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RT.X10 is Matrox's second dual-stream editing card using software Codecs
to take advantage of fast, modern processors. We check out how this
more downmarket newcomer compares with its recently launched big brother,
Matrox has a plan
to take over the world of desktop video editing using what it calls
the Power of X. This has nothing to do with cartoon heroes with superpowers.
Realising that time is fast running out for hardware editing solutions,
the company has made a radical leap to software, in order to take advantage
of the exponential growth (to the power of X) in processor capability.
Matrox kicked off its global domination strategy with the RT.X100. This
is aimed at a slightly higher, semi-professional market than its previous
prosumer real-time editing products, such as the RT2500. Now, with the
RT.X10, Matrox is targeting the hobbyist sector. The RT.X10 is intended
to provide an upgrade path for editors who find themselves limited by
a basic OHCI FireWire card paired with entry-level software.
The X10 hardware doesn't look that different to the X100, apart from
a tell-tale vacant space where a large chip obviously could have been.
The X10 doesnít have the C-Cube silicon found on all previous
Matrox RT boards, although it does still carry a Matrox graphics accelerator
to process the real-time 3D effects. All video compression and decompression
duties have been shifted over to the host CPU, including output. The
result is that two of the X100's most welcome features - real-time DV
and MPEG-2 IBP output - are not available on the X10. The absence of
the C-Cube also means that itís not possible to capture straight
to MPEG-2 IBP either, confirming this card's less professional orientation.
As with the X100, the host CPU is also called upon to perform a few
extra real-time effects.
While the RT.X100 is a clear winner in its class, the RT.X10's position
is a little more complicated. This isn't really to do with the card
itself, although the lack of real-time chroma and luma keying are significant
negatives. Indeed, the X10 is currently the most powerful editing card
available for the money, with the DV500 DVD well behind in terms of
What does limit the X10's potential is its lack of compatibility with
many low-cost Athlon systems based on VIA KT chipsets. The various versions
of KT are at the heart of most Athlon motherboards. However, Pentium
4s are coming down in price, and most of Intel's standard chipsets for
the P4 processor are on the X10's compatible list.
So, although the chosen hardware platform must be compatible, the X10
still sets a new price point for real-time editing, and we can't wait
to see how Matrox's competitors respond. Although some time in the future,
the X10's major competitor won't be hardware at all, but software. For
now, though, it represents the cheapest route to powerful real-time
Read the full
review in December 2002's Computer Video magazine.
Reviewed in December's issue:
burns its fingers
WD 200GByte EIDE drives from £300
Panasonic turns nasty
Multicam support for Canopus Storm and RexRT Pro
Dazzle RT on a laptop
Low-cost PAL/NTSC converter
DV edit-ready Samsung laptops
£70 software-only editing bundle
Canopus ProCoder V1.2 with streaming enhancements and HD support
Mac OS support for TerraTec 4G sound cards