Digital Video Editing: The Matrox RT2500

Hard Drive Storage Space And Transfer Rates Requirements

The Disk benchmark only gives you the go-ahead if a hard drive can transfer data at a rate of at least 4 MB/s per stream. This requirement must be met when both reading and writing. This is a clever over-calculation on Matrox's part, since the maximum bandwidth necessary for DV and MPEG-2 is only 3.52 MB per second .

These numbers can be used to estimate the maximum capacity available for the AV material. Our 30 GB drive, for example, can accommodate 145 minutes of DV material or 284 minutes of MPEG-2 footage. However, the capacity for MPEG-2 is variable as it depends on scene complexity.

If you want your video editing system to work properly, however, you should follow this rule of thumb when calculating the dimensions of your hard drive - one third goes for the raw material, one third to edit the project and the last third is for the final video. That means that we can fit about 45 minutes of DV material or 95 minutes of MPEG-2 material on our 30 GB hard drives. Overall, the more capacity, the better. Hard drives with 80 GB and up are recommended.

An experienced editor would only use a certain percentage of what he captures. He does not make another copy for editing the project with.

On the other hand, if you you're planning to publish your video masterpieces on the Web, smaller capacities will also be fine, since the bandwidth required in that case is significantly smaller. All this information is for maximum quality and full PAL/NTSC resolution.

Premiere - Bitter Pill Under Windows 2000 SP2

After having spent several hours installing software and running Disk Benchmark, we wanted to finally get down to the nitty-gritty of serious testing. However, our lab suffered a serious setback - Adobe Premiere 6.0 crashed without fail after every single start under Windows 2000.

Hunting for the error lasted another several hours. We observed the following behavior: as soon as we had uninstalled the Matrox plug-in for Premiere, Premiere started working again (albeit without Realtime Effects). The moment we re-installed all the software again, the crashes came back with a vengeance.

The culprit was Microsoft Windows 2000 Service Pack 2, which had no intentions whatsoever of playing nice with the Matrox plug-ins. The system worked perfectly with Service Pack 1. This behavior doesn't occur under Windows 98 or ME , but only under Win2000, although we managed to reproduce the same effect on our Athlon system that we had on our Pentium III platform. Even the latest Matrox software update (still in beta-stage) didn't do any good.

Matrox has some catching-up to do with Microsoft here, especially considering that your average user will blithely install Service Pack 2 instead of SP1 - Microsoft Windows Update literally urges you to do so.

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Update Information from August 29, 2001: Matrox demonstrated their own reference system after we published this review. They prooved that Software from Matrox and third party vendors was stable under Windows 2000 SP2. However, this might vary from system to system.
Uwe Scheffel