16XDVDROM with Roxio² Easy CD Creator plus DVD Decode [add $249 or $6/month1]
4X DVD+RW/+R AND 16XDVD-ROM with Sonic DVDit! SE/Roxio®/DVD Decode [add $299 or $8/month1]


Gotta admit I'm lost here... my gut tells me a DVD burner & separate DVD drive is the hot setup, but have no idea what speed is needed or what software is worthwhile (Roxio® Easy CD Creator/ DVD Decode -- Sonic DVDit! SE/Roxio®/DVD Decode??? )

Any advice is appreciated!!! (gotta order this thing tomorrow morning!)

Link Posted: 12/16/2003 7:42:32 PM EDT
Wish you were here, we could set you up a lil better and prolly lil cheaper. I guess I'd say go with vid card 2. +29, the speed and memory, of 3. is gonna help gaming but not video. The DVI port will come in handy for a second monitor. For now, most LCDs I've seen take a regular SVGA connector . As far as DVD and a DVD burner, only if you plan to back up or rip off DVDs. If he burns a lot of cds then maybe the 48x32x48 +79. But, I would get the extra optical drives elsewhere. Also if he wants to send home movie DVDs to people with set top DVD players, I would get one that does both + and - formats (Sony and LiteOn make good DVD burners). He will probably have to match players to supported formats. I personaly don't like Roxio, I prefer Nero. Dvd X-Copy works great for makeing copies while Sonic MyDVD works great for working "clips" into dvds. Hope it helps, IM me if you need more help. I know Dell "makes it easier" for some people to get what they want, but I would check your local area for "custom" builders. My big problem with Dell, is upgradable means it has empty memory slots. Also you will pay 2-3 times what a standard motherboard costs if it goes out after warranty (they don't use standard holes to mount). We just put together a build for the same activities, for our fire inspector(hope it works till, he isn't). It worked well for importing from old VHS, editing, and burning them off. Now he is "testing" formats (+ or -) for his family members DVD players. Good Luck Mike P.S. 4x=30 min. & 8x=15 min. so if he's got a lot of footage, you might get an 8x DVD burner.
Link Posted: 12/16/2003 8:08:41 PM EDT
Thanks for the input mike! He's not into gaming (at least not that he's told me ;) but I do want to get something that will support any of the video editing that he might want to try (the movies we're talking about are the old film home movies from the dim time - we'll have to find a place to transfer them into a digital format, and newer Hi8 video tapes, not sure how we'll get them into digital - run the output into a stand-alone DVD recorder?) Looks like I need to stay up late tonight and sort out all the different DVD formats... The Dell deal is pretty decent, they are offering $250 off all workstations, free double memory, HD upgrade & shipping, and I have a 15% off coupon on top of the whole mess. That being said, I will take a quick look at the paper to check out local builders (the Dell salespeople were rather pushy and not terribly knowledgeable - have they "outsourced" sales overseas too?) Thanks again for the advice :)
Link Posted: 12/16/2003 8:32:08 PM EDT
Q: Is the DVI interface worthwhile? Is that the only thing flat panels run from? A: No, in fact MOST LCD flat panels don't have a DVI input - only the more expensive ones. Q: Is the 128MB card worth the upgrade? (especially if we decide to get him dual monitors) A: I'm running two 19" glass montiors ... and once you have had two you'll never go back to one ... and the desktop size is 2048 x 768 - and goes higher of course meaning that to display 24 and 16-bit colors you need tons of memory but do the math - 2048 x 768 x 24 and you only get 32 Mb. I have an nVidia FX5600 dual head card with 128 Mb not for the memory but for the dual head ability. Going to 2560 by 1024 x 24 gives me just 64 Mb and if you're dad's eyes are as old as mine you don't enjoy any thing much higher than that. Be aware that most dual monitor cards need a special dingle-dangle (dongle) to run both. Mine has two independent outputs which makes for easy cabling. Looks like Dell is only selling +R drives [:(]. To avoid an AR vs. AK discussion let's just agree that there are two camps of DVD writers and I picked the -R for technical reasons rather than that's the one that they had on sale or came with my Dell. There are three parts to making a DVD - I use three different (sometimes four) programs. I use Scene Analyser Live to capture Digital Video from my satellite dish, VHS and Beta machines, or my Karaaoke player. (some times I'll use Abobe Premier to edit the DV files doing transistions and sweeting the audio here) I use TMPGEncoder to transcode the file from a digital video file format (.avi) to something else - typically an MPEG format for VCD, SVCD, or DVD. TMPGEnc will also do cuts only MPEG editing so I can cut commercials from commercial television here. I use Nero Burning ROM for my DVD authoring setting up the menu and file structure and actually burning the CD or DVD.
