CreativeCow by Craig Seeman
H.264 has finally become "the" codec we're likely to use for delivery. For web use Quicktime, Flash and now Silverlight use it. In addition it's part of the Blu-ray specs as well as delivery for iPods and iPhones. While having a single codec certainly simplifies delivery, encoding to H.264 is SLOOOOW. It brings the fastest computers to their knees and our brows cover with sweet as deadlines loom. Matrox CompressHD, with MAX technology, promises to ignite the after burners for H.264 encoding and it certainly delivers.
CompressHD is a half length PCIe card which fits into MacPros (10.5.6 and up), Apple Intel Xserves and Windows PCs (XP 32bit and Vista 32 and 64bit). I tested it on a MacPro 8 Core Xeon 2.8GHz 8GB RAM system. Once the card was in place I installed the software/firmware. Once completed the pop-up window notifies you to Shutdown. This might throw you for a moment since many installers give you a Restart rather than a Shutdown button. If you're not attentive to the function of the button you just clicked you might wait a bit wondering what happened to that familiar chime. Just remember to power back up.
You'll find the Matrox folder in your Applications you'll find a Firmware Updater and a Software Uninstaller. When Matrox releases updates, you run the Uninstaller first before running the new Installer. If you forget, you'll get a popup reminding you when you attempt to run the updated installer.
In your System Preferences you find a Matrox CompressHD prefpane. When clicked it'll reveal the Product Name, Serial Number, Firmware and Software Version making that information very easy to access. In addition there's a button to Activate or Deactivate the Matrox MAX H.264 codec. read more...