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Evaluation

Building a Digital Video Capture System - Part II
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The DV500 Plus is a tough one to evaluate. When it works it works great, when it doesn't it's a disaster. The Pinnacle DV500 Plus is a board, breakout box, and software bundle that begins to approach serious prosumer-level capture, editing, and effects. While the descriptions on the box and their print materials make a big deal of the real-time native DV video editing with 3D effects, not all of the effects are realtime.

Pinnacle's main capture settings preferences window.

The bad news first. There is no way to gloss over this - the Pinnacle DV500 Plus is a bitch to install. While the required system specs seem reasonable enough on the surface it turns out that the board is very, very picky about what motherboard you have, what chipset the motherboard has, what features in the bios are enabled or disabled, the PCI bus performance, which IRQ it gets (9,10, or 11), what slot it's in (one or two away from the AGP slot), what graphics card you have, what software you may or may not have had installed on your system before you start the installation, what drive you install Premier on, what order you install things in, and on and on. (Check http://www.pinnaclesys.com/support/faq/ for a rather lengthy list of possible problems and solutions.)

Pinnacle System's DVExpert diagnostics utility useful for testing system performance.

Even with an insider direct line to head of tech support (that most consumers won't have access to) I couldn't get the system working at all on the HP and barely working on the Micron. I tried everything in the manual, everything their tech suggested and everything I could think of short of wiping the hard drives and reinstalling the OS. I tried cleaning the system the best I could, disabling as many things as I could, and moving the board from slot to slot but even after dozens of re-boots, manual driver installs, and a few blue-screen's-of-death I still couldn't get it to work properly.

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