35 Replies Latest reply on Aug 21, 2010 6:43 AM by Digitalcut

    Matrox Mini Max - or Fermi 480 with CS5?

     Shaul

      Time to free up some bottlenecks in my workflow - which is of course rendering.

      I'm considering a Matrox Mini Max for my editing suite, Final Cut Pro running on a Macbook Pro.

       

      Question is, why would I want to invest $800 in a box that only speeds up - although dramatically - H.264 encoding (in addition to offering HDMI I/O) when I can buy a Fermi 480 GPU for around $450, to run Adobe CS5 Mercury playback, and not only accelerate rendering but also play back in RT numerous layers of video with filters applied? Am I missing something?

       

      Thanks for any input.

      Shaul

        • 1. Re: Matrox Mini Max - or Fermi 480 with CS5?
          Bill Gehrke Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          Shaul wrote:

           

          Time to free up some bottlenecks in my workflow - which is of course rendering.

          I'm considering a Matrox Mini Max for my editing suite, Final Cut Pro running on a Macbook Pro.

           


          Thanks for any input.

          Shaul

          You have me thoroughly confused.  I know nothing about MAC's and/or Matrox but how in the world would you put a GTX 480 into a notebook?

          • 2. Re: Matrox Mini Max - or Fermi 480 with CS5?
             Shaul Level 1

            Bill,

             

            I'm not married to my Mac, neither to my FCP.

            I was contemplating about changing platforms altogether, if the Fermi 480 indeed delivers realtime (or even near realtime) H.264 encoding with CS5.

            Sorry I wasn't being clear.

             

            - Shaul

            • 3. Re: Matrox Mini Max - or Fermi 480 with CS5?
              Colin Brougham Level 6
              if the Fermi 480 indeed delivers realtime (or even near realtime) H.264 encoding with CS5.

              Hardware-accelerated Mercury Playback Engine doesn't have anything to do directly with accelerating encoding. As its name suggests, it's all about accelerating playback, so you're more likely to have a realtime editing experience, when using appropriate media and accelerated effects. Hardware MPE does speed up rendering of those effects, which in some respects, leads to faster encoding, but for the actual compression itself, it's all CPU.

               

              My advice is to stay 100 feet or more away from anything Matrox, preferably through filing a restraining order. Matrox doesn't have the best track record with Premiere, and I'm speaking from some experience on that, not just random bias. Save your money on this one trick pony (though if you actually need I/O, that's something that has to be addressed, but there are better options out there) and plunk it down on more/better/faster hardware in a new computer, and you'll accelerate everything. There are lots and lots of threads and posts here about how to maximize your firepower for your buck.

              • 4. Re: Matrox Mini Max - or Fermi 480 with CS5?
                rowby Level 1

                About 6 months ago I purchased Matrox's compresshd card for my old PC.  I was unimpressed and am thinking of using it for a doorstop.

                 

                Rowby

                • 5. Re: Matrox Mini Max - or Fermi 480 with CS5?
                  cfsKC

                  I, too, bought the MatroxCompressHD card for my old system and found it to be a near total waste of $500. I have since taken it out of the system and looking to sell it.

                  • 6. Re: Matrox Mini Max - or Fermi 480 with CS5?
                    ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                    Matrox just released their 3.0 tools for CS5 at the end of last week. I have not had a chance to test it yet along with the Max plugin but I will soon. If you read the manual for the Matrox with the Max plugin, you have to workflow a certain way in order to gain the hardware encoding acceleration. I have not tried a CompressHD yet but I suspect it's the same workflow which means you may not see any advantage if you don't use their workflow and settings out of the manual(I know everyone HATES reading the manual but it is there for a reason). In the past the Matrox products have been excellent but haunted by some driver bugs on some new NLE version releases. I will have to see if that is the case with CS5 asap.

                    • 7. Re: Matrox Mini Max - or Fermi 480 with CS5?
                      rowby Level 1

                      Hi

                       

                      I saw that download link, and I think I will move the CompressHD card into my new "box", and see how well it performs.

                       

                      It will be interesting to see how well it works -- and of course I will report back here.

