Building a Digital Video Capture System - Part II

Matrox RT2500

Matrox RT2500

Input(s): DV (DV, DVCAM, DVCPRO) and analog (composite and S-video)

Formats: MPEG-1, MPEG-2 (DVD compliant), RealVideo, Windows Media, QuickTime.
List price: $999 (street $899)

System Requirements (Minimum)

Microsoft Windows 2000 (Service Pack 1 is recommended) or Windows Me (Millennium Edition) operating system.
Intel Pentium II CPU, 350 MHz or AMD Athlon CPU.
256 MB RAM.
Display card w/16 MB (Matrox Millennium G450 or Matrox Millennium Flex3D recommended).
500 MB of free space for software installation on system drive.
Separate hard drive for A/V content.
16 bit soundcard.
CD-ROM drive for software installation.

System Requirements (Recommended)

Pentium III or AMD Athlon CPU, 750 MHz or faster.
DV video camera (to use 1394 connections).
NTSC or PAL video monitor.

Notes: According to the Matrox Web site, "There are some performance issues (such as dropped frames) when using RT2500 with motherboards that have an Intel 850 chipset. Unfortunately, this chipset is used on most Pentium IV motherboards. Matrox is communicating with Intel about this problem, and we hope to offer a solution very soon. Until that time, we do not recommend using Pentium IV motherboards with RT2500." And, "Under Windows Me only, the RT2500 is experiencing compatibility problems with display cards that use an ATI or nVidea graphics processor. Matrox is presently working with both these manufacturers to help resolve this issue. In the meantime, we recommend that you use a Matrox G400 or G450 display card with RT2500 and Windows Me. This issue does not occur under Windows 2000."

They also report on their site that neither the IWill KV200 motherboard with AMD socket A and VIA KT 133a chipset or the Aopen AK73Pro motherboard with AMD socket A and VIA KT 133 chipset are compatible.

Finally, according to the Matrox Web site, "To be compatible with the dual stream operation of the RT2500, a storage device you use has to sustain at least 12 MB/sec data transfer rate," and, "all hard disks manufactured within the last year should be acceptable, as long as they have a rotational speed of at least 5400 RPM." However, they also note, "our tests have shown that 1394 hard drives are not capable of sustaining the data transfer rates that are needed for video editing with RT2500."

In The Box

RT2500 PCI board
VIP (video input port) ribbon cable (for connecting to graphics board)
Breakout box
Breakout box cable
IEEE 1394 DV cable (6 pin to 4 pin)


Adobe Premiere for realtime nonlinear editing
Adobe Photoshop LE
Sonic Foundry ACID Music
Pixélan Video SpiceRack Lite
Inscriber TitleExpres
Sonic Solutions DVDit! LE
Matrox DVD Player

Matrox RT2500 PCI board


Okay, I cheated on the installation since Matrox sent me the Micron system that had the RT2500 already up and running - plus the fact that we had already done a standalone review of the product. The installation procedures for a full installation are complicated. However, the manual does go into great detail about all the steps in the installation process so if you follow the instructions carefully you shouldn't have any problems.

Matrox RT2500 breakout box.

Of all the capture systems I tested the Matrox RT2500 seemed to have some very specific system configuration standards and requirements (such as the graphics card and memory) but they didn't seem unreasonable for what you're getting.

Matrox file conversion utility.