Video Production Advice: Matrox MX02 Mini MAX and Adobe Premiere Pro CS6

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,

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?



Matrox MXO2 Mini MAX - A hardware solution for Adobe Premiere Pro CS6


Video Production Response

Hi Thomas,
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.

Matrox MXO2 Mini MAX inputs and outputs


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.

Noise Removal

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.

Split screen showing noisy footage on left and footage with Matrox noise removal on the right.


4 replies
  1. Gianni Comoglio says:

    Dear Shawn, I apologize if my questions will sound somewhat stupid, but I am not a native English speaking person and sometimes get stuck with words.
    I have read an extremely interesting article by David Knarr: “Video Cards for Adobe Premiere CS5, CS5.5 and CS6. How to unlock Adobe Premiere CS5, CS5.5 and CS6 to use almost any NVIDIA graphics card with CUDA acceleration””.
    I had bought a PC hosting a Quad core Intel 2600K CPU (Turbo boost, etc…), 16GB memory, 128GB SSD, plus 2 X 2TB HD (7200 rpm) and (unfortunately), a very performing Sapphire ati radeon hd 6950 toxic 2gb , which is useless, to date, for Premiere.

    This is the history.
    Now, before I move to buy, say, a NVIDIA Geforce 670 for US$450, I would like to understand some English language of the above mentioned article, amd in general of most of the web literature:

    A) that article mentions what Adobe says:
    “Adobe Premiere CS5, CS5.5 and CS6 does NOT use the GPU for encoding or decoding the video, only the CPU is used for that. ”

    B) Then, after a few pages, the article says:
    “Exporting to MPEG2-DVD format. Here is where things get interesting. You will notice on both systems, that the more cuda cores the faster it is to export to the MPEG2-DVD format with the Mercury Playback Engine (MPE) in the GPU acceleration mode vs. the MPE in software mode.”

    If they are the same, then A) and B) above are inconsistent.
    If their meaning is different, could you be so kind to explain the difference to me?

    I really appreciate your help, (and our skills!)

    Thank a lot

    Gianni Comoglio
    Strada Monte Casto, 7
    13900 Biella (Italy)

    • Shawn Lam says:

      Hi Gianni,
      I had a look at the David Knarr article in question. Here is the quote:

      Adobe Premiere CS5, CS5.5 and CS6 does NOT use the GPU for encoding or decoding the video, only the CPU is used for that.

      I can only conclude that he is mistaken in that statement. The GPU accelerates video encoding when GPU acceleration is enable and a certified or unlocked CUDA card is installed. This is especially true when supported effects are used and when scaling.

      As for decoding, my computers are way too fast for me to confirm if the GPU has no effect at all but I do know that this is mainly a CPU function. But a modern quad core computer, including your 2600K processor, can handle decoding even complicated AVCHD codecs, provided you are using at least a SATA HDD. It doesn’t need to be in a RAID unless you are using a significantly higher bitrate video codec.


  2. Amir Hossein says:

    Hi ,

    i’m editing on adobe premiere CS5, and also AE CS5 on an iMac core i5 with 8 GB of DDR3 Memory, 1st : while i’m working on a Full HD project, by any simple changes of color levels or adding a dissolve, i have to render the shot to see it on realtime and by adding more filters and effects or using a dynamic link between AE & Premiere the render’s getting harder and the export is geting too too longer (about 25 minutes for exporting a 5 minute video clip !!!)
    I am going to buy a “Mxo2 mini max” to solve the render problem and get rid of these render things,
    Am i doing a right?!! or i need to upgrade my iMac to a core i7 with 12 or 16 GB of memory?
    what do you think?

    and thank you by th way … 😀

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