WHERE’S THE ‘EXTREME’?! – AVerMedia Live Gamer Extreme 2 Review (GC551)

If you’re looking for a capture card that
lets you play in 4K but only capture or stream 1080p or lower, the Live Gamer Extreme 2 might
be the card for you. The Extreme 2, or the GC551 is a bit of a
weird entry in their 4K passthrough card lineup, and I’m honestly not a fan. But let’s discuss it after a word from our
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description. Of the three new capture cards released this
week by AVerMedia, the Live Gamer Extreme 2 is by far the weakest offering. I was hoping to release my review of the Live
Gamer Ultra today instead, or maybe combine them both into one video – BUT I ran into
problems with the Ultra, so you get this today. Other than my dislike for RECentral 2 at the
time, I really liked the original Live Gamer Extreme from 2015. It offered low-latency 1080p60 capture and
passthrough via USB 3.0 and even had an analog breakout connection for capturing PS3 or other
older consoles. It had all of the I/O in the back so it could
actually sit on a desk – unlike MOST capture cards – and had a window flap where you could
print your own faceplate for it. Neat. It was well-rounded and allowed for capture
of most game consoles all in one device – unlike Elgato’s HD60. But the Live Gamer Extreme 2…. Is not as impressive. It features an identical design to the first
– which is great, the design served its purpose – but cut out the analog inputs. Yeah, I get it, “get with the times” is
what most product-focused companies want to say… BUT when expensive game streaming products
are already pretty niche and I’m involved in many large communities of retro gaming
enthusiasts that have to resort to adapting absurd old broadcast equipment or buying even
more expensive purpose-built upscaler units to get good captures of older game consoles,
this always annoys me. Instead, we just get two HDMI 2.0 ports for
in and out. And instead of micro USB 3.0, we now get USB
3.1 gen 1 type C – though they call it USB 3.0 everywhere, and for good reason. Since this isn’t a UVC device like the Live
Gamer Ultra, it’s limited to Windows and doesn’t seem to actually work with USB C
ports nor USB 3.1 gen 2 type A ports. It receives power, passes through the feed,
and RECentral even knows it’s plugged in SOMETIMES and just shows a black screen instead
of “No Signal”, but the feed is never accessible. Perhaps gen 2 drivers are more complicated
and this is something AVerMedia can fix in their driver updates, but I always get frustrated
when devices have USB C ports for one end, but don’t work with actual PC-side USB C
ports. So what CAN this card do? Simple: The Extreme 2 lets you play your games
in up to 4k 60fps via passthrough, and then capture or stream at 1080p 60fps or lower. Many people have been requesting this for
a while – no interest in making 4k content or HDR or anything like that – just send 4K
and capture 1080p60. This card will do that, and does it well. And theoretically you’re getting a sharper
1080p file as a result thanks to the downscaling factor – though YouTube’s harsh 1080p compression
will destroy that anyway, though you could probably upscale the footage to 1440p or back
to 4k with decent results on YouTube if you recorded to a high enough bitrate. It’s worth noting, too, that the results
from this card are going to be drastically better than what you’d get with the Live
Gamer Portable 2 Plus that I reviewed last year. I’ve never been happy with the video quality
of the Portable devices other than as a “I really need to record to SD card right now”
solution, so if you weren’t happy with the USB 2.0 limited compression, this might be
a good solution. But that’s… it, really. No HDR support other than passthrough. It will passthrough the HDR signal but then
the actual capture feed cuts out and goes to “No Signal.” No HDR capture not tonemapping like the other
devices. No high refresh rate support, either. 60hz or bust with this bad boy. It can record high bitrates in RECentral – or
whatever you want via uncompressed access in OBS Studio – though it initially suffered
from the Nvidia encoder bug in RECentral. So make sure your software is up to date if
you plan on using that. I cover this more in my Live Gamer 4K review. If you’re on a laptop, a 4th generation
i7 and a Nvidia 870M graphics card are recommended as minimum specs to get decent recording out
of it. I’ve found that laptop CPUs just can’t
keep up with 1080p60 encoding even on the higher end – you need a discrete graphics
card backing it up. This card also does not work with Linux. Windows only for now. It is low-latency so integrating into stream
setups will not be a problem – but again, does not feel low-latency enough for me to
play off of the preview. Unlike the other cards, you only get the YUY2
decode format – which is better than NV12, but no RGB mode for those of you who want
maximum placebo video quality. For $200, this capture device just feels…
weird. Unlike its previous iteration, or the other
cards in this release cycle, there’s no stand-out feature for the Live Gamer Extreme
2. It’s basic, but feels pricey to release
for only $100 less than their full 4k60 HDR capture option. But then again, Elgato hasn’t released a
4K passthrough USB card yet, so maybe it’s not too bad. I dunno, was just pretty bummed that this
card didn’t really offer anything special. But I guess if you’re buying a basic capture
card today and can fund it, the Live Gamer Extreme 2 would be the one to go with if you
want to have the future-proof-ish option of passing through 4K signals. 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 July. Is this the capture card you’re looking
for? Or do you prefer the flashier features of
the Ultra or 4K devices? Comment below. Down there in the description are affiliate
product links and links to our sponsor, Lorex Technology, that you should check out. Consider subscribing and turning on notifications
so you don’t miss an upload. I’m EposVox and I’ll see you next time.

