When my review unit of Razer's newly-launched Ripsaw game capture box arrived I eagerly unboxed it, set it atop the capture box I'd been using since last summer, and swapped the cords from the old one into the exact same ports in the new one. Hmm.
AU Editor's Note: We're reviewing the Razer Ripsaw in the coming weeks, so we'll be able to tell you more about the capture card's features and performance.
That was sort of odd, not having to move the cables about or change positions. All I needed to do was raise them up and plug them into the new device.
I was so taken aback I took a picture.
Same ports in the same places. Around the front the audio and line-in jacks lined-up. Even the LED on the front of each was in the same place.
I checked the specs between the two units, and they were the same. I plugged in the Ripsaw, went into OBS (Open Broadcaster Software), and it performed exactly the same. The only differences between the two is that the Ripsaw doesn't work with AverMedia's software — Razer recommends OBS or XSplit software for capturing and streaming from their version of the hardware.
So I did a little searching and discovered that Reddit had already opened up both boxes, discovering they are the same card, only Razer's is black instead of green (oddly enough), the audio contacts are different and there's some foam around the LED on the Razer board, presumably to focus the green light on the front.
I reached out to Razer, and the company provided me with the following statement:
We work with number of external technology suppliers and developers and Ripsaw is no different. We are very pleased with the enthusiastic reception from users of Ripsaw and we are proud to be able to contribute a suite of products for game broadcasters that will improve the professionalism of the content they want to share.
While the statement doesn't outright say it's the same hardware, the picture up there and the box's performance pretty much say it all.
I'm a little let down at the revelation, if only because I was hoping to try something new. I've been bouncing between Elgato and AverMedia capture cards for the past few years, and while the AverMedia Live Gamer Extreme has been my favourite since I acquired it in July of last year, I was still looking for something different.
The good news is, the Razer Ripsaw is just at good at capturing and streaming video as my previous preference. Exactly as good, really. Utilising USB 3.0 it delivers incredibly low latency output to whichever streaming software I am using, to the point where most games are completely playable within the streaming preview stream. That means hardly any voice lag while streaming as well, especially when using the mic jack on front of the unit.
I was going to record a whole bunch of sample clips, but there really isn't a point. Any PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Wii U or Vita footage I've captured for nearly the past year has passed through the same hardware. Still, here's a 1080p, 60 frames-per-second video I captured using the Ripsaw and OBS, just to give you an idea of output quality.
The Ripsaw comes packaged with all of the cables needed to capture from new systems and several older ones.
It works the same as AverMedia's Live Gamer Extreme. It has the same guts. At $US179.99 ($233) it's priced exactly the same as well. So which one to buy?
If you like customisable graphics on top of your capture card, the AverMedia is the way to go. Razer widely decided not to port this completely silly feature to its Ripsaw.
Otherwise it's comes down to branding and personal preference. I'd definitely recommend either of them, but which one is up to you.