Magewell XI204XE SD/HD Video Capture Card Review
Table of Contents
- Overview of the X 1204 XP Capture Card
- Compatible Motherboards and Installation
- Inputs and Connection Options
- Software Compatibility and Drivers
- Performance and User Experience
- Advanced Settings and Control Panel
- Testing with Different Applications
- Comparisons to Other Capture Cards
- Pricing and Availability
- External Capture Box Option
In this article, we will be taking a closer look at the X 1204 XP capture card, a multi-Channel PCI Express device manufactured by Major L, a company Based in China. We will explore the various features and capabilities of this capture card, including its compatibility with different motherboards, input options, software compatibility, performance, and control settings. Additionally, we will compare the X 1204 XP to other capture cards in the market and discuss its pricing and availability.
Overview of the X 1204 XP Capture Card
The X 1204 XP capture card is a versatile PCI Express device equipped with multiple channels for capturing video. It requires a four-lane PCI Express slot and can be mounted in various slot configurations, depending on the number of active lanes. This card offers two external sockets for accessing inputs, which can be utilized through breakout leads. Major L has included a range of breakout leads to support different connection types. Notably, the X 1204 XP stands out due to its extensive number of inputs and connection options, including composite video inputs, stereo analog audio inputs, and multi-purpose inputs for different resolutions and purposes.
Compatible Motherboards and Installation
To utilize the X 1204 XP capture card, it is essential to ensure compatibility with the motherboard. While the card can be mounted in four-lane, eight-lane, or sixteen-lane slots, it is crucial to confirm that the motherboard supports the specified number of active lanes. Some motherboards come with sixteen-lane slots, but only one lane may be active depending on other installed cards or BIOS settings. Therefore, it is necessary to consult the motherboard's specifications and potentially adjust the BIOS settings to enable more lanes for the X 1204 XP card. The installation process generally involves inserting the card into the appropriate slot and connecting the breakout leads to access the inputs.
Inputs and Connection Options
The X 1204 XP capture card offers a wide range of inputs and connection options, making it a versatile device for different video capturing needs. The card features a nine-Pin socket for standard-definition composite video inputs, compatible with both Pal and NTSC formats. Additionally, there is a BNC socket that provides a yellow composite video input. The card also includes two stereo analog audio inputs with pairs of RCA Ferno sockets, color-coded in red and white. Furthermore, a high-density connector is available, which carries two multi-purpose inputs capable of supporting various resolutions and purposes. To connect to these inputs, a splitter cable is required, which terminates in two standard deviations. The inputs accept DVI output from a computer or analog VGA output, and adapter cables are provided to convert the inputs into HDMI and analog component connections. The green input performs a dual role, serving as a standard-definition composite input and a luminance channel in YUV component mode. Moreover, the two HDMI inputs on the card also function as audio devices, allowing accessibility to embedded audio from video transmitted over HDMI. Overall, the X 1204 XP capture card provides six video inputs, two of which support HD video or PC output, along with four audio inputs.
- Wide variety of input options for video capturing
- Support for different resolutions, including HD video
- Inclusion of adapter cables for flexible connectivity
- Availability of audio inputs and compatibility with embedded audio
- Limitation in the number of inputs compared to cards with higher port counts
- Potential need for additional adapter cables depending on the source devices
- Lack of inputs specifically dedicated to certain video formats, such as HDMI
Software Compatibility and Drivers
The X 1204 XP capture card comes with DirectShow drivers for both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows. This enables compatibility with a range of applications, including popular software like Adobe's Flash Media Live Encoder, Skype, and VidBlaster. DirectShow drivers facilitate the integration of the capture card into various software environments, allowing users to utilize its functionalities seamlessly. While the card does not have a dedicated control panel like some other capture cards, a DirectShow capture filter is accessible within other software applications. This capture filter provides access to all the settings for each individual channel, allowing users to configure the selected input channel according to their specific requirements. However, it is important to note that only one channel's settings can be changed at a time when the dialogue is open. Overall, the software compatibility and availability of DirectShow drivers make the X 1204 XP capture card adaptable to different applications.
Performance and User Experience
The X 1204 XP capture card has proven to perform excellently in various tests and demonstrations. Its stability during testing Sessions highlights its reliability and robustness. Users have reported positive results when using the card with popular applications like Flash Media Encoder, which showcases its effectiveness in capturing and streaming video content. The X 1204 XP capture card also offers some unique features that differentiate it from other capture cards in the market. For instance, the inclusion of a motion adaptive setting in the driver provides additional flexibility and control during capturing, enhancing the overall video quality. However, it is important to note that the impact of this setting on CPU usage and performance may vary depending on the Type of footage being captured. The driver's user interface, although lacking visual interaction in some applications like Flash Media Encoder, remains functional and allows users to access and modify various settings. Overall, the X 1204 XP capture card offers an excellent user experience with its stable performance and value-added features.
