Hello again. I am Blunty and this is the 4K60 Pro. The newest and most brutally powerful capture card from the folks at Elgato, a brand I personally have grown a mountain of faith in, as not one of their products has ever let me down or so much as faulted. Their HD60S, and then HD60 Pro were my personal choice of capture devices for my recording and streaming needs over the last several years, and now this is my prime choice, at least for those of us who have higher-end aspirations.
Elgato is the Standard
Now, lets’ be clear. I’m not sponsored by Elgato. Everything I say is personal opinion, based on long and continued experience actually using their gear day-in, day-out. Though if it matters to you, they did send me this 4K60 Pro for review. Although, with the push behind mainstream targeted 4K gaming feeling more recent, what with the consoles joining in with the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X, 4K capture cards are actually nothing new. Sure, the Elgato 4K60 Pro is the first one to really be targeted to gamers, but there has been several decent options around for a while now.
Decent, but not ideal, at least not for us gamers. Other options have been limited by usually one of two things. Either they were designed for more live action and broadcast in mind and, thus, usually capped at 30 frames per second, ick. Or they were designed for traditional high-end content production workflows and, thus, were priced, basically, out of reach of the average gaming content producer. The 4K60 Pro solves this issue.
But I’m not saying it’s cheap, because it’s not. You’re still going to slap down some fairly serious money at $399 of His Royal Orangeness’s Trump coins, or about $599 Aussie dollar-y dos which is, I can hear you already thinking, about the price of a PlayStation 4 Pro itself, but it’s actually great value compared to the $900 or so of something like [Majuoh 00:02:04] Pro 4K capture card, and even the similarly priced EVIO 4K capture card, which is capped at 30 frames per second. Nothing else at this price point does what this card can do, and that’s what makes it attractive.
4k Capture & Content Production
Like all things on this side of the content production fence, it is an investment in your content. You don’t have to capture or produce content in 4K for the online spaces like YouTube. Very few people are going to actually watch it in 4K. Let’s be honest, but doing so gives you a lot more options on the production side of things. Just like how I record a lot of stuff in 4K on my camera, but produce it 1080p. That and the fact that 4K is becoming more and more common, and it’s forward-looking to start doing 4K stuff now for when that stuff does become more common on the viewer side of things.
More than all that, using the 4K60 Pro lets you do other nice things, like feeding out a 4K60 signal back out again, with no lag by the way, to your 4K screen. Even if you’re not necessarily capturing or streaming in 4K, you don’t have to sacrifice 4K on your end. You don’t have to run your fancy new 4K console at 1080p just because your output is to a recording or stream at that resolution. So your viewers get the 1080, or whatever, you get the full 4K. On the capture side, it too is lag-less, remarkably so in fact. You have to remember that this is a huge amount of data to process, to capture, and spit back out to the software. And to do so at 4K at 60 frames per second, in a way with such tiny, basically imperceptible latencies, so you can legitimately play by the software preview, and so anything you say or do while streaming is perfectly synchronized, is in the truest sense of the word, remarkable. It is worthy of remark that they managed to make this work so very well. This is the other thing, by the way, that Elgato does better than any alternative I’ve ever looked at and passed over.
To be perfectly clear about it, it is not really no lag. It is not perfectly lag-free, but what lag there is, when compared to having the console plugged directly into my gaming monitor versus what you see on the preview screen on the software, whether it be the native software or OVS, is actually about equivalent to the kind of lag you see on pretty much every TV out there. Because all TV’s, as we all know as gamers or at least we should know, do have lag built into them because they do image processing to make things look brighter, or sharper, or cleaner, or whatnot. For the purposes of using this to capture console game play, I’d remind you that console games are built with this lag in mind already. So you’re not actually at any kind of disadvantage. Using the preview screen is just like using a regular TV to play your console games how you would normally play it anyway. The only reason you can see any lag at all on this demonstration I’m showing you is because the direct feed is going into a gaming monitor with very low latency, like less than one millisecond latency.
