- HDMI input
- Extensive array of adapters for all analog inputs
- Real-time display of video signal (barely-noticeable delay).
- No automatic detection of input formats.
- Does NOT work with the Intel DX58SO motherboard.
- Can't use S3 or S4 without BSoD.
- No audio on the real-time preview.
- Needlessly difficult installation.
- No 1080p (but that's asking a lot).
I honestly don't know what I was thinking when I bought this card. It was $200, and the only benefit I saw to it was the fact that it had an HDMI input--something I'd been looking to put on my computer since the day I started planning it. ... Read full review
I honestly don't know what I was thinking when I bought this card. It was $200, and the only benefit I saw to it was the fact that it had an HDMI input--something I'd been looking to put on my computer since the day I started planning it. Took a couple weeks to get my hands on this device, and when I got it, I was quite frankly disappointed.
My problems began with installation. When I got the card, I was running a DX58SO mobo from Intel, and there was a lack of information on the site about hardware compatibility (something I'd expect from such a "high end" company). It was only after several failed boot attempts that I decided to look up what the hell was going on. Come to find out on early versions of the card's driver, it was having difficulty with the X58 chipset in general, and that as of Driver version 3.6.3, they still couldn't figure out why it wasn't working with the DX58SO mobo (here's the link to their support article on the matter: http://blackmagic-design.com/support/detail.asp?techID=192 ). I was lucky with my system: it would start up, even let me log into windows, but as soon as explorer.exe loaded, it was off to an unbreakable system hang (didn't even BSoD).
A couple months went by, and I wound up replacing the DX58SO mobo with an Asus P6X58D-E mobo--finally had an excuse to install the card and see if I could get it working. Thankfully, the Asus board had no difficulty reading the card from the BIOS, and Windows picked up on it just fine. But this is where the next slew of problems began. I loaded up the CD that was provided with the card, and to my dismay there is no autorun feature to help guide me through the installation. Normally this would not have been an issue, but the CD not only contained the driver software for the card I purchased, but for every single card that BMD sold as of the card's date of production in 2009. Even this would not be a bad thing, assuming the installation programs knew which card was installed (which they don't). And even then I could manage, BUT EVERY INSTALLER WANTED TO FLASH THE FIRMWARE AS SOON AS IT INSTALLED. And after every flash? It demanded an immediate reboot, which was a huge pain in the neck.
So after wrestling with the installers for upwards of ten hours, I decide to check the BMD website to see if there are any newer drivers available, so as I can just download those and get the device working. As it turns out, there were. The driver on the disk was a late version 2 driver, but the one on the website was version 3.6.3. One cycle of downloading, installing, flashing firmware, and rebooting later, and the card was finally "working." Or rather, it had everything installed that one could expect to need in order for it to work properly. Needless to say that if the engineers at BMD had spent a little bit of time to craft some more sophisticated installation software, it wouldn?t have been such a headache.
But the troubles don't end there. I'll spare the details, but there was an essential piece of software that was not made readily accessible (no icons on the desktop, no entries in the all programs menu). This was the control panel that told the card which input to read from (and how to read it), and without it, there was no way to get video signal into the BMD proprietary capture software. And besides THAT setting (which was particularly picky), in order to get any kind of video signal in the program, you needed to select the very specific video format that it was supposed to be trying to read (I mean the difference between 720p.59 and 720p.60). But even after getting the computer to recognize the video signal, the main problem I had was the inability to resize the preview pane--even to the native resolution that it was capturing.
But what was even worse than this was the lack of sound I was receiving from the program. I don't know whether there was a failure of communication between the Intensity Pro card and the audio chip on my mobo, but in order to get sound from the video source, I had to jerry-rig the RCA audio to run to my computer's line-in, instead of running it through the card. Fine for analog video, but what about HDMI? I was completely soundless there.
There was one more problem which was worth noting: the card does not work well with altered power states (specifically S3 and S4--sleep and hibernation). After each second sequential hibernation, you will get a BSoD with Driver Power State Failure. The most infuriating part of this, though, is the fact that the response I got from BMD's support line about this issue was to simply not Hibernate the computer anymore. So basically, they're saying that because their engineers are too lazy to make a driver that works, they want me to run up my electric bill and leave my computer on.
For a casual video editor, I recommend going with the AVerMedia AVerTV HD DVR. For $110 less, it does pretty much the same things. That, or the Hauppauge HD PVR, if you're willing to use an external device.