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The Magewell USB Capture 2 is Great on Linux

Those of us who work in video production have a hard time of it when transitioning from VFX and 3d to broadcast. While both sectors of the field have Linux options, finding them can be problematic. As far as mid-range capture cards go, support is especially spotty.

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Elgato Cards are a shot in the dark with every new model, and even when they do work, the native compression makes them unusable in some cases. Epiphan parts on USB are out of reach if you have a limited budget, and explicitly supported BMD parts only connect via PCIe. At $300 US, the Magewell USB capture 2 is a bit pricey, but when you consider that the cheaper BMD intensity relies on 3rd party patching to get up and running, and that Epiphan’s offerings start at $200+ more, that sticker price is pretty attractive.

All I had to do to get it working was plug it in. It’s exposed to the OS as a V4L2 capture device, and works with OBS and other programs out of the box. It also handles output resolution changes on the fly, and you can get 2k out of it at reasonable quality.

It doesn’t seem to be particularly picky about USB 3 chipsets either. I’ve tested it on Intel, ASmedia, and an unknown chipset in my laptop that tends to drop most other usb3 devices. The Magewell card works flawlessly on all of them. In contrast, the BMD intensity only works on the Intel ports on my desktop.

The device isn’t perfect though, it does seem to hitch in hot environments when you’ve been recording for a few hours, and might drop the connection entirely if you saturate the host’s cpu with recording. That said, the ease of use and high flexibility more than make up for the occasional hiccup in edge cases.

If you’re looking for a mid-range production device that can handle any HD signal you throw at it, and you don’t want to drop a ton of money on a platform that may not be compatible with linux, the Magewell USB Capture 2 definitely checks all the boxes.

Do you do video production or recording on linux? Let us know about it in our comments and official Discord server.


Image Via Tyson O’Ham

By |2018-06-19T03:54:22+00:00June 19th, 2018|Hardware reviews, News, Opinion|0 Comments|118 Views

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