AVerMedia Live Gamer Duo review: A simple but game-changing upgrade for streamers

AVerMedia's newest internal capture card is a simple idea but a groundbreaking addition to a streamer's arsenal.

Live Gamer Duo
(Image: © Windows Central)

Streaming continues to be huge, and especially with the added time at home throughout 2020, more and more are turning their hand to it. Equipment costs can soon mount, though, especially if you're running multiple systems or wanting to use something like an external camera.

Enter AVerMedia with an idea so simple you'll wonder why it's taken this long to appear on consumer-level broadcast gear. The Live Gamer Duo looks a lot like the company's other internal capture cards but with one important difference. On the back you find two HDMI inputs, making this one single card reduce the hardware requirements for a ton of streamers.

And just like AVerMedia's other capture cards, it's a fantastic piece of equipment.

AVerMedia Live Gamer Duo tech specs and system requirements

  • Interface: PCI-Express x4 Gen 2
  • Input 1: HDMI 2.0
  • Input 2: HDMI 1.4
  • Output 1 (Pass-Through): HDMI 2.0
  • Output 1 Max. Pass-Through Resolution:
    2160p60 HDR /1440p144/ 1080p240
  • Max. Recording Resolution:
  • Input 1: 1080p60 HDR
  • Input 2: 1080p60
  • Supported Resolution:
  • Input 1: 2160p, 1440p, 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 576p, 480p
  • Input 2: 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 576p, 480p
  • Record Format: MPEG 4

System requirements

  • Operating system: Windows 10 x64
  • CPU: Intel i5-6XXX / AMD Ryzen 5 1600 or above
  • GPU: NVIDIA GTX 1050 / AMD RX 560 or above
  • RAM: 8 GB RAM

AMD users who want HDR support will need to be using a minimum of an RX5500 XT.

What you'll like about the AVerMedia Live Gamer Duo

Live Gamer Duo

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

If you're not familiar with AVerMedia's capture card's then it's worth brushing up on some past reviews, such as the Live Gamer 4K, the Live Gamer Ultra and the most recently released Live Gamer Bolt. There's a running theme with AVerMedia's capture cards — ease of use.

Generally speaking I've never had a single issue with drivers, software or performance on any of AVerMedia's products and the same is true of the Live Gamer Duo. I'll admit to having some trepidation going into this review, purely because this capture card is adding more points of problem.

Thankfully, the execution is flawless. Both HDMI inputs on the Live Gamer Duo are treated as an individual capture card so each shows up as a unique source in whatever streaming software chosen. That means not only is there no conflict, but it also means you most definitely can use both inputs at the same time.

Both inputs operate as an independent capture card which makes using the Duo a breeze.

OK, maybe it's unlikely you're going to be capturing content from an Xbox and a PlayStation at the same time, but you could certainly be streaming console gameplay while also capturing your own beautiful face with a camera hooked up to the second input. Or if you have more than one console, you can just plug one into each and not worry about splitters or switches.

That's really the main takeaway here. It's a simple idea but it truly is a game-changer. You don't need to have an additional capture card or something like the Elgato Cam Link, just one capture card and you are set. There will always be times you'll need to think bigger and use splitters or switches, but for folks just looking to stream with ease and quality, this is the one to get.

Quality of the footage is suitably high, too, as we've come to expect from AVerMedia's capture cards. Both HDMI inputs deliver 1080p uncompressed video, but the card itself also does most of the decoding legwork which means minimal impact on your system resources.

Video is then passed off to your GPU for encoding, which again, means minimal system impact. Both H.264 and H.265 are supported, and the maximum bitrates you're able to record in will depend on your GPU.

System requirements are also fairly low, with entry level GPUs from both NVIDIA and AMD supported, as well as Intel CPUs going all the way back to the 6th Gen. This is good to see, and it makes assembling a dedicated stream machine all the more affordable, too.

What you'll dislike about the AVerMedia Live Gamer Duo

Live Gamer Duo

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

There's nothing really to dislike in so many words, but there are things to consider that might make this the wrong capture card for you. And the biggest, obviously, is that without a desktop PC with a spare PCIe slot you can't use it. Indeed, for the purposes of this review, I had to install it in a secondary machine since my main gaming rig is a mini ITX build. It may sound obvious, but before you click on the buy button, always check your PC can definitely use it.

It's also not necessarily for you if you're looking to combine it with say, a PS5 and an Xbox Series X at the same time, at least if you're hoping to get some super crispy 4K captures from each. One of the inputs on the Live Gamer Duo is limited to 1080p even for passthrough. So if you're looking to get high-res it's maybe not the best for you. Likewise if you're looking to record from a camera in 4K while gaming at the same resolution. If it's mainly for streaming, you'll be in good hands, though.

Perhaps the only real criticism, albeit a minor one, is that AVerMedia's driver installation is a bit of a faff. You have to download an app first, then open it and it'll download all the other stuff, including the latest version of RECentral, install it all, and then you can start using the card. And without installing all this stuff first it simply won't work. But when it's all set up, the experience is faultless.

Should you buy the AVerMedia Live Gamer Duo?

AVerMedia capture cards

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

At this point in time I'd recommend the Live Gamer Duo to anyone looking to stream, seasoned pro or budding beginner. Even if you don't have an external camera or a second PC or console to hook up right now, as you progress you'll have the flexibility to add to your setup without needing additional capture hardware.

Streamers are who this makes the most sense for, especially being limited to 1080p captures. If you're looking to pull 4K footage of your gaming escapades then this isn't for you, and we recommend the Live Gamer 4K for that. However, for streaming, this really is one of the easiest recommendations right now.

It works flawlessly, too, which is the icing on the cake. There are no limitations on using two devices at once, both inputs operate entirely independently, and adding each is exactly the same process as adding any capture card to any streaming software. If you want to level up your stream with ease, then get one of these.

The Live Gamer Duo is now available for $250 in the U.S. with stock live at Amazon as of publication. It's frequently going out of stock in some regions, making it best to snag one right now, if you're in the market.

Richard Devine
Managing Editor - Tech, Reviews

Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. 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 steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine