AverMedia Live Gamer Ultra GC553 Review: 4K HDR captured beautifully

avermedia live gamer ultra

Not long ago, AVerMedia released information about its upcoming capture cards. There has been a steady rise in 4K HDR content, and the capture card company doesn’t want to be left behind. So, now they have 4K HDR 60fps capture cards, but how well does it perform? Is it easy to use? Is it worth it? Well, let’s take a closer look at the Live Gamer Ultra (LGU) and find out.

Specs & Features

  • Interface: USB 3.1 Gen1 Type C
  • Input & Output (Pass-Through): HDMI 2.0
  • Max. Pass-Through Resolution: 2160p60fps HDR /1440p144fps/ 1080p240fps
  • Max. Capture Resolution: 2160p30fps /1440p60fps/ 1080p120fps
  • Supported Resolution: 2160p, 1440p, 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 576p, 480p
  • Record Format: MPEG 4 (H.264+AAC) or (H.265+AAC)
  • Dimensions (W x D x H): 112.6 x 66.2 x 26 mm (4.43 x 2.6 x 1.02 in)
  • PowerDirector 15
  • RECentral

When I first began testing, there were a few things that I had noticed right off the bat. H.265 Compression was only supported by RECentral. RECentral is one of a few software programs you get with your purchase and is a recording and streaming platform. It packs some nice features, like multi-stream to Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, Mixer, etc. You also have access to adjusting the settings on the card, one of them being the ability to turn HDCP on and off. Although you can turn it on or off, the Live Gamer Ultra does not support viewing/recording/streaming of HDCP protected signals. This means that if you are using a PS4, you will need to go to your settings and turn HDCP off for the card to capture.

Another software it’s packed with is PowerDirector 15. It is a clean and lightweight video editing software. It really is nice that AVerMedia packed these programs in the purchase since the videos being captured are likely to be edited and shared. The only thing it lacks is an OBS. Although you can stream from RECentral, you won’t have access to using overlays or notifications. With that said, I just used Streamlabs OBS instead for my streams.

The Live Gamer Ultra will not work on all computers. It’s important to ensure your current rig can handle this workload. Also, it does not support macOS. Here is the list of requirements you’ll need to consider:

For 4Kp/30fps or 1080p/120fps:

  • Desktop: Intel Core i5-6XXX or above + NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 or above
    8 GB RAM (Dual-channel)
  • Laptop: Intel Core i7-7700HQ or above + NVIDIA GeForce GTX1050 Ti or above
    8 GB RAM (Dual-channel)

For 1080p/60fps:

  • Desktop: Intel Core i5-3330 or above (i7-3770 recommended) + NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 / AMD Radeon R7 250X or above are recommended
    4 GB RAM (8GB Recommended)
  • Laptop: Intel Core i7-4810MQ + NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M or above
    4 GB RAM (8GB Recommended)

I would strongly recommend using Intel chipsets as those works best for this device. You will want to ensure that you are using USB 3.1 ports as this does not support USB 2.0. Also, not all graphics cards support HDR, so be sure you have the right one if that is important to you. On the recommended system requirements, the Live Gamer Ultra worked flawlessly. I was able to view, record, and stream games from a PS4 Pro and Xbox One X at 4K60fps with ease. The HDR was especially nice. If you are streaming from the software on the console instead of the Live Gamer Ultra, HDR will not stream properly. In fact, if you don’t turn it off, your stream will be oversaturated in red. So needless to say, I love the HDR pass-through.

Given its price range, it would have been nice if it could also record to a microSD card as well since this card is pass-through only. I wanted to put some of those system requirements to the test, so I connected my Surface Pro 4 M3 to an OWC USB Type-C Dock and ran some tests at 1080p/60fps and 1080p/30fps. To my surprise, I was able stream without losing quality or frames. Although, at both 30fps and 60fps, my memory and CPU were at around 89%. If I tried to do anything else, like open a web browser or adjust settings in Streamlabs OBS, then my Surface would start acting up. So if you are within system requirements, you will not experience any of these issues.

Build & Aesthetics

The Live Gamer Ultra has a very simple design. On one side of the rectangle, you have a USB Type-C port. On the other, an HDMI in & out. There is a light strip that indicates whether or not the device is working and what the issue may be. The rest of the device is purely design. There are plenty of vents to allow air to pass and keep it cool, but I do have one request for future versions. I wish the Live Gamer Ultra had some more weight to it. It weighs 116g, but the cables you connect to the device won’t care. It has some small grips, but it won’t stay in place if your cords are new or just not flexible. Adding more weight to the device would also provide a more premium feel as well. It is made of a high-grade plastic, but I think using magnesium or some other sturdier metal would have been a better choice.

In the end, it’s not a game changer, but something I would like to see done on future devices. Since it is such a simple design, it’s pretty simple to plug and play. Simply running HDMI from console to device and another HDMI from device to TV will do most of the work. The only thing left to connect is the USB from the device to the computer. That’s it. Super easy. As a reminder, if your console is using HDCP, be sure to turn that off first.

Final Reaction

The AVerMedia Live Gamer Ultra sets the bar. It makes streaming 4K HDR content easy and exciting. They also give you the necessary software to record and stream properly. Although it’s only pass-through, the value of what comes with the purchase is worth it for those looking for the highest quality content. Now all I have to do now is make something worth watching.

Did I miss a question? Hit us up on Twitter @NerdReactor and we’ll get you an answer. Thanks for reading.

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