A capture card is a handy tool that offers a lot of opportunities, such as creating tutorials or recording TV shows or your gaming adventures that you can later edit and share on your YouTube channel, Twitch or a similar platform. On the other hand, finding the best capture card isn’t such an easy task.
Prices may vary, just like the performance. Therefore, you must choose wisely and think through what you need the card for in the first place, and find the perfect fit according to that.
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How to Choose The Best Capture Card
Just like with other types of hardware, choosing the proper device for your needs is not an easy task, especially if you are not that familiar with the subject. Because of that, here is a list of things which you should pay your close attention to, in order to make the best possible choice of a capture card.
Internal vs External
When talking about internal and external, capture cards things are simple. If you want a practical device that you may use on different hardware, or are into console gaming, if you have no additional PC and are not ready to purchase one, your only option is an external (portable) capture card. On the other hand, if you are into PC gaming or have a PC alongside your console, you can choose whatever option suits you best.
One of the most important characteristics of any capture card is surely image quality. That doesn’t just include the resolution, frame rate and bitrate of the video, but also the sharpness and clearness of the image. The captured material will in most cases be used for YouTube channels, tutorials, etc. In other words, it will present you and your work. Therefore, choose the best possible product in this department.
More compatibility means that more different devices can be connected and their video material captured. Some cards may be compatible only with PCs, others with a whole bunch of devices that include PC, Xbox, PS4, etc. Because of that, be careful about what you are purchasing. First of all, make sure that the capture card is compatible with the hardware that you have, and secondly, if you can get more compatibility for the same or similar price, take it.
As in the case of compatibility, the more connectivity options you have, the better. It is ok if the device has only the one input and output connector that you need, especially if it is affordable, but that is kinda limiting. You never know what may happen and when the hardware you have may fail, and you may have to replace it with something different that maybe doesn’t have the same connectors. Therefore, choose the card with as much input and output connectors as you can, and make sure that these connectors are among the mainstream ones (HDMI for example).
Although it is not a decisive aspect, having high-quality, intuitive software alongside your card can make your life much easier. Additional software costs money and complicates the things a bit. Therefore, look at what types of solutions are included in the packages and choose wisely in order to save yourself from additional costs.
10 Best Capture Cards to Buy in 2020
Elgato Game Capture 4K60 Pro MK.2
A Versatile and Efficient Consumer Capture Card
Being a professional, or at least a more serious gamer usually involves streaming your gaming adventures on Twitch, YouTube, Mixer or similar platforms. However, for such operations, have to purchase an adequate capture card, and one of the more capable and prominent ones is definitely Elgato Game Capture 4K60 Pro MK.2. The card that presents a compact and affordable version of the more powerful 4K60 Pro and is more dedicated to a consumer market.
MK.2 offers low latency, 240Hz passthrough (with 1080p resolution) and allows for the maximum bitrate of up to 140Mbps. More importantly, it supports both HDR10 and 60fps 4K capture, as well as a variety of other (lower) resolutions and different framerates.
Unfortunately, this card requires external hardware to encode the video; nevertheless, it allows for the simultaneous use of multiple capture software’s and also provides a possibility for Flashback recording.
Elgato Game Capture 4K60 Pro MK.2 is pretty cool while working, offers easy streaming of high framerate gaming footage, and delivers the performance that would please even the professionals. In other words, whether you are a pro-gamer or just an enthusiast looking for a solid and budget-friendly capture card, MK.2 is without a doubt a great option for you and surely one of the best video capture cards you can find on the market.
- HDR10 support
- A fair price
- Multiple software support
- No internal video encoding
A First-Ever Device that Supports Both HDR and 4K Video Capture
AVerMedia GC573 is the second ever capture card (first is Elgato Game Capture 4K60 Pro) that offers 4k capturing, but the first one that offers both 4k and HDR capture in one device. When talking sheer numbers, GC573 allows for capturing of 4k videos at 60 fps, 1440p videos at 144 fps, and 1080p ones at the staggering 240 frames per second. The last numbers are especially helpful considering how much gaming monitors have improved in recent time and increased their frame rates.
GC573 also offers ultra-low latency and capability to broadcast and capture content with modern solutions such as OBS Studio and XSplit. Unfortunately, for the full exploit of the card, you are forced to use its own RECentral software that has a lot of glitches and problems, but will hopefully improve with time. On the other hand, Cyber Link PowerDirector 15 is included in the package, allowing for easy editing of 4k videos.
All in all, if you want a 4k capable device that will deliver excellent performance and lower price than the “almighty” Elgato Game Capture 4K60 Pro, GC573 should be your buy.
