Over on YouTube user mutezone has posted a video comparing the RTL-SDR with upconverter against a Softrock Ensemble II software defined radio. The Softrock Ensemble II is an SDR dedicated to the HF frequencies and is thus expected to have better performance for that purpose. Mutezone writes
A performance between the Softrock Ensemble II vs the RTL-SDR (R820T) on shortwave. Here we are trying to see which one is best at receiving AM broadcasters. Both SDRs were using the same longwire antenna connected to an ATU (Antenna Tuning Unit).
Although I know this comparison is somewhat unfair, since the RTL-SDR is not meant for shortwave & the Softrock is, it is to show that there is a difference in performance, even though the RTL-SDR has a much wider frequency range & cannot be beaten when it comes to value for money. My opinion is that if you want an SDR that should deliver on HF / Shortwave performance, then go for a dedicated one like the Softrock, Afedri, SDR-IQ or any others that do the same job on the market. Even when using a decent HF Upconverter, the RTL-SDR will still not match the performance of more upmarket HF SDRs.