Ultimate Beginner's capture card? WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? USB 2.0 in 2019 - Live Gamer Mini Review
Have you ever wanted to get into Game Capture or game streaming but gotten lost in the jargon and confusing, information around, capture cards I work, really hard to provide as much information as. Possible during, my capture card reviews, you've been going so far as to make a full OBS, resource, project, document, in every piece of information I, can, on capture, cards that I have access to, but. That doesn't get past the fact that some people just want an easy to choose and use, option. That they don't have to think about if, that's you aver media may, have just released the capture card for you do gc3. One one live, game are many and pay attention to the first half of this video if you're interested in the nitty gritty nerdy, details, of this device stay tuned for the second half, I'm. Trying to split this up I will, have links to download, sample, clips in the video description as well as a playlist of those clips uploaded, to YouTube the YouTube. Copies are mostly useless in my opinion as youtube's 1080p, compression, trashes any footage, but. It's. There just so you can get a look-see at how it would look on YouTube and people still request it disclaimer. As always, this product was sent free for review by avermedia, but no one to see in this video before it is posted no one has any input on what I say or how I say it and no, one is paying for this review all opinions, are my own etc. It's hard to believe for some but my integrity is not compromised, with a simple hundred thirty dollar capture device that I only use to make these videos about the capture devices let's. Dive in. In. A, nutshell the live gamer mini is the beginners capture card it connects to your computer using, a micro USB cable yes, this is USB to pass, it through your game feed lag free to your TV or monitor and, allows you to record your game footage with minimal, CPU usage on your, computer and lets, you stream to twitch mixer, etc, with OBS stream, labs. Obs/xsplit/whatever. With. A max pass-through, and capture, of 1080p, 60fps. No. 4k no, HDR, just, the basics this, capture card won't match the quality or flexibility, of the more expensive USB, 3 and PCIe, releases, from avermedia themselves, or Oh godoh or other capture card companies but it's fast to set up easy, to use and runs on many more less expensive, computers, in theory, it's a small plastic device with a micro, USB input HDMI. Input and output and a indicator, LED the, LED is solid blue when it's ready slowly, flashes, red while recording slowly. Flashes blue while streaming flashes, red quickly when your hard drive is almost full flashes, blue quickly, when installing and updating and then, is solid red when there's an error or your drive is full. The. Capture card uses UVC, drivers, which means that it can work plug and play on Windows machines and integrates into your streaming app of choice but, you'll get the best results on lower in computers, by installing their software in most, cases this, also means that your gameplay feed from the device will all show up as a usable device and applications, designed for webcam intimates it will work in discord, Skype, even, the Windows 10 camera, app if you want something. Super basic to record with things, like that simply, download avermedia, sorry central, software, and driver package from their website linked in the video description ari, central, is avermedia is all-in-one recording, and streaming software, which lets, you stream just, your gameplay or integrate, webcams overlays, live, commentary, things like that it, lets you stream and record in different qualities, and even stream to different websites at the same time if your. Internet bandwidth is sufficient. For that. The. Live gamer many has a hardware, video encoder, chip within the capture card itself this means that under the right conditions which. Will cover soon basic.
