Sony Maximum Performance Upgrade Kit - Part 1

By Toh Boon Kiat
Hardware One

What Comprises The Upgrade Kit?

  • Sigma Designs REALMagic Hollywood Plus (DVD/MPEG-2 Playback Card)
  • Sony DDU220E DVD-ROM drive

1. Introduction
When Wilfred asked me if I wanted to review the Maximum Performance Upgrade kit, featuring REALMagic’s Hollywood Plus MPEG-2 playback card, I almost fell over, literally.

Up till that moment, all my reviews have been on hardware that I had to purchase with my own hard-earned cash. =) And here was a chance to review a highly recommended system for free!

I quickly took him up on the offer and met Michael from Convergent Systems which distributes the DVD upgrade kit in Singapore. THANKS, Michael!

The system I tested it on is as follows:

  • Celeron 300A (overclocked to 450MHz)
  • ABit BH6 motherboard (FU BIOS)
  • 128MB PC100 SDRAM (TI 3rd Party)
  • Asus 2740/TV (i740 AGP 2x VGA card with TV input and output)
  • Aureal Vortex1 (8820) reference design soundcard
  • Samsung SyncMaster 17GLi
  • Creative/Cambridge SoundWorks Desktop Theater 5.1 system

(my Encore DVD system was removed for the purpose of the review)

"Unlike the Encore, the RM does not use a conventional VGA passthrough. A special cable, much like Canopus’ WitchDoctor connection, plugs from the DB15 of your VGA card to a special DIN input on the RM card.
I was a little intrigued by this device and wondered if it will improve the quality of your existing VGA card, since the Encore was plagued by serious degradation."

However eager I was to review the unit, I was unable to do so, as I had just started work in a new department which left me very little time to tinker with my PCs. As it turned out, the new job took a lot more out of me than I expected, and this review was delayed for far longer than I would have preferred..

Since I already have an Encore DVD kit, I will also be comparing the two PC-DVD upgrades in this review.

But enough with my preliminaries already. Let’s get on with the review proper.

Next >

Special Thanks to Mr Michael Tan of Convergent Systems
for the provision of the Sony DVD Upgrade Kit