LGR – The 1997 DVD-ROM Upgrade Experience



Installing a Creative Encore DVD-ROM! Back in 1997 DVD tech was an huge step up from CDs. And the setup was a bit more involved than just plopping in a drive — you needed an MPEG-2 card like the DXR2!

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● Music used in order of appearance:
All is Good Again, Ain’t That So, Streetlight Conundrum




There are 26 comments

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  1. Gaz Hall

    Put one of these in my PC took the drive back when it stopped working and forgot to take the card with me but they swapped it for a new one

  2. dharkbizkit

    iam suprised. dvd in 1997. i never even heard of dvd in 97. granted, i was 12 years old back then and i got my first computer in 98, a year later. but my first dvd drive must have been around 2002 .. 5 years after it this updgrade set came out. so eighter i missed something as big as this entirely. or it was pupolar way earlier in the states then in germany or it was such a niche product in 97, that most people hadnt heard of it

  3. Tromzy

    What happened if you also had a 3D accelerator ? Did you have to plug the cable from the standard video card output to the 3D accelerator input and then another cable from the 3D accelerator output to the Mpeg decoder card input, and then the VGA cable to the monitor ? Or the other way around, or it simply didn't matter ? Did that work ?

  4. Gregg Eshelman

    The heyday of the MPEG2 decoder card (especially for DVDs) came and went in 1997. Circa 2000 I was given a new in box example of Diamond Multimedia's sole entry in the field. It included a 1x DVD-ROM drive with a massive, full length card, analog passthrough like the Creative cards. However unlike the Creative cards it was a useless POS. The only player that could use the hardware acceleration was the horrible one that came with the kit. Its player window could be resized but it could not be maximized or switched to full screen – all you could do was drag the edges out. DirectX was a thing but the people who wrote the drivers for this hunk of shame neglected to make them DirectShow compatible, which is why no other player could use the card. Everyone else in the DVD game hopped on the DirectX wagon. But wait! There's *less*! The drivers and player software would only work with Windows 95a. I tried it with OSR2 and it wouldn't function. Why for the love of Gates would anyone release a product in 1997 that was incompatible with Windows 95B?!

    Diamond had thrown this product out there quick and dirty (they didn't actually make the board, it had some other company name on it, which I could find nothing about online) then instantly gave up on it. There were never any updates, the software they had to download was exactly the same crap it shipped with. I ended up just using the DVD drive and tossing the rest of the kit back in its box.

    The death blow to standalone DVD decoder cards was the demonstration in mid 1997 of pure software DVD playback on a 300Mhz Pentium II. Not that the PC could really be doing anything else at the same time. DVD decoder cards that were compatible with DirectX and current versions of Windows held on longer because the software DVD players could also use hardware acceleration via DirectShow.
    GPUs were also getting integrated hardware MPEG2 decoding but that rarely got any use due to the steep processing power climb going on that made it possible to do video playback better with software. "Ooooh. This video card had MPEG2 decoding. Lemme enable it in WinDVD. Ugh! Looks like crap compared to its software decoding."

  5. Anthony Dunstan

    Great vids LGR. The statement on software decoding / PowerDVD is a little confused. IMHO software decoding in the 90's improved with CPU power and software optimisations, but it wasn't until Intel introduced SSE that MPEG2 playback was silicon accelerated without a card.

  6. Jonathan Senesi

    I just keep coming to this video to see the "penises" screen saver and your laughter. You should post the complete video of that laughter to the screen saver, that's just pure gold!

  7. Joe

    I didn't get a DVD-ROM until 2006! Farcry came with my new gpu on DVD so I bought one soon after. Although we did have an E-machines PC from 1999 with a dvd drive.

  8. BirdValiant

    I have a question, though: what was the point to installing BOTH a CD-ROM and a DVD-ROM drive at the same time? What was the benefit to doing so? I've asked myself this question for years and have yet to come to a satisfactory answer.

  9. znk3r

    I had the same DXR2, and Claw videos were always flickering. I installed that DXR2 in 2 different setups, and it was always the same, so I'm sure it's because of the encoding. Anyway, at that time, you didn't care, because it was a great experience. Not as good as Wing Commander, that was a different level of awesomeness.

  10. Brandon Johnston

    "This card is getting kinda rancid, but, oh, it looks so good. Alright, I'm gonna have to give it a try. Oh, nope, nope, that's really rancid, nice."


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