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

Making A List

So, now I had enough information to make my list of the perfect computer for me. And here it is.

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HardwareDescriptionEst Cost
MotherboardGigabyte GA-8IHXP, Intel Pentium 4, 478PIN, 533 MB/s FSB, Intel 850E Chipset, Ultra ATA133 ATX, 1xAGP(4X), 6xPCI, 1xCNR, 4xRIMM, RAID, USB 2.0, LAN, CT5880 Audio$169.00
CPUPentium 4 2.26 GHz, 533 MHz FSB, 512 kB cache, 478 pin$253.87
Ram512 MB RDRAM, 2 x 256 MB, RDRAM, Kingston 533 MHz, 32 ns, PC1066 2x$279.88
Hard DriveMaxtor EIDE 5400RPM UDMA ATA/133, 160 GB, 3.5LP 2x$470.00
Video CardMSI G4 G4TI4200-TD 128 MB 4XAGP DDR W/TV & DVI OUT$179.00
MonitorSony SDMM81/B TFT LCD 18.0 in 28mm 1280x1024 85 Hz$788.45
OSWindows 2000 Pro w/SP #2$145.00
SoftwareWindows Office 2000 (English)$299.00
CaseIrwin J508 ATX Server Tower$63.00
Video CapturePinnacle Studio Deluxe digital & analog video Editing w/Studio 7 & Express$248.95
DVD BurnerPIONEER DVD/CD re-writable drive DVR-104 4.7 GB$308.00
SpeakersCyber Acoustics CA-3770 3PC 44W Speaker System$68.56
Tape BackupSeagate 20 GB/40 GB HORNET40 EIDE INT TRAVAN$338.89
Backup TapeSeagate 20 GB/40 GB TRAVAN TR5/NS20 3-PK$144.68
Floppy DriveSony SKU A00695$12.90
MouseMicrosoft IntelliMouse$17.00
KeyboardMicrosoft Office Keyboard$25.00
ShippingRow 17 - Cell 1 $157.02
Total:Row 18 - Cell 1 $3968.20

Pricing The System

I used Tom's Hardware Guide's Shopping Comparison to judge pricing. In each case, popped up as having some of the best prices.

Buying The System

Early Tuesday afternoon, July 30, I called's 1-800 number and asked Rafael if it would be better to e-mail, fax, or phone my list in to him. He said that since I was already on the phone, he would take my order then and there. I relayed my list to him, but told him that I was not sure which case I wanted, especially since offered so many. He looked over my list and noted that I had an ATX motherboard, four 3.5" drives and one 5.25" drive. I told him I was going to add another 3.5" drive as a boot disk, and another 5.25" drive as a read-only DVD drive. From that list he concluded that I would be happy with the Irwin J508 ATX Server Tower. It could handle four 5.25" drives and five 3.5" drives. And, because it was a server tower case, it also came with a 300-watt power supply. Very nice. Thank you, Rafael. I told Rafael to ship it second-day air so that I would have it by Friday. That would allow me to put it together over the weekend.

Sure enough, the whole system arrived on Friday via FedEx, and in four large boxes. A quick inventory revealed one of the boxes contained the Sony LCD monitor. Another had the Irwin case. The remaining two boxes had all of the other parts that would form the heart and soul of my computer. I could hardly contain my excitement the rest of that day at the prospect of assembling such an awesome computing machine. But I would have to wait until first thing Saturday morning. After all, I am a happily, newly married man with familial duties that ALWAYS come first. The computer could wait.