AVerMedia Live Gamer Bolt vs. Live Gamer 4K: Which should you buy?

Live Gamer Bolt
Live Gamer Bolt (Image credit: AVerMedia)

The Live Gamer 4K is two years old now, but that just shows how far ahead of its time it was. Only now has an external capture card caught up to offer identical performance, and that's the Live Gamer Bolt. But it's taken the inclusion of a Thunderbolt 3 interface to make it happen, which will be a barrier to entry for many, particularly AMD Ryzen users.

AVerMedia Live Gamer Bolt vs. Live Gamer 4K: Tech specs

Live Gamer Bolt

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Just how closely matched are these two capture cards? Comparing the specs tells most of the story.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Live Gamer BoltLive Gamer 4K
InterfaceThunderbolt 3PCIe x4 Gen 2
InputHDMI 2.0HDMI 2.0
OutputHDMI 2.0HDMI 2.0
Line inYesNo
Resolutions4K @ 60 FPS
1440p @ 144 FPS
1080p @ 240 FPS
4K @ 60 FPS
1440p @ 144 FPS
1080p @ 240 FPS
HDRYesYes
Max bitrate240mbps (system dependent)240mbps (system dependent)
Formath.264
h.265
h.264
h.265

How to choose which you should buy

Live Streaming PC

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

If they're both so evenly matched, then how do you make a decision on which to get? There are some things to consider which will make the process easier.

If you have a desktop PC that you're using for capturing and streaming, then the easy recommendation is the Live Gamer 4K. For one, it's significantly cheaper now at about half the price. You just slot it into a vacant PCIe x4 slot on your motherboard, and you're good to go. It's neat, the RGB strip will add a little flair, and you will still get eyeshreddingly good looking captures.

The exceptions would be a mini ITX system where you simply won't have a spare PCIe slot or several pre-built, small-form PCs like the MSi Trident X where you also either don't have the slot or just don't have the space to install an internal capture card. But if you built your own system and you're using at least a micro ATX motherboard, then the Live Gamer 4K is the way to go.

Live Gamer Bolt

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

The immediately obvious use case for the Live Gamer Bolt is with a gaming laptop, like our own top pick, the Razer Blade 15. Many of the top gaming laptops out there have a Thunderbolt 3 port and sufficiently powerful GPU and CPU combinations to drive the Live Gamer Bolt. If you need to be portable, this is the tool for you.

It may also be a good idea if your own Intel-based desktop PC already has a Thunderbolt 3 dock attached since you could —assuming you had a spare port— attach the Live Gamer Bolt to this.

Intel is the key, too, in either laptops or desktops. AMD platforms generally don't support Thunderbolt 3. There are a couple of exceptions if you're building a Ryzen or Threadripper PC, but for the most part, you're out of luck. AMD desktop users should go for the Live Gamer 4K if they can get it into their system, while AMD laptop users will have to look elsewhere entirely and consider something a little less powerful like the Live Gamer Ultra (opens in new tab).

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.