                       

                      I will be gone today but I will test it either tonight or Thursday.

                       

                       

                       

                      Now Available —                    New Features for Matrox CompressHD for PC
                      Dear Matrox Owner,                   

                      Release 3.0 of Matrox Mtx.utils for Matrox CompressHD                    is now available for you to download.                   

                      Matrox Mtx.utils  3.0 provides the following new                    features:

                      Support  for Adobe                          Encoder CS5 (earlier versions of these programs  are not                          supported).
                      Support  for H.264                          levels 4.1 and 4.2, and a maximum data rate of  50                          Mb/sec.
                      A  maximum GOP size                          of 254.
                      A slider  is                          provided to let you adjust the bitrate for AAC                          audio.
                      Support  for                          transcoding directly to Matrox H.264 format for Blu-ray                          Disc authoring in Adobe                    Encore.

                       

                      Best Regards,
                      Matrox Video Products                    Group

                      • 8. Re: Matrox Mini Max - or Fermi 480 with CS5?
                        Kita41

                        (though if you actually need I/O, that's something that has to be addressed, but there are better options out there)

                         

                         

                        Would you please share what I/O devices that has no issues with CS5 and allows to CC on external monitor. thanks

                         

                        Thank  again..

                        • 9. Re: Matrox Mini Max - or Fermi 480 with CS5?
                          Colin Brougham Level 6

                          I would trust anything from AJA, whether in the Kona series (PCI-E cards, for desktop workstations, now cross-platform), or possibly the Io Express (PCI-E for desktops or ExpressCard for laptops, cross-platform). There are also BlackMagic Designs cards and IO boxes, but BMD is flaky, in my experience. And again, I'd never trust Matrox with anything, mission-critical or otherwise: you're promised the moon and you get a broken 60-watt bulb.

                          • 10. Re: Matrox Mini Max - or Fermi 480 with CS5?
                            ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                            BlackMagic hardware is not flaky and works with CS5. They are also cheaper than AJA depending on the features you need. Matrox I still have to test with the new tools so I can't comment much on that currently. I will when I have tested the new tools with CS5. AJA is fine but expensive with little to no benefits over Black Magic's hardware.

                            • 11. Re: Matrox Mini Max - or Fermi 480 with CS5?
                              Colin Brougham Level 6

                              I disagree. Every time a new driver version came out, purportedly "fixing" one issue, a new one was brought to bear. It was an annoying game of leapfrog that wasn't worth saving a couple hundred bucks. I won't say that AJA is bombproof (what is?), but I've had far fewer issues with the hardware and software than with BMD. I like the idea of BMD--they just seem friendlier and fuzzier--but in the end, it's uptime that counts.

                               

                              Matrox just needs to go away. Period.

                              • 12. Re: Matrox Mini Max - or Fermi 480 with CS5?
                                ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                                The BMD hardware once again works fine and I have tested all of them more times than I can count over the last couple of years. Yes they have had bugs on some driver releases but they fix them in a reasonable time. I have not had a person who complained about uptime with the BMD hardware anymore than I have with the AJA. I have allot more experience with BMD hardware then most because we sell them for both Video and Audio systems since they work with many host programs for each market. You are assuming they are inferior simply based on a few bugs that ALL hardware manufacturers deal with including AJA. Sorry but the performance of BMD is the same in CS5 as AJA. The only thing you are paying extra for right now is the name. Matrox has had some rough releases in the past but they also have fixed them and the hardware worked great for what they were designed to do. Their problem was the testing phase before software release that missed obvious bugs. The hardware was not the issue. The software was the issue. In this case however, your analogy of up time is accurate. With BMD, it's not currently.

                                • 13. Re: Matrox Mini Max - or Fermi 480 with CS5?
                                  Colin Brougham Level 6

                                  You have the luxury of working with any and all of these manufacturers' products, which is outside of the realm of possibility for me and I would say most Premiere users. I did not in any way state or make the assumption that BMD was "inferior," as you put it; I simply said that I had more problems with BMD than I was comfortable dealing with on a perpetual basis. It works for you--great. In the past, BMD did not work for me, and therefore, I don't trust it. I don't sell a product, I use it, so I'll stick with what works for me. I can only state my opinion on something.

