Benchmark:DPS Perception RT/3DXi-4200-18 Turnkey Nonlinear Editing System

It’s All in the Perception

Perception RT/3DXi-4200-18
Turnkey Nonlinear Editing System


Digital Processing Systems

11 Spiral Drive, Suite 10

Florence, KY 41042

(800) 775-3314

Most videographers are looking for a nonlinear editing system that can do the job at the best price. They have a few projects they want to edit and have the time to render all of the effects and transitions. Others are looking for a nonlinear editing system that can get the job done quickly. They edit so much that they’re willing to spend quite a bit of money up front to save time and money later on. It’s this latter category of videographer that Digital Processing Systems (DPS) had in mind when they built the Perception RT/3DXi-4200-18 turnkey nonlinear editing system. Because it lacks a FireWire port, this turnkey nonlinear editing system is perfect for the professional-level videographer who is shooting with Hi8, S-VHS or even Betacam.

It’s All in the Name

The RT/3D part of this ready-to-edit system’s name stands for real-time 3D. And with the Perception, it’s all about real-time. Most of the transitions are rendered instantly with hardware. The few that aren’t available in real-time are rendered quickly with the RT/3DXi’s impressive combination of hardware devices.

What’s Inside the Case?

The heart of the Perception RT/3DXi-4200-18 system is a combination of the PRT-4200 Perception RT real-time dual-stream video recorder and the Perception RT3DX real-time 3D digital video effects processor. The PRT-4200 is a two-slot PCI card, while the RT3DX takes a third PCI slot. A bridge on the top of the cards also connects all three of these full-sized cards together. This bridge allows the cards to communicate with each other without having to use the PCI bus; dedicating all three PCI slots for capturing and outputting video. The size of this three-card behemoth makes you understand why DPS wanted to make a turnkey system. Just installing the cards could be difficult unless you carefully chose a combination of tower and motherboard that fits them properly in the case. But once inside a pre-built turnkey system like the Perception RT/3DXi-4200-18, these cards are fabulous. You can freely add effects and transitions without having to worry about rendering them. This is one of the things that make the Perception RT/3DXi-4200-18 perfect for short program producers, like videographers looking to make commercials and short presentations that are effect-heavy and under a tight deadline.

The rest of the hardware in the Perception RT/3DXi-4200-18 is top-notch too. The system includes a fast Intel Pentium II 450MHz chip that is on a dual-CPU motherboard. Because the Perception RT/3DXi-4200-18 uses Windows NT and not Windows 95 or 98, you can add a second CPU for Symmetric Multi Processing (SMP). If you plan to add a second chip, you’ll need to get one that is not only the same make and speed, but also one from the same "stepping" or manufacturing run. Your best bet is to remove your existing chip and take it to the computer shop so you can get another chip that matches your existing one.

The Perception RT/3DXi-4200-18 also has a nice lineup of drives. It has a 4GB SCSI drive for the operating system and editing software, a 9GB A/V SCSI hard drive for audio capture, and an external 18GB RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) for video capture. However, there is nothing redundant about this RAID. It runs RAID level 0, which allows the pair of 10,000rpm SCSI drives act as one really fast hard drive. All in all, you have 27GB for audio and video capture.

The Perception in Action

This system uses DPS Video Action 6.3 nonlinear editing software. This program is intuitive and easy to use for editors who are familiar with other timeline-based editing programs like Adobe Premiere, Ulead MediaStudio Pro and Apple Final Cut Pro. It has unlimited audio and video tracks, hundreds of transitions, a great titler and plenty of cool effects.

With all of the hardware power this system packs, your biggest problem could be getting carried away with transitions. There are so many of them, and you don’t have to render most of them. Some of the fancier 3D transitions and effects do have to render though. Putting an individual stream of video onto each face of a rotating cube that tumbled across the screen required some rendering. Simple 3D transitions, like a ripple effect, were rendered in real-time with no waiting required.

The Rest of the Story

If there is any fault in the Perception RT/3DXi-4200-18 it is that it doesn’t have a FireWire input. With the impressive rackmountable breakout box, it has plenty of room for one. The FireWire input would be perfect for advanced videographers who shoot with a 3-chip Mini DV camcorder. However, for about $1000 more you can get one with Serial Digital I/O (SDI). Besides the lack of a FireWire input, the Perception RT/3DXi-4200-18 is a well-built system that delivers the real-time performance that it promises–at a price, of course.

Tech Specs – DPS Perception RT/3DXi-4200-18 Turnkey Nonlinear Editing System

Processor: Intel Pentium II 450MHz (single CPU on dual-CPU motherboard)

RAM: 128MB

Drives: 4GB SCSI system hard drive, 9GB A/V SCSI hard drive for audio, 2x9GB A/V SCSI hard drives in external RAID for video, 40x SCSI CD-ROM

Video Card: Diamond Stealth II 16MB memory

Inputs Program: (Component, S-video, RCA Audio, Composite) Genlock: Composite

Outputs Program: (Component, S-video, RCA Audio, Composite) Preview: (S-video, Composite)

Included Accessories: rackmountable breakout box, PVR-422 RS-422 Remote Control Adapter, external RAID enclosure, DPS Video Action nonlinear editing software, RealProducer video streaming software, Sound Forge audio processing software


  • Real-time transitions
  • breakout box
  • well-built system


  • pricey
  • no FireWire input


This system is perfect for the editor willing to pay the price for high-performance.

The Videomaker Editors are dedicated to bringing you the information you need to produce and share better video.

Related Content