NZXT Signal 4K30 – Review | Ideal companion of PS5 and Xbox?

NZXT Signal 4K30 – Review | Ideal companion of PS5 and Xbox?

Gamers who are passionate about hardware have certainly heard of the NZXT brand . The company, based in California, is in fact known for its proposals dedicated to the world of gaming, ranging from internal components for PCs to cases, also passing through accessories such as headphones and RGB lights for the ideal location.

However, now NZXT has decided to expand its offer (you can also find many of its products on Amazon ) by launching a pair of USB capture cards on the market of its own . It is a courageous and interesting choice, in a market dominated by brands such as Elgato or AverMedia, with which the company wants to throw its gauntlet to those who, over time, have become practically synonymous with hardware for acquisition and streaming. of video games.

We received from the manufacturer the NZXT Signal 4K30 , the top-of-the-range card in its line-up (a proposal for full HD is also launched, Signal HD60, which we will not discuss here). It is a capture card that aims to be the ideal companion of the new consoles , because it promises to let you play without loss of quality, while recording (or streaming) even in all the beauty of 4K.

A bet won?

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NZXT Signal 4K30: What’s in the box and design
The capture card box design is in keeping with NZXT’s style, which focuses on purple. Here is a small package that is a prelude to the very small size of the Signal 4K30, immediately put on display upon opening.

Signal 4K30 capture card
HDMI cable (Premium High Speed, up to 18 Gbps)
USB cable for connection to the PC
Being an external capture card , this means that you will not have to install it inside your computer, but that you just need to connect it through the supplied USB cable. This is a sensible solution especially for those who may need to move often (an internal card remains inside your desktop PC, this connects comfortably to a laptop) or who do not intend to “indulge” too much with the motherboard of their PC. for gaming.

NZXT Signal 4K30 with its box

As for the design , we must say that 4K30 definitely hits the mark. The parallelepiped body of the card is harmonious, elegant, with rounded corners . The capture card is very small, in line with other proposals we’ve seen from other manufacturers, and features purple accents on the bottom that recall the brand’s symbolic color. Let’s talk about measures equal to 102x82x14 mm , for the maniacs of statistics.

The ports of the capture card are all placed on the back: we have the USB-C for connection to the PC, an HDMI IN from which to let in the signal you need to record and an HDMI OUT from which to get it out to get it to the monitor or to the TV. Both are 2.0, nothing 2.1. On the front, however, a small LED: it is white when use is in progress, red when it has no input signal.

The shell is in matte black, with the NZXT shiny logo printed on the top of the livery in a very pleasant tone-on-tone contrast. On the sides, moreover, there are small vents that allow the 4K30 to “breathe” – also because, as we will see shortly, it tends to heat up under stress.

PC connection and plug-and-play experience
The manufacturer promised us a plug-and-play capture card and it is. With brands from other manufacturers, for example, we happened to have to download drivers, proprietary software, additional drivers for audio capture: in this case, we connected our NZXT 4K30 to an ASUS ROG notebook with Windows 11 and the card became operational immediately .

NZXT hasn’t made any proprietary programs to support it, so we tested it with both OBS and StreamLabs, two popular streaming and gameplay capture software. Both immediately identified the 4K30 when we selected the entry for adding capture devices, also adding an audio source to the equalizer of our scene, so as to also capture the sound sector of the gameplay.

It is really as simple as it seems, yes: by simply connecting the card to the PC, we were able to start using it, without having to do pirouettes to be able to have it detected by either of the two software we tested.

The card is also detected by NZXT Cam , NZXT’s proprietary app for managing its devices: from here you can mostly see the resolution and encoding it is working on, but they can’t manage settings or other technicalities. Even in this, the card maintains its approach extremely devoted to immediacy – even at the cost of perhaps disappointing those who instead expected to be able to indulge themselves among a thousand menus and statistics, with the settings that pass instead for the scenes of your capture software / streaming.

Video quality (and audio)

From specifications, 4K30 allows you to capture or stream in 4K and 30 fps , or alternatively at 1080p and 60 fps . However, there are many more resolutions and frame rates supported, and a big drawback of capture cards is passthrough. Considering that the signal from your console (we have carried out the tests on both PS5 and Xbox Series X) enters the card, which “captures” it, and exits a second port to reach the monitor or TV, a card with a passthrough poor would compromise the gaming experience, because it would return to the monitor a compressed image compared to the one that fits on the capture card.

 

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