Doesn’t it suck, not being able to record those awesome moments when you pull an incredible stunt or escape from a fierce battle with only 1HP or snipe someone from miles away on a gaming console in great quality? Well, worry no more as AVerMedia Live Gamer EXTREME 2 GC551 Game Capture Box is here for the rescue!
What AVerMedia Live Gamer EXTREME 2 GC551 is, is a game capture box that enables you to record your games from the console at uncompressed 1080p 60fps. And not only that, but it also features a 4K resolution pass-through which means you can be recording the gameplay at 1080p60 and at the same time enjoying the game on your 4K TV in its eye-popping 4K resolution.
Well, a question arises here, that both the Xbox One/Xbox one S/Xbox One X and PS4/PS4 Pro consoles do have gameplay recording capability, so why do we need a game capture box? Well, indeed they do, but the output of those in-built recordings are compressed so much that they look very different then they did on your screen while playing. And not only that, but the AVerMedia GC551 also comes with the bonus of being able to stream your gameplay as well as record them at the same time with live feedback thanks to the RECentral 4 software. Getting a little bit interested? Well, there’s more so keep reading.
And if you are wondering who AVerMedia is or haven’t heard about them before, well, they mainly make game capture box like the GC551 Live Gamer EXTREME 2 that we are reviewing today and game capture cards that install directly onto your system in the PCIe slots for ultra-low feedback latency. And other than that, they have a few headphones, webcams, speakers and sound bars under their wings.
So without any further delay, let’s dive deeper into the rabbit hole with the unboxing video of the AVerMedia Live Gamer EXTREME 2 GC551.
Table of Contents
AVerMedia Live Gamer EXTREME 2 Unboxing:
AVerMedia Live Gamer EXTREME 2 Closer Look
Now that you’ve gotten a grasp of what the box offers and is capable of, let’s have a better view at the AVerMedia GC551 with some close-up photos.
As demonstrated in the picture, it features a rectangular design with a very aggressive top that has a red frame. The frame is detachable so that you can replace the paper cover underneath with your own designs. It’s done by removing the thumb screw at the back. And also, all the I/O ports are present at the back.
At the front, we also have the AVerMedia logo present on the right side. This goes very well with the black matte body of the GC551.
And the blue/purple-ish thing on the top is actually an LED indicator for stats like connected, recording etc.
The sides of the box have somewhat of a geometric design and it also has some glossy strips. From an aesthetic point of view, this looks attractive.
And at the back, we have the USB 3.1 Type-C Gen 2 port and one HDMI in and HDMI out port. All of them have their markings above them. And right in the center, we have the thumbscrew with AVerMedia logo on it. It has a mirrored finish on it so a proper picture of this was a tough task.
Once you’ve removed the thumb screw from the back, this is what the Live Gamer EXTREME 2 looks like without the top cover.
And at the bottom, we have 4 feet in the corners along with an information sticker in the middle. Whereas you might have to leave some of the other game capture boxes dangling in the air, AVerMedia wants the Live Gamer EXTREME 2 to be a part of your desk. So there proper weight and cable length and balance present on this game capture box.
And that is all the accessories we get with the AVerMedia Live Gamer EXTREME 2. So we have a paper telling us to register the product for a 1-year warranty extension, a paper with some foreign language on it, then the quick guide. The GC551 also comes with a PowerDirector 15 Product key card for all your video editing needs. And then we have 1x USB Type-A to Type-C cable, 1x HDMI cable and 1x screw.
The secret code for the giveaway is: PGRxAVerMedia
AVerMedia Live Gamer EXTREME 2 Specification:
|Interface:||USB 3.1 (Gen 1) Type-C|
|Capture Resolution:||1080p60 (max)|
|Supported Resolutions:||2160p, 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 576p, 480p, 480i|
|Pass-Through Resolution:||4Kp60 (max)|
|Record Format:||MPEG 4|
|Dimensions (W x D x H):||145.3 x 97.2 x 29 mm (5.72 x 3.83 x 1.14 in)|
|Weight:||182 g (6.42 oz)|
OS: Windows® 10 (64 bit)
Desktop: Intel® Core™ i5-4440 3.10 GHz + NVIDIA
GeForce GTX 660
Laptop: Intel® Core™ i7-4810MQ + NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M
4 GB RAM (8 GB recommended)
Powered USB 3.1/3.0 port* (Intel chipset recommended)
*USB 2.0 not supported
The AVerMedia Live Gamer EXTREME 2 does require a system with some beefy specs to be able to record a smooth video on to your system. Nothing too high end that gamers on PC or Laptop won’t already have though.