Advanced Settings and Control Panel
While the X 1204 XP capture card does not have a dedicated control panel, it offers a range of advanced settings accessible through the DirectShow capture filter. The most useful controls are grouped under the Advanced Settings tab, allowing users to fine-tune their capturing experience. The Input Selection control provides options for the multi-purpose HD inputs, with the auto-select feature often performing well in most scenarios. Additionally, the Output Settings section allows users to determine the output format, including image size and frame rate, based on the requirements of the host application. The card's ability to output at different sizes depending on the host application's request proves advantageous in various situations. The scaling, deinterlacing, and image orientation controls offer additional customization options, catered to specific user preferences. While some controls may not be interactive in certain software applications, their effectiveness can be observed in other programs like Skype, where preview displays update in real-time. Notably, the X 1204 XP capture card's control settings provide users with the necessary flexibility and customization options to meet their capturing needs.
- Access to advanced settings for fine-tuning capturing parameters
- Auto-select feature for multi-purpose HD inputs simplifies workflow
- Ability to output at different sizes based on host application's requirements
- Versatile scaling, deinterlacing, and image orientation controls
- Real-time preview in certain software applications enhances user experience
Testing with Different Applications
The X 1204 XP capture card exhibits compatibility with a wide range of applications, thanks to its DirectShow drivers. Popular software applications such as Adobe's Flash Media Encoder and VidBlaster are well-suited for utilizing the X 1204 XP's capabilities. When using Flash Media Encoder, users can access any of the four audio devices and choose from multiple video inputs, including composite inputs and HD inputs. The direct access to the capture filter's settings within such software allows users to configure individual channels according to their requirements. While certain controls within the settings dialog may not have interactive functionality in all applications, there are specific cases, such as Skype, where the preview display updates interactively as adjustments are made to the settings. It is worth noting that the limitations observed in Flash Media Encoder are likely due to the software's design rather than inherent issues with the X 1204 XP capture card. Overall, the X 1204 XP's compatibility with various applications enhances its usability and makes it a versatile choice for users seeking different video capturing solutions.
Comparisons to Other Capture Cards
When comparing the X 1204 XP capture card to other capture cards available in the market, several factors come into consideration. The X 1204 XP stands out due to its extensive input options and the ability to handle multiple HD inputs. It offers a range of features that make it a competitive choice for users who require a significant number of inputs on a single card. However, when comparing it against lower-budget single-input cards, the X 1204 XP may not offer the same level of competitiveness in terms of pricing. Some other cards, such as the Blackmagic DeckLink series or the StarTech PEXHDCAP, provide similar functionality but at a lower cost. Additionally, the availability of international distributors and the OEM-oriented approach of Major L may influence the accessibility and affordability of the X 1204 XP capture card. Therefore, users must consider their specific requirements, including the number of inputs needed and budget constraints, when comparing the X 1204 XP to other capture card options.
- Extensive input options and support for multiple HD inputs
- Versatile choice for users requiring a high number of inputs on a single card
- Higher pricing compared to lower-budget single-input capture cards
- Limited availability through international distributors
- OEM-oriented approach may not cater to users seeking small quantities
Pricing and Availability
The X 1204 XP capture card is priced at $899 US dollars when purchased directly from Major L in China. However, it is important to consider additional costs such as shipping and local taxes when ordering from abroad. The availability of the X 1204 XP capture card through international distributors is currently limited, with Major L primarily seeking OEM partnerships. This means that Major L is inclined towards bulk purchases, where the cards are bundled with other products as an OEM solution. While the X 1204 XP's pricing may seem high compared to other capture cards, it is essential to consider the unique features it offers, including its multiple inputs and versatile driver settings. Furthermore, Major L also offers external capture boxes as an alternative option. These external capture boxes connect using USB 3.0 and provide a range of inputs, catering to users who prefer an external solution. One such example is a USB 3.0 capture box with six composite inputs and six audio inputs, priced at $459 US dollars. Overall, the pricing and availability of the X 1204 XP capture card should be carefully evaluated based on individual needs and considerations.
External Capture Box Option
In addition to the X 1204 XP capture card, Major L also offers external capture boxes as an alternative solution. These external capture boxes connect to a computer via USB 3.0 and provide users with additional input options for video capturing. For instance, one of the external capture boxes includes six composite inputs and six audio inputs, making it a suitable choice for users requiring multiple standard-definition inputs. These external capture boxes offer convenience and portability, as they can be connected to laptops or other devices with USB 3.0 ports. The pricing of the external capture boxes may vary depending on the specific model and input configurations, providing users with more flexibility when choosing a suitable video capturing solution.
To conclude, the X 1204 XP capture card by Major L offers an excellent solution for users seeking a multi-channel PCI Express device for video capturing. With its wide range of inputs, compatibility with different software applications, and versatile driver settings, the X 1204 XP provides users with flexibility and control over their capturing workflow. While the pricing and availability of the X 1204 XP may present challenges for some users, its unique features, such as multiple HD inputs and extensive control settings, justify its positioning in the market. Additionally, Major L's offering of external capture boxes provides users with alternative options for video capturing, catering to different preferences and requirements. In conclusion, the X 1204 XP capture card proves to be a valuable tool for professionals and enthusiasts looking to enhance their video capturing capabilities.
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