Reader How Tos: A System To Convert VHS and 8 mm Tape To DVD

The Chipsets

Intel's 845G and 850E chipsets had just been introduced to the market and were only on three motherboards (Intel, ASUS and Gigabyte). Shuttle had also just introduced the SIS-648 chipset on their motherboard. The Intel motherboard (D850EMV2L) had a 533 MB/s FSB, whereas the other two 850E motherboards (Gigabyte and ASUS) offered 1066 MB/s FSB. The three 850E motherboards used RDRAM; the SIS-648 used SDRAM. Tom's Hardware Guide testing showed that the Shuttle motherboard with the SIS-648 kept up with the 850E/RDRAM motherboards, but I could not find the Shuttle motherboard for sale anywhere on the web yet. One of the nice things the Shuttle motherboard offered was on-board IEEE-1394 (Firewire) support along with USB 2.0, among other things.

The Motherboard

I chose the Gigabyte GA-8IHXP based on what I had read on the Tom's Hardware Guide web site, and on the number of items it offered (1066 FSB, LAN, USB 2.0, on-board audio, etc), but also on one very important item: RAID. Not only did this motherboard support ATA-33/66/100, but it also had a Promise 20276 chip on-board to support ATA-133 and RAID. In essence, the board could support EIGHT IDE drives! I liked that a lot! And as you will see later, it makes it easy to configure a nice, large, fast hard disk.

The Other Stuff

I chose the Intel Pentium 4 2.6 GHz because it was the slowest Pentium 4 with a 533 MB/s FSB. And it was $100 cheaper than the 2.53 GHz version.

I decided to go with 512 MB of main memory because I thought that would be more than enough to process video. Just a gut feeling.

I chose the MSI G4Ti4200 video card solely because Tom's Hardware Guide used it in a couple of their tests.

I had always wanted an 18" LCD monitor. But I do love the 15" monitor on my Dell laptop. I decided on the Sony only because of its reputation in the video industry.

I wanted a three-piece speaker system with a subwoofer. Around 50 watts would be nice. And it must have volume, bass and treble control on the front of one of the small speakers. The Cyber Acoustics CA-3770 was perfect for me, and reasonably priced, too.

The last major item I needed was a tape backup device. I had a Seagate 10/20 GB tape drive in my Dell, and, so far, was pleased with the device. (Although, in all honesty, I have never had to restore my system from one of them.) So I bought the updated Seagate 20/40 GB tape drive for my new system.