But it doesn’t actually stop there. As you’d safely assume, you can also do native capture of other, lower resolutions, like 1080p, of course, and past 1080. It’ll do 1440p at 60 with just as much ease. Here’s the real sweet trick to it. The 4K60 Pro is capable of pass-through of 1440p at 144 hertz. That means, much like pulling 4K60 and streaming out to an easier to deal with 1080p, without sacrificing your own gameplay experience. If you game at 1440p, 144 hertz locally, you can still do so while streaming at whatever recording resolution, but that’s the technical side. It’s a very powerful slip of black metallic mini-obelisk.
4K and Capture Software Still in Development!
On the actually using it on the real-world side of things, well to be honest, it’s been less than a perfectly smooth experience, especially when compared to my beloved HD60, but only because the 4K and capture software is still in active development. There’s been a couple of small bugs. Nothing show-stopping and nothing that’s happened while recording or streaming or anything like that. It’s usually just when you first boot it up, and that’s often solved with a system reboot or it’s been very quickly patched out by Elgato’s team. The software is also not really close to feature complete when compared to the older Elgato capture software used by their other products. But I have talked with the Elgato folk about this and those features are coming. I believe flashback style, buffer recording is next on their to-do list of features to bring back over, so that’s nice. As it stands at time of publication, the software is relative bare bones, but quite solid, and I love the super clean layout. For capturing recording, etc, it’s been working perfectly.
There are other helpful options in here too, like being able to set the HD matte color range, of course. You can select which input EDID mode you’re using, and even which EDID it internally uses. If you don’t know what that acronym means, it’s basically how the device identifies itself to the source. It will identify itself as 4K or 1080p or 1440p, and whether or not it identifies itself as the Elgato or the monitor you’re using. Things like that. If you don’t know why you would need to change this, don’t worry about it. For those of you who do know why you would need to change this, celebrate, because it’s there and it makes life so much easier.
One of the reasons new software had to be built from the ground up to begin with is the 4K60 Pro does not have onboard H264 encoder hardware like its predecessors do. The absence of this hardware was done not only to make certain functionality technically easier, but the whole thing much, much cheaper to make. The fall out of this design decision is relative minor actually. On the streaming side of things, you won’t see any difference at all as OVS and similar streaming software couldn’t actually use Elgato’s onboard encoder anyway. When recording, it does mean you do need a decently powerful system to encode this 4K60 content. As unlike the HD60 Pro, which could do some heavy lifting for the video encoding all on its own, with the 4K60 Pro, you need your system to do that heavy lifting.
CPU & GPU Compatibility
Elgato recommend a sixth generation I7 or a Risen 7 on the CPU side of things, and a GTX 10 Series card or an RX Vega Series card on the GPU side of things, which are relatively high requirements. But let’s be honest here. If you are actually serious about creating 4K gaming content, chances are high you’ve already got or are already planning to get a system with appropriately high specs because you’re going to need it for everything from generating 4K content to capturing the 4K content to editing the 4K content to encoding the 4K content for final upload. You can have the software use either your GPU or CPU for video encoding, although I will say I had some stutter issues when asking my GTX1 080’s video encoder to do the job at 4K, while CPU encoding was flawless for both real time preview and recording.
Quality-wise, you can go lean or bump up the bit rate to a big, fat 140 megabits per second, which will, by the way, eat up about 61.5 gigabytes per hour. Of course, rather helpfully, they’ve set up the software to tell you exactly how much disk space you can expect to eat up at any selected bit rate value. Making life just a little bit easier when it comes to the storage and production side of things. It’s a very small feature, but a wonderful quality of life thing. Know what I mean?
On the physical side, you’ll also want to make sure your PC has good airflow. My unit is in an open-share chassis, but while in use, the 4K60 Pro can get pretty warm. In fact, the word I would use would be hot. I’d strongly advise you not to mount this thing so it’s butting immediately up against your also toasty graphics card. Give both of them some breathing room. The 4K60 Pro worked flawlessly for OVS for streaming, and as you can see in my own system here, it will live happily to HD60 Pro Capture Cards without conflict, and of course, the Elgato Cam Cap that I use.
