What Is The Elgato Game Capture HD60 PRO?
The Elgato Capture HD60 PRO quite simply put is a PCIe capture device which allows for instant and high-quality recording of gameplay from games consoles such as the PS4, Xbox One, Wii U and other devices with a HDMI output.
It costs around £150 in the UK and $175 in the US and has many useful and intuitive features for the beginner streamer, or the seasoned Twitch.tv superstar. Does it do exactly what it says on the tin? Let’s take a look and see what we’re dealing with…
Elgato Game Capture HD60 PRO Closer Look
Starting off with the packaging, the HD60 PRO comes in a very vibrant purple and blue contrasting box; very similar to the Twitch.tv logo, although most likely a coincidence! It has a clear image of the HD60 PRO on the front of the box and has information regarding the 1080p60 capture rate as well as notifying us that it uses a H.264 encoder on-board.
After emptying the pretty box of all its contents, Elgato have included a low-profile bracket and a HDMI cable to set you off on your way. The low-profile bracket is a nice inclusion as some streamers like to build small dedicated systems to handle their encoding to keep the workload off their main gaming system, so it’s nice to see Elgato have catered for the larger and smaller systems.
Taking a look at the Elgato Game Capture HD60 PRO in all its glory, it has a very sleek design and sits with an all-black colour scheme; aside from the contrasting white text that is! The card itself uses a PCIe x1 interface, but can be inserted into a PCIe x1, x4, x8 or 16x slot; providing you have one of those free of course.
The HD60 PRO features a fully black PCB which should look pretty nice inside your system and isn’t too big, so shouldn’t cause any issues at all inside whatever case you’re using. It also features a nice and elegant looking trim with the Elgato logo on the right-hand side.
Specifications & Features
Elgato Game Capture HD Software
To use the HD60 PRO, Elgato have developed and created a very intuitive and nifty piece of software to act as an interface, but it’s so much more than that, so much more! First of all after installing the required components (HD60 PRO into a compatible and free PCIe lane and installing the Game Capture HD software) and opening the software, we’re greeted with a very fresh and basic looking screen; it does look quite dated from first look, but the functions inside of it certainly aren’t.
The software itself has 8 major panels as well as a capture and edit tab; pretty simple for what they both stand for. Back to the 8 panels and ill explain them as briefly and simple as possible for you.
- Game Capture HD – This is where your input is displayed, whether that be PS4, Xbox One, Wii U, another PC, monitor etc…As long as your device has a HDMI output, it should show up here!
- Stream Command – This is the primary recording area where you can simply start recording instantly, or of course using to playback/rewind your footage. Here you can see how much storage is left on your chosen video storage drive as well as a host of other options.
- Device – Here you can see a list of available capture devices available to use.
- Live Streaming – This panel allows you to set up your different streaming accounts such as Twitch.tv, YouTube etc up with the Game Capture HD software.
- Game Audio – This panel allows for control over the game audio; perfect if your game is too loud over your voice, or visa versa!
- Live Commentary – For all those who like to do playthrough/walkthrough style videos/content, you can do it seamlessly using the live commentary tab – You can even get it to automatically reduce game volume when speaking!
- Elgato Sound Capture – Sound capture does exactly what it says on the tin; it allows you to add music, chatter from voice comms and even record gameplay audio with minimal effort. It has a number of tools which can be very useful for adding things such as playlists from Youtube, iTunes or even Spotify!
- Tags – This tab allows you to assign a video title, what game you’re playing and a description for your stream/video!
In the settings and preferences section, you can set a maximum number of simultaneous exports to how many forms of media you want to stream to. For example, if you set it to 2, you can stream to Twitch.tv and Facebook live at the same time, or even YouTube TV and Twitch.tv…the choice is yours to make! You can even allow for the exporting of separate capture forms such as webcam to separate files.
On top of all that, you can even select which device is used for decoding and encoding your content. By default, it selected our graphics card, but you can use the software (built-in) or select another if you have it available.
Performance & Test Setup
To determine the performance of the Elgato HD60 PRO, we have set up a test system to not only see if the Elgato HD60 PRO causes performance drop (if any) when streaming, but also how it stacks up to directly streaming from the CPU/GPU as the encoder. To keep things simple, the test will involve streaming the benchmark from the game Total War: WARHAMMER to determine if frame rate is hindered or not…and if it is, by how much via the HD60 PRO, encoding directly from the systems processor and also via the graphics card.
