Best Buy
  • Price: 1174

  • Pros: Provides huge boost to HDV editing performance. Wide toolset with great colour correction tools.

  • Cons: High and strict hardware requirements. Strict workflow. Pricey.

  • Our Rating: We rate this 9 out of 10 We rate this 9 out of 10

Most video-editing applications have added support for HDV over the past year or so, but using it on a day-to-day basis is a chore. DV-based editors have grown used to working in real-time – or with high-quality previewing if not true real-time – and while today’s computer hardware makes a decent attempt at dealing with HDV, editing with precision is slow going.

Matrox’s RT.X2 attempts to replicate the success of the company’s RT2000, which introduced real-time DV editing to the masses back in 2000. It enables editors to capture, edit and output HDV with a minimum of fuss. Like the first generation of DV editing hardware, it’s somewhat limited in what it can do and requires a powerful computer to host it – but it’s far better than trying to edit HDV using software alone.

To get the RT.X2 to run properly, you’ll probably need a new computer. There’s currently only a limited number of certified motherboards, processors, and graphics cards – or full systems from the likes of Dell and HP – and you’ll need to stick to these to obtain technical support.

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To get the best from the RT.X2 you’ll need a dual Opteron-based computer such as the systems covered in Digit 102’s hardware Labs – though you can use a gamer graphics card rather than a workstation-class one and save around £500. You’ll also need a large case, as the RT.X2 board is a full-length PCI Express card.
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We tested the RT.X2 on Armari’s Gravistar XR. The back of the board has three connectors – one for the breakout box that offers analog video, audio and DV connection; a DVI port for connecting an LCD display as an output monitor, and audio output to your speakers. 
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The DV connection is via a pass-through cable to your computer’s FireWire port. Your computer’s sound card is integrated into the RT.X2 though pass-through cables, so speaker systems are easier to connect than with previous RT hardware. The ability to use an HD-capable LCD monitor is a great moneysaver over a traditional HD monitor. We used Dell’s £699 plus VAT UltraSharp 2407WFP.
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