                                   

                                  But I'll stick to this opinion forever: Matrox is garbage.

                                  • 14. Re: Matrox Mini Max - or Fermi 480 with CS5?
                                    Scott Chichelli Level 3

                                    so then in that light

                                    (we work with these manufacturers day in and day out) on varied systems and software.

                                     

                                    maybe we might have a clue? just saying!

                                     

                                    FYI we would never "Sell" somthing for the sake of "selling" it

                                    quite the opposite. ( i have to wararnty/support it)

                                     

                                    Matrox: many were great others were an absolute nightmare and i had a bad taste in mouth for yrs with Matrox

                                    i think it was the 2500? that was a complete disaster before that was ok (man going back a lot of yrs here)

                                    the RTX original had issues depending on workflow

                                    the RTX2 was acutually a great product if going to DVD

                                    the AxioLE was/is great

                                    both are at the point useless

                                    the MXO/mini replaces it all for far less (works great on Apple with CS4/FC)

                                    we will find out how well with PC shortly.

                                     

                                    and AJA/PC has not always been a "good" thing. there were Apple centric for a good many yrs.

                                     

                                    Decklink: rarely an issue and fixed fast.

                                     

                                    not trying to downplay your personal experiance.

                                     

                                    Scott

                                    ADK

                                    • 15. Re: Matrox Mini Max - or Fermi 480 with CS5?
                                      ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                                      "You have the luxury of working with any and all of these manufacturers' products, which is outside of the realm of possibility for me and I would say most Premiere users."

                                       

                                      Exactly why I was correcting your experience. Remember, you were advising another person based on your singular statement. That advice was what I was correcting. Also this is exactly why people ask us which to get. Because we have the luxury to install, test, and WORK WITH many different products including but not limited to AJA, BMD, and Matrox including normal workflows that you do. I also get feedback from MANY editors who use them professionally to compare with my results. I have the ability to remote into their systems and see exactly what their projects entail and the material they are working with. I can see whether something works well or does not with what they are doing. Why downplay that luxury since as you say most don't have that ability when it's involving recommending something to another person?

                                       

                                       

                                      " In the past, BMD did not work for me, and therefore, I don't trust it. I don't sell a product, I use it, so I'll stick with what works for me."

                                       

                                      I do 'sell" the products(plural not singular) you have mentioned here and I also , install, configure, test, and use them as other editors do. I also speak with many editors who use them in workflows and applications I have not. So I have a very broad view of what works and doesn't. If I sell all the products listed here and I say the cheapest is just as good as the most expensive and you are paying for the name, then I am either accurate or a horrible sales person if sales numbers are my objective as you insinuate.

                                       

                                      "I did not in any way state or make the assumption that BMD was "inferior," as you put it; I simply said that I had more problems with BMD than I was comfortable dealing with on a perpetual basis."

                                       

                                      Need I point out the obvious? "  There are also BlackMagic Designs cards and IO boxes, but BMD is flaky, in my experience"

                                      • 16. Re: Matrox Mini Max - or Fermi 480 with CS5?
                                        Kita41 Level 1

                                        the MXO/mini replaces it all for far less (works great on Apple with CS4/FC)

                                        we will find out how well with PC shortly.

                                         

                                         

                                        I can't wait to know your result. we ask here because we do not know and I am sure i was not the only one who get stuck with an expensive peice or a board that did not work. Currently I am dumping my RTX2LE and looking fro a solution that will help monitor and capture analog when needed. The RTX2 was a disaster for me. browsing this forum I read something that I should have read before buying this card. "It is an expensive door stop" i think it was something like that. I do not wish to pay 848 for another door stop from any brand.I will be looking adn be patient before i buy. Thank all you for your time

                                        • 17. Re: Matrox Mini Max - or Fermi 480 with CS5?
                                          Steven Oakley

                                          I've been using matrox hardware now for a few years. I've gotten rid of my other video hardware simply because the matrox drivers have been reliable and solid. more so then some other vendors. it also works on both PC and mac hardware which is great because I do bring it over to a PC once in a while.

