Capturing game footage at either high frame rates or high resolution is something still pretty new, thanks in no small part to the Xbox One X. You can play games at 4K resolution so why wouldn't you want to share that with the world?
Hardware to achieve such a thing is still in its infancy but there are a few consumer-grade products that won't break the bank. Mostly you'll be looking at internal capture cards, but AVerMedia has the Live Gamer Ultra, an external capture card for 4K video and HDR. And it's very good.
$246Bottom line: If you want an external 4K capture card, you want one of these.
- 4K capture at 30 FPS.
- Supports HDR pass through.
- Pass through 4K video at 60FPS or 240FPS video at 1080p.
- Excellent quality captures.
- Requires a high-spec PC to use.
- Companion app is sluggish and dated looking.
What you'll like about the AVerMedia Live Gamer Ultra
Much of the Live Gamer Ultra is on par with AVerMedia's flagship internal capture card, the Live Gamer 4K. Aside from some slight performance differences, the two capture cards are almost the same. The physical design and construction of the box is very similar, too, with a vented plastic design that has some very slight red accents and a single LED light for information purposes.
|Interface||USB 3.1 Type-C|
|Passthrough resolution||Up to 4K at 60 FPS|
|Recording format||MPEG4 (h.264 or h.265)|
That means you can capture super crispy 4K footage from your Xbox One X, though limited to 30 FPS at this resolution due to the limitations of using a USB capture card right now. Passthrough is supported up to 60 FPS at 4K, though, likewise, you can pass through up to 240 FPS at 1080p while recording at 120 FPS at the same resolution.
HDR is also supported but only for pass through, not capture, so you'll at least still be able to enjoy your glorious looking games while you play. And that's one of the biggest things to highlight. You can enjoy your Xbox One X games as they're intended, while only marginally sacrificing on the capture.
Quality is excellent and whether capturing or streaming there are no compatibility issues with any of the major apps such as XSplit, OBS or Streamlabs OBS.
Everything you need to get going is included in the box, too. AVerMedia bundles a USB 3.1 Type C cable and a HDMI 2.0 cable, as well as a code for Cyberlink PowerDirector to help you on your way with editing your hot gameplay action.
You also get access to AVerMedia RECentral which is very beginner friendly and allows you to set up recording and streaming profiles for multiple capture cards if you need, while also being very efficient. Using CPU rendering (on an 8-core Ryzen 7), I was only seeing a total system CPU usage of around 30 to 35 percent, with the RECentral app drawing about 20 percent of that while recording 1440p video.
What you'll dislike about the AVerMedia Live Gamer Ultra
There's nothing particularly wrong with the Live Gamer Ultra, but there are limitations which may mean it's not the right choice for you.
The first is that you need a pretty beefy PC to run it if you're wanting to capture either 4K or high frame rates. AVerMedia recommends a 6th Generation Intel Core i5 or higher along with a GTX 1060 GPU as the baseline for both of these if you're hooking it up to a desktop rig. Not out of reach for many, but still fairly high requirements.
For laptop use you're going to need a pretty well-equipped notebook. GPU requirements drop to a GTX 1050 Ti, this time partnering a 7th Generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ or higher. One of the big appeals of the Live Gamer Ultra is that you can use it with a laptop, but a lot of people might well be out of luck right now.
Likewise, you need a USB 3.1 port on your PC or laptop for the connection. Not a negative point, again, but 4K video requires power and bandwidth and if you don't have enough you'll be wasting your money.
Should you buy the AVerMedia Live Gamer Ultra?
Assuming your PC meets the requirements, absolutely. As with the Live Gamer 4K, the quality of the product and its results is exceptionally good. It's limited only by the fact it's a USB capture card, but currently, the Live Gamer Ultra is the best external capture card for Xbox One X owners.
Being limited to 30 FPS at 4K isn't a massive handicap, since the list of games supporting 4K60 on the Xbox One X right now isn't exactly enormous. The fact you can capture 4K content with an affordable external device like this is remarkable enough. AVerMedia is edging ahead of the rest in the capture card stakes right now.
4K HDR capture
The best external capture card for the Xbox One X.
With 4K capture, HDR passthrough and a small, portable form factor, the Live Gamer Ultra is the external capture card to beat.
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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