Dark or Light

Elgato 4K X Game Capture Card Review - Capturing With Power

Joseph Bradford Posted:
Hardware Reviews 0

Elgato’s Game Capture 4K X External Capture Card aims to bring ultimate power into the hands on creators everywhere. It’s a powerful package, as the external capture card is capable of capturing, streaming and recording up to 4K60, with pass through up to 4K144hz. With support for VRR passthrough, HDR 10 passthrough, and capture, the latest external card in Elgato’s suite of capture equipment aims to let creators make content at the highest quality. Yet, is it worth the $229.99 price tag?


  • Price: $229.99 on Elgato website
  • Capture up to 2160p144, 2160p30 HDR, 1440p144, 1440p60 HDR, 1080p144, 1080p120 HDR.
  • Passthrough: Lag-free passthrough up to 2160p144, 2160p60, 1440p240, 1080p240, Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), High Dynamic Range (HDR)
  • HDR10 Passthrough and Capture
  • VRR Passthrough
  • I/O: 2x HDMI 2.1; USB 3 Type-C (10Gbps); Analog Audio Line-In
  • Works with OBS, Streamlabs, XSplit, Elgato 4K Capture Utility
  • Compatible with PC, Xbox Series S|X, Xbox One X|S; Playstation 4\5; Nintendo Switch, PC, iPad/iPhone, Google Pixel

First Look

At first glance, I love the form factor. Reminding me of the sleek design of the Elgato HD60 X, the small form factor keeps its footprint on my desk minimal, meaning more room for audio mixers, consoles and much more. 

An external capture card, the 4K X connects to the PC using a USB-C to USB-C cable, while its rear I/O has the standard HDMI In and Out ports for the passthrough. Both HDMI ports are HDMI 2.1, allowing creators to take advantage of the latest HDMI protocol, capturing at high fidelity and even higher framerates.

The front of the unassuming card features a solitary LED light, letting the user know it’s on and receiving power, as well as an audio-in analog jack to add you own audio track to the mix.

Elgato 4K X Capture Card

The box features include VRR passthrough support, which is a game changer at 4K as it enables the 4K X will play nice with GSync and FreeSync displays, including new VRR TVs that have been hitting the market over the last few years. 

The card also supports HDR10 passthrough and capture, meaning you needn’t sacrifice your own video quality just to create content - even if you’re not going to capture at HDR. The Elgato 4K X will do its own tone mapping to SDR content, meaning you won’t be spending your time doing your own color correction after the fact. This is huge in my opinion because one of the major draws of a capture card for me is its plug-in-and-go functionality, which Elgato has always done well. It’s important to note the card does not support Dolby Vision, but you can also easily just toggle HDR recording off in the Game Capture utility if your device doesn’t support it. Elgato’s card will also recognize if the signal is HDR or SDR and act accordingly, making it all pretty seamless in the end.

In the box you get the card itself, a USB-C to USB-C cable, as well as an 8K HDMI 2.1 cable. I do wish a second HDMI cable was included, but I think it’s also understandable that many people will likely use the HDMI cable that came with their console for its passthrough. As with pretty much all capture cards, there is no DisplayPort input, meaning if you’re using this for a dual PC set up you’ll need to ensure your GPU has a space HDMI port available, which most modern GPUs do.

Elgato 4K X Game Capture Card Performance

The Elgato 4K X Game Capture Card is easy to set up - you just plug it in. Thankfully Elgato no longer prompts you to download its 4K Game Capture Utility, but it’s definitely worth having on your system just to tweak the card’s settings to suit your needs, even if you’re going to run this through XSplit or OBS. 

Setting it up in either of those programs was a breeze, as well. Simply add the 4K X as a video source in the program, adjust it to fit your stream and go. I did have some issues with audio crackling initially when monitoring the sound through OBS and even Elgato’s utility. This is something I’ve dealt with over the years with Elgato’s products, so I wasn’t surprised when I heard it at first, but for a card as advanced as this and as expensive as this, it was a bummer. However, plugging it into a new USB-C port on my motherboard seemed to clear up the issue.

Additionally, I did have some issues with its recognizing the signal from my PS5 right away unless I unplugged the card and plugged it back in. It’s an annoyance, but it’s minor, especially once everything is set up and ready to go it’s incredible in use.

Capturing at 4K60 on my PS5 was something I really hadn’t been able to do for the longest time, despite having cards that supported 4K60 passthrough. Being able to capture at indistinguishable quality of what I was experiencing on my end for videos and streams is incredible, and for a more hardcore streamer, this can be the upgrade they need to boost the quality of their streams.

I tested Final Fantasy XIV, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, Warframe, Black Desert Console and more with the 4K X and the device never seemed to break a sweat. Not having to toggle off HDR while capturing, knowing that the device would tone map to SDR for me in OBS made working on this review much easier as well - especially as someone who doesn’t really know the first thing about proper tone mapping. Elgato is taking the guesswork out of the hands of the creator and making it much more convenient and efficient for the creator.

Final Thoughts and Conclusion

So is the 4K X worth it in the end? It think it depends on your use case. With every console except Nintendo and the Series S pretty much outputting at least 4K30 now, having a capture card that can not only handle that well, but also handle even higher framerates, VRR and HDR10 signals and with with high refresh monitors is key. For seasoned and professional creators, the 4K X is a solid upgrade, but there are other great options out there too, like AverMedia’s Live Gamer 4K 2.1 card. 

However, what makes Elgato so compelling is its ease of use. It truly is plug and play - letting the card meld into the background and just act as a workhorse in your set up. It’s not finicky, except those initial issues I ran into - though once they were cleared up they’ve not reared their head again - and its 4K Capture Utility gives another option to record high quality HDR content if you don’t want to deal with OBS or a third-party platform.

Elgato 4K X Capture Card

The Elgato Game Capture 4K X also allows for capture of iPad gameplay, assuming your iPad has a USB-C port, allowing for another avenue of creativity. For those with powerful two PC set ups for streaming, the 4K X allows you to take full advantage of your powerful Nvidia or AMD powered rigs - AMD even more as it also supports HDMI 2.1 - making it so you’re sacrificing neither video quality or frame rate just to stream your gameplay.

At $229.99, it’s cheaper than its next nearest competitor, the AVerMedia Live Gamer Ultra 2.1 (which we loved by the way), making it a solid option in the market. And if you’re already embedded in the Elgato ecosystem, it’s not a bad addition to your roster. For a more casual creator who doesn’t need the highest quality out there, it might be a bit overkill, and the HD60 X might be more your speed. 

However, if you want to capture your console gameplay at the highest quality, boost the quality of your videos and streams, and do it with ease, the Elgato Game Capture 4K X Capture Card is not a bad option—in fact, it should be near the top of your list when looking to upgrade. 

Full Disclosure: The product reviewed was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of this review.

9.0 Amazing
  • Outstanding visual quality
  • Plug and play with supported platforms
  • HDMI 2.1 future proofs for higher framerates down the road
  • Compact, sleek - really love the form factor
  • VRR and HDR Passthrough are game changers
  • Audio crackling initially was annoying - though your mileage here might vary
  • Sometimes I would need to unplug and plug back in to recognize source


Joseph Bradford

Joseph has been writing or podcasting about games in some form since about 2012. Having written for multiple major outlets such as IGN, Playboy, and more, Joseph started writing for MMORPG in 2015. When he's not writing or talking about games, you can typically find him hanging out with his 10-year old or playing Magic: The Gathering with his family. Also, don't get him started on why Balrogs *don't* have wings. You can find him on Twitter @LotrLore