Matrox MXO2 Mini with MAX Technology Reviewed

Videomaker by Charlie Fulton
A very versatile video capture device with the portability edge.
For your consideration: a slick little box that captures HD and SD video, and outputs video in just as many formats. Unequivocal success, you would say? Certainly is - and even better, it can also perform faster-than-real-time H.264 compression operations through hardware. Knowledge is power when selecting any kind of video capture device, and Matrox has a great amount of background in this field, dating back to their original RT.X family of capture devices.

You can be sure that Matrox has done a great job with the MXO2. Other than a few minor software hiccups, we found it to be a very capable device that yields excellent results. Under any reasonably modern and powerful computer that could be had off the shelf today, you can capture broadcast-quality video, no fuss, no muss.

No Disc Means Latest Updates
Slicing open the clear plastic seals on the box, you are presented with a sensibly-packaged piece of hardware. Confusingly, though, there are no discs included in the box - to get drivers, you must launch the ol' web browser. Obviously, the goal here is to distribute the most recent version of the drivers to give the user the best possible experience. This is a very noble goal, so you don't get year-old drivers. Then again, it's also beneficial for Matrox, in that they keep you from getting access to the drivers before you register your hardware - but that is also a benefit for the end user, who gets presented with community information immediately, and by extension, will get a bigger benefit out of their new hardware. (However, the driver download is 73.6MB, so you either need a broadband Internet connection, or more patience than anyone we've ever met before. Even downloading the software over a somewhat flaky Wi-Fi connection was a little nerve-wracking. Other downloads available include the instruction manual and a set of codecs for use with any Matrox-encoded video you want to edit on another system that doesn't have hardware attached.

Also in the box: international power adapters for Europe, two S-Video adapters (that's a connection that is starting to fade away, eh?) and the card (either PCI Express or ExpressCard/34, depending on the version you get) and cable that connects the computer to the actual MXO2 Mini box. The box is yet another Mac Pro-reminiscent device, utilizing a handsome cheese-grater enclosure. When power is applied, a single red LED shines out. For many of us, we'd get more benefit turning the device around for quicker access to the ports; but it's up to you, natch. read more...

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