AVerMedia Live Gamer EXTREME 2 Installation:
The setup process for the AVerMedia Live Gamer EXTREME 2 is pretty easy. There are only about three things you need to do.
- Grab the USB Type-C to Type-A cable that came with the GC551, and connect the Type-C end on the USB Type-C port on the GC551 and connect the other end on a USB 3.0/3.1 port on the PC/Laptop.
- Grab the HDMI cable that came with your console (PS4, Xbox One etc) and connects one end to the console and the other end to the HDMI-In port on the GC551.
- Grab the HDMI cable that came with the GC551 and connects one end to the TV and the other end to the HDMI-Out port on the GC551.
Now you’re all ready to record and stream your gameplay, you just need to download the RECentral 4 application and driver from the product page.
Now before we get into some recording samples, we need to take a look at the accompanying software that comes with the AVerMedia Live Gamer EXTREME 2, called RECentral 4. This is the place to go for all your recording, streaming and settings since there are no physical buttons on the GC551 itself. The software+driver can be downloaded from the GC551 product page here.
Once you’ve installed the RECentral 4 software and have both the console and have both the console and GC551 connected, this is what your home screen would look like. Starting from the left portion, we have a wheel on the top with 3 tabs. Right now, we are in the recording tab, the gear icon represents the settings tab and the folder icon represents the video-sharing tab.
Below that, we have the Capture mode selection with two options, namely Single and Multi. Well in easy words, this lets you choose what you see on the screen. So in the single capture mode, you will only be recording the console’s output. And in the multi-capture mode, you can add various things to the screen that we will cover shortly.
Below that, we have the capture device portion. Right now we only have the Live Gamer EXTREME 2 connected, so that is what’s listed here. We can have multiple capture devices connected at the same time. To the right, we have the live feedback from the console. The area towards the right has three different functions. Right now we are in the recording scenario and below that, we have the Recording quality. Hover over the 3 dots gives an overview of the recording settings of the profile.
The available time represents the length of gameplay footage you can record depending on the storage location you’ve set and the recording quality. And to the extreme left, we have some audio option, the recording button, and the screen capture button. At the bottom, you can see the CPU load, available RAM, and FPS of the live feedback.
By default, we have 3 pre-defined recording profiles that cannot be edited. However, you can edit the “Default Profile” and create your own by pressing on the “+” icon.
These are the settings that you can play around with when creating profiles. For Codec, we have both the NVIDIA GPU codec and the GC551’s built-in H.264 codec. The recording resolution depends on the console/game while the refresh rate depends on the game/TV. And since the AVerMedia Live Gamer EXTREME 2 is able to record uncompressed 1080p60 videos, you can play around with the video bitrate for the best recording quality.
In the streaming scenario, we have a few more options, like the option to select the streaming platform and the option to store the back and its quality. Pressing the “+” will open up a new window where you can connect your accounts from the various streaming platform.
Then we also have the option to multi-stream from where you can stream on multiple streaming platforms at the same time.
Back to the home, when you press on the “Pencil” icon beside the capture device, you can see a few settings and adjust the colors according to your preference.
And the equalizer icon on the right side opens up the audio mixer window where you can insert a custom delay into the audio, enable/disable the system audio and also add an external audio source like a microphone.
This is what the full-screen view of the live feedback from the console looks like. We have a bar at the bottom that minimizes if you don’t move the mouse.
Now that we’ve covered the basics of the software, let’s check out the multi-capture mode. So like I mentioned before, this is from where you can select what you see on the screen. So right now we are using the basic scene or template which only shows the console feedback. But pressing on the “+” icon opens a window with 6 predefined scenes.
For instance, the stream scene lets you add a webcam and a picture/thumbnail/logo to the screen. And you can also edit the dimension and opacity of the picture
And you can also create your own scene/template by adding various sources from the source menu.
