Originally published at: Review | AVerMedia's Live Gamer 4K HDMI 2.1 PCI-E Capture Card - XboxEra
Avermedia was kind enough to send me their new Live Gamer 4K 2.1 and Live Streamer Ultra HD PCI-E Internal Capture Cards, and boy is it nice to finally have 120hz and VRR back when using my Xbox. Those are the big selling points with the 2.1 card offering up to 4k/144hz HDR VRR passthrough. The Streamer Ultra HD allows for 4k/60hz HDR VRR passthrough and 4k/30 capture. They have both worked flawlessly for me as I’ve worked on reviews on my Xbox Series X. Let’s go over the specs, the installation process, and how the footage looks.
Live Gamer 4K 2.1
- HDMI 2.1 Input/Output
- Ultra Low Latency
- Custom RGB Lighting
- VRR Capable
- Interface: PCIe Gen 3 x4
- Max Pass Through Resolutions :2160p144 HDR/VRR, 1440p240 HDR/VRR,1080p360 HDR/VRR
- Max Capture Resolution: 2160p60
- Video Format: YUY2, NV12, RGB24, P010(HDR)
- Dimension: (W x D x H):
- 121 x 160.5 x 21.5 mm (4.76 x 6.32 x 0.85 in)
- Weight: 150.5 g (5.31 oz)
- Comes with an HDMI 2.1 Cable
Live Streamer Ultra HD
- Interface: PCIe Gen 3×1
- Input & Output (Pass-through): HDMI 2.0
- Max Pass-Through Resolution: 2160p60 HDR/VRR, 1440p60 HDR/VRR, 1080p240 HDR/VRR
- Max Capture Resolution: 2160p30
- Supported Resolution: 2160p, 1440p, 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 576p, 576i, 480p, 480i
- Video Format: YUY2/NV12/RGB24/P010 (HDR)
- Dimension (W x D x H): 121 x 113.5 x 21.5 mm (4.76 x 4.47 x 0.85 in.)
- Weight:62 g (2.19 oz.)
- Comes with an HDMI 2.0 Cable
Both cards were a simple plug-and-play operation on my powered-down PC. I have been using an Elgato 4k60 Pro mk.2 for the past few years. With both Avermedia and Elgato, I have never used their software, opting instead for OBS. With both Avermedia cards Windows 11 instantly recognized them and swapping over in OBS took a few seconds. Much like the Elgato both Avermedia cards will have a few seconds of blank “no signal” displayed when entering or leaving HDR content.
Outside of that, I saw no drop in quality, and if anything my HDR to SDR tone-mapped captures off of Xbox look slightly more vibrant. There is RGB built into the 2.1 card that looks good with its diffused approach. It is now the only piece of RGB in my otherwise bland but powerful system, and my cats have been staring at it from time to time.
The best thing I can say is that it was plug, play, and forget it’s any different. That is until I loaded up Halo Infinite and a few other games that support 120hz modes. I forgot just how much better things can look and feel when you have 120hz and VRR enabled. I use an LG C2 42” OLED as my main display and could enable every feature outside of Dolby Vision. That may come down to the cable I am using as the one provided to me with the Avermedia card simply wasn’t long enough for my setup. It’s not short but I have a complicated run from my PC to my display.
The biggest deterrent is the cost. At $270 the Live Gamer 4K 2.1 is a big ask at launch. Elgato has recently soft-announced their own HDMI 2.1 external and internal cards at Twitch Con but no price has been given. As someone lucky enough to be handed the card it’s the obvious choice if you are looking to capture footage on an Xbox Series or PS5 console, as it’s the only way for now to have an internal card that lets you use all of your most useful graphical features. For those of you looking for an external version, there is a USB external version of the 2.1 card that came out first as well.
The Live Streamer Ultra HD 2.0 card is a rough deal to me. It cannot capture 4k/60fps, being capped at 30. For any gaming footage that simply isn’t good enough of a trade-off to get VRR. If you don’t play many 60fps games it could be worth it as the card was flawless in my time using it. I just don’t know of many use cases where a 30fps capture would be worth it in gaming. I do not have any documentation on the price for this one and haven’t found anything online.
Wrapping Things Up
The Avermedia Live Gamer 4K 2.1 is a stellar card, with a bit of a hefty cost at launch. Still, it’s the only game in town for passthrough 4k/144hz HDR & VRR. The Live Streamer Ultra HD is less interesting with its 30fps cap on capture.