Recording Or streaming can be done using only the capture cards processor, and not use up your computer's, CPU or graphics, cards power at, least as much as other solutions, so. If you want to record with the onboard encoder. Using, the live game or mini you need a couple things firstly, ari central, needs to be set to single, mode not multi mode you can't do this for webcam. Overlays, or even live commentary, unfortunately. As far as I can tell and according to their reviewer guide and then, under, recording, quality here your profile needs to be set to optimal, now for me this, profile, literally. Did not exist, when. I started trying to set this up which is why this was cut out of the video originally, because I genuinely, could, not find a way to make, this happen according to the reviewer guide there was only like good, normal and default and I started making new ones and by, deleting, one of the custom, profiles, I made it, defaulted. Up to optimal, and suddenly. It's there I don't. Really have anything to tell you about that other than to try that if it doesn't show up for you you can. See here it is recording, at 1920, by 1080 at 60 FPS, video bitrate is set to auto now, this BA capped, roughly. 20 megabits per second, from, the device, which is what the onboard encoder uses, but you do see here that it does say codec is default. Nvidia and whenever I tried you, know making, profiles. And things like that you do have different format, you have the decode format you want that on h.264, all of this should look like this in most cases but, if you make a profile, I don't. Have an option for the on-board encoder i only have my cpu, h.264. Or nvidia, s-- but. It, would appear by, deleting, a profile I got this profile to appear. Now. You can see CPU. Usage here at the bottom unlike OBS this is specifically, like total, CPU usage so, I'm gonna hit record here and. You're. Gonna see that it does increase I, go. To task manager. Now. I I do have a bunch of stuff open in the background but they're not actively doing anything and then I am recording with OBS studio which is using some, of this in code load so if I tell it to stop recording. It. Doesn't really go down so clearly it's not adding much there CPU. Usage doesn't seem to be going down so it would appear that this, is recording, using. The, onboard. Encoder. If I hit record again. That. Increased by 1%, now. It's going back down like clearly, it's not do anything so this is the way to go. But. Do keep in mind look at that, look. At that GPU, 3d load this is rendering the preview same thing I mean it uses a tiny bit of CPU usage but the problem here is that GPU, load this, is what you'll see and my testing, clips, in a minute is it. Is using a significant, amount of my graphics card. Keeping. In mind that this is supposed to be for beginners, and I'm on a 1080 Ti just. To render that preview, and that's, a little unfortunate, and, what I will complain about later in the video but. This is how you set it up a really, cool feature that avermedia is debuting with this device is the ability to stream your gameplay normally, with, obs/xsplit/whatever. Lays. And web cams and things like that and still record a clean copy of your gameplay without using, additional CPU or GPU resources, with, their aver media stream, engine or ASE, plugin, the naming of this is confusing as for this, plug in the stream engine is an app that you access by clicking configure. Video and the video capture, properties, of your streaming software and runs, alongside, your stream capturing, your gameplay using the onboard h.264. Encoder on the card this, is not to be confused with the stream, engine device, entry from something like their live game or HD to capture, card which provides the uncompressed, low latency, feed for OBS kinda. Strange to reuse the same name for contradicting, purposes, IMO. But, this is super handy as I get requests for tutorials on, recording, streams without overlays, all the time. Avery. Media's system requirements, from their site are for, desktops, and Intel Core i5, 3330, or comparable, recommending.
An I7 or for AMD and a 1078, 90k quad core or higher with four gigs of ram in an NVIDIA GTX 650, or radeon r7 250x. Of or above graphics, cards for laptops an Intel Core i7 48, 10 mq or higher, with an NVIDIA GTX, 870. M or higher graphics card with 4 or 8 gigabytes of RAM are expected, these are kind of beefy, spec requirements, for such a beginner capture, card but, it is older, generation, Hardware being listed I wanted, to test this given that I always had get questions about how far outside of the recommended, system specs you can go and still, use these kinds of devices my. 2013, macbook pro for instance can't keep up with recording, and my system76 lemur laptop, featuring, an Intel Core i7, 6500. You but no dedicated, GPU cannot. Either you, do need a dedicated GPU for scene compositing, and rendering for programs like re central and OBS my. EVGA, SC, 15 gaming laptop with an Intel Core i7 7700. HQ and a gtx 1060, on the other hand had absolutely. No trouble recording, in full 1080p 60, even slapping, in a webcam overlay on top of it a dedicated. GPU makes a world of difference for recording capabilities, but, my wife's laptop with an Intel Core i5 5200. You in an Nvidia 940m, could, not handle rid of the recording process it, had a 4 to 5 FPS preview disabling. Dxva, hardware, acceleration climbed back up to a max of 36, FPS for the preview but then it plummeted, back to 20 once I told it to record and I did go to the graphics panel to make sure that it was used the 940m, GPU, and not the AI GPU, this. Represents, an older mid-range laptop, but ouch, system, requirements exist for a reason and both the CPU and GPU are, important here the 940 M is incredibly, low end and could not keep up this, feels like a missed opportunity as, I feel a ver media could have taken this to a more beginner, friendly step, and had the stream engine app be standalone, have it not use, the GPU at all and simply dump the h.264, feat encoded, on the device without, encoding, or scene rendering on your computer and be lagged free on just about any PC you, can