                                           

                                          the MAX h264 accelerator really does work. they just release a new version a few weeks ago that adds a whole bunch of new encoding options. if you didn't install the drivers ( correctly ), or aren't using it as intended ( RTFM ) then no it won't do much for you... neither will anything else for that matter when you don't use it correctly.

                                           

                                          the mini is a very cool product that just works. it even works with avid now.

                                           

                                          matrox has also been putting out driver updates pretty often, usually adding some new features in along the way like closed captioning support. I really don't think you can compare the MXO2 / mini products to previous products in the line because they are VERY different in how they work.

                                           

                                          as for the original post, if you do a lot of h264 encoding, the MAX option will make it faster, especially when doing HD res encodes. it also works on a laptop. given how limited laptop's can be, having this acceleration can by a huge boost for getting your work done on time. it also can run on battery power if you need it.

                                          1 person found this helpful
                                          • 18. Re: Matrox Mini Max - or Fermi 480 with CS5?
                                             Shaul Level 1

                                            Steven,

                                             

                                            This thread has really gotten OT...

                                             

                                            Thanks for your reference about the Max.

                                             

                                            Having owned a Matrox Digisuite DTV (with Premiere 5.1) in the past, I can tell that it was a prolonged nightmare as the system crashed daily and was totally unreliable.

                                             

                                            Furthermore, I've attended a Matrox H.264 webinar last week, where all my questions regarding Max Vs. Fermi were simply ignored by Matrox reps  trafficing the online Q&A after an hour long presentation.

                                             

                                            I also had a live chat with a B&H Photo video professional, who confirmed that Matrox is losing ground to the new video cards. To be honest, he also said that he did a quick H.264 render test on a  Mac Pro with  a GTX285 and Premiere - and rendering in Software or Hardware gave the same results.

                                            • 19. Re: Matrox Mini Max - or Fermi 480 with CS5?
                                              Kita41 Level 1

                                              Thanks Shaul for the update and I would have to agree that Matrox are loosing ground because they are ignoring their customers request and questions their customer service is below -0 like the winter in Canada. I am truing to find a good solution fro External monitor before I jump and buy at this moment.

                                               

                                              Steven thanks fro your reply. Glad the Mini is a different product, so you know I owned every Matrox card since the birth  of the  RT2000                         he only card that shined was RTx100. that was very stable and heck still is in a machine that I had for years. The RTX2LE not stable for me. it is collecting dust.

                                              • 20. Re: Matrox Mini Max - or Fermi 480 with CS5?
                                                Harm Millaard Level 7

                                                Funny you say that:

                                                 

                                                the only card that shined was RTx100. that was very stable and heck still is in a machine that I had for years.

                                                 

                                                That is the card that turned me off from Matrox forever.

                                                • 21. Re: Matrox Mini Max - or Fermi 480 with CS5?
                                                  Scott Chichelli Level 3

                                                  yeah that was one of the PITA cards...

                                                   

                                                   

                                                  its kinda off really it all came down to your work flow for some stuff the Matrox cards were great for other stuff better off not having one at all

                                                  some guys love them other hated them.

                                                   

                                                   

                                                  Scott

                                                  ADK

                                                  • 22. Re: Matrox Mini Max - or Fermi 480 with CS5?
                                                    Scott Chichelli Level 3

                                                    """"

                                                    I also had a live chat with a B&H Photo video professional, who confirmed that Matrox is losing ground to the new video cards. To be honest, he also said that he did a quick H.264 render test on a  Mac Pro with  a GTX285 and Premiere - and rendering in Software or Hardware gave the same results.""""

                                                     

                                                    boy i could have a lot to say about that...

                                                     

                                                    its been proven over and over that rendering without GPU is considerable longer than with...

