I have taken an amateur interest in computing since the early 1980s when I purchased an
Amstrad PCW, somewhat of a cult to owners in its day. I have always been keen - and
rash enough - to keep upgrading any machine that I owned, aided and abetted by relevant
computing magazines. I can still remember my first upgrade of the PCW, doubling
memory and adding a second floppy disk drive. The latter involved a heart-thudding
cutting of the case with a hacksaw to free the window for the second drive!
owned both PCs and notebook computers and, since 1997, when I invested in a Gateway PC
installing a Coolscan II internal negative scanner with
the prime aim of scanning 35mm film and slides, I have purchased machines and upgrades
direct, rather than through the retail market.
My lifestyle means that times when I may
have free time to work on the computer - particularly to work on my
photographic store - I am often not at home. This led me to seek out
in 1998 the best specified PC replacement in a notebook and I purchased
a Dell Inspiron 7000 300LT.
I upgraded my Nikon negative and slide scanner to the new
CoolScan III model with ICE technology and a Adaptec SlimSCSI 1480A CardBus PCMCIA
ultra SCSI card. This machine, running Windows 98SE, still remains
as a workhorse giving me SCSI access to my old Black Widow flatbed and NIkon
negative CoolScan III scanners, an MO external SCSI/parallel disk drive (230MB capacity disks),
as well as my old Epson 600 printer. The latter is available on a 4 port 10/100 Fast Ethernet
Hub added in 1999 to which all my machines are linked.
In March 1999 I purchased my digital
video camcorder which immediately opened up to me the possibilities of
editing video on the computer and soon afterwards in April 1999 I took delivery
of a Dabs bespoke assembly PIII 450MH
PC designed by me around a Pinnacle Miro Video DV300 PCI
digital video editing card (see
note re hardware/software
I stripped relevant add-ons off my original Gateway PC and gradually
upgraded components over the next couple of years. However, it was never a
very satisfactory machine although it did give me a - frustrating - taste for
video editing. Intermittent hardware problems - including 2 hard disk
failures - dogged my efforts and the Pinnacle Miro Video DV300 PCI deserves all
the bad press which it and Pinnacle support have received.
In February 2001 I took the large investment step of
investing in a new Gateway
Solo 850 MHz PIII notebook together with FAST's purple.Field
professional software editing option for notebooks all purchased
through MultiMedia Direct. Although they specialise in assembling digital video editing
solutions sadly did not continue to offer mobile digital editing nor FAST
products leaving me high and dry which was made a hundred times worse by the
sell out of FAST to Pinnacle. This has left me isolated as far as
progression is concerned with Pinnacle as unsuportive and unresponsive as
ever! The demise of Gateway's operations in the UK has left the notebook totally unsupported
and my 3 year on site warranty worthless!
However, I found the Studio software - the key part of the purple.Field
video editing operation - an excellent editing
programme to use after a steep learning curve. The Gateway Solo notebook, so far, has been a excellent
machine to use after some early teething problems - probably the result of a
poor set-up of Windows 2000 before delivery.
In June 2002, with problems continuing on the Dabs machine and, the multiple
disk drive failures leaving a feeling of insecurity, I decided to scrap it.
Pinnacle had recently launched Edition DV as the rebranded pro-am level Studio software.
I decided to take the plunge to replace the Dabs machine with a twin processor AMD Athlon MP 1600+ (1.4GHz)
PC to be built by digital video computing experts DVC in Brighton in the
hope that they would provide a stable system with secure backup.
See specification for the DVC
to see specification of the Dell notebook
to see specification of the MMD-Gateway-purple.Field notebook
to see specification of the DVC Edition PC
Click here to see
specifications of peripherals
Click here for the
I subscribe to magazines to keep in touch with
what is new and as learning aids. These include Computer Video and PC
For an excellent help and support
video editing web forum visit
the Computer Video web site and forums