Video editing on desktops is a very hardware-intensive process. I have
personally seen a number of editing systems that do not function all
that well because one is trying to squeeze too much from too little.
In your case, when you mention 'real-time and no rendering', there are
few systems that provide this completely, and these are serious
professional systems which have very high performance hardware. For
your kind of working environment, these systems will be too expensive.
However, it is very much possible to set up an efficient desktop
system for your kind of work.
1. Lots of RAM (at least 512MB)
2. A separate A/V rated hard drive for the video data
[ http://www.matrox.com/video/support/rtx10/rec/storage.cfm ]
(7200 rpm or more)
You can also consider using a SCSI hard drive. This is more expensive
but provides better performance in terms of seek-time, and data
3. A fast graphics card and if you prefer, a dual-head card that will
enable you to use two monitors.
(Matrox Millennium G450, G550, or Parhelia)
[ http://www.matrox.com/mga/products/home.cfm ]
4. A very good and more importantly, completely compatible desktop for
the video editing card and software you choose.
The Matrox site lists the Dell Dimension 4500 as tested and confirmed
as a compatible configuration. The 8250 that you have already acquired
should be compatible, although it is best to ask Matrox about this
before making a purchase.
< Does this hardware really give me real-time rendering? >
This depends on the hardware on your computer apart from the video
card you are using.
Matrox claims "Edit in real time - NO RENDERING!" with the RT.X10:
[ http://www.matrox.com/video/products/rtx10/edit.cfm ]
"Exploiting the power of both your CPU and the dedicated hardware
onboard Matrox RT.X10, you can currently combine up to 11 effects in
real time on two layers of video and two layers of graphics.
2 layers of video with transparency
2 layers of graphics with transparency
1 channel of cropping
2 channels of color correction
2 channels of adjustable slow or fast motion on video
1 3D perspective effect
1 Flex 3D effect such as page curl"
From the FAQ on RT.X10:
"How do I know which Adobe Premiere native transitions are real-time,
and which are not?
Over 60 of the most commonly used Adobe Premiere native transitions
can now be used in real time with the Matrox real-time plug-in. This
means that many transitions that you were accustomed to rendering can
now be played back in real time, and you don't need to learn how to
apply these transitions just drag-and-drop as usual. Real-time
playback is done by emulating Premiere's non-real-time version of
To see a complete list of which Adobe Premiere transitions are
available in real time, choose Project > Project Settings > General.
In the Project Settings dialog box, click Advanced Settings. In the
Matrox Advanced Settings dialog box, click the Real-time Effects tab.
Under Real-time Premiere Transitions, click the Select Transitions
button. By default, all the available real-time Premiere transitions
are selected, but you can deselect those that you may wish to force to
render from the Timeline."
The best video hardware is Matrox in my humble opinion. Most
Matrox-based systems that I have seen are working fine (if and only if
the system is configured properly and enough hardware power is
available!) I would suggest that going the Matrox RT and Adobe
Premiere way is best for your requirements. This is a subjective
decision to a certain extent.
[ http://www.matrox.com/video/support/rtx10/rec/sys_rec.cfm ]
"Recommended system configuration:
Pentium 4 at 2.2 GHz, AMD Athlon XP 2000+, or faster.
512 MB RAM
DV-1394 camcorder or VTR.
NTSC or PAL video monitor."
[ http://www.matrox.com/video/support/rtx10/rec/rec_sys_config.cfm ]
"Using the recommended system configuration, the following segment can
be played back in real time on Matrox RT.X10:
2 video clips (.avi files), and
2 single-frame graphics clip, and
2 stereo audio tracks.
Each clip in the segment can have a fade applied to it. A fade can be
any one of the following:
A fade effect created using Premiere's Opacity rubberband.
An Adobe Premiere Cross Dissolve.
An Alpha Channel key applied to a graphics clip (with or without
In any given segment, you can apply the following RT.X10 effects:
2 color correction effects, and
2 speed changes, and
1 other Matrox hardware-accelerated effect (such as a page curl,
advanced DVE, organic wipe, or a Premiere real-time transition)."
Adobe Premiere may have a longer learning curve, but it works very
well and is quite a powerful tool. As I see it, almost all video
editing software has the same set of tools, with some extra and some
not available, but what changes is the GUI. The process of editing is
pretty much the same across most available software.
About Pinnacle Studio 8 working with Matrox RT cards, I am not sure
about this, since most people out here use the bundled software that
comes with the card, which is Premiere. I have emailed the local
Matrox distributors and will convey the information to you soon as I
Please let me know if there is anything more you may want to know, and
I will be glad to work on it.