For years the capture card marketplace has been dominated by the likes of Elgato and AVerMedia. While the two companies have continued to push each other as competitors, resulting in some great enthusiast-grade products, the lower price brackets haven’t seen nearly as much action, with the Elgato HD60 S taking home the most market share for nearly three years uncontested. Now Razer has entered into the market to stir things up with the introduction of their affordable external capture card, the Razer Ripsaw HD.
Retailing for $220 CAD, the Razer Ripsaw HD aims to conquer this bracket with a stronger feature set then its main competitor at the same price. Both the Ripsaw HD and the HD60 S record gameplay at 1080p 60 FPS no matter which platform users decide to play from, but the advantage Razer has up their sleeve is 4K 60FPS Passthrough. This additional feature means that players using an Xbox One X, a PlayStation 4 Pro, or a 4K capable PC won’t have to downgrade their picture quality to 1080p just to capture their gameplay, and instead can enjoy the full performance of their preferred gaming system uninterrupted.
Another one up for the Razer Ripsaw HD over the Elgato in my eyes is the design. Despite the rather dull appearance of the Ripsaw’s small plastic chassis, the thing I appreciate the most about this card is its clean port layout. Both the HDMI In and Out ports are on the same side of the device, along with the USB type C port to power the card, while the 3.5 mm microphone and headset ports are on the opposite side to provide an easy to organize stream setup for the user. The only element that could further elevate this layout would be the addition of more LED lighting to warn the user if something had disconnected or if there was a potential error during the recording or broadcast.
While Razer may have made the effort to overcome their competitor from a technical standpoint, I’m surprised they didn’t take the time to also develop some beginner-friendly software for new content creators to use alongside the Ripsaw HD. Elgato and AVerMedia each possess their own content suites for new content creators to use and learn how their capture cards work before they are ready to make the jump to more advanced broadcasting tools, like Streamlabs OBS and XSplit. Even the inclusion of a simple record and stream function in Razer Synapse would’ve gone a long way in this regard to helping out their casual audience.
After testing the Razer Ripsaw HD side-by-side with my Elgato HD60 S and AVerMedia Live Gamer 4K on my PC and PS4, the Razer Ripsaw HD did stand out to me as the capture card that needed the least attention out of the box. The picture on the Elgato HD60 S and the Live Gamer 4K were more subdued in colour and contrast than the Ripsaw HD in OBS and XSplit using default settings, while the Elgato’s picture also looked noticeably less sharp when it came to smaller details, including text and other printed materials in-game. Recording wise- all three were flawless, with neither of the participants dropping frames or showing any noticeable signs of latency during the test.
Razer is here to take full advantage of their competitors glaring flaws with the Ripsaw HD, showing that players shouldn’t have to settle for lesser gaming experience just to capture their gameplay in 2019. Despite Razer’s best efforts to capitalize on fighting Elgato at the same MSRP, Elgato has already lowered the price of the HD60 S permanently by $20 CAD as a counterattack. However, this dated capture card is showing its age and is in need of a new generation to best the picture quality of the new Razer Ripsaw HD.