Random thoughts.... [Tech Edition]

NecroJoe

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My laptop has an HDMI port, and my monitors have DP.

If I understand correctly, I know that this is the "wrong" direction for a cheap adaptor or cable and would need a much more expensive "active" cable to add a "clock" to the HDMI signal for the DP to understand it.

But what I can't figure out, is if I could use a HDMI to DVI cable or adaptor (this 1920x1200 monitor also has a DVI input). It seems like these relatively inexpensive cables and adaptors are bi-directional....would they support that resolution at 60hz without issue, or am I missing something?
 

Matt2000

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I've used an HDMI-DVI cable for my DVI only 1080p second monitor for years, works flawlessly even through an HDMI switch. I can't comment on DP.
 

93Flareside

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My laptop has an HDMI port, and my monitors have DP.

If I understand correctly, I know that this is the "wrong" direction for a cheap adaptor or cable and would need a much more expensive "active" cable to add a "clock" to the HDMI signal for the DP to understand it.

But what I can't figure out, is if I could use a HDMI to DVI cable or adaptor (this 1920x1200 monitor also has a DVI input). It seems like these relatively inexpensive cables and adaptors are bi-directional....would they support that resolution at 60hz without issue, or am I missing something?

You can do hdmi to dvi easily. My old boss had a Lenovo AIO desktop and it had DisplayPort out and his second monitor was HDMI or VGA. So he had me go find a cable that works. Turns out DP to HDMI works and these cables are directional. To my knowledge like you say, an unpowered cable/adapter wont work the other direction, HDMI to DP.

This was all I remember from 2013 though so things may have changed.
 

NecroJoe

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I ended up with this. Works perfectly. I was first thinking I could get one USB-C/Thunderbolt to Display Port cable, then a second cable to go HDMI to DVI...but that would have been almost the same price as this, and this eliminated the risk that this laptop couldn't use both of these outputs for video at the same time.
1669763587338.png
 

GRtak

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I was reminded that I am old-ish. The first video game I ever played is 50 this year.

 

Tram

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My father's been wanting to digitize his Hi8 tapes for an eternity, and I want to help him get onto it.

His camera is some old Canon from 1996 (I think it's ES600, but I can't remember the exact model name for the life of me). He'll give it to his friend to replace the belt, as the current one is broken and the camera just chews through tapes. If the friend can fix it (he is an electrician, after all), we'd use that camera. A nice thing about it is that it has S-Video out.

Now, the question. I've seen really cheap S-Video (plus composite) to USB converters on AliExpress. I'm not exactly convinced by those, so I'm wondering, any recommendations for capturing S-Video on a Windows 10 system? I've seen people recommending inexpensive S-Video to HDMI adapters coupled with HDMI to USB capture cards, is that the proper way to go?
 

Matt2000

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I've seen people recommending inexpensive S-Video to HDMI adapters coupled with HDMI to USB capture cards, is that the proper way to go?
This is exactly what I would recommend and what I did with our old Hi8 home videos. S-video is the best you'll get from a non-pro camcorder and the upscaling to HDMI not only improves the video a bit but it also eliminates the need to mess around with lower resolutions.

The camera that recorded the videos I captured was a Sanyo from 1993, looks like this:
1670114280763.png


It's still around but its brain is fried and it can't play or record anything, so I got a late 90s Sony Handycam on eBay to actually capture the video. The 1996 camera should be fine.

I tried one of the cheap composite-only HDMI converters first but it was crap, so I got this one in 2017 and it's been very good.
1670114411819.png



It has S-video and composite with the option to switch between them. It stretches the image to widescreen but that's easy to fix.

Two slight annoyances - it drops to blue screen if it detects no signal, this sometimes happens if you seek while the video is playing. Every time the signal comes in or out it displays this little pop-up and there's no way to turn it off.
1670114793002.png


You lose a second or two of video when editing so it's no big deal, if it's a really bad tape it might come up more.