So that was all that had to do with recording/streaming, now let’s check out some other settings that we can play around with. So pressing the gear icon in the circle at top left corner opens up this window. Right now we are in the general tab where you can change the software language, change the save path for recordings and enable/disable V-sync.
Then you can also set up some hotkeys, attach your social networks, import/export profiles and check for updates from here
In the Capture devices, you have settings that are dependant on the capture device being used. For example, we have the cover creating application here, which might not be available for a different game capture devices from AVerMedia. As for the covers, you can use any picture to create the covers and send them directly to the printer for a hard copy from here.
Then we have the HDCP detection for iOS devices in HDCP and the driver and firmware versions mentioned in the about tab.
Well, that was pretty much it about the RECentral 4 software. We have covered how to record gameplay and stream gameplay using the RECentral 4 and some other settings, now let’s check out some actual recording samples from the AVerMedia Live Gamer Extreme 2 game capture box!
AVerMedia Live Gamer EXTREME 2 Recording Samples:
Before you watch the recording samples, I want to make clear that the recording samples are un-edited, there are no post-production edits. They were uploaded to YouTube as is. However, YouTube does perform its own compression to the videos so they the quality may not look as good as in the original files. Also, all the video settings and file details are mentions in the video description.
User Experience & Conclusion:
Well, my user experience with the AVerMedia Live Gamer EXTREME 2 is mostly positive. I say mostly as there are a few things that I want to mention which felt annoying. Before that, I wanted to point out the setup process for the GC551 is really easy so you don’t really need too much technical knowledge to set it up. Once the GC551 was set up, all I needed to do was download the software+driver package from the product page and we were good to go.
What makes the experience annoying is the RECentral 4 software. The Avermedia’s RECentral software have been infamous for bugs since the first release. But in RECentral 4, I didn’t come across any bugs rather I faced some load time delays. Like switching from tabs, selecting different scenes, changing the video recording settings would freeze the application for 2-3 seconds. Which having a mid-high end PC feels somewhat annoying. Though it’s nothing that actually affects the video recording quality of the Live Gamer EXTREME 2.
And recording videos was also very easy in the RECentral 4 applications. There are 3 pre-defined recording quality presets present that you can use and good enough for average 1080p60 content. But if you need the extra details and want your videos to look crystal clear, then you can also play with the video bitrate as the GC551 is capable of recording uncompressed videos.
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do some stream testing as our internet package isn’t sufficient enough for good quality streaming so we will have to skip on that. But streaming and creating your own template/scene is also very easy in the RECentral 4 application. And also, you can use the Avermedia Live Gamer EXTREME 2 with OBS or Xsplit if you prefer that.
The Avermedia Live Gamer EXTREME 2 is also advertised with ultra-low latency feedback. Well, as a dedicated PC gamer and somewhat of a competitive FPS gamer, I would agree that the latency is very low and you might not even notice it at all like a certain friend of mine. But it’s still there even if in a few milliseconds. And I guess that’s as best as we can expect from a game capture box with multiple wires going through it for connectivity and feedback. In short, if you’re a casual gamer and depending on the nature of the game you are playing, you can play the games in the live feedback screen on your PC without even noticing the delay.
So now that we know what the AverMedia Live Gamer EXTREME 2 and RECentral 4 is capable of, the main question that arises is that, should you buy this? Well, if you give importance to the quality of your content and want an easy solution for all storage and editing needs, then the AverMedia Live Game EXTREME 2 is a sweet deal. But, it will set you back $194.68 on Amazon. However, you get what you pay for as one-upping on the resolution will set you back another ~$200 or so. But if you’re making such an investment, make sure that you have at least a PS4 Pro or Xbox One X to make use of the 4K pass-through feature. Otherwise, for other consoles that don’t natively support 4K resolution, you’re better off with the cheaper options that only does 1080p60 recording like the Avermedia Live Gamer EXTREME (GC550) or the Live Gamer Portal (GL-310).
So in the end, I would like to give the AverMedia Live Game EXTREME 2 our recommended buy award for all the features and the pricing bracket it’s available in.
There AverMedia Live Gamer EXTREME 2 is currently not available in Pakistan, but they are in talks with some distribution so hopefully, they should be available in Pakistan’s market soon.