- the first card that records both 4k and HDR content
- RGB lighting
- lag free
- higher framerate games support
- good price
- it demands a high-performance PC in order to work
- RECentral software that has a lot of glitches
- no Chroma/Hue support for lighting
Elgato Game Capture HD60 Pro
A Capture Card that Presents an Ultimate Streaming Device
Elgato Game Capture HD60 Pro is exactly what its name tells you, the best game capture card you can get for your money. If you already have a quality gaming PC and a good streaming webcam, this is the only device that may be missing to complete your streaming circle in order to produce the high-quality content that is expected from any respectable streamer.
HD60 Pro is capable of simultaneously recording and streaming in 1080p resolution at 60 fps and a bitrate of 60 Mbps. It is also equipped with a lag-free HDMI output, H.264 encoding that is responsible for the production of smaller size files without any visible loss of picture quality, and the handy Stream command that allows users to add overlays, commentary and webcam feed to their streamed material. All the things that any streamer ever dreamed about are there.
Plus there is also a Flashback Recording that allows you to go back in time on your PC and record moments that have just passed, as well as Elgato’s low latency technology that offers improved streaming experience.
The only problem with this piece of hardware is that it needs a PC to run. Yes, you can connect it to PS4, Xbox One/360, or Wii U, but you still need a computer to make your capturing possible.
- H.264 encoder
- high streaming and recording quality
- a lot of customization options for your streaming
- not that great compatibility
MiraBox USB 3.0 HDMI Game Capture Card Device
A Multipurpose External Capture Card that Delivers More than You’d Expect
If you are looking for an easy plug and play solution for your video capturing or streaming, MiraBox USB 3.0 comes as an excellent choice. It is compatible with PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U, Nintendo Switch, even DSLR and set-top boxes. It offers USB3.0 interface that allows for easy and smooth recording and streaming and lag-free HDMI output that allows you to stream without any delay.
MiraBox offers recording/streaming in 1080p at 60 fps and works on Windows, Linux and Mac OS. It also supports mainstream streaming services and platforms such as Twitch, YouTube Live, Facebook Live, etc. Practically all that you may need for streaming and recording is there. MiraBox USB 3.0 is simply the best external capture card that won’t take too much money out of your pocket.
- USB3.0 interface
- high compatibility
- good price
- both streaming and recording capability
- image sharpness could be a bit better
- not that great design
AVerMedia Live Gamer Ultra (GC553)
An Excellent Portable Capture Card that Will Please Anyone
AVerMedia Live Gamer Ultra (GC553) is sort of AVerMedia GC573’s younger brother. It offers an HDR 4k resolution for both streaming and recording (as GC573), but supports only 30 fps 4k recording, while it allows for 60 fps streaming of 4k content (GC573 allows 60 fps 4k for both streaming and recording). It is the same under lower resolutions, where GC553 allows for 1080p recording at 120 fps and streaming at 240 fps, while GC573 delivers both capturing and streaming at 240 fps.
The reason for that probably lies in the fact that this is a portable USB3.0 capture card, while the GC573 is a PCIe one. When talking about other positive aspects of this card, it needs to be mentioned that it offers ultra-low latency, a plug and play function, and that it comes with PowerDirector 15 editing software. When talking about bad sides, they include its limitation to only Windows OS, high hardware demands, but also not that great RECentral software that offers plenty of features, but lacks a final touch.
This is definitely among the best external capture card options out there. With AVerMedia Live Gamer Ultra (GC553) you can hardly go wrong.
- plug and play function
- 4k HDR support
- PowerDirector 15 included in the package
- high hardware demands
- works only on Windows
- not that great RECentral software
AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable 2 Plus
A Solid and Affordable Capture Card
AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable 2 Plus is a capture card that offers solid performance and capabilities at an affordable price. There is nothing extraordinary about this card; however, what it offers is more than enough for the majority of gamers.
It offers 60fps 1080p video capture and 4K pass-through and comes fitted with many connection types, including two 3.5mm audio ports, two HDMIs (one input and one output), micro USB port and even a MicroSD card slot.
Portable 2 Plus provides smooth video capture and comes fitted with a decent software package that has many customization options and different modes, as for example Multi-Mode that allows for camera angles settings, creation of scene presets, screen flipping, capture or stream of your whole screen or part of it, etc.).
Moreover, this card allows for direct MicroSD card video capture and offers a very handy PC free mode. However, this device also comes with a few drawbacks, such as the lack of support for older systems, and a bit laggish performance that limits its gaming potential and prevents you from playing, unless you have another TV or monitor.
Altogether, AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable 2 Plus is a solid, but not perfect capture card that has a lot of potential and provides more than a pleasing performance that is good enough for the most.
