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Old 03-19-06, 11:59 PM   #1
Altimus Prime
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DVD ROM advice?

Finally got a DVD ROM for my ancient computer (Compaq 7470). I know, very late to the party. What can I say? When I bought this PC I didn't think I'd need a DVD player in it. Now, with 150+ DVDs, I have a need, and I finally talked myself into spending the money and getting over my "fear" of messing around inside my computer.

Some of my questions are about content, some about tech.

First, on tech, anything I need to do to get the most out of this drive, as in getting it to work its best - hardware, software, drivers, etc? It's a CompUSA 16x DVD ROM, made by Phillips, I think. It has the InterActual player, which came with 2.0 version software that updated online to 2.6.

Edit: D'oh. Also noticed I have InterVideo WinDVD 4. It seemed the playback got better when I enabled Hardware Decode Acceleration and Hardware Color Acceleration. Right or wrong thing to do? Can I access DVD ROM features with this, or only with InterActual?

On content... I guess I could just go and start pulling DVDs looking for DVD ROM content. But some suggestions and guidance on what DVDs have the best DVD ROM content would be welcome. My "collection" is below. It's small by DVD Talk standards.

P.S. My PC info if it's needed: 533 Mhz K6-2, 20 GB HD, 128 MB RAM, W98SE. I have a 64 MB Nvidia GeForce 2 MX/MX400 graphics card.

Last edited by Altimus Prime; 03-20-06 at 01:06 AM.
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Old 03-20-06, 11:49 AM   #2
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No help at all???

I know my computer is old, and most would say just go get a new one, but I'm holding off on that for Vista, and for when I can get more than I can buy now.
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Old 03-20-06, 12:16 PM   #3
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What isn't working? If the acceleration settings look good stay with them. I don't use them myself but I have a more powerful system.

I don't know that anyone can tell you how to "get the most" out of a DVD-ROM. If it plays back smoothly you are limited by the software player and video card of your computer.

Some newer software players will probably look better than what you already have but may need more horsepower than your computer has. You can get trials of them to check it out.
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Old 03-20-06, 12:20 PM   #4
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InterActual (or previously known as PCfriendly) content usually requires you to access it through their software. I believe the newer versions of Intervideo WinDVD (6 & 7) gives you the option to use either their software or Interactual to play the DVD. What ever you do don't uninstall Intervideo since that has the DVD decoder and you won't be able to play DVD's without it. I rarely look at extras even less so DVD-ROM ones, so I can't help you on any content suggestions.
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Old 03-20-06, 12:35 PM   #5
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The drive seems to be working OK. I've never had one so I'm not sure what to expect. Sometimes the image is a bit jerky, usually during panning shots, as if a frame is missing or being skipped. It's slight. Could be due to my older computer. Was wondering if there might be any other software I could use with it, given my limitations.

I bought this mainly to access DVD ROM content. Watching movies on my computer, even though I have a 19 inch screen, wasn't the main objective. It also gives me something to tinker with and keep my mind off buying a new PC.

I haven't tried many DVDs yet, but when I put in The Final Countdown, I couldn't figure out how to access the Zero pilot journal it says it has as a DVD ROM feature. Any advice on how to access that?

When I installed the drive and the CD with it, it installed WinDVD 4 and Interactual. But when I put in The Matrix, it added PC Friendly. I got the impression that Interactual was an update of PCFriendly. Do I need PCFriendly, or should I remove it?

I think my computer only has PCI slots, no AGP, so I don't know if a new video card is practical or even possible. Could be I already have the best I can get. ??? (My 64MB GeForce2 replaced my 8MB onboard graphics.)
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Old 03-20-06, 12:38 PM   #6
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I'm betting it's a bottleneck with either the processor or RAM. As for the video card, it could help a bit, but you're pretty much looking at a lot of trouble and cost to find a PCI card that will be much better - perhaps a PCI version of a GeForce 4 card or an ATI Radeon, but even then it's questionable. The money you would spend on such a card and the time, it might be worht it to go for one of the $300 new dells, know what I mean?

Do you have anything else running while you're playing the movies? If I recall correctly, Win98SE doesn't play too well with DVD playback hardware...the allocations for such tasks are not up to snuff.
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Last edited by lordzeppelin; 03-20-06 at 12:41 PM.
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Old 03-20-06, 12:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Altimus Prime
The drive seems to be working OK. I've never had one so I'm not sure what to expect. Sometimes the image is a bit jerky, usually during panning shots, as if a frame is missing or being skipped. It's slight. Could be due to my older computer. Was wondering if there might be any other software I could use with it, given my limitations.
That's one of the things you do want to address.

Could be older software, could be processing power. Try to eliminate anything else from running when you're watching a DVD. Make sure DMA is enabled for the drive. You access that through the IDE controller's properties in the Device Manager.
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Old 03-20-06, 12:53 PM   #8
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So far anything else running has just been background things like my antivirus, firewall, and the routine stuff. No other applications or programs. Of course, when I shut all that down, say, to do a defrag, it frees up resources.

I could try to add more RAM, but as I said in another thread about memory, whenever I tried to add more than 128 MB to this machine, it seemed to run slower. And that was with memory I was told was correct, and in a variety of arrangements. I know it can take more than 128.

X - DMA. What is that? I'll try to look that up when I get home. Hopefully I can find it, and I'll see what's up with it.

Now, I have the DVD ROM and a CD burner. Does it matter which is set to slave and which to master?

Last edited by Altimus Prime; 03-20-06 at 05:18 PM.
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Old 03-21-06, 09:46 AM   #9
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OK, my new DVD ROM seems to be working pretty good. I updated the drivers for my graphics card (64 MB GeForce2 MX400) to Forceware Release 80 from Nvidia and it has made a big improvement in overall image quality. It had been a while since I had done a driver update.

But this is weird - a few times, the Intervideo WinDVD 4 has started up on its own. Why would it do that? For example, just when I went online now, it started twice within a few minutes, after I launched Firefox. There's no disc in the drive and I didn't click on it. ???

What I'm wondering is, sometimes older programs work better on older machines. For example, Windows 98 runs great on it, but XP would probably run like crap. Could there be an older DVD program that would play DVDs well on my computer? If so, how can I get it?

Last edited by Altimus Prime; 03-21-06 at 11:24 AM.
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