Home Video Transfer

I am starting a project to transfer all our family home videos to my PC to eventually make a series of DVDs. This is a fairly large project.  14 Hi8, 12 VHS and 46 MiniDV video tapes that started in 1994 to about last year. In addition, we have a newer hard disk based camcorder with about 20 GB of video so far.  I remember reading that an old fashioned 2 hour video tape stored about 30 GB of data.  A 1 hour Mini DV stores about 20 GB of data.  I will assume all the tapes are about 50% full since I rarely filled a tape from beginning to end. I hate fast forwarding to scenes on slow camcorders.  Collectively, I’m looking at a worst case estimate of  about 900 GB.  One Terabyte!
My current computer is a Dell Precision 670. It has a dual Xenon 3.0 GHZ cpus with 3 GB of RAM.  It currently has 2 hard drives, an 80 GB fast SATA Western Digital Raptor for a boot drive, and a second SATA 160 GB Seagate HD.  Both drives are about 75% full.  The motherboard only supports two SATA drives so I’m going to need to purchase an additional  SATA controller card to control the additional drive.  Luckily, the PC can hold 2 additional drives.   I want the fastest disk controller and the fastest hard disk I can find.  I will be transferring large amounts of data, especially when backing up or rendering the final movies.  I don’t like Raid arrays at this level of hardware quality.  Data spread across more drives means more chances for failure even with redundancy.  This Dell Computer has PCI, PCI-X and a PCI Express -16, 8 and x1 slot. The PCI Express 16 slot is occupied by my ATI x300 card (if I remember the model number correctly). This video card has 256 MB of memory.  By today’s standards, this is a slow card, but it is a workstation class card that has been rock stable and fast enough for everything I use it for.  I don’t play games on this PC. I don’t plan on replacing it.
I don’t really like old fashioned PCI, by today’s standards, they are slow.  Looking up bus speeds on wikipedia, it actually seems that the 64 bit PCI-X slot is a good way to go.  My PCI Express x8 is actually a x4.  The speeds are about the same and I actually have some difficulty finding cheap controllers that will take advantage of x4. They all seem to be designed for x1.  This is all assuming a HD could even keep up.  Have a look: “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_device_bandwidths”>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_device_bandwidths”.
Based on all of that, I’m going to look for a PCI-X controller card (non-raid) and a terabyte hard disk.
Stay tuned….

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