- Ability to capture video directly to a microSD card
- PC Free Mode
- Good connectivity
- It lacks support for older systems
- No HDR support
- A bit laggish
Hauppauge – HD PVR 2
A Trustworthy Capture Card That is Worth Every Cent
Hauppauge – HD PVR 2 is a nice portable capture card that offers plenty of features that do a fine job of compensating for its non-premium image quality. Don’t get us wrong, this device has a pretty good image, but not the top of class one. It allows for 1080i and 1080p recording, at 30 fps, but with a maximum bitrate of only 14MBps.
When talking about the sound, Hauppauge – HD PVR 2 has a built-in audio mixer and can record a crystal clear 5.1 channel audio. Other than that, there is also a recording button on the device itself, for easy recording, built-in H.264 AVCHD video encoder, the Facecam feature that allows you to add webcam footage to the video you are recording and the StreamEez application that lets you share your live streams on YouTube and Twitch. These features altogether make this device one of the best capture card options out there.
When talking about the downsides, this device’s major weaknesses are its large files produced during capture (15 minutes of 1080p video takes around 1.25GB of space) and the need for its own USB-compatible storage, but other than that, this is a pretty decent product that is compatible with Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS4 and Wii U.
All in all, if you already have a good webcam for streaming and need a proper capture card to pair it with, Hauppauge – HD PVR 2 is more than a good option that surely won’t disappoint you.
- PIP Effect
- excellent audio recording features
- compatible with older consoles
- requires an AC adapter
- not that great built-in video editing options
- need for a third-party app for Mac computers
ClonerAlliance HDML-Cloner Box Pro
A Feature-Rich Capture Card
If you are after a capture card that offers a variety of features and doesn’t cost too much at the same time, ClonerAlliance HDML-Cloner Box Pro is the device for you.
Although it is not the most reliable one, nor with the best quality control, this device delivers everything you may need and much more. It supports 1080p capture and 4K pass-through and allows for video capturing from a range of devices including PS4, VCR, Xbox One, PC, etc. Moreover, this card allows for content recording directly to a PC, USB or an external hard drive.
It is compact and offers good connectivity (it has one input and one output HDMI, MMI HDMI that supports for the use (over the adapter) of VGA, AV and component connection and 3.5mm audio jack) and allows for both scheduled recording and live streaming to numerous platforms such as Twitch or YouTube.
ClonerAlliance HDML-Cloner Box Pro supports 3rd party software and works with all the major broadcasting apps such as OBS, XSplit, etc. and altogether presents a decent all-around device that only lacks a bit more consistency. In other words, this is one of the best capture cards available and a card that will deliver everything you may need and much more, but only if you are willing to accept its unpredictable nature.
- Good connectivity
- Multiple software support
- Not the most reliable device
- Not the best quality control
AGPTEK MYPIN HDMI Game Capture Card
A Cheap Multipurpose Device that will Give You Everything You Ever Asked For in a Capture Card
AGPTEK MYPIN is a capture card pretty similar to the MiraBox USB 3.0. It also offers full HD recording and streaming at 60 fps, it works with Windows, Linux, Mac OS, has a USB3.0 interface, plug and play function, it is compatible with all the major streaming services and software, compatible with all the major consoles. Even the colors (red/black) of the devices are the same. They are basically the same device in a slightly different package and are offered under marginally different price.
In other words, if you need a quality solution for game streaming, multimedia teaching, or just want to have a decent multipurpose capturing/streaming device, AGPTEK MYPIN, or MiraBox USB 3.0, is the device you should look for. These two are undeniably the best cheap capture cards you can get for your gaming adventures.
- both recording and streaming capability
- high compatibility
- unattractive design
- no mic-in commentary support
Razer Ripsaw HD
A Compact and Multifunctional External Capture Card
If you are after a compact and affordable external capture card for your streaming adventures, Razer Ripsaw HD might be the best fit for you.
This card offers both HDMI2.0 input and output and is equipped with USB Type-C port, 3.5mm Mic-In and 3.5mm Aux-in. Moreover, it is supported by all the major broadcasting apps such as Streamlabs OBS, OBS Studio, and XSplit.
Razer Ripsaw HD supports 1080p and lower resolution video capturing, however, only at a 60fps rate, no matter what the resolution is. Moreover, this card supports for 4K 60fps pass-through, as well as pass-through of other, lower-resolution footage, but also at up to 60fps, which is good enough for streaming purposes and consoles such as Xbox One, but may present an issue if you are using the card during your playing.
In other words, Razer Ripsaw HD is a solid card and among the best external capture cards that will fulfill most of your needs. However, be aware that it may not present a real future-proof option because of its limitations.
- Good price
- 60fps 1080p capture
- USB-C 3.0 connectivity
- Lower framerates capture
- Not much user-friendly
Today, we have presented you the best capture cards on today’s market, and we are sure that there is something for everyone on this list. Read through the advice and the options carefully, pick your perfect companion, and you’re ready to rock!