Link Posted: 12/16/2003 8:34:32 PM EDT
Sorry did I forget to say [url]www.dvdrhelp.com[/url]? For capturing I use a Canopus ADVC-100 connected via 1392 Firewire to my computer. I have never dropped frame one. I don't have lip sync problems even on very long format movies. Capturing files uses about 13% of each processor on my 3.0 HT machine.
Link Posted: 12/16/2003 8:35:11 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/16/2003 8:38:16 PM EDT by Synister1]
Originally Posted By dot_bob: P.S. 4x=30 min. & 8x=15 min.
View Quote
Funny my Memorex +/- 4x drive on full disc writes does a burn in 17-19min on 4x disc's and 30 on 2.4x disc's.
Link Posted: 12/16/2003 8:35:39 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/16/2003 8:35:59 PM EDT by dot_bob]
There are serveral import options, if he has players with coax, rca, or s-video outputs. But, he may not want to spend the time, you basicaly "watch" the vid while its conected to the pc. ATI and MSI make PCI cards, and there are several USB capture devices. It will be rather time consuming but I bet he will enjoy the "work" and the end product. And, hey take advantage of upgrades, and deals they're offering you, (try telling them they need to sweetin it up a lil more, I hear they do that some too). And if it farts under warranty at all, let em know, LOUD and FAST. And, naaahhhh they're just stone, dood. hehe
Link Posted: 12/16/2003 8:40:13 PM EDT
As to the AGP - I would pass on the Nvidia FX for now (research on Toms Hardware...) Get an internal DVDrom about 16x for now. As for burning DVD's I expect the prices to drop in the 1st qtr of 2004 after the Christmas Rush as well as soon the 8x Burners will begin to be affordable. I would choose an external USB2 or 1394 (FireWire) burner. Meanwhile He can practice Capture and editing - and convert the output to Divx or SVCD. Just a few thoughts.
Link Posted: 12/16/2003 8:43:32 PM EDT
Not a highjack or a flame:
Originally Posted By Synister1:
Originally Posted By dot_bob: P.S. 4x=30 min. & 8x=15 min.
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Funny my Memorex +/- 4x drive does a burn in 17-19min on 4x disc's and 30 on 2.4x disc's at full discs.
View Quote
What disks do you use? I have always liked Memorex discs, and was think of getting a DVD burner of thurs. I think they have an 8x now. I've had a Sony and LiteOn 4x, my buddies too, and 4x=30 min. & 8x=15 min has been the shared standard, with Sonic MyDVD, and verification.
Link Posted: 12/16/2003 9:25:43 PM EDT
With my NEC 1100 DVD+R/RW burner and 4X Memorex +R discs, it takes about 13 minutes to burn a CD on a home built 2.53 GHz P4 with 1 GB RAM. Takes about 17 minutes to burn the same data to an RW disc since they only write at 2.4X vs 4X for the +R discs. I just finished creating and burning DVDs for two friends cabaret performances (about 70 minute shows). The first one I filmed myself, using my MiniDV camera. That I connected up via firewire, captured it to the computer using Windows Movie Maker to create the 14 GB AVI file. Edited in open and closing credits and a few simple transitions, then wrote it out as an AVI file to an attached 1394 hard drive. Took about two hours to write out the edited video to the disk. I then used Nero 6 to create a DVD-video. I burn the DVD files to another 1394 hard drive. The transcodong and converting took about 3 hours, running as a background task on the same computer. Once the DVD master was completed, I burned a few copies for the performer and her friends. Took about 13 minutes to burn each disk. The seocnd project I had to capture from a videocasette. To do that I just play the tape back from old, but little used HiFi VCR and capture to Snapstream Personal Video station. I told Snapstream to write the file in the highest possible resolution (which it calls "NearDVD") but since I was working from a duped video tape, quality looks like a duped video tape. I used a few cleaning tools to try to clean up the 13 GB file, but it didn't help much. This file took about 4 hours to render to DVD format. Burn time for individual disks was still ~ 13 minutes each. I have had no difficulting playing back DVD+R discs even in older, media sensitive DVD players. Recently my kids bought Finding Nemo. It wouldn't play in my 1st Generation Panasonic DVD player that's attached to the HT system. I duped the disk (using DVD Xcopy Platinum) and the copy played fine in the same player, extra features and all. As always, YMMV.
