Hey thanks for the replies and the info :iagree:
I've tested with latest drivers for both of the Mpeg cards and two different versions of the Video driver. As for the sound card, they support both digital in + out, I usually route the Mpeg's digital out to the sound card then the sound card's digital out to my surround sound system.
Actually I have done some further testing since my first post and have determined the problem lies with the driver for the Asus V9520, driver version makes no difference. The system has no problem with the Hollywood Magic Mpeg card or it's driver, until the video card driver is installed. After that, the system will lock up during the boot process, and this even after uninstalling the Mpeg card (from device manager) and removing all traces of it's driver from the OS, and still locks up even after doing the same to the video card and it's driver. Doesn't matter what I do, after the video card driver is first installed, the system is doomed never to boot normally unless I physically remove the Mpeg card from the PCI slot.
My theory is that it is because the Asus V9520 I have is a dual monitor type card, or that it's outputs are digital and use an adapter plug to convert to VGA, and that somehow that makes it's driver unique and incompatible.
Also contrary to prior test results the Xcard will work just fine, the new Xcard I had turned out to be defective out of the box. Only problem there is the Xcard is a significant step down from the Magic card in that it is incapable of full screen display on the computer monitor and color/bright/contrast controls are not adjustable for the composite output. It is very disappointing really.
So the direct solution is likely to replace the video card and keep my Magic Mpeg card. Though still I plan to look into the alternative Mpeg solutions before I make a final decision, one think I know, I definitely dont want to stay with the Xcard on this system.