Does the IXmicro TurboTV or the ATi Xclaim VR board improve on the PowerMac 7500's built-in video capture function?
(16 July 1997)
© 1998, 1999 Rob Art Morgan, editor of BARE FEATS
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The test was a capture of a seven second 320 x 240 sequence from a VCR using VIDEO compression, medium quality. A ram disk was used to minimize effect of disk activity during the capture process. MacBench 4.0 Custom Movie option was used to measure the frame rate. The graph above shows results using the native software and hardware of each vendor. Xclaim VR wins.

When I ran at resolutions of 240 by 180 or smaller, all three scored near 30 frames per second. Maybe I should try larger than 320 x 240 to see if the VR maintains its speed...

This graph shows the same settings but using a 4th party's software (Connectix QuickMovie) with each different hardware setup. It was an attempt to have a level playing field. Big difference, eh!? Xclaim VR wins again but just barely.

I wanted to see if there was any advantage to using the TurboTV in conjunction with other PCI graphics boards versus using the 7500's built-in graphic controller. Looks like built-in wins this round.



  • When I first started playing around, it appeared that the TurboTV was faster than the other two capture options. That proved to be a false impression when I discovered the software was using a compression method that favored the TurboTV and handicapped the other two. Once the tests were standardized, the TurboTV didn't look so fab.
  • VIDEO and VIDEO VDIG compression methods seem to give the best frame rate. Cinepak creates the smallest files but not much smaller than VIDEO.
  • Although I tested the IXmicro TurboTV card in conjunction with the Twin Turbo 128M4 graphics accelerator, it can be used with any graphics subsystem including built-in and even the VR board.
  • If you have a 7500 or 7600 or 8500, you are in good shape for video capture. In fact, Apple's Video Player was the "friendliest" utility of all and very efficient. There is no advantage to adding the Turbo T.V. or Xclaim VR unless you need the other features (TV tuner, 3D acceleration, etc.)
  • If you have a 7300 or any other PCI PowerMac without video capture hardware, you might consider the TurboTV since it has the T.V. tuner, video capture capabilities, and is a bargain at $99.
  • The Xclaim VR is the overall speed winner in this contest. It is packed with all the features you could want (2D/3D acceleration and video in/out) except one: no TV tuner. You have to cough up another $99 to get ATi's T.V. tuner. (Yet it's a doozy of a tuner. You can watch 4 stations at once!!!) There might be other ways to justify the $350 it will cost you for the ATi combo (VR + TV)... like maybe you have two monitors to run... and 4 ball games to watch... and 30 frames per second to grab...
  • Test bed was an Apple Power Macintosh 7500
    with a 604/120 daughterboard clock chipped up to 150MHz,
    a 512K Level 2 cache and 32MB of DRAM
  • System was 7.6.1
  • Extensions turned on included Apple CD-ROM, Control Strip, QuickDraw 3D 1.5.1, QuickTime 2.5, Shared Library Manager, SystemAV, and required graphics accelerator and video drivers.
  • Virtual memory was turned OFF; (NO Speed Doubler & NO Ram Doubler)
  • The Sony 15sf monitor was set to "thousands" (16 bit) during all testing. All tests were run at the 640 x 480 setting.
  • Internal video had 2MB of VRAM.
  • The IXmicro Twin Turbo 128 had 4MB of EDO VRAM.
  • The ATi Xclaim VR board had 4MB of VRAM (SGRAM).
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© 1998, 1999 Rob Art Morgan, editor of BARE FEATS
Gotta Question? Comment? Want to advertise?
Email Rob Art at