Processor – AMD Ryzen 7 1700X 8 Core @ 3.5GHz
Motherboard – ASRock X370 Professional Gaming
Graphics Card – ASUS GTX 1080 Ti STRIX OC 11GB
Memory – 16GB Ballistix Elite 3000MHz (2x8GB)
Storage – Crucial MX300 1TB SATA3 SSD
The key thing to take from the above results is when the HD60 Pro is doing the encoding, it doesn’t tax the CPU. Now of course when using an 8 core processor like we are, the performance hit is completely negligiable, but if using say a quad core processor and even dual core processors, this will simply not be the case and removing the workload from the CPU or GPU will allow for better framerates when streaming.
Another benefit to using the HD60 Pro is the Elgato Capture HD software is very easy to use in comparison to some streaming apps such as OBS or XSplit…Xsplit is relatively simple too, but the Elgato software is easier; perfect for the novice and even the advanced streamer as there are settings for everyone!
It’s very clear that the Elgato Game Capture HD60 Pro is a very niche product and is targeted at a specific audience. The real question is though, is it worth your hard-earned dollar and does it actually make a difference over streaming directly from your CPU? Another thing worth considering is the lack of portability due to the PCIe interface, is this a big problem, or another reason to buy the HD60 Pro?
Working directly out of the box in our test system with the software downloaded and installed is always a plus point, but having an easy interface to deal with and having it as stable as a concrete pillar is another testament to Elgato’s ethos in creating premium quality products. The HD60 Pro is capable of capturing footage and encoding it at 1080p60Hz which is pretty standard for streamers in this day and age, in fact a lot still output gameplay to Twitch.tv at 720p, so the option is there if you so wish it.
The other question is, who would be looking to buy this particular product? If you’re running a decent Ryzen 7 system or even X99/X299 set up, the chances of you needing something else to encode your stream is going to be slim and this product may not be for you. On the other hand, if you’re looking at a good quality option to stream gameplay from your games console or another device with a HDMI output, then the HD60 Pro really comes into its element. This device will capture any form of video content you so wish, other than CPC (copywrite protected content) and the possibilities are somewhat endless.
Another feature is Elgato’s Lag free streaming function which is great if you play competitively and want to utilise Instant Gameview, but the uses here are pretty limited and myself personally wouldn’t go out of my way for this feature specifically. It’s good to have in case you ever want to use or try it, but it’s just not as useful as other features etc.
Last but not least, our streaming system didn’t take a hit while streaming to Twitch.tv and although we use a Ryzen 7 system, when compared to using the 8 cores to encode, both worked without a performance hit. If you own a quad core system and even more problematic for streaming, a dual core system, then this is going to be paramount between a high-quality stream with vivid image quality and a laggy, stuttering mess!
On face value, the HD60 Pro looks fantastic and should fit into a systems design without having too much of an impact. It supports systems with a spare PCIe x1 slot which opens up compatibility to all but M-ITX systems with a graphics card installed (only 1 x PCIe lane on an ITX motherboard) so that’s where the usefulness of a USB based capture device would come in handy. That being said, I’m a personal fan of PCIe based video capture cards and the Elgato HD60 Pro isn’t just one of the best looking, but it’s also top quality all the way from the PCB, to the Vatics Mozart 395s h.264 encoder built in supported by dual 2GB Samsung DDR3 memory chips. It looks good in aesthetics, it looks good hardware wise and it looks good in general!
This is where the Elgato HD60 Pro loses its appeal; it’s not the cheapest device on the market at around £150 in the UK and $175 in the US. In fact, this is where it comes apart as there are alternatives on the market such as Elgato’s own Game Capture HD Hi-def recorder which is at least £50 cheaper, but will virtually do the same job all things considered. The main reason to consider the HD60 Pro is if you’re wanting the best quality video gameplay streamed to whichever streaming platform you desire, but without taxing important and valuable system resources. The Mozart 395s encoder does a brilliant job and looks good while doing so.
Should you buy the Elgato Game Capture HD60 PRO?
If you’re an avid streamer or content creator who wants one of the best consumer grade video capture cards on the market, then the Game capture HD60 Pro is certainly worthy of a purchase. If you don’t want to tax your system, but want the best quality video and imagery, it would be hard to fault it. If you’re however streaming from the PC that you game on, you might want to just consider either A) upgrading to a Ryzen 7 1700 gaming system or B) Building a 2nd system and popping one of these bad boys inside…or alternatively, looking at a more versatile and handier USB streaming device such as the Elgato Game Capture mentioned above.
If you have a HDMI output equipped device that you want to stream from, it doesn’t get much better than the Elgato Game Capture HD60 Pro…
Huge thanks to Elgato for sending a sample of the Game Capture HD60 Pro in for review.
- Great design and performance all-around
- Looks fantastic and even comes with a low profile PCI adapter
- Compatible with any virtually any system that has a spare PCIe x16 lane
- The software is a dream to use, and it's stable too!
- Price is a little steep, but you do get what you pay for!