Don't worry about ti showing 1080P at 60Hz instead of 50Hz, it really doesn't matter. I captured the home videos at 30fps anyway, there's an argument that I should go back again and capture them at 50 or 60fps... maybe one day. They already look a lot smoother than videos I captured with older Dazzle standard definition devices, the footage was not smooth at all back then. More recently I've captured VHS tapes at 50fps, they look smoother still. I'm capturing at 5mbps, going much higher didn't get better results with these old videos.

I'm going to look through the repository of home videos (I have them all uploaded to YouTube as private so the family can watch them throught the YouTube TV app) and see if there are any that aren't horribly embarassing 90s Britain so I can share it with you via PO. That'll give you an idea of the results and maybe manage expectations.

I've also had my two VHS players, my PlayStation and PS2 connected up to this thing for capturing, I'm using a fairly old AverMedia Live Gamer Extreme GC550, it still works well and records many HDMI sources.
 
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Tram

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First of all, thanks for a detailed response! Now, for the questions.

If I got it correctly, the benefit of going through an intermediate HDMI adapter over a direct S-Video to USB converter is the added benefit of upscaling, right?

Also, I did some searching for S-Video to HDMI adapters on both eBay and AliExpress, so I'm wondering what's the main difference between this style of adapters (cheaper ones) as opposed to this type of adapters (nicer ones)?

Software is another thing I kinda forgot about, but I'll leave that for another time, as I still need to figure out the hardware.
 

Matt2000

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First of all, thanks for a detailed response! Now, for the questions.

If I got it correctly, the benefit of going through an intermediate HDMI adapter over a direct S-Video to USB converter is the added benefit of upscaling, right?

Also, I did some searching for S-Video to HDMI adapters on both eBay and AliExpress, so I'm wondering what's the main difference between this style of adapters (cheaper ones) as opposed to this type of adapters (nicer ones)?

Software is another thing I kinda forgot about, but I'll leave that for another time, as I still need to figure out the hardware.
No worries, I’ve spent a lot of time on this myself so I’m happy to share what I’ve learnt.

The main benefit is the upscaling, tiny SD videos aren’t much good these days and it’s a gamble how software or other devices will upscale them. For uploading to sites like YouTube you also want to upload at 1080p to combat the compression algorith.

There may be no difference in quality between those two upscaling devices, the cheaper one just lacks the 720p/1080p switch and the separate audio output. Those aren’t needed anyway unless you particularly want them.

OBS should work with any USB 1080p capture device and would allow you to convert to 4:3 while recording.
 
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Tram

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Another day, another question. I'm on a roll lately, it seems. :D

I currently have a bit of a storage issue, or to be more precise, I'm running out of storage on my 500GB SSD. Almost half of it, if not more, is in the C:/Users/[username] directory, meaning it's not programs or games I have issues with, it's stuff like documents and files, most of them uni projects and whatnot. My current setup in my computer looks like this:
  • 500GB Samsung 860 EVO for the OS, games and apps, but there's currently crapload of data on it which needs to be migrated
  • 6TB WD Red Pro that has 5TB of movies and all of my DSLR pictures. I was planning to use that HDD in a NAS of some sort
  • 5TB WD Red that has some useless fungible crap, like some music, PSX and PS2 games and emulators, which is in a bit of a sorry state:
1670188723084.png


Now, I do have some more HDDs: two 500GB (one is a Seagate IIRC, the other one I can't really remember, both are too small for actual use today), one brand new 6TB WD Red Pro that I intended for a NAS, and a 6TB WD Red that's in similar condition to the 5TB one. (I also have a 1TB external drive, but it's filled to the brim.)

As for the computer itself, it has six SATA ports, only two of which are SATA III, and two HDD caddies plus one that's in the place where a DVD burner would normally go.