                                                     

                                                    Scott

                                                    ADK

                                                    • 23. Re: Matrox Mini Max - or Fermi 480 with CS5?
                                                      Kita41 Level 1

                                                      Hi Harm, First of all Thanks for all your help, your article helped me build my system. Yes I would have to agree it either you love it or hate it and  it is based on the type of workflow I guess.Mine was Straight out to DVD and not many complex edit it was great. I had tons of issue with 500 and everyone had issues with R2000, However the RTX100, I did 2 hours longs edit of plays and weddings and the system never ever crashed or had any glitches, maybe I was lucky but I knew many who had the same experience that I knew them personally. It was great in a time real time was not widely available. I still have the system and I use it on a quick DV work when I need it fast with fear as I am down with my Rtx2  65% of the time. till finally I pulled it and one wants to buy for friction of what I paid for it. may they had the same experience you had harm.. There are people who have it stable with CS3 and I was using CS4 and I was told it is CS4 and Matrox are very slow in releasing update.

                                                       

                                                      Now I am editing with CS5, what a pleasure that is. I have edited a short project AVCHD with 4 layers, color correction. Wow smooth as silk.

                                                      the only thinks that I am trying to find is I/O so I can use an external monitor for color correct my video , I started Reading and it seems the one in my price range is BMD or Matrox Mini unless there is something I do not know about. Thanks again

                                                      • 24. Re: Matrox Mini Max - or Fermi 480 with CS5?
                                                        Digitalcut

                                                        Just updating everyone.

                                                         

                                                        I sadly bought a Matrox Mini Max as well. I was led to believe it would make my H264 renders 'lightning fast' (quote from Matrox).

                                                        On a VAIO i7 laptop with CS5 it renders a 2min 720p H264 file in EXACTLY the same time as the Premiere preset.

                                                        AND I don't really need the I/O.

                                                        That IS a very expensive doorstop!

                                                        It can join my AXIO & RTX2.

                                                        • 25. Re: Matrox Mini Max - or Fermi 480 with CS5?
                                                          ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                                                          Interesting. Did you follow the guide instructions when you exported this using the MXO2 Mini with the Max Plugin?

                                                           

                                                          http://www.matrox.com/video/media/pdf/support/windows/mxo2/doc/en_Matrox_MXO2_Installation _and_User_Guide_3_0_1.pdf

                                                           

                                                          Eric

                                                          ADK

                                                          • 26. Re: Matrox Mini Max - or Fermi 480 with CS5?
                                                            Digitalcut Level 1

                                                            Yes!

                                                            FYI - it said 'Matrox acceleration' in the output preset window - it didn't in the Adobe one.

                                                            Must be correct?

                                                             

                                                            Do you have a gain using the box - apart from I/O?

                                                            • 27. Re: Matrox Mini Max - or Fermi 480 with CS5?
                                                              ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                                                              I have not had a chance to test the acceleration yet since we have been so busy. That is why I wanted to make sure you followed the instructions. What Matrox Tools version do you have installed?

                                                               

                                                              Yes you have to use the Matrox Presets when exporting for the hardware acceleration. The Adobe H264 presets wont work.

                                                               

                                                              Eric

                                                              ADK

                                                              • 28. Re: Matrox Mini Max - or Fermi 480 with CS5?
                                                                Digitalcut Level 1

                                                                I've installed 3.01.
                                                                3.0 was the same.
                                                                Maybe a second or 2 difference - that's all.
                                                                I have noticed with the Matrox settings it's really hesitant to start the render - on straight Premiere presets it starts straight away.

                                                                Maybe it's because I only use XDCAM EX footage?
                                                                Maybe it's quicker with DV, which I haven't used that for years.

                                                                 

                                                                www.digitalcut.co.uk

                                                                • 29. Re: Matrox Mini Max - or Fermi 480 with CS5?
                                                                  ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                                                                  The XDCam Codec should not make a difference since that is just trascoding from Mpeg2 to Mpeg 4 and Adobe is handling that decoding with the CPU. The delay is likely the communication latency that happens when the CPU handles the decoding of the XDCam EX material and the Matrox is handling the encoding of the H264 material. I will have to test this here asap. Was the export time the same if you used AME versus direct export from PP?

