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Hey guys.


I'm about two weeks away from buying a new computer. I've been researching various video cards, trying to get a good card that will last me a while, without getting the top-of-the-line model (a.k.a. ATI 9800).


There are a few things that are important to me.

Gaming. I am not the hard-core PC game that some are, but I have been getting into some of the more graphic-intensive MMORPGs of late, like Final Fantasy XI... and someday, World of Warcraft. I want something that I'll be able to play games on for a while, without having to bump everything down to the minimum settings.

Component TV Out. I have a Hitachi 57S500, and I would really like to be able to hook my PC up to this and play games on it. I would also really like to be able to do the occasionally web surfing (and at decent resolutions -- not 800x600), but I'm not sure if technology is to the point that this can be done legibly. Of course, component is preferred so that I can get the best resolution and PQ possible.

Video Capturing. Both my parents and my in-laws have huge libraries of VCR tapes, that I would love to start converting to DVD. They've both talked about having this done on the outside, but that can get very pricey. I'm not so concerned that it be DVD quality/resolution, but I would like it to be at least as good as VHS quality, preferably somewhat better.

PVR. This is a low priority, but if I can get it on the side, it would be great. I have digital cable though, so I know that limits me somewhat.


I actually bought an ATI AIW 9800 Pro ($380), but have since returned it. I wasn't really that impressed w/ it's video recording. I tried a few TV shows, but the mpegs came out choppy and distorted. This may have been because of my processor though (Athlon 1333, 392MB RAM), so I'm not ruling that out. It's video capture seemed to be a little lacking too, but I may be expecting too much here. I haven't dealt w/ video capturing in the past, so I'm not sure what to expect here. I also heard some weird things about the PVR capabilities (involving audio). So despite the rave reviews this card gets, it seems that most of the AIW features still need some tweaking.


What I'm thinking might be my best bet for now, is to get just a good video card (ATI 9700 Pro @ $200), and then either get a separate capture/tuner card, or wait a little while and let the technology advance to release something more along the lines that I'm looking at. I really don't know what's out there, as far as capture/tuner cards go, so I'm not sure what I'm up against, and what would be smart for me to get. Again, I don't want to spend too much money to get the best of the best, so if there's nothing right now that would fit my budget, I may be better off waiting.


If you made it this far, thanks for reading this long-winded post. And thanks in advance for any suggestions you can offer.
 

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Split 'em up. That this route allows you to upgrade one at a time is probably reason in and of itself. AIW users also tend to have audio sync issues.


The Hauppauge 250 encodes the audio and video into one MPEG2 stream, making for reliable audio sync, and since it encodes in hardware, choppiness is very, very rare.
 
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