sort of do this with certain third-party apps or the ffmpeg, command, line but it's not as easy in Windows as other operating systems that I as far as I know and you can't do it with avermedia zaps. I'll. Inevitably, get asked about using this for a PC setup while it could be used for dual PC, setups it is certainly, something you could use for a 1080p, 60fps. Dual, PC setup but no higher there's, plenty. Of better options, available this, is a waste of time for single. PC setups as the system load to composite or render your scene on the GPU, in re, central, or OBS which is what calls to performance, issues on my lower intestines. Here it is about the same as just running OBS with software Game Capture as, that would be any way which will net you much, better quality results and Nvidia. Graphics card users or those with Quick Sync video enabled, don't, even have to really worry about added, encoding load thanks to envy Inc or quick. Sync. So. While this is very much a beginner's capture card you still need a pretty decent, computer to run it if you're looking for a beginner friendly USB, capture device to just do basic 1080p. 60fps captures, with no hassle or questioning and you, have a computer that meets sir passes, the minimum system requirements, this. Is a solid choice the quality isn't great the glossy plastic drives, me nuts it's covered in fingerprints, and gunk at this point but it's a great entry point to an otherwise fairly complicated, and saturated, market it does seem odd to launch a USB 2.0, capture device in 2019, but it makes sense to target beginners, and newbies to the scene as games, streaming, just keeps getting more and more popular, with time. That being said if you have the system requirements, to run this card and $30, more than its asking price you, can likely run one of the USB 3.0. Or PCIe, offerings, even, from avermedia and get much higher quality and, from. The actual capture device and maybe even PC format support or for just $20, more you can get there live gamer portable 2 plus which, can record without a PC entirely and pass through 4k 60fps, if. This was significantly, cheaper or ran only with the stream engine app requiring no set resources, it'd be, a much, easier sale, if. You do want to buy one of these for yourself affiliate, product links will be in the description, below once they become available if you have any questions drop them in the comment section down below that's not really down come, chat with us on our discord, or subreddit or check out my patreon donor box coffee, etc. If this is all you came for you're free to go newbies fellow, nerds let's, dig a little deeper with the second half of this video.
So. Thanks to the newbies for hanging out with us if you're interested in the more nerdy, technical, details like input latency on the preview color decode mode support, other OS capabilities, let's go for, part 2. Starting. With my usual latency. Testing, detailed in my full capture. Card documentation, video and OBS article, the pass through with this device is real time and lag free however, the software preview is slow if buffering, is on and so. You're not likely playing for this although in some cases you can't play for from it depending on your game but, for you, know timing based games not, a good idea as usual, in re central you have access to the h.264. Video feed and AM JPEG, feat and then you have the toggle for Hardware buffering which increases, latency but avoids dropped frames and keeps the footage feeling silky, smooth and I can confirm that that does actually help however. It does slow things now in h.264, mode with buffering on latency, was around 172. Milliseconds, in re central with buffering off around 124. Milliseconds, in M JPEG mode both buffering, on latency, was around 93, milliseconds, with 76, milliseconds, with buffering off h.264. Uses the onboard h.264, encoder, and delivers the highest quality, at lowest CPU usage but highest latency MJPEG, provides a different kind of stream compression, with low latency but higher CPU, usage and much, lower quality, unfortunately. When running into OBS, studio, it seems, the driver for the live game or mini is translating. The onboard h.264. Compressed, feed to a Yui 2 stream, alright and as I mentioned, again in a moment, I did discover later. It, seems that later added, a UVC, device for the card so, if you, are using the. Normal capture, card and don't want to use the stream engine capabilities. You just want to run it into OBS the, MJPEG option has 82 milliseconds, of added latency and OBS studio the h.264, option, has 133. Milliseconds. Of added, latency in OBS studio and then, the stream engine nearly, doubles, that I guess because it's routing it through the on-board encoder through their software and then mac to OBS so, while you do get that ability to capture. You, know with less, you know capture while you stream without adding too much system, load while doing so you, are literally. Doubling, your, input latency to OBS which may matter for some people for others it, truly, doesn't, matter but, it is worth noting. Using. These color charts to test for chroma subsampling and, color modes this capture card appears the capture and pass through a for 200 chroma, subsampling signal. And rec 709 color, space this, is about what you'd expect for a card of this nature not a big negative point per se we've already established that this capture card has a fairly, low quality delivery it just means that bright reddish small texts will have lots of artifacting, as you can probably, see here however, you can see that it's not blending, small black versus white details, too much so it's certainly not the worst quality that I've seen either scaling, is fairly, accurate it's, also worth noting that this capture card was designed for limited RGB, range I mentioned before that this is actually a requirement for using the onboard encoder, but, even when plugging in my PC graphics card as an input which, defaults, the full range in your graphics card control panel avermedia, software popped up telling me to set my input range back down to limited range because, that's what it needs.