Now, there are a couple of options that I've been contemplating when it comes to moving the data, and sorting them from the cheapest one to the most expensive one, they are:
  1. Put the 6TB HDD in the 5.25" bay, maybe RAID 1 them and call it a day. It wouldn't cost me extra, but I'm not sure I want to do it. The 5TB WD Red is currently in that bay, and before it went there, it ran perfectly fine. Also, that HDD would have to run off of the SATA II bus. Not sure if RAID array would like that.
  2. Get/build a NAS, put the 6TB drives there, and get another HDD to use it in the PC's second slot.
  3. Same as the above, but get a second SSD for the PC's second slot.
  4. Build/get a new PC that has enough SATA III ports to run two 6TB HDDs in RAID 1, and have space for an SSD (either the current 860 EVO or some new NVMe one). This is very cost-ineffective, but I'd have an upgraded PC and no need for a NAS.
  5. Build a new PC and a get/build NAS. Very expensive, very space inefficient, but the best solution of them all.
As getting a NAS is already something I can't afford straight away, yet alone building a new PC, I need to get creative here. One of the ideas was to either get a cheap PC with enough SATA ports and power cables to use as a NAS, the other one was a cheap used NAS, I even thought of repurposing an old PC we found at the side of the road some months ago into a NAS. (Although I'm not sure that one works, as I've never even dared to test it.) Any other ideas?
 

jack_christie

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You could move the Documents folder to another drive.

I keep Documents in a separate partition on another drive.

Once lost a Documents folder when Windows had to be reinstalled, so I sort of copied Linux in having a separate Docs partition.

I had an M2 500Gb NVMe for C, but copied everything into a new 1TB NVMe
 

Matt2000

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Yeah orders of operation here. My first move would be to see if you can clean up the OS disk, first using Disk Cleanup and then maybe SpaceMonger to hunt out the crap you don't need. If you don't need hibernation, for example, you can just turn it off with the command "powercfg hibernate off" and it'll delete the Hiberfil.sys file that is equivalent in size to the amount of RAM you have.

You could get another SSD for games. I did this many years ago, it's now grown to 2TB thanks to Forza and such. Those are easy to move or re-download and removing those will make backing up the OS disk easier. Which you should do! That 6TB disk could and should be used for backups if it's doing nothing else. I have a 5.25" HDD bay in my server for backups to my off-site storage, I just did them the other day. Just make a copy of anything you don't want to lose from the 500GB disk and the 6TB.

I'd recommend using Robocopy for backups because it's easy to set up a script that zips through files you already have. It's worth looking up the arguments on SS64 but this is one of the lines I have in my backup script.
Code:
Robocopy "D:\" "W:\Photos Primary" /mir /r:3 /w:10 /V /xd dfsrprivate /TS /TEE /NP /MT:16 /XD 'D:\$RECYCLE.BIN'

It goes through running 16 threads (much faster than single thread) and backs up any new photos. I'd recommend turning hot-swapping on for the port the 5.25" bay is connected to, so you can install, eject and remove the disk while the machine is running. Not essential, just useful.

A normal PC can make a good NAS, it's basically what I have but the second PC does a lot of server work too like controlling some automation stuff. I don't trust any NAS devices with proprietry software since the old Icy Box shit the bed and the RAID 1 array I had on there was completely unrecoverable. So I use Windows. You can use Linux on basically any computer you find but you can't just put an NTFS formatted disk in and use it. With a Windows machine you could just take your backup disk and turn that straight into a network disk.

I have a Dell PERC H310 controller in the server, it's a PCIe RAID controller that can handle 8 disks with a couple of fancy splitter cables. They're pretty cheap refurbished and it just means you don't have to bother with the onboard SATA. If the motherboard died (again) I could just put a new one in, rebuild fresh Windows, then plug the controller card in all my disks and storage space volumes will come right back.
 
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Matt2000

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Tram

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Yeah orders of operation here. My first move would be to see if you can clean up the OS disk, first using Disk Cleanup and then maybe SpaceMonger to hunt out the crap you don't need. If you don't need hibernation, for example, you can just turn it off with the command "powercfg hibernate off" and it'll delete the Hiberfil.sys file that is equivalent in size to the amount of RAM you have.

