ULTRA FLOP or BOSS USB CAPTURE? – AVerMedia Live Gamer Ultra Review (GC553 Review)

Are you ready to take your USB game capture
to the level of ULTRA? Are you looking for the very best in USB-based
capture capabilities with high refresh and HDR passthrough, 4K capture, in a small form
factor? AVerMedia’s new USB capture card can take
you to the power of ULTRA with the Live Gamer Ultra – Maybe. If you HAVE to have a USB capture card or
are just capturing game consoles, the Live Gamer Ultra might be the best you can go with
as of the time of release – but it has some quirks, driver issues, and some nuances that
has cause a couple reviews I have watched to actually contain factual mis-information. Let’s discuss, after a word from our sponsor. Tired of hiding behind giant microphones during
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below. Pricing
I’ve recently reviewed two of AVerMedia’s three new 4K-adjacent capture cards – the
Live Gamer 4K and Live Gamer Extreme 2. This one, the Live Gamer Ultra, sits between
the two at around $250 to $260. For this small amount cheaper than the Live
Gamer 4K, I’d definitely only recommend it if you specifically NEED a USB capture
card or something with UVC drivers. Otherwise it just makes more sense to pay
the $40 to 50 more for the more capable – and likely more stable over time – Live Gamer
4K. That being said, let’s jump into the review
after some disclosures. Disclosures
As usual – AVerMedia sent this product free for review, but has not purchased any advertising
on the channel, is not paying for this review, and won’t see it before it’s been posted. Physical Overview
The Live Gamer Ultra is a small – smaller than a smartphone, though thicker – USB 3.1
Gen 1 capture device. It has a plastic casing with rubber feet,
and inside you can see some metal grilling and a fan. The fan definitely kicks up and has a slight
high-pitched hum to it, but it’s quiet. Quieter than my PC and I can’t hear it under
my desk at all and have to bring it up close to me in order to hear it. On one end you have the USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type
C connector – which we will address in a moment – and on the other end there is HDMI 2.0 input
and output for lag-free passthrough. Resolution Specs & Weird Scaling
This capture card can PASS THROUGH 4K 60FPS signals in HDR or SDR, 1440p 144hz and 1080p240hz
signals, much like the Live Gamer 4K, and some Ultrawide modes. BUT it can only capture 4K 30FPS SDR, 1080p
up to 120FPS and 1440p up to 60FPS. HDR can be captured in 1080p 60FPS. Ultrawide works, but due to the weird scaler
in this capture card, it might get processed as 4K 30fps mode or 1080p 60fps mode, such
as is the case with 3440×1440. Due to some weird limitation of the hardware
of this card, some high refresh rate modes, such as 1080p 240fps won’t show up without
plugging in a monitor capable of such modes into the HDMI output of the device. Then it will detect the EDID of the monitor
and enable that mode. Weird that the 4K can handle this fine but
the Ultra cannot. This may be a problem for those of you running
display cloning instead of display passthrough. There’s also a weird scaler issue with this
card for the 1440p mode. This may also be driver-related as I’ll
discuss later. Frequently – moreso on my first Ultra unit
than my replacement – if I pass through a 1440p 144hz signal, it will sometimes give
“Signal not supported for resizing” errors. This can happen in both OBS and RECentral. It was so pervasive that I initially thought
you couldn’t scale it at all until like 2 weeks later when I was doing laptop testing
and suddenly scaling to 1080p and 720p works. It seems to work more often with my replacement
unit, but I do still get the error sometimes. Originally I blamed the internal scaler – between
maxing out at 4K30 capture and 1440p not scaling, I was thinking that maybe it was using last-gen
tech and the scaler couldn’t do it – but since it DOES work sometimes, I’m thinking
it might be a driver issue, one of many. Game Consoles