In. Our. East-central this capture card can use the onboard h.264. Video feed or a worse MJPEG, stream as we already covered the, h.264, has higher latency but also higher quality, and lower system, resource, usage as the MJPEG stream has a lower latency, but much lower quality and higher system, resource usage meanwhile. In OBS, you're given, yuy. To this. Capture card doesn't support for two two and USB. 2.0 bandwidth isn't enough for even a 720p, 30fps, yuy. To on compressed stream so that doesn't make any sense but, seems to be happening as the driver is translating, the h.264, or MJPEG, onboard, compressed feed into Yui 2 for, some, sort of compatibility, sake, for some reason which nearly doubles the latency and the quality is just poor as a result, ok, so this wasn't originally, showing up before however, you, get the weird emulated, Yui 2 from, the stream engine software, if you choose, to use the, aver media stream, engine alongside, your, live stream 2 capturing, stream and things like that but. After, a couple reboots, there is a normal, live game or mini device, entry, in OBS studio and that, one gives, you access to the M JPEG and h.264. Feeds. Directly. Here, so you. Do have access to those, which. May result in, better quality. But unlikely you can already see the macro, blocking just in this title screen here oh boy. But. You. Do have access to that however then, when you click configure, video you no longer have access to the, stream engine software you have the typical, UVC. Device entry so this is the UVC kind, of device register. And, then this is a ver media zone custom, one so, you have to pick and choose although. Honestly, it seems like this one's the best way to go anyway. The. Live gamer many runs on UVC, drivers so despite avermedia saying on the product page everywhere, pretty much that it only support once supports, Windows you can actually run on other operating systems, the, problem is that the software implementation, for re central and the aver media stream engine stuff to allow recording, with the onboard hardware, encoder. Of the chip is pretty. Much only present on Windows so you're relying on your system resources to handle recording, the stream on other operating systems for, lower end systems this will be a problem, my main linux, testing laptop for example has a beefy intel i7, 6500. U processor, but, no dedicated dedicated. Graphics only. The onboard integrated, intel HD 520. Graphics chipset this, means that a program like OBS which relies on GPU, rendering and compositing can't.
Sustain A 60, FPS frame rate even for 720p. With, any input device some including, this one so recordings, come out super, choppy however. You can use a program like VLC to capture this or thanks to a recommendation from pc wizzy over on our discord server the program G UVC, view is pretty, neat unless you bring in your capture device webcam, etc, and we'll let you encode to any format or just dump the raw device, feed directly, to a MKV, file so, for this capture card I was able to get. Both the direct h.264. Compressed feet and mjpeg, feeds to, AVC, and motion JPEG files respectively, with him mostly solid 60fps, even, at 1080p, on this system, 76 linger laptop with no dedicated GPU, pretty. Cool he, also recommended, the app-v 4l to UCP. For, adding more options, and control to your capture device, if what, g UVC, view provides is not enough I'll probably do a dedicated, video on the setup eventually because it's pretty cool you, can of course just do it directly through the command line with ffmpeg, as well, where, the super nerds out there on, Mac the live gamer Mini was detected, fine in QuickTime and records, though the resulting, variable framerate file, is kind of meant for me hopefully. I can find a solution similar, to G UVC, View for Mac but do, keep in mind my Mac testing, situation, is a 2013, MacBook Pro more, modern, high-end Mac's than those with dedicated GPUs of some sort should be much better off of course but, in the meantime literally, as I'm writing this for this review avermedia did release a new build of re central Express for Mac which supports this device however, was, completely, glitchy and unusable on my macbook pro and there's, a hardware limitation, of 1080p 30fps for, this laptop model, anyway so your mileage may vary don't. Use old Mac books to capture gameplay I do believe it's, the lack of dedicated GPU. That's the problem though. Being able to capture in pro res and QuickTime is neat but 30 feet 30 FPS cap is kind of bleh. Officially. The card only supports signals up to 1080p. And that's all it can really handle I was able to force 1440p, and 4k, over, to it in the Nvidia control panel, but even when setting the control panel to scale on display instead of GPU scaling it still