I am looking for a good multi-purpose vid card that suits the system that I have. I have a AMD K6-2 300, sy-5ehm(socket 7) SOYO mobo, 80mb sdram, a sony digital camcorder with S-video and a DV in/out port on the front. There are two possible things I might try. Either buy one of those cameras you put on the to of the monitor and a usb port, or get a good vid card. Right now I only need to set up my computer so I can do video conferencing, but I'd also like to be able to setup and manage my own website with vid clips and whatnot. Copying movies is out of the question at this point with only 3 gb of hard drive to work with, maybe in the future, who knows. I'm not really into games, so no big deal there. I have looked mostly at the ATI-AIW 128 16mb agp card, I don't know if I need the 32mb version, more $ for marginally better performance? Should I opt for the PCI? Or go ahead with the AGP? Should I scrap that altogether and get the camera and usb port? Is there a better alternative? Any help is appreciated.
I think the main attraction of the 32meg AIW 128 is the extra DVD chip it has. (Rage Theatre or something). The extra video RAM is not going to be a big deal for you. I'm not sure if that extra chip helps DVD performance or just quality. There are several review sites with more info on it.
If you have the option, always go for AGP unless there is an obvious reason not to (i.e. you already have an AGP card and want to run dual monitors or something). Even if the performance isn't much better, that's one less PCI slot you're using, and one less device on the PCI bus.
Most web cams (unless you lay down the bucks) are not going to produce video of incredible quality. Then again, the ATI might not be able to capture well with only a K6-2 300. I would put my money on the ATI, though. You should be able to get very nice stills with the S-Video, and decent video (good enough for streaming for a web page). Plus you get a decent all around video card, a TV tuner, darn good DVD, etc.
I also suggest more system RAM if you think you want to video edit clips larger than a few meg. If your hard drive starts to grind heavily when editing and clipping, you'll know it is time. RAM prices are dropping luckily.
BP6, C-366/550 (x2 very soon), 192meg
CL TNT2U 180/230
BP6, P3-700@770 (for now), 320mb, eVGA MX Plus (dual CRT), waiting for VIVO module