With the arrival of the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, 4K 60fps gaming is set to become more popular and viable than ever before. As per our in-depth reviews of both consoles (the XSX here and the PS5 here) the jump from 30fps to 60fps, especially in 4K – is a game changer in the console space. Even when outputting 4K ray-traced visuals at 30fps in games like Watch Dogs: Legion and Spider-Man: Miles Morales, getting to see all that detail in crisp 4K on next-gen consoles is impressive.
In the PC gaming space 60fps is what you might call yesterday’s news, thanks to the rise in popularity of 144Hz and higher gaming displays across the more prevalent 1080p and 1440p resolutions. But with the arrival of the GeForce RTX series and the flagship RTX 3080, hitting 4K 60fps will all detail settings cranked to max is doable in just about any game currently available. And even though NVIDIA’s ShadowPlay is a great tool for capturing gameplay in a range of resolutions, with both consoles able to record what’s happening on-screen, the cost comes in the form of compression.
This is where the AVerMedia Live Gamer BOLT GC555 steps in, a versatile Thunderbolt 3 capture card that can record all that in-game footage all the way up to a 4K 60Hz HDR signal in an uncompressed lossless format.
Video Ezy – Tech Talk
Without its own storage, the Live Gamer BOLT uses the speed of Thunderbolt 3 that then pairs with the easy-to-use AVerMedia RECentral software for capture at various settings that can leverage your PC or laptop’s GPU for encoding and keeping file sizes down to a more manageable level. As great as uncompressed is, it’s just that – uncompressed. Which means an hour of 4K gameplay can end up becoming an 80GB raw video file. In terms of recording though and then opening up a video editor (the Live Gamer BOLT comes with a licence for Cyberlink’s PowerDirector 15), that raw high-quality video is exactly what you need and what gets delivered here.
With the ability to capture HDMI 2.0 this means being able to record at various resolutions and frame-rates. Here recording a 240Hz 1080p signal can then be slowed down in a video editor so you can see exactly what difference a high-refresh rate brings to the table. The use of Thunderbolt 3 may limit what devices you can connect the Live Gamer BOLT to, it’s the sort of high-end interface that makes this device as impressive as it is.
A versatile Thunderbolt 3 capture card that can record all that in-game footage all the way up to a 4K 60Hz HDR signal in an uncompressed lossless format.
Connected to a Dell G5 15 Gaming Laptop for testing, a laptop that features a Thunderbolt 3 port in addition to NVIDIA GeForce RTX graphics being able to record high-quality 4K footage whilst both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X remained in place next to a 4K TV is the sort of ease of use that goes beyond plug-and-play – removing the need for devising a setup that’s purely there for capture.
Lights, Camera, Capture
With Thunderbolt 3 the Live Gamer BOLT is perfect for enthusiasts looking to capture high-quality console and PC gaming footage in 4K without interrupting their setup. Powered via the Thunderbolt 3 port, the small form factor and RGB lighting of the BOLT is portable and the HDMI in and out setup is again simple to get up and running in seconds. Also quick is the setup on either PC or laptop with AVerMedia’s AssistCentral software downloading and installing all the pre-requisite drivers alongside the simple to use AVerMedia RECentral for streaming and capture.
Spider-Man: Miled Morales on PS5, captured via the Live GameBOLT
With the next-generation of consoles here alongside new PC graphics from both NVIDIA and AMD, stock shortages aside, trying to find the easiest way to capture 4K gameplay with minimal fuss for posting on YouTube or other platforms is something a lot of people are going to be looking for. Us included and having access to the Live Gamer BOLT for the launch of both the PS5 and Xbox Series X has been something of a godsend. Being able to fire up Spider-Man: Miles Morales and quickly get 30 minutes of crisp 4K gameplay online to pair with written coverage in a few simple and quick steps has been incredible. As has recording an hour of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla on the Series X and then getting that up too. Where in the end the longest time spent putting it all together waiting for the videos to upload.
In the end, for those looking for a versatile 4K capture card – the AVerMedia Live Gamer BOLT GC555 is an excellent choice.
What we liked
Versatile 4K capture via Thunderbolt 3
Easy to setup and record in minutes
Uncompressed video with or without HDR
Excellent for those looking to capture PS5 or Xbox Series X gameplay