Elgato HD60 vs HD60 S: What's the difference?
So you want a great external capture card to use with your PC or console. Which of the current Elgato models is the one to get?
Choosing the right capture card is important — if you're getting one, you're using it to create some kind of content. You need to balance balance image and video quality against performance and price to make the all-around best choice.
Elgato is the biggest name in capture cards, and the company has two very similar products on the market: The HD60 and the HD60 S. So what's the difference between them?
Elgato HD60 vs HD60 S: Hardware and performance
On a hardware level there are some subtle differences between the two.
|Capture resolution||Up to 1080p|
|Up to 1080p|
|Max bitrate||40 Mbps||40 Mbps|
The HD60 has a built-in hardware h.264 encoder which helps relieve the load on your PC. The HD60 S doesn't have this, but it does have a faster USB interface. This, in turn, means Elgato's "instant gameview" feature is supported, with incredibly low latency between what you're playing and what the software is capturing. If you only have a single screen available, instant gameview is fast enough to play your games through your capture software.
Both are capable of capturing at 60 FPS at 1080p resolution at a maximum bitrate of 40 Mbps. Both have unencrypted HDMI with passthrough and the only visible difference on the outside is the HD60 S having the new USB-C port along with its faster data transfer. You also get an aux input port on both cards to patch in a chat link cable if you need to.
Which should you buy?
There's not really a right or wrong answer to this question. Both are capable of running on fairly average PCs, but if you are at the lower end of the hardware chain then the built-in hardware encoder on the HD60 may well be more beneficial than anything else. The capture card handling the encoding means your PC doesn't have to do nearly as much.
The big selling point to the HD60 S is the incredibly low latency offered by the faster USB connection. If you're a streamer, then low latency is perhaps more important than offloading some of the encoding.
There's also a modest price difference to consider. The HD60 S (opens in new tab) is around $170 while the HD60 is around $155 (opens in new tab).
The good news is that they're both superb capture cards. Very similar, but the HD60 S is probably just the better pick thanks to its faster data transfer, unless hardware encoding is something you absolutely need.
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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