Okay, that's something I didn't know about. Disk Cleanup shouldn't accidentally delete some Cinema 4D file I've forgotten about and haven't checked in 2 years, but might need one day, right?

You could get another SSD for games. I did this many years ago, it's now grown to 2TB thanks to Forza and such. Those are easy to move or re-download and removing those will make backing up the OS disk easier. Which you should do! That 6TB disk could and should be used for backups if it's doing nothing else. I have a 5.25" HDD bay in my server for backups to my off-site storage, I just did them the other day. Just make a copy of anything you don't want to lose from the 500GB disk and the 6TB.

Even if I don't plan on playing too much games, stuff like Forza Horizon 4 and 5 (if I'm even able to run the latter), which I'm planning to play, will take up some space. I've thought about an extra 1TB SSD, I don't need it to be super-fast, right? Would something like a Samsung 870 QVO suffice? Mind you, I might want to reuse the drive I buy in another build once the time comes for a new build, as a game storage device, of course.

I'd recommend using Robocopy for backups because it's easy to set up a script that zips through files you already have. It's worth looking up the arguments on SS64 but this is one of the lines I have in my backup script.
Code:
Robocopy "D:\" "W:\Photos Primary" /mir /r:3 /w:10 /V /xd dfsrprivate /TS /TEE /NP /MT:16 /XD 'D:\$RECYCLE.BIN'

It goes through running 16 threads (much faster than single thread) and backs up any new photos. I'd recommend turning hot-swapping on for the port the 5.25" bay is connected to, so you can install, eject and remove the disk while the machine is running. Not essential, just useful.

I've heard of Robocopy, I used it once when I had problems copying files, thanks for the tip! Funny thing, I thought it stood for robot copy, not robust copy, lol.

A normal PC can make a good NAS, it's basically what I have but the second PC does a lot of server work too like controlling some automation stuff. I don't trust any NAS devices with proprietry software since the old Icy Box shit the bed and the RAID 1 array I had on there was completely unrecoverable. So I use Windows. You can use Linux on basically any computer you find but you can't just put an NTFS formatted disk in and use it. With a Windows machine you could just take your backup disk and turn that straight into a network disk.

I was thinking Linux, but Windows would work as well, for the aforementioned reason. However, the movie collection is fungible, and the photo collection takes less than 100GB, so reformatting the said drive (moving the photos elsewhere beforehand, of course) wouldn't be the end of the world. We'll see. But do I use normal, consumer-grade Windows or some Server Edition?

I have a Dell PERC H310 controller in the server, it's a PCIe RAID controller that can handle 8 disks with a couple of fancy splitter cables. They're pretty cheap refurbished and it just means you don't have to bother with the onboard SATA. If the motherboard died (again) I could just put a new one in, rebuild fresh Windows, then plug the controller card in all my disks and storage space volumes will come right back.

While contemplating the NAS build, I thought a PCIe RAID controller card would be pretty useful. Thanks for the model name, this info will definitely come useful!
 

Perc

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I have a JBL speaker that won’t charge off of my Apple USB-C chargers. Nothing happens.
The JBL A to C cable won’t physically fit in the Apple devices.
Meanwhile, the JBL and my Apple gear charge fine off of a Huawei Type-C PD charger.
My Apple stuff works fine with every Type C thing I’ve ever plugged into it, except the JBL cable.
I recently got a new headtorch specifically because it was type C. Guess if it charges off of the Apple chargers?

ffs.
 

eizbaer

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The JBL A to C cable won’t physically fit in the Apple devices.
wtf how is that even possible?

With USB-C I've encountered devices that are pyhsically USB-C but can't handle being charged off a USB-C charger (if that tries to do a power delivery handshake or something?). Off the top of my head, for example, I have a battery/solar zigbee outdoor mood light thing that does this... won't charge off any USB-C charger (i.e. a multiport thing I have or the apple ipad pro charger, 27W thing, I think?), but will only accept a USB-A to -C charging cable from a regular USB-A outlet o_O defeats the whole purpose of having a USB-C connector on the product, if you ask me and already spells fail to the USB-C EU-regulation...
 

