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I recently settled on the Panasonic AVCHD HDC-SD1 digicam, which received a 9 verdict in the November 2007 issue. I have now begun the daunting task of finding a software solution to edit, compress, and burn the film I shoot. As I see it, there are only two choices that support AVCHD and do what I need: Nero 8 Ultra and Pinnacle 11. But which should I pick? I want to edit the footage I shoot, keep it in high def to burn to an HD DVD disc, or compress it to a lower resolution/quality to play on a website. The more options, the better!
Actually, quite a few other applications also support AVCHD editing, including Corel Ulead VideoStudio 11 Plus, Sony Vegas Studio Platinum 8, and Cyberlink PowerDirector 6. Depending on the program, you may have to buy the full version of one of these apps in order to access the AVCHD support. Software companies typically pay a third party for the codec based on the number of units sold. With many of today’s video editors, you’re prompted to activate a codec only if you need it. This saves the company (and supposedly you) cash, as the software developer pays only for the codecs its customers use.
For the most part, the editing software’s functionality will be the same whether you’re working with DV, HDV, or AVCHD content. You should make your pick based on the feature set of the application. The Doctor has not used the latest version of Vegas, but he is partial to Pinnacle’s Studio 11, which is much improved from the previous version.
Being the power-hungry person I am, I decided to build a new machine based on your Dream Machine (September 2007). I’m having two small issues connecting the Asus Striker Extreme motherboard to the Cosmos case, and I’m curious how you guys resolved them. The first issue concerns the power LED coming from the case. It’s a two-pin female connector; the motherboard requires a three-pin connector. I looked online and was able to find a store that sells a three-pin female to two-pin male power LED adapter/connector. Other people have suggested cutting the existing cable. Help?
|We separated the wires on our two-pin female connector to make it fit in the three-pin space provided by Asus’s mobo Q Connector.|
We didn’t use the Striker Extreme board; we used an EVGA 680i SLI board. The Striker Extreme makes connecting front-panel features to the mobo easy by providing Asus’s Q Connector, a small block of pins on a piece of plastic. You hook your front-panel connectors to this block and then plug it right into your motherboard. Should you need to pull the board out, all you have to do is pull the connector out as one single block.
To address the pin discrepancy with your power LED, you’ll need to remove one of the female connectors, so you can attach them independently to the mobo’s three-pin config. Use a small paper clip to pry out the plastic finger that holds in one of the female connectors. Next, plug each of the connectors independently into the Q Connector (as shown in the image) and then plug the connector into your motherboard.
Why is it that when I plug my Logitech Premium 350 USB headphones into my notebook and select Hardware and EAX for Battlefield 2, it actually sounds like EAX is working? Is this software emulation through Microsoft’s built-in USB headset drivers, or does the hardware USB soundcard actually decode EAX? And what chip is actually in these damn things? I’m about ready to rip them open to see what makes them tick.
Finally, is it possible to get hardware decode EAX 5.0 in a notebook?
You didn’t mention what operating system you’re running, but if it’s Windows Vista, there’s no hardware audio support, as Microsoft removed that feature from this “gaming” OS. What you’re getting is general audio that’s perhaps enhanced slightly by the headset’s drivers. It’s a good sound, but not a great sound. If you use analog headphones, an EAX 5.0 card does add some worthwhile nuances. For example, it will allow you to crank BF2 audio all the way to Ultra, which allows 128 simultaneous sounds. But, sadly, there are no EAX 5.0-capable audio solutions for notebooks right now. Even Creative’s X-Fi Xtreme Audio Notebook isn’t a true hardware X-Fi and is capped at EAX 4.0 support.
I built a nice gaming rig with an EVGA 680i motherboard and a Sound Blaster Fatality 1 XtremeGamer Professional Series soundcard. The card works great for a few hours, or sometimes a few days, then all of a sudden, for no reason at all, the sound stops working. The card and drivers still appear in the device manager. Nothing changes. Once the sound stops working, I have to physically take the card out and reinstall it, then reinstall the drivers. Have you heard of any problems with this soundcard?
The good news is that there is a known issue with the nForce 680i SLI and Sound Blaster X-Fi card. Unfortunately, neither Creative nor Nvidia has a definite solution for it. Creative officials told the Doc that the company had to resort to buying back problem machines because they could not reproduce, and thus fix, the sound issues. Most of those cases, however, were characterized by crackling, static, and distortion.
Nevertheless, there are a few steps you can take to try to eliminate the issue. First, make sure you’re running the latest drivers from Creative’s website. Second, make sure you have the latest BIOS from EVGA installed. A BIOS was released some time ago that supposedly addresses some of the X-Fi/nForce issues. You might also want to try running the card in a different PCI slot.
Remember that you must power down the system and discharge any residual power in the PSU before removing a device from inside the machine. If you are pulling the card out while the motherboard still has power to it (even if the PC is powered down), there is a chance you could damage components.