For the most part, other than general driver quirks, this card had no problem capturing
console gameplay at 4K30, 1080p60, and HDR at 1080p60. And it still captures tone-mapped SDR from
HDR sources like the Live Gamer 4K. If that’s all you need it for, avoid USB
Type C ports and you should be OK. This could also be used as a webcam replacer
capture card for your 4K camera. It played well with my Panasonic G7 – but
at over 2x the cost of the Elgato Cam Link just to go from 1080p60 to 4K30 – not sure
if the cost is worth it. UVC
The Live Gamer Ultra also supports UVC drivers – meaning it can work plug and play on any
operating system and without manual driver install. That means it works with the Windows Camera
app and other video chatting apps – AND it actually works in USB Type C ports with a
C to C cable or 3.1 Gen 2 type A ports – BUT there’s a caveat. When using the UVC-only driver via a type
C to C connection, it can only seem to process 46.67FPS at 1440p. This was one of the major issues that had
me swap units with AVerMedia and delay my review, but this still happens with the new
unit. I didn’t notice this at first – had ran
everything through OBS and captured an hour worth of recordings, looked at them and noticed
a lot of duplicate frames. Even got the TrDrop framerate analyzer to
line up and show it bouncing between 46 and 47FPS. Very bizarre. My new unit won’t even show more than a
black screen in my desktop’s USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type A port. Instead of doing this on my laptop via the
Thunderbolt 3 port, it simply flashes green to indicate it’s in USB 2.0 mode. cool. Driver Issues & Replacement Unit
As mentioned for these reasons, the capture card seems to have driver issues, present
enough to cause me to request a replacement unit, as I thought mine was defective. The “size mode not available for scaling”
error, the 46.67FPS limit via Type C connection, and a couple other things. On my previous unit, the signal kept dropping
out when using 15 FT HDMI 2.0 cables for 1440p144 passthrough. 30ft HDMI cables for my 4K60 and HDR passthrough
never had an issue, but after an hour’s worth of capture, I kept having issues with
the 15 ft cables cutting out. This has not happened thus far on my replacement
unit, but was bizarre. Another big issue I had is that randomly when
plugging the device in, the light will blink green to indicate it’s in USB 2.0 mode and
the computer doesn’t detect this. This is completely inconsistent and difficult
to replicate. Happens on all ports on my desktop and laptop. Quite frustrating. That was one of the big things that made me
think I broke the first unit they sent me. The new one does it, too! This also happens when connecting to the Thunderbolt
3 port on my laptop. Linux & Mac
Since the Live Gamer Ultra has a UVC driver, it does support running on Linux and Macwith
programs like OBS Studio. Keep in mind, however, that OBS on Linux at
the time of producing this review does NOT support Intel Quick Sync encoding. So if you’re on a laptop with no discrete
GPU, you might have a hard time. There will, of course, be no HDR support on
Linux without the RECentral software. Linux OBS can utilize Nvidia Nvenc encoding,
however, so that’s there at least. Buuut, my experience running on Linux wasn’t
great. 1440p144hz got stuck in the “Resolution
not supported for resizing” screen or a no signal screen and anything over 60hz just
said no signal. I did get 1080p60hz working and even 1440p
60hz by restarting OBS to deactivate and reactivate the device, but it wasn’t a smooth experience. And on a 6500U with no GPU, frame rates weren’t
good. At all. Similar resolution and compatibility issues
happened in a live environment of Ubuntu on my EVGA SC-15 gaming laptop, as well. I’d say the UVC drivers aren’t the most
Linux-friendly. The card is detected and sort-of works on
Mac OS, testing my 2013 Macbook Pro running High Sierra – but again, “Resolution not
supported for scaling” errors and total freak outs in OBS. Photo Booth just showed “No Signal” or
