Elgato – Game Capture HD60 S – 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.
The Elgato HD60 S is an external capture card to grab Video and Audio Input of a HDMI Source (without HDCP). This can be a Console, Computer or Camera for example. Resolutions up to 1920×1080 with 60hz and recording at 60fps are supported. To connect to your PC it needs an USB 3.0 Port which also supplies it with power and a real low latency.
The device itself has a Type-C USB 3.0 Port, but the included cable offers the Type-A Port at its other end to connect to your PC. (At least the one included in my case, switching to a Type-C to Type-C cable should be possible if your Laptop or PC offers such Port) It also has an Analog Audio Input to connect your Sound that way if HDMI is no option for you. As well as support for Standard and Extended Color Range and support for lower standard input resolutions down to 480p. (Full specifications can be found at the end of the article)
The HD60 S is very small, but if you know the HD60 it will look quite familiar as it has pretty much the same design as far as I can say (I have no HD60 to compare directly). Its also not heavy and in my test did not produce noticeable heat. Similar to the HD60 and HD60 Pro it also has Passthrough, which means you can connect a Monitor or TV to the Output of the Elgato. No need for an extra splitter.
As mentioned earlier the device has a very low latency, similar to internal cards like the HD60 Pro or such of the Avermedia Range, Datapath, etc. You can play just fine using the preview in the Game Capture Software for example, thanks to the low latency. But the software also 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 find them later more easily.
You can also “go back in time” (called “Flashback recording”), which means the software starts recording to disk right away after you start it, now if something glorious happens and you notice you forgot to start recording you can scroll back in time, click on start recording, and it will save from scroll back point onwards. So you never loose an awesome shot.
Furthermore, images, webpages (interesting for Alerts or Animations) or a Webcam can be added to up to 10 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. As well as splitting recordings and looking through them. Last but not least the HD60 S can be used in programs like OBS or XSplit.
For the test my main rig, streaming PC and Laptop were used to run the HD60 S under different configurations.
- Linux drivers are currently in-officially created by volunteer users but I kept to Windows for this Test.
- Mac drivers are not available at the moment, but Elgato seems to have something planned in this regard as well.
The device performed without a noticeable flaw. Even my very low spec Laptop was able to use and record with it, of course with lower settings, but it was never meant to do anything like that in the first place. Both in their own software, as well as under OBS and XSplit the Elgato HD60 S worked perfectly.
In all three programs I was able to record stutter and lag free 1080p 60fps footage of different games. I had no problems with late or dropped frames, or audio desync.
Using the included Elgato Game Capture software the CPU load is pretty low and you mainly need a HDD that can write at 40-60mbps. A 1080p/60fps recording on my i5 ate about 25-35% of my CPU resources while on the i7 it was below 10-15%. The Elgato software first saves the video to a temporary folder on your disk and afterwards it creates the final video.
Both OBS and XSplit had no problems using the device. CPU performance using a capture card is in general slightly higher than using the included capture methods but its barely noticeable.
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 has to use the x264 encoder at the moment.
Both streaming and recording mostly depend on the software you use of course and not on the device.
Every day use
Compared to internal devices the HD60 S is of course meant to be used “on the road”. Thanks to its small size and light weight you can easily pack it into your Laptop Bag for example. And if there is no space, without the cables you can even fit it in your pocket. But of course 2 HDMI cables and the included USB 3.0 are needed to connect it to your console/pc/whatever and an output Monitor or TV. One less if you do not need to connect a Monitor. The driver and game capture software setup is done in less than 5 minutes and you are ready to start recording. It needed one system reboot in my case. Using it between different PC’s also made no problem at all. After its initial installation you can unplug and re-plug it whenever necessary.
The HD60 S is the first USB 3.0 device I would personally buy. While the USB capture cards definitely got better in the recent months up to this day it is the first device that fully uses the USB 3.0 capabilities and supplies exactly what you need to get started with streaming on your Dual-PC or Console setup. You can also of course also capture HDMI Camera Output or other sources that use reasonable resolutions.
Shipping April 18th with a RRP of USD 179.95 / EUR 189.95 / GBP 149.95 / AUD 279.95 it is currently one of the most interesting devices on the market. And Elgato has brought out its second device in a row that I can really recommend anyone to use. The HD60 costs about 150$/165€ on Amazon US/DE at the moment, so for 15-25 bucks more you get less problems, instant input, no audio desync and USB 3.0. The HD60 Pro would be an alternative if you do not need an external device, for about 200$/200€.
- Interface: USB 3.0
- 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
- Dimensions: 112 x 75 x 19 mm / 4.4 x 3 x 0.75 in
- Weight: 106 g / 3.7 oz
- PC: Windows 10 (64-bit)
- 4th generation quad core Intel Core i5 CPU (i5-4xxx or comparable)
- Intel HD or NVIDIA GeForce 600 series graphics (or better)
- 4 GB RAM, built-in USB 3.0 port
- Internet connection
- Game Capture HD60 S
- 6ft / 180cm USB 3.0 A to Type-C cable
- 6ft / 180cm HDMI cable
Internet connection required to download Elgato Game Capture HD software.
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