4K gaming has recently become more accessible for a much wider group of people, thanks to the release of the PS4 Pro and the Xbox One X. Although the 4K 60FPS library is still relatively limited, with only a few games running at these settings, it seems as though there is a growing demand for a capture card that can record and stream at 4K 60FPS. Thanks to Elgato and their brand new 4K60 Pro, people now have a far more affordable option for capturing at the highest quality.
Let’s take a look at what’s inside the box. To be honest… it’s not that much, but that’s not a bad thing. Elgato have packed in the two things you’ll need to start capturing at 4K: the capture card itself, which is pretty large, by the way and a really short HDMI cable. Oh, there’s also a warranty booklet and an Elgato sticker but no one’s looking at those. There aren’t any instructions as all of that stuff is online now. You’ll also need to download the 4K Utility Capture software from Elgato’s site.
Elgato are marketing this capture card primarily towards console users, but it can also be used on PC. Just like the HD60 Pro, you’ve got the In port for the device you want to capture, and the Out port that passes through the signal to your display.
We tested it using the PS4 Pro as we’re not rich enough to buy an Xbox One X yet. Setting the capture card up with the console was straightforward, once we turned HDR and HDCP off and we were able to capture 4K games without too many issues. At one point, the 4K Capture Utility software crashed while we were capturing gameplay. This only happened once but we weren’t able to use the captured video file and had to restart the software before trying to capture again.
FIFA 18 is one of the few games on the PS4 Pro that actually runs at a solid 4K 60FPS but as you can see here, the capture is showing noticeable frame drops. We can’t tell whether these drops are due to the capture card or our PC – it’s probably the PC – but it’s worth mentioning anyway.
As expected, the 4K60 Pro handled capturing console gameplay with ease, but how does it fare with PC games? The answer is exceptionally well. While many will question the need for a PC capture card these days when tools like Nvidia’s Shadowplay exist, these applications usually come with their own set of problems like performance hits or privacy concerns. This capture card is the best option available for PC streamers & content creators as it allows you to record gameplay at a number of different resolutions and refresh rates.
The reason why this is so important is because there has never been a PC capture card before that works perfectly right out of the box (Text in video: well, unless you play at 60hz but no one does that nowadays). A lot of dual PC stream setups on Twitch involve awkward setups like RTMP servers or using a cheaper capture card that doesn’t support high refresh rates. We have personally tried both of these solutions and neither of them work particularly well as they introduce problems, for example: there’s a variable delay when using RTMP servers, and you’ll experience tearing and micro stutters when using a cheap capture card).
By cloning our primary monitors to the 4K60 Pro, we were able to play our games at 1440p/144hz and 1080p/240hz without any problems whatsoever. Providing the pixel clock speed of your chosen resolution and refresh rate is under 600Mhz, you should technically be able to capture ultra wide resolutions too. Our streaming PC is weaker than Elgato’s recommended system for the 4K60 Pro, despite this we were able to capture footage flawlessly.
So far, this is all sounding pretty good for £360, but is the 4K60 Pro missing anything? Actually, yes and it’s a pretty large omission. As we mentioned earlier, when capturing 4K on the PS4, you have to turn off HDR – that’s because the 4K60 Pro does not support HDR at all. This is a bit disappointing as HDR is arguably as noticeable as playing a game in 4K so to have to play without it when using the capture card is less than ideal. If the card utilised HDR that would probably bump the price up quite a bit so it’s something we can forgive, for sure.
The 4K60 Pro is also unable to capture 5.1 audio, offering no support via the passthrough port. If you happen to own a really nice TV setup, you will have to sacrifice two major components in order to record high quality gameplay.
Another thing that many people will be concerned about is the price. The 4K60 Pro is understandably more expensive than previous Elgato capture cards but on top of that, you’ll need a beefy PC [show requirements] and a 4K display. Unlike 1080p capture, you cannot record the 4K resolution without a 4K display so if you don’t own a 4K TV or monitor, you won’t be able to make the most of this card.
If you happen to already own everything you need for 4K capture, then the 4K60 Pro is the best capture card on the market right now. £360 is a lot of money but when you consider what it’s offering and compare it to other 4K capture cards, it’s actually a very reasonable price. If you’re looking to record or stream at the highest quality, this card is 100% worth the money.