Video Production Advice
Today’s question comes from a French Videographer who now lives in Bangkok, Thailand, who asks for advice about the Matrox MX02 Mini MAX and Adobe Premiere Pro CS6.
Video Production Question
Hi Shawn, thanks for this detailed writeup, it’s always fun to have a shiny new PC, isn’t it? (except for the teething problems of course)
I have a question which I hope you can answer, I have an older setup which I use for video editing, similar to your previous 2600K-based one. But, I have a non-CUDA video card. So, I am also looking into the Matrox MX02 Max line of hardware accelerators, as I am doing more and more 1080p H.264 encoding. Do you think it would be more worthwhile to go for a high-spec GeForce video card, or the MX02 Mini Max? And, if I were able to get both, would they both work together to further accelerate the encoding?
Video Production Response
Great question. I was wondering when someone would ask about the pros and cons of using the Matrox MX02 Mini MAX with and without CUDA GPU acceleration. Starting with Premiere Pro CS6, Adobe now allows CUDA GPU acceleration to be passed on to 3rd party I/O devices from AJA, Blackmagic Design, Bluefish444, Matrox, and MOTU. Adobe only talks about the benefits of real-time monitoring on HDMI or HDSDI monitors but I too have been curious if you can benefit from both GPU acceleration and Matrox MAX acceleration at the same time. In previous Premiere Pro versions I tested this and the answer was no, you could not use both CUDA and Max at the same time. I chose to stick with CUDA GPU because it provides both real-time effects and accelerated renders while Max only accelerates renders. My gut feeling is that you still can’t combine both export acceleration options at the same time.
Matrox MXO2 Mini MAX testing
I did a bit of testing on my Core i7 2600K system that has a GeForce GTX470 graphics card. Export times from 3m52s of ProRes HQ to 1080 30P Matrox MP4 (H.264) were just slightly faster than real time at 3m40s regardless if I had the GPU enabled or exported while in software only mode on Premiere Pro CS6. I even added some colour correction but the times didn’t change any, although I could see that my CPU load was different. This tells me that my computer is pretty fast but I expect slower systems might benefit more, as long as they have enough hard drive throughput. The codec I was using is 250mb/s and is 10x larger that the AVCHD that I typically use.
Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 Testing
I then tested a similar export preset using Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 only (and not Media Encoder). The Software Only and GPU accelerated times were both the same and were 3m23s. So this tells me that using the MXO2 Mini Max actually took longer than using Premiere in a basic configuration. The only workflow that took longer was when I did a colour correction in Adobe software only mode – this export took 4m32s. This indicates to me that the Fast Color Corrector effect is a real-time effect when using the MXO2 Mini MAX, although it is not listed as such.
So on my system and for this workflow there was not much of a difference between a CUDA card and the MXO2 Mini Max. Feature-wise the MXO2 Mini adds HDMI and analogue video I/Os that I use for webcasting and I tested the Matrox hardware noise removal that is available when you customize the Matrox export presets. I was very impressed with what it did with some very noisy footage, shot on the 1/3″ CMOS sensor Sony Z7U and recorded to ProRes HQ using the ATOMOS Ninja. I wish I would have known about this noise removal workflow when I used to own a Z7U but my FS100 is so quiet that this feature isn’t as important in my workflow.