See for Yourself [VIDEO]
By way of demonstration about what I’m talking about here. Here is a 4K scene I have set up in OVS. You’ve got the $K60 Pro capturing the 4K feed from my Xbox One X. It’s Red Dead Redemption. It’s an upscaled Xbox 360 game. Nevermind that. The point is it’s a 4K feed coming through the 4K60 into a 4K scene in full resolution. It’s half cut up right now because I’m trying to show you something, but it’s in full resolution.
Me here in the web camera, that is full resolution also, that is a 1080p Picture Perfect Capture from my LUMIX G7 feeding through the Elgato came link, which you just see back there. There it is. That little wire there. If you’re watching this in 4K on a 4K screen, my webcam right here is Picture Perfect 1080p, super crisp, super clean, no scaling or anything. Same is true for the down below there. Little bit of Zelda coming through on my Nintendo Switch through the HD60 Pro. Again, Pixel Perfect 1080p if you’re looking at it through a 4K screen through the 4K thing. Although, come to think of it, Breadth of the Wild doesn’t actually run at 1080p. If outputs at 1080p, but the game runs at 900 bits. Anyway, the point is you know what I’m saying.
For those of you who are a bit confused what I’m talking about, let me switch to my desktop capture mode, and I’ll show you. I’ve got my obvious scene here. It’s set up as a 4K scene, which I can show you in my settings here for guided video. You can see there, setup is a 4K scene. Output is at 4K, 60 frames per second. Okay there.
If we go to my 4K60 Pro source down here, you can see that is running at 4K right there, running at 60p or at 59.94 because that’s what the Xbox wants to output there. If we go to the Cam Link, we’ll see that is also running at 1080p right there. We go to the HD60 Pro, and you can see that is running at 1080p. If I bring up the transformation properties of that. Let’s just go to transform. We can see I’ve just positioned it over here in the corner, but there’s no scaling going on. There’s no cropping, no scaling, no anything.
If we switch the our webcam scene here, we’ll bring up the came link transformation properties so I can show you there. Just in case you don’t believe me for some reason. No reason you shouldn’t. But look, 1920 by 1080. We’re pixel for pixel, bringing it in. All I’ve done is cropped the left and right, so obviously, we’re not covering up too much of the gameplay.
The point I’m driving at here is if you are doing sophisticated 4K stuff, multicamera stuff, you can match the 4K60 alongside the HD60, and the Cam Link, and they all play happily together inside OVS here.
Let me switch to my other scene here for a more common example. If you’re doing 4K, a let’s play series, let’s say, and you want to have a face cam. Lots of people like giving a face cam because they see you react to the stuff. What you’re seeing in the face cam here is, again, Pixel Perfect display. It’s a 1080p feed. I’ve chopped the sides off so it doesn’t take up so much room over the gameplay and it’s probably still a little bit large. I could scale it back and crop it done a little bit more, but for the point I’m trying to make here, if you’re watching this in 4K, my web camera is Pixel Perfect from a 1080p feed. Super clean, lots of details and stuff, so you can see exactly how bad my skin is today and you’re getting a full 4K gameplay feed. OBS is happy and the Elgato stuff is happy. They’re all happy living side-by-side, doing their thing.
If you want to do 4K content, and you’ve got existing 1080p capture stuff that you want to mix into it, obviously it can work perfectly fine. Look at that.
Conclusion… It’s Awesome
In short, the 4K60 Pro is, if you’ve ever used any of their other gear over the past few years, just what you’d expect from Elgato, a technically clever, usefully powerful, and simple delivery of a product that does precisely what they tell you it will do. It does so without making your life difficult. Powerful and fuzz free. That should be their catch line. Yeah, it’s not a product for the average streamer or let’s player. It is more of a higher end product, designed for established content producers who want to kick up their existing options another notch or two. Again, nothing else at this price level does what this can do and certainly not as well as this does it. And absolutely, not as easily as this makes it. As far as I can see, the Elgato Game Capture 4K60 Pro is going to be very successful in that field.