scaling errors. Uhhh. Yeah. It’s the newest Mac product I have, so…
sorry. Laptop
Speaking of Laptops, it was heavily requested that I test this card with laptops. I had 3 test scenarios – two using my System76
Lemur, a Linux-focused laptop with an Intel Core i7-6500U with Quick Sync but no discrete
GPU in Linux and Windows (Tux Gods forgive me), and then my EVGA SC-15 gaming laptop
with an Intel Core i7-7700HQ and Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics card for Nvenc support. Results are… interesting. I genuinely don’t know how people do broadcasts
with laptops most of the time. First up, Windows on the 6500U. RECentral utilizes Quick Sync Video to get
the best performance possible, of course, but it struggled to capture 1440p60 or 1080p60. Frame rates were very low. Switching things around I did eventually manage
to get it to hold 60FPS at 720p, however. This was the case with both Quick Sync and
software H264, H264 performing even worse. This also seemed to be unaffected by switching
between HEVC and H264 modes. I found this weird, then, because when recording
in OBS using Quick Sync Video, OBS seemed to have no trouble recording 1080p 60FPS,
but 1440p 60FPS seemed to prove too much. I also double-checked that this applied with
both a 1440p144hz and 4K60hz passthrough. Both struggled evenly for the most part. Returning to the holy ground of Linux, performance
was abysmal without any sort of hardware encoding or discrete GPU, plus I had a lot of driver
issues and scaling errors, as mentioned in the previous section. Not the best recommendation here. I couldn’t even measure performance in Mac
OS due to the issues I had running it on my 2013 MacBook Pro in the previous section. Moving onto a laptop with an actual GPU, we
have my EVGA SC15. With the GTX 1060 in there, it had no problem
recording full 1440p60fps in RECentral or OBS with Nvenc. Easy. That dedicated 10 series GPU makes a huge
difference. Color Modes
As far as color mode support, for 4K30 and 1080p60, the Ultra supports full RGB, YUY2,
NV12 and P010 for HDR in 1080p mode. 1440p mode gives you no choice and is locked
to NV12 or YV12, with the latter only being selectable in OBS. Quality
Overall, the quality is what I’d expect from this capture card. It looks great, competent enough for most
uses. Only allowing 30fps capture in 4K is a tad
odd, but otherwise it’s fine. You’ve been seeing samples and I will have
direct upload links in the description. RECentral
As covered better in my Live Gamer 4K review, RECentral 4 is a great capture and streaming
software that allows for direct capture, screenshotting, and also live streaming with multiple scenes
and sources and even multi-streaming. I’ll hopefully have a deeper dive on the
software coming in its own video later in the year. Conclusion
Overall, the Live Gamer Ultra from AVerMedia is quite the unique little capture card. It’s capable of a lot, but it has quite
a bit of quirks that make it difficult to give a blank recommendation. I’d say unless you specifically NEED a USB
3 (not Type C or Thunderbolt 3) capture card, spend the extra bucks on the PCIe Live Gamer
4K. It’s just more well-rounded in general. Seems like this was kinda rushed out and there’s
many issues to be addressed. That being said, it’s probably the most
competent USB capture card for the price – next to Epiphan’s AV.io 4K for 500 dollars, which
can’t do 1440p, and Magewell’s USB Capture HDMI 4K Plus for $460, which is a bit more
stable than AVerMedia’s model. If it seems to meet your needs and you’re
not in a hyper-mission-critical professional environment, it might be worth a shot. Also, it could be used as a more expensive
4K30 cam link, if you’re willing to foot the bill. As always, product affiliate links will be
in the description down below, along with my full reviews of every other capture card
mentioned here. Down there, hit the like button if you enjoyed
the video and get subscribed for more awesome tech content. I’m EposVox, here to make tech easier and
more fun and I’ll see you next time.

