Elgato – Game Capture HD60 Pro – Review and Test

I want to thank Elgato for sending me a device to test early and only wanting feedback in exchange. All expressed opinions below are my own.

Review

Box View

The Elgato HD60 Pro is an internal video capture card to grab HDMI Material (without HDCP) of a Console, Computer or Camera for example. Resolutions up to 1920×1080 with 60hz and recording at 60fps are supported. It requires a free PCI Express x1 slot , but similar to other PCIe devices it can also be used on a larger slot.

Elgato has also made sure that the latency is extremely low, so there is no delay as you get with USB3.0 devices . It comes with the Elgato Game Capture software that includes different options for both recording and streaming to twitch or a similar service. You can also tag your recordings or even give them a description to later find them more easily.

elgato_gc_software-en

While streaming you can, at the same time, save  a “master copy” up to 1080p / 60fps / 60mbit on the hard disk. Furthermore, images, or a Webcam can be added to up to 9 different scenes and of course your microphone can be recorded. A screenshot function and the possibility to upload your recordings to Youtube, Facebook is also included.

Especially if you may want to capture a console like the Xbox One or Playstation 4 the pass-through is interesting for you. It allows you to connect your TV to the output of the HD60 Pro without the need of a further video splitter. The video signal is then of course also passed, without delay, to your TV and you can play as usual while you record it. Your recording PC has to be turned on for the Passthrough to work though.

Last but not least the HD60 Pro can be used in programs like OBS or XSplit to get even more options for your scenes and sources.

The card itself has a black PCB, a black cover with ventilation openings and a likewise black front. It is relatively small and there is a cover to exchange for installation in particularly small cases that have only half the height.

Test

First, the test setup, I have tested the HD60 Pro in my main rig and my streaming PC to test it under different configurations and operating systems.

Mainly the card will work in my streaming rig, an i5-2500K without overclocking along with a HD 7850 from ATI. It ran under Windows 8 (.1) and Windows 10 on this Machine. Linux drivers are currently inofficially created by volunteer users but I kept to Windows for this Test. 
The second computer is my main gaming rig, an i7 4770 with a GTX 970. Running Windows 8.1, 10, and even Windows 7 for testing purposes.

In both configurations, and among the 3 different operating systems, I could not notice any problems. Both in their own software, as well as under OBS and XSplit the card works perfectly. 

Recording

Using the included Elgato Game Capture software the recording performance is very good. CPU load is pretty low and you mainly need a HDD that can write at 60mbps. A 1080p/60fps recording on my i5 ate about 25% of my CPU resources while on the i7 it was below 10%.

In OBS and XSplit the card worked flawlessly, not dropping any frames. CPU performance using a capture card is in general slightly higher than using the included capture methods but its barely noticeable.

Streaming

When streaming the Elgato software has to compress the video similar to OBS or XSplit. CPU load then depends mainly on your settings. However, the software warns you in case of too high settings and provides you alternatives. The CPU utilization is very comparable to that of OBS or XSplit. Since practically any software probably uses the x264 encoder at the moment. 

Image Quality

The color output and image quality are as expected excellent (digital input). You can choose between partial and full color space support, but it’s best to take a look at some examples.

The screenshots were taking directly with the screenshot function of the Elgato software. Only in the test images you can notice a change especially in the red and magenta range. The conversion to YUV typically produces this difference.

Conclusion

In my tests, the unit was only slightly warmer than the ambient temperature of my case. Even after several hours of recording it did not get hot. In most cases, a graphics card sits near the device also providing some airflow . But even for a small housing it seems the Elgato HD60 Pro will not introduce any heat problems.

Currently I have no exact information on the price , so I’ll probably have to adapt the conclusion soon again slightly . Basically the HD60 Pro has surprised me. Elgato’s first internal, and therefore not dependent on USB, video capture card makes a good impression. 

Both the design and performance specifications and are currently perfect for a streamer or youtuber. Higher resolutions will become more interesting in the next years. But it will take quite some time until 4K will be a standard. Full HD at full 60 frames per second is currently likely the optimum for video recording and streaming. 4K is an expensive gimmick that requires not only expensive recording hardware but also enormous computing power. Not thinking of the bitrate and upload speed needs.

While working with a console you will love the pass-through. It removes the need of a splitter when recording a PS4 or Xbox One for example. Of course you can also connect your Camcorder with HDMI output and use the PC as a recording device for this purpose.

Anything with an HDMI output and no HDCP protection can be recorded and streamed!

Technical Specifications

  • Interface: PCIe x1
  • Input: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360 & Wii U (unencrypted HDMI)
  • Output: HDMI (lag-free pass-through)
  • Supported Resolutions:
    • 1080p60, 1080p30, 1080i, 720p60, 720p30, 576p, 576i, 480p
  • Maximum Bitrate: 60 Mbps
  • Dimensions & Weight: 122 x 56 x 14 mm, 102 g / 4.8 x 2.2 x 0.55 in, 3.6 oz
  • includes high and low profile bracket

System Requirements

  • Windows 7 SP1 (or later)
  • 2nd generation Intel Core i5 CPU (i5-2xxx or comparable)
  • Stream Command: 2nd generation Intel Core i7 CPU (i7-2xxx or comparable)
  • PCIe x1/x4/x8/x16 slot
  • 4 GB RAM
  • Internet connection

Link to the Elgato HD 60 Pro Homepage.

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