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.
9 Best Capture Cards
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
AVerMedia Live Gamer 4K GC573
Simply the Best 4K Capture Card Available
AVerMedia Live Gamer 4K GC573 looks like any other PCIe card. At the first glance, there are no specifics that separate it from a whole bunch of similar-looking devices; however, that impression lasts only until you see its true nature and how capable it is.
In numbers, that means you can use it to record your gaming adventures in HDR10 60FPS 4K clips, as well as make a passthrough with the same numbers. This device is also capable of capturing videos at up to 240FPS in Full HD and it provides latency-free performance that makes it suitable for both professional and enthusiast use.
AVerMedia Live Gamer 4K GC573 comes with two HDMI2.0 ports and supports both 7.1 and 5.1 surround sound. On top of that, it is fitted with RGB lighting that has three customizable modes, and it comes in a package with the very handy CyberLink PowerDirector 15 and RECentral software that will let you configure your streams and make video edits on your recorded videos with ease.
Simply, this PCI-Express Gen 2 x4 card provides exceptional performance and very good video quality of its captures, good 150Mbps bitrate, and a good set of additional features that ultimately make this excellent package and AVerMedia Live Gamer 4K GC573 one of the best capture cards available, with more than convincing arguments.
- Low latency performance
- 60FPS 4K video capture and passthrough
- RGB lighting
- 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound support
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
Elgato HD60 S+
A Solid Capture Card for the Price
Elgato HD60 S+ is another capture card from the Corsair/Elgato craftsmanship that brings flawless, low-latency performance and overall great usability. This card supports HDR10 60FPS 1080P video capture and HDR10 60FPS 4K passthrough, and it offers support for a whole bunch of devices such as PS4, Xbox One, Switch, Nvidia Shield TV, and so on.
Elgato HD60 S+ comes with multi-device support and is fitted with a solid list of connections that involve analog audio in, HDMI in, HDMI out and USB3.0 out. Moreover, it is lightweight (115g), compact, and it supports a maximal bitrate of 60Mbps, which makes it a pretty good option.
Above all, it provides a plug-and-play functionality and ease of use, and it delivers a crisp and clear image that will please most users. Also, it comes with a special Flashback Recording that allows for retroactive recording, not letting you miss a single shot. In other words, everything expected from the best capture card is there, and the only thing left to do is pair it with one of the best webcams for streaming and enjoy your entire console gaming to the max.
- Plug-and-play functionality
- Lag-free performance
- Low latency
- Good compatibility
- No high frame-rate support
- No 4K 60FPS video captures
An Affordable, yet Well-Performing Capture Card
If you are a fan of affordable, yet functional devices that will let you indulge in the benefits of more expensive devices at a lower cost, with a few minor drawbacks, Unzano HD60 is the capture card for you.
This device supports 60FPS 1080p video capture and 360MBps passthrough, and before anything else, it offers great compatibility that allows its use with PS3 and PS4, Switch, Xbox, DVD players, video cameras, and so on. With this card, you are getting USB3.0 connectivity, one HDMI in and one HDMI out, microphone and audio input, and the ability to use it along with the devices that are run by Windows, Mac, or Linux, which certainly adds to its overall versatility.
Unzano HD60 capture card is plug-and-play device that is very easy to use and in general, for its price, it offers quite a good value. Therefore, if you are searching for a solid, but not too expensive capture card, Unzano HD60 should definitely be among the top picks on your list.
- Plug-and-play functionality
- Good compatibility
- No 4K video capture 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!