seemed to be just driver, based scaling, so you see the usual DSR. SK artifacting. And it doesn't look good the edid communicates, 1080p, as its limit and your game consoles, are unlikely to be able to force 4k, to this card HDR. Pass-through is not supported, on this device neither, is capturing. It's. Always requested, that I test these capture cards with upscaling devices, for old video game consoles, such as the open source scan converter or the, retro tink which allow you to upscale 240p. And 480i, signals. And things like that the, live gamer mini seems super, rigid and finicky, with regards, to what input formats it supports as a result I was actually unable to get it to recognize a single Super, Nintendo signal, from the OS se whatsoever, 1x. Through 5x they all either showed glitchy nonsense, or no signal that was pretty disappointing, you'd think it would support at least one of the formats, however. Hooking up a ps1 game in my ps2 with, the HD, retro vision component cables which is still, native 240p, to the retro tank and this, actually worked with the live gamer mini unfortunately. 240p, is recognized at 4 has 720. By 480 I common. For most most capture cards sadly but it does work and capture, so that was pretty cool sometimes it glitched for a little reason I think it has trouble interlacing, however, flipping down the 2x mode on the retro tank and 480p. 60, is captured, a great, end with no hiccups again. You're looking at a fairly low bitrate in re, central and a fairly low quality feed for this resolution overall, but, it is an option my crash skills only go so far one plane from the preview window typically, these devices, can sort of bypass, or skip. HDCP. Copy protection, on your signals. Mainly. Set, in place to be, able to capture our iOS devices, however. With the live gamer mini I was unable to bypass. The copy protection on my playstation 4, pro it, either like, if I had.
HDCP. Pass-through. Enabled which is basically, a blocks HDCP, content it gave me the error but if I disabled, it it. Basically. Kept showing no signal on every once in a while I would still pop up the HTC Pierre thing I don't know if this is intentional or if that since this is a 1080p, card it only works with the previous. Iteration, of hdcp but, I could not get it to work with my ps4 Pro so you're, probably not going to be able to record copy protected, content with this card. Well. Every. Time I review, a capture, card the review format gets longer, I tried, to break this up into potential. Audiences, and organize it well so hopefully it was tolerable to sit through the stack the simple stuff came first but there is a lot to know about capture, cards and the companies manufacturing, them don't really document, it all so I got. To pick up the slack, the avermedia gc3 one one live gamer Mini is a pretty unique capture, card entry, taking. A step back in technology, to target a beginner market, I'm interested. To see how it does with consumers, I'm not entirely sold on the idea I love, the idea of an easier to use option, that can work for just, about anyone and bring, him back the onboard encoder to sideload, while streaming is a great take on a problem, that people have but. The required horsepower to still drive even a basic capture, scene with this device and re central means that anyone, who can actually run this capture card and likely. Run any higher quality, USB 3 or PCIe, capture, device and get better results and, it's only like 30 dollars cheaper than those options anyway or, for just 20 dollars more than this you can get there live gamer portable 2 which can record entirely, without a PC to micro sd and even pass-through 4k 60fps signals, from your Xbox one x or ps4 broke I'd, certainly implore, them to look at running the ase the stream engine app as a standalone, no resource, capture solution, I will, have links to download sample clips in the video description as well as a playlist of those uploaded, to youtube again, I feel that YouTube copies are kind of useless and I have stopped doing that mostly but I still get requests for it so you can see how this specific device translates. Through YouTube's awful compression, so it's, there for you to have a look-see because it doesn't really cost me anything, as. I mentioned affiliate product links are also in the description and down there is a link to my playlist of other capture, card reviews my giant spreadsheet of all my capture card review, data and my OBS resource article explaining it all you know what hit a like button preferably, the one on this video consider, subscribing and. Joining channel memberships here on YouTube to help support my work or patreon, donor box kofi things like that I mean. Pause box here to make tech easier and more fun and I'll see you next, time.