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Is 1080p 60fps capture really this hard???!
on October 14, 2015
This review is going to be a little long winded, so if you want a summary I'll explain why this product gets 2 stars right now. This product promises to deliver 1080p 60fps capture, but what it doesn't tell you is that it won't be perfect, and it will have significant flaws. The flaws are only more apparent if you plan on using this capture device for streaming via OBS or XSplit. If you plan on recording using the dedicated software, than this product could be more suited for your needs. This product doesn't work for me, and if you want to know why continue on.
First of all, I purchased this product when it first launched. Over a year ago. It had significant software bugs at the time- all related to audio de-sync issues with the video feed. It was significant enough to render this product useless to me. Streaming was impossible because it could not keep up. I sent it back with the intent on getting something else, but nothing else would really do 1080p 60... So i waited.
Fast forward to now. I wanted to get back into streaming and I needed a capture card. My requirements were 1080p, 60fps, and it had to work with OBS. Pretty simple stuff. I do the research and see a few cards that can do it, but Amazon still has the Elgato HD60 as the highest rated device which claims to perform to my requirements. I read up on the device and it turns out they did fix the audio sync issues with OBS and it should work much better. I bought it in hopes that it would work.
Let me cut to the chase. It works much better than it did over a year ago. In fact, it could be "passable" for most people. However, it isn't perfect. Specifically, when playing Super Mario Maker for the Wii U. I noticed an odd bug with how the Elgato HD60 captures stuff. Specifically, when the screen fades to black for whatever reason, the capture gets interrupted for a second or two. It's enough to drive you crazy on a game like Super Mario Maker. The screen fades to black every time you either die, change levels, or enter a pipe or door. This happens quite often in this game. Every time this happens, the capture "freezes" briefly, and picks up a second or so after the screen has already faded back into gameplay. What you see in the stream and/or recording is the screen fade to black, then suddenly jerk back into the gameplay some second or two after you have already started playing the level. This isn't acceptable. This is an odd bug which could be related to encoding. My theory is this... If you know a thing or two about how encoding works you know that huge changes on the screen can have the largest impact on encoding, and a fade to a full black screen then back to normal can be a "worse case" situation for the capture card to work with. I'm not saying this is correct, but I know this card has this issue. Specifically, I watched a few other streamers playing Super Mario Maker and sure enough- I could tell which streamers were using the HD60 by this specific behavior.
In conclusion... This card isn't for me. Although Elgato have fixed the audio sync issues, there is still a significant delay in the time events in the game happen and they are captured, so in OBS you have to setup a global audio delay for mic capture, along with webcam delays to make everything sync up with the game capture. It is worlds more consistent with how it was before, but you still get an aproximately.2 second variant, causing your voice to be out of sync with things that are happening on screen even if ever so slight. Also, the black screen fade bug is a deal breaker. I was willing to regrettably deal with the slight sync issues, but the black screen fade bug? That was where I draw the line.
The reason it gets even 2 stars is it partially works. If these issues are all software based and can be patched, than this product could potentially be worth a buy. It is still a cheaper 1080p 60fps capture option compared to the competition. It just didn't work for me.
Since this purchase I have also purchased the AVerMedia Gamer Extreme- their premium 1080p 60fps offering. While this product appeared to be what I was looking for, this product had more software bugs than the Elgato. However, most of these issues are related to the built in software which I didn't intend to use, so I bought it. Since I use OBS for capture and recording, I wasn't worried about the software. In fact, when this product works with OBS it works amazingly well! My only reservation with this product is it would randomly stop capturing. I believe it has to do with my usb 3.0 controller. Supposedly, this device could have issues with different controllers.
Because the AVerMedia wasn't working, I did a ton of research on other 1080p 60fps offerings and one in particular caught my eye. It's called the XCAPTURE-1 and has to be imported from Japan. It is capable of doing 1080p 60fps capture over usb 3.0, and can capture a variety of mediums- more than just HDMI. It does component capture as well which is great- but this offering isn't cheap. At close to double the cost of other offerings, this device is on the premium price spectrum, but is it worth it? I bought it to see, because at this point I was willing to pay for a device that works.
Well, out of the box it didn't work. I plugged it in, added an OBS profile for it, and all I got was a single frame of my Wii U capture. Are you kidding me? Turns out this device only supports certain USB 3.0 controllers, which leads me to believe it could be that same problem with the AVerMedia product. The Elgato wouldn't have this issue as it runs over USB 2.0, and before you ask- Yes, I tried the Elgato on both USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports- so my issue was present with both. To fix the USB 3.0 issue on the XCAPTURE-1 I simply bought a PCI USB 3.0 controller that was compatable with the device. Yes, having to buy an expansion card for this device was silly, but the results are amazing. The XCAPTURE-1 works PERFECTLY. No black screen issues, no stream delays (since it is over a USB 3.0 interface, it works nearly instantly. You could practically play the game itself over the preview window, although there is an ever so slight ~millisecond delay) and it does what it is advertised to do. 1080p 60fps.
Tonight I will be testing the AVerMedia Gamer Extreme with the new 3.0 interface to see if the capture freeze issue is present with the different controller. If the issue is fixed, I would recommend the AVerMedia Live Gamer Extreme product over the XCAPTURE-1, as it works just as well for way less money even if you have to buy a 30 dollar USB 3.0 expansion card to get it working. If it doesn't work, I am extremely happy with the XCAPTURE-1 so far, and would highly recommend you check it out. Also, look at the AverMedia ExtremeCap U3. I have not tried this product myself, but it could be worth your time. It also has USB 3.0 controller requirements, so be aware of this.
If you have any questions, please ask them. I have done a TON of research in my quest for a perfect 1080p 60fps capture / streaming solution. At the end of the day, I am using the XCAPTURE-1 device paired with a PCI USB 3.0 controller which is compatible with it. The Elgato HD60 was promising, but it just didn't make the cut.
Just for the record, my computer is pretty beast. Specs are this:
Intel Core i7-3930K @4.0GHz 6-Core Processor
Asus Rampage IV Extreme Motherboard
Vengeance Pro 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR3-2400 Memory
EVGA GeForce GTX 780 3GB Video Card (2-Way SLI)