                                                                   

                                                                  Eric

                                                                  ADK

                                                                  • 30. Re: Matrox Mini Max - or Fermi 480 with CS5?
                                                                    Digitalcut Level 1

                                                                    No - I do a direct export and don't use the AME function.

                                                                    I used the Matrox mp4 setting, and it stated 'Matrox accelerated'.

                                                                    2min renders within 5sec of the straight Premiere H264 setting - same size - almost the same bitrate. Same filesize after.

                                                                     

                                                                    www.digitalcut.co.uk

                                                                    • 31. Re: Matrox Mini Max - or Fermi 480 with CS5?
                                                                      ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                                                                      Can you try the AME and see if there is any difference at all in the time with the same sequence?

                                                                       

                                                                      Eric

                                                                      ADK

                                                                      • 32. Re: Matrox Mini Max - or Fermi 480 with CS5?
                                                                        Digitalcut Level 1

                                                                        Will do - but I have a full day tomorrow - so it will have to wait a while.

                                                                        I appreciate your responses - I'll try to do it tomorrow PM.

                                                                         

                                                                        What timings do you get there?

                                                                         

                                                                        www.digitalcut.co.uk

                                                                        • 33. Re: Matrox Mini Max - or Fermi 480 with CS5?
                                                                          Digital_Pete

                                                                          Have you tried to toggle with the "Matrox Hardware Scaler". Disabling or enabling this feature might change your encoding time.

                                                                           

                                                                          Use Matrox MAX hardware scaler Select this option if you’re
                                                                          scaling your source video for export, and you want to use the Matrox
                                                                          MAX hardware scaler to perform the scaling. This gives good
                                                                          performance when scaling to an HD resolution. If you’re downscaling to
                                                                          an SD or lower resolution, you can get a faster export by clearing this
                                                                          option, which allows Adobe to perform the scaling.

                                                                          • 34. Re: Matrox Mini Max - or Fermi 480 with CS5?
                                                                            Daxman1965 Level 1

                                                                            I had a RT.X2 with CS4 and worked well(some times it would crash) then I upgraded to CS5 and worked for a couple of months waiting for the new Matrox drivers....... I download them and installed lastnight after getting all my work out of the way. I only have this to say 1200 Dollar piece of junk and once again matrox did not listen "PAL Upperfields First" I have lost 50 to 60% performance with the MATROX RT.X2.  The big question is what card to use to get a external monitor to work and not to loose the effect of the mercury play back engine. Take a look at the two screen shots Canon XF footage CS5 and Canon Footage Matrox settings

                                                                            much better performance from the Mercury play back............

                                                                            • 35. Re: Matrox Mini Max - or Fermi 480 with CS5?
                                                                              Digitalcut Level 1

                                                                              FYI Daxman, I get perfectly decent HDMI output from my 2 CS5 machines both fitted  with NVIDIA GTX 480 cards. You don't now need a Matrox box to do that. The only thing you can get from the Axio/RTX2 and MXO products are various inputs and outputs.

                                                                              Coming from an AXIO system to CS5 and having built PC's to roughly the specs posted on the forum, I'm perfectly happy with my workflow which is 90pc XDCAM EX and a bit of DV if I have to.

                                                                               

                                                                              Digital Pete - I have tried turning off and on every option in the Matrox output settings panel - in fact I've been doing tests all morning. I've found that the scaling setting makes no difference. I've tried exporting to a drive other than the project one as well - same.

                                                                              BUT - I've tried some 720p footage in the project and with Matrox export settings the render times are a third of the Adobe ones with identical (almost) output settings! I normally film in 1080i (1440x1080) SP mode on my EX1 as I often have to make DVDs from the media.

                                                                               

                                                                              However - when I upload the Matrox 720p footage up onto my Blip TV page IT WILL NOT PLAY. It plays on my laptop and other machine, but Blip comes back with a codec error message. The same rendered with the Adobe preset plays fine!

                                                                               

                                                                              So although very speedy - I can't use the Matrox MP4.

                                                                               

                                                                              I'm afraid it will have to join the Axio and the RTX2 in the storeroom awaiting it's date with eBay!