If you’re a content creator, a quality capture card is a necessity. Today, we’re looking at one of the most compelling options we’ve seen in a long time from our friends at AVerMedia. Not only does the card capture at 4K30 with HDR, it connects over USB 3.1 so it’s more portable than ever. This is our AVerMedia Live Gamer ULTRA review.
- MSRP: $249.99 USD
- 4K with 60Hz HDR passthrough, 30 FPS capture
- 1440p with 144Hz passthrough, 60 FPS capture
- 1080p with 240Hz passthrough, 120 FPS capture
- HDR Capture: 1080p at 60 FPS
- Recording format: MPEG 4, H.264+AAC or H.265+AAC
- USB 3.1 type-C connection for low latency
- HDMI 2.0a
When I first started creating content, I used FRAPS to record gameplay. It worked, sure, but I quickly realized that I would need a beefier PC if I wanted to make the most of it. The reality is simply this: recording with the same hardware you’re playing on taxes any system. The minute I hit record, my frame rate plummeted. In that moment, thinking I was skirting the need for a capture card by turning to software, I realized just how important products like the Live Gamer ULTRA really are – and that was before I’d even considered streaming one of my consoles.
The idea here is simple: no sacrifices gameplay. The Live Gamer ULTRA allows you to record across all of the major resolutions: 1080p, 1440p, and 4K. Since this is an external card connecting via USB 3.1, you’re limited to 30 FPS at 4K, 60 FPS at 1440p, and 120 FPS at 1080p, though passthrough speeds are much higher at 60Hz, 144Hz, and 240Hz so you don’t have to sacrifice that high refresh rate gameplay just to stream or capture.
Another neat feature is that the ULTRA supports HDR recording. This is a great feature to capture the fidelity of modern games, though it’s recommended that you have at least an Nvidia GTX 1060 to make use of it. If you don’t, you’ll be relying on your CPU with the X264 encoder which can still be taxing on your system.
Getting up and running with the Live Gamer ULTRA is very simple. The device itself is little more than a stylish black box with HDMI In, Out, and USB 3.1 ports. This makes it extremely simple to add to your setup and, frankly, pretty difficult to do wrong. It also means it will easily work with any of the major consoles, so you can finally stream those platforms from your PC. Just be aware that you may have to disable certain features like HDCP on PS4.
All of your recording and streaming can be done through AVerMedia’s RECentral software. It’s easy an intuitive to get started. Upon loading it up, you’ll be able to update your device which I recommend that you do to stay up to date with the latest fixes.
Depending on what you plan to do, you can record pure gameplay in Single mode or multiple sources in Multi mode. The latter was my choice since I usually run a facecam in the corner. RECentral also supports multi-stream to different platforms at one time which is useful if you don’t already use a solution like Restream. All told, it’s not as fully featured as something like StreamLabs but is an easy way to get up and running fast.
I was also very impressed by the latency. Using the passthrough to my main monitor, I had no trouble even playing shooters like Battlefield V without feeling handicapped. This would be a game-breaking shortcoming, so it’s great to see AVerMedia nail it so well.
I’ve been creating content on the internet for the better part of a decade. How I’ve done that has changed over the years but the farther I’ve gone into the games and tech industries, the more a device like the Live Gamer ULTRA has become a necessity. I like that it’s easy to set up and portable, but most of all, that I don’t have to scale back my resolution to match a lower-end capture card. AVerMedia has nailed it with the Live Gamer ULTRA and I highly recommend it if you’re ready to make the step up in resolution or FPS.