Link Posted: 12/17/2003 12:50:02 AM EDT
Homebuilt box, P4 3.0, Abit MO, AGP X8, 1.5 Gig DDR400, MSI (Nvida chipset) FX5600 256 DVI, TDK dual format burner 440N. I can input analog signals in via the port in the back of the video card either Super or video. I can input digital via USB 2.0 or Firewire. I use Roxio easy CD/DVD creator (TDK bundle) to make make DVD's from old video tapes and old cam-corder recordings. I use X Copy to make back-up's of my DVD's. If speed is your main concern for duping then buy a good DVD player and the DVD burner of your choice. Go with the highest CPU and memory combo you can afford, and buy the best video card you can afford. As far as turning film into video you can go the cheap route, play the film onto the brightest screen you can find and video-tape it, or else pay out the money to have a professional outfit that uses the equipment to digitize the film image. My mother-in-law paid some dork to have her husbands old films put on video tape, the guy just video taped the screen projection of the film. It came out looking like crap. I paid to have a professional outfit digitize a couple of the films, and they came out looking just like the acutal film and not a cheap-assed video tape copy of a projected film. The TDK burns DVD's to both + - formats. I have yet to find a DVD format that it can't burn to. My inexpensive Sony DVD player plays both + -formats, so to me it dosen't matter what format I burn them in. I have not recorded too much TV since I have DirecTV and only one unit. I suppose that IF I ever get a job that pays I'll just buy a Tivo with a DVD burner.
Link Posted: 12/17/2003 6:26:25 AM EDT
Dell sends an adapter out for monitors using the SVGA output. Some of the cards will come with a splitter for two SVGA inputs into on DVI connector, ask the sales rep. I am starting to see more DVI connectors on LCD monitors, usually aroun 18-19" mid to high range monitors. The Dell 19" LCD uses it, but not their 17". Buy as high as you can afford and don't look back. Good luck and I hope he enjoys the new system!
Link Posted: 12/17/2003 8:58:03 AM EDT
[url=http://www.spywareinfo.com/newsletter/archives/1203/2.php]DELL won't help remove Spyware[/url]
Dell has instituted what has to be the most misguided tech support policy I have ever seen. Not only will Dell refuse to tell you how to remove the spyware, they won't even refer you to web sites that can help. Why does Dell do this? Dell cites the possibility that removing spyware might violate user agreements between the user and some other company. The following is an email sent to Dell tech support persons announcing the new policy:
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Link Posted: 12/17/2003 9:33:34 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Paul: I use Nero Burning ROM for my DVD authoring setting up the menu and file structure and actually burning the CD or DVD.
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Paul, How's nero for DVD Authoring? I have been using Ulead and Premier for editing but I hate the Ulead DVD authoring. I have Nero 6 but it says I need to buy some addon part to burn to DVD's. I would like to know how good the authoring capability is before I spend the 40 bucks or so for the add on. Matt
Link Posted: 12/17/2003 11:34:23 AM EDT
Originally Posted By crashburnrepeat:
Originally Posted By Paul: I use Nero Burning ROM for my DVD authoring setting up the menu and file structure and actually burning the CD or DVD.
View Quote
Paul, How's nero for DVD Authoring? I have been using Ulead and Premier for editing but I hate the Ulead DVD authoring. I have Nero 6 but it says I need to buy some addon part to burn to DVD's. I would like to know how good the authoring capability is before I spend the 40 bucks or so for the add on. Matt
View Quote
I've been using Nero 6 Ultimate Edition to create DVDs. It's pretty straightforward and I haven't burned any coasters.
Link Posted: 12/17/2003 4:39:48 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/17/2003 4:40:39 PM EDT by Merrell]
Nuts. My 15% off coupon could not be combined with the other offers... oh well Good links in this thread though, the Plextor DVD +/-R/RW looks like a hot setup, along with Nero... will wait for the after-Holiday sales... Thanks again for all the input!
Link Posted: 12/18/2003 12:59:09 AM EDT
[b]Plextor[/b] has allways been on the bleeding edge. They Rock and are rock solid. (Atleast that was my experience with there CDRom drives and burners.)
Link Posted: 12/18/2003 1:07:48 AM EDT
[url=www.mediachance.com/dvdlab]DVD-Lab[/URL] is what I'm using now and is a great authoring program.
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