Matrox RT2500

If you want an example of how far consumer technology has advanced over the last few years, then look no farther than the world of DV (digital video). Compare, for example, the dodgy picture quality of the first batch of home video camcorders with the pristine images that you can now get from DV cameras costing as little as $3000. Even better, take a look at what $2400 worth of desktop video-editing gear will get you.

The Matrox RT2500 offers real-time video-editing. That means no waiting for cuts, effects, transitions, soundtracks or titles to render. Rendering has long been the bane of the desktop editor's world. Make the tiniest adjustment to your video and you have to wait 10 minutes while your PC builds the changes into a new file before you can view the results. This can make for some long and very dull editing sessions.

A clever combination of hardware and software helps to do away with rendering, which means you can try out plenty of techniques and generally get more creative with your edits. The RT2500 is actually a variant on something that we've seen before. Whereas the previous incarnation - the RT2000 - was a two-card solution that required you to use the bundled G400 AGP graphics card, the RT2500 is a single PCI card that can, supposedly, be used with the graphics card you already have in your PC.

However, in our tests, we had more than a handful of problems getting the card to work with popular graphics cards from NVIDIA and ATI. Matrox has admitted that there are a few graphics cards that don't mesh easily with the RT2500, so check on the Web site before you buy. The RT2500 is also available bundled with a matching Matrox video card.

The Matrox RT2500 is an amazing piece of real-time video-editing hardware that offers professional-level features and quality at an affordable price. It's bursting with useful and creative software, but be prepared for a struggle if you want to install it yourself.

Matrox RT2500

3.5 stars; Price: $2365; Distributor: Focal Point Computing; Phone: (03) 9372 6600; URL: www.focalpoint.com.au

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