Matt2000

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Okay, that's something I didn't know about. Disk Cleanup shouldn't accidentally delete some Cinema 4D file I've forgotten about and haven't checked in 2 years, but might need one day, right?

It's designed to delete from temporary locations, there shouldn't be anything important in there but if in doubt you should be able to get an idea with SpaceMonger or check the application-specific temp folders. I don't use Cinema 4D so the only comparison I can make is the Premiere Pro temp folders, the path for these can be found in the application preferences.

Even if I don't plan on playing too much games, stuff like Forza Horizon 4 and 5 (if I'm even able to run the latter), which I'm planning to play, will take up some space. I've thought about an extra 1TB SSD, I don't need it to be super-fast, right? Would something like a Samsung 870 QVO suffice? Mind you, I might want to reuse the drive I buy in another build once the time comes for a new build, as a game storage device, of course.

I have a QVO for my videos and it's fine, however I'd suggest waiting that little bit longer to get the EVO. I kind of regret buying the QVO, the price was right at the time and the performance is OK but being a QVO limits what I can do with it if I got a replacement. It's like I was saying when @Eye-Q was looking at SSDs, in my mind it pays to consider how you would re-use it later on.

Nitpicking aside, the QVO would probably be fine.

A note for any MS Store games (like Forza Horizon 4), when you view the OS disk with SpaceMonger it will show the games installed there even if they're actually stored elsewhere, it's just a bug and in this case you'll find that the total size of the SSD exceeds its capacity!

I've heard of Robocopy, I used it once when I had problems copying files, thanks for the tip! Funny thing, I thought it stood for robot copy, not robust copy, lol.

I used to think it was Robot Copy too, it makes sense. It's incredibly handy to have a batch file or PowerShell script with many lines to backup files to different locations.

I was thinking Linux, but Windows would work as well, for the aforementioned reason. However, the movie collection is fungible, and the photo collection takes less than 100GB, so reformatting the said drive (moving the photos elsewhere beforehand, of course) wouldn't be the end of the world. We'll see. But do I use normal, consumer-grade Windows or some Server Edition?

That's fine, just keep in mind that with a Linux server you can't just lift a disk and put it straight into a Windows machine to read it. Just regular Windows Professional is fine, that's all I use.

While contemplating the NAS build, I thought a PCIe RAID controller card would be pretty useful. Thanks for the model name, this info will definitely come useful!

You're welcome, it's nice for the amount of time I've spent on this stuff to be useful sometimes. Those cards are very good and so far this one has been extremely reliable. They use this type of mini-SAS splitter, which for the H310 at least works perfectly fine with SATA disks.
1670327621231.png


With a bit of patience 8 disks can look quite neat. I have no patience and it still looks decent enough. This is in a Fractal Design R5, a good home server case without going crazy. Space at the front for the 5.25" bay and an LTO4 tape drive I haven't used for years because it's too loud.



I'll shortly be replacing the motherboard with the one in this machine. The cards will swap straight over and it'll all hopefully just work. Hopefully all of my other disks in this machine will work fine in the new build too, although I'm going to uninstall all MS Store games first. Steam games should be fine.
 

Perc

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wtf how is that even possible?
No idea. The plug just bottoms out without snapping in and doesn't make electrical contact.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that trying to charge the JBL speaker (JBL Charge 4, for the record) off of either my MacBook or iPad Type-C chargers makes them so confused they won't charge anything anymore until I unplug the Apple cable from the Apple power brick for a moment.

Meanwhile, my noise-canceling Jabra cans charge fine off of the Apple chargers.

And I've plugged all sorts of Chinesium type-c stuff into the MacBook Air (and the Pro before that) over the years without any issues. Back when I first moved to the C-only MBP I bought a handful of type-c to all-sorts-of-things cables and adapters from Amazon. It's just the JBL brandad A to C cable that won't work out of everything I've tried.
 
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