65 thoughts on “ULTRA FLOP or BOSS USB CAPTURE? – AVerMedia Live Gamer Ultra Review (GC553 Review)

  1. 🎤🎤 Check out our sponsor – AntLion ModMic: https://antlionaudio.com/collections/modmic-for-gaming?utm_source=Eposvox&utm_medium=YouTube&utm_campaign=XLR
    00:00 Intro
    01:06 Pricing
    01:51 Physical Overview
    02:27 Supported Resolutions, Frame Rates, and weird scaling issues
    04:53 Game Console & Camera Compatibility
    05:30 UVC Drivers
    06:55 Driver Issues & Replacement Unit
    08:18 Linux & Mac support
    10:14 Laptop Testing
    12:38 Color Modes
    13:00 "Quality"
    13:24 RECentral in 2018
    13:47 Conclusion

  2. Considering the rise in Thunderbolt 3 support in recent laptops, I'm hoping we soon see portable TB3 capture cards so we can take advantage of the higher data bandwidth and all the benefits that come with it without resorting to using something like a PCIe dock. Maybe you know of anyone working on something like this?

  3. Drivers and software issues is what’s stopping me from buying the new 4K capture cards. I have also heard that aver media support isn’t the best. I want their cards so badly but I am just going to have to wait a bit longer for improvement.

  4. So I still feel like elgato stuff has way better software and drivers. I want a 4k capture but still so unsure on AverMedia stuff

  5. really? allways having trouble with avermedia…..and for the price? i stick to elgato. better price,better performance and much better drivers! even if they sponsor your videos ,you cant turn shit into gold!

  6. If you want good hardware encoding in a laptop without needing a discrete GPU. Go for a laptop, with a Ryzen APU. Encoding is one the big leg ups AMD has over Nvidia is that VCE/VCN is much better than NVENC. I say bit for bit VCN pumps out an image that’s nearly indistinguishable from software.

  7. There was a bunch of driver issues for LGX which they finally fixed. Probably what will happen with this one.

  8. +EposVox my Elgato HD60 Pro is on its last legs so i might have to take a look at this! Thanks for the post dude! keep up the hard work!!

  9. Man thank you very much for this review and getting through the headache of testing with laptops. This was very useful to me and my friends that record at gaming tournaments.
    Very well done.

  10. LOVE THIS CHANNEL but ill never buy a avermedia product ever again after the live gamer 4k was a complete let down

  11. Did you try different USB c to c cables?
    I had an issues with a USB C SSD where I couldnt get the full throughput due to the cable. It seems like a lot of USB C to C cables are poor quality and are more intended for charging rather than data.

  12. Would you say this is the go-to USB option for playing consoles in 4K HDR while capturing 1080p 60fps? The Magewell USB Capture HDMI 4K Plus price just seems even crazier when this exists. With my current setup the flexibility of an external capture card is pretty valuable, and I have no need to capture beyond 1080p60 but don't want to lose out on actually playing in 4k HDR.

  13. Would a Macbook Pro using an AMD Radeon R9 M370X 2048 MB
    Intel Iris Pro 1536 MB be able to use this card? I would stream at 720p

  14. How much will you charge to teach us be to as competent as you? After I win the lotto money will be no object.

  15. I want to start a two pc streaming setup with my laptop being a dedicated streaming pc. Will i be able to stream 60fps 1080p with no problems with this capture card?

  16. You are the only one who actually does critical reviews of Avermedia capture cards. All other channels that I watched seem like they were paid to tell only positive things or had just read description on the box without actually using the device.

  17. Тут есть кто по-русски говорит? Сможет кто-нибудь сказать, потянет ли эта LGU стрим в 1080р60фпс через моноблок ASUS? Снимет ли она нагрузку с цп i5-3450 или карты 640М при стриме с ps4 pro на youtube или мне не стоит даже покупать её?

  18. Do you know of a longer 6ft to 10ft USB A to C cable that will work for this capture card? I've tried 2 different cables a Joto cable https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B017COHTJ6/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 and a Anker cable https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01M5GMZ6X/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    Neither cable worked any ideas? Only cable that worked was the little 3 footer that comes with it.