26 thoughts on “WHERE’S THE ‘EXTREME’?! – AVerMedia Live Gamer Extreme 2 Review (GC551)

  • June 29, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    SPONSOR: Lorex Technology – https://fbit.co/7cfI

  • June 29, 2018 at 4:41 pm

    I just found your channel and this is one of the best tech channels and now I'm gonna watch u alot c:

  • June 29, 2018 at 4:56 pm

    Yep, what I thought. Thanks for your Review EposVox.

  • June 29, 2018 at 6:51 pm

    Live Gamer Ultra Please Please Please loool

  • June 30, 2018 at 1:32 am

    I wish there was a cheap display port capture devices’s and also why are there so aren’t more of them. And why are there like two of them on the market.

  • June 30, 2018 at 5:02 am

    To me this seems worse than the AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable 2 Plus. I mean you're limited by the USB 3.1 gen 1 spec unlike the Portable 2 Plus. On the plus side quality might be better. With the Live Gamer Ultra can you test if it works with AMD Ryzen system. I read on Avermedia's site that they "strongly recommend" it with intel chipsets for some reason.

  • June 30, 2018 at 11:46 am

    I like the Batman stinger transition.

  • June 30, 2018 at 11:38 pm

    No just use rest xbox one and ps4 too yes fine worked!!!

  • July 1, 2018 at 12:59 am

    Can you make a lag test video of this card, please? Just a 60 fps video where you play a game or show a stopwatch running on 2 displays – pass through and Recentral preview window. Such tests are hard to come by and can be very useful for those looking for a capture card with lowest latency possible.

    Also can you recommend a capture card with latency low enough you can actually play console games on your PC display? Thanks.

  • July 1, 2018 at 3:07 am

    ElGato all the way

  • July 2, 2018 at 6:29 pm

    Hey man it was great review as well. Sorry for posting this again but not sure if you have seen my comment under live gamer 4k.
    If you are still in process of reviewing AVerMedia Live Gamer ULTRA could you please if possible test it with laptops? those kind of cards many times are used by people who take them to gaming events and use laptops to record. I wonder how well this card would work with different processors. Can something like 6700HQ handle it? or maybe 7700HQ or higher would be needed. Cheers.

  • July 8, 2018 at 6:35 am

    Since low latency and moderate cost was what I wanted from your 4k capture card unboxing and multi-review, I bought one of these. But for whatever reason, even with a high end pc, I can't get it to stop freezing after 20-30 seconds on BOTH OBS and Recentral 4. Any advice?

  • July 9, 2018 at 9:31 am

    I need something that can record my screen using a daw like Cubase/FL Studio. I have just a standard monitor but a i5 Hexacore cpu, EVGA GTX 1060 6Gb's gpu, 16 Ram. With obs I can record video but not audio. Vmeter banana didn't work for me. The problem is ASIO. Any idea what external card would capture video and audio at 60fps? Thanks.

  • September 15, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    EposVox are you experiencing issues with Avermedia devices the last week if you checked or used any?

  • September 19, 2018 at 4:21 pm

    Hi EposVox. Can you capture party chat and your own voice on Xbox oneX with this capture card?

  • October 6, 2018 at 6:58 am

    Hey Great review! I was wondering two things. Have they updated the firmware to take advantage of the USB C to USB C? If so, has the latency been better? (zero latency)

  • December 17, 2018 at 12:34 am

    Question, what FPS game is playing where the guy is on an Iowa class battleship? Thanks.

  • December 19, 2018 at 8:20 am

    work if i have I3 7100 and AMD Radeon rx560?

  • February 9, 2019 at 4:33 pm

    This is the only one you didn’t go over the specs on. Does this do 3440×1440 at all? The other two you said they could do I’m assuming yes but this ones a little different

  • March 15, 2019 at 2:22 am

    So I bought this for $150. I tried the LGP2+ but the quality was shit. Very compressed. So I'm hoping this one works with my PC since it captures uncompressed. I meet all the specs but the requirements call for an Nvidia gt 660. I have a Radeon r9 270x..so hopefully it'll be fine..

  • April 1, 2019 at 5:31 pm

    So this card will allow me to play at 1440p 144fps and capture 1080p 60fps?

  • April 18, 2019 at 4:58 pm

    Is it worth the price over the live gamer extreme 1

  • May 16, 2019 at 9:18 pm

    I wanto to play my ps4 games without changing the monitor source (I know it's kinda strange). Is the latency of this card as low as they claim so that I can play by just watching the game captured video streamed on my pc with no input lag?
    Or is there a better solution?

  • June 18, 2019 at 2:39 am

    These cards are terrible they always freeze at some random time in the middle of your stream for no reason at all.

  • August 25, 2019 at 9:43 pm

    Windows only and Windows 10 * only.
    Nope. Sounds like avermedia needs to get with the times
    Multiplatform or bust.
    Linux users will be forced to passing it through a KVM with a GPU to record for the encoder IT SAYS IT HAS depending on a nvenc encoder (big marketing whoopsie). Not happy about that. I did this without Error 43 in a WIndows 10 QEMU, but what gamer alive wants to bother with that?

    Unless you can dump GPU firmware and know how hypervisors work, don't buy this card. Heck, don't buy it at all. You're a gamer not a devop.

    Glad you aren't a fan. Good review.

  • November 14, 2019 at 10:46 pm

    Do you know if is compatible at the same time with Msi Afterburner? I want to see the Frames per second?
    Nice review.


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