  19. I don't know if you licenced/sold your review to other websites but this website has a review up that is almost word for word how your review was. https://clanofthehydra.com/avermedia-gc553-live-gamer-ultra-review/

  20. So I bought this Capture Card and everything works UNTIL I start streaming or recording. A few minutes into it and the Capture Card freezes. Tried it with OBS and RECentral, but it freezes all the time and I need to reconnect the card to my PC to use it again. Can someone please help me? I don't know what to do.

  21. Hey Epos loved the video, I am currently running on a Desktop as my gaming PC (i7-8700 and gtx1070ti), and have a spare laptop which has a gtx970M graphics card. I am planning to start streaming with a dual system setup, would you recommend the Elgato HD60S, Avermedia LGX2 or the Avermedia Live gamer Ultra. I play on a 144Hz monitor on my gaming PC and hope to stream on 1080p60fps, and if possible save some clips as well. What would be the best buy, least problems, etc. (will plan to use OBS) Thanks if you ever get to this comment!
    edit: or would it be better to get a internal capture card, but I'm worried about the performance hit

  22. I have a question about this card. I play on a 1440p 144hz gaming desktop (9900k/2080ti) and i'm going to use my gaming laptop (i7 8750H/1070maxq/32gb ddr4) as a stream machine. Would this card just slip in between my desktops main 144hz monitor and hooked up with the usb to the stream pc? Sourced into OBS and downscaled to 1080p 60fps. Would this work even with the quirks you mentioned? Its the only external card offering high refresh passthroughs thats somewhat affordable. Thanks in advance Epos!

  23. Do you use this unit with your gaming PC and stream directly from the same PC – or do you use a separate PC to do the streaming?

  24. I hate having to dial back internal settings on my XB1X to 1080 to merely be able to stream at said resolution (I'm currently stuck with a razer ripsaw). I'd prefer the 4k pass through to play at 4k, but be able to stream at 1080/720 60fps. Would this be recommended for XB1X, as such?

  25. Hey. I want to be able play in 4k hdr but stream and record in 1080 60fps is all I want I hav a gaming laptop with a i5 8300 a 1050ti gpu and 16gb ram do you it would work out. This capture card is by far the cheapest most convenient way I see of playing in 4k hdr on ps4 pro. But record and stream in 1080 60fps

  26. Witch one do you recomand? Epiphan av.io 4k or magewell plus 4k? I am just streaming with OBS Studio.

  27. I have a slight delay with the audio for my videos when i upload them to youtube directly from recentral. Please help

  28. I'm looking to upgrade from an old Hauppage HDPVR2, but have an Intel 4th-gen CPU (4970K), and USB 3.0-Type A ports. Does anyone know how well this would work with a USB-C to USB 3.0 cable for capturing 4K? I also have a GTX 980ti, and am specifically looking to livestream a 4K signal downsampled to 1080p or 720p while still passing through 4K HDR.

  29. My gaming PC and GC553 are both set to 1440p and 144hz. I'm using dual pc setup and cloned monitor to aver. Games are running at 1440p however when they are running, theres a wierd scaling problem happening. My mouse will move faster than normal and it feels like pc is running at 1080p even though its not.

  30. Can someone please answer this question? I have GC553 and it runs like complete shit. washed colors choppy frame rates. I've been told my CP is more than powerful enough to run the card. System requirements ask foe at least NVIDIA GTX 1060. I have 1030. Is this a necessary component for the card to function properly? I'm only capturing from Xbox and PS4. No PC game captures.

  31. You are the only person I've seen to go into detail about why the frame rate doesn't stay at a consistent 60FPS. Thank you so much for saving me a bunch of time, I was going to get my capture card replaced until I watched your video. Did you ever find a fix to try and get the capture device to maintain a stable frame rate, or is it always going to be like this? If so, I'll probably sell it and buy an Elgato card instead.

  32. just had the green light issue, would not work with pc at all randomly all of a sudden. Also wouldn't took to any computers in the house. Sent it back and got a refund. This confirms I hadn't broken the usb c port as I thought.

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