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Best Capture Cards Available Today [2021]

Best Capture Cards Available Today [2021]

You’ll agree with me when I say:

It’s so much fun to create gaming videos! Twitch streaming can be a lot of fun too!

There is, however, a slight problem. Streaming is difficult without a good capture card.

There are so many different capture cards available. Everyone has different recommendations based on their experiences.

Best Capture Cards

We can assist you in choosing the perfect capture card.

The following is a list of the Best Capture Cards of 2018. The top 10 capture cards for computers, PlayStation, Xbox, and Wii were shortlisted.

Below is our list of the top ten capture cards available on Amazon.

Top 5 Best Best Capture Cards On The Market [2021]

1. Elgato Game Capture HD60 Pro – Best Capture Card for Gaming

Elgato Game Capture HD60 Pro

Elgato is a well-known name in the capture card industry. Its products are efficient, reliable, and easy to use. Elgato Game Capture HD60 Pro is no exception. With the HD60 Pro, you can record gameplay videos and stream them. The capture card is compatible with PCs, Xboxes, PlayStations, and Nintendo Switches.

Streaming to Twitch, YouTube and other platforms is easy with the HD60 Pro. With the “instant gameview” mode, gamers can stream with low latency. The ability to record gameplay in 1080p60 at the same time as streaming content is available.

Elgato HD60 Pro requires a PCIe connection to function. Most laptops are incompatible with it. Even when capturing footage from consoles, the HD60 Pro requires a desktop. Elgato’s website provides more details on the minimum and recommended system requirements for running its software.

When streaming or recording using the capture card, users will get 1080p60 quality. If necessary, the video quality and/or frames per second can be lowered. The capture card supports a maximum bitrate of 60 Mbps. For seamless creation of compressed video files, it features a H.265 hardware encoder.

Pros
  • The encoder keeps file sizes small, maximizing disk space
  • 1080p60 quality on a budget
  • The Elgato software is known for its ease of use
  • The onboard H.264 encoder ensures unlimited footage at bitrates up to 60 Mbps.
Cons
  • Uses a PCIe connection, meaning a desktop is needed for proper function
  • Does not work with some older consoles, such as PlayStation 3
  • No 4k support

2. Elgato Game Capture HD – Best Capture Card for PS4

Elgato Game Capture HD

Elgato Game Capture HD offers all the features you need to stream or record gameplay on different platforms. It is compatible with PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U, and computers. With H.264 encoding, flash recording, YouTube share, and other features, it is one of the most intuitive capture cards to use.

Streaming and capturing content at 1080p30, 720p60 and below, the Game Capture HD delivers impressive video quality and frames per second. Those who prefer video quality will choose 1080p30. 720p60 output will satisfy those who prefer high frames per second.

Some capture cards can only be connected via PCI or PCIe. The Elgato Game Capture HD is designed to meet the needs of content creators. USB 3.0 is used to connect the capture card to computers. This means the card is compatible with high-end laptops.

Game Capture HD offers an intuitive experience with ample features for gamers and content creators. It comes with Elgato’s standard streaming software, connects to consoles via HDMI, and features a maximum bitrate of 30 Mbps.

Pros
  • Features Flashback Recording, allowing users to time-shift gameplay when necessary
  • Connect a microphone to your laptop or desktop for added audio. Game Capture HD allows for easy and separate adjusting of microphone and game volume
  • High quality streaming and recording on a budget
  • With advanced H.264 encoding, file sizes are automatically shrunk from their uncompressed versions, saving disk space
  • No power supply necessary for function. Makes the Game Capture HD ideal for streaming or recording gameplay on the go
  • USB 3.0 connection means the Game Capture HD works with laptops
Cons
  • The 1080p30 limit may be a concern for some users
  • No ability to record and stream content simultaneously Users must do one or the other
  • Maximum bitrate of 30 Mbps is a bit low
  • Does not work with the Nintendo Switch

3. AVerMedia Live Gamer HD 2 – Best Capture Card for PC

AVerMedia Live Gamer HD 2

PC users can record and stream video using the AVer Media Live Gamer HD 2. This capture card is ideal for those who would like to record gameplay from PC games. Recordings will be up to 1080p60 in quality. Uncompressed video output is supported by the capture card. File sizes can be reduced by choosing the compressed option.

Compatible with the latest versions of Windows and works as a plug-and-play device. Connects to computers via PCIe. Connects to consoles via HDMI pass-through. Xbox, PlayStation, Wii U, and Nintendo Switch consoles are supported. AVerMedia Live Gamer HD 2 supports up to eight graphics cards.

RECentral 3 software offers live editing, quality settings, content overlay, and other features. Third-party recording software can be used with this capture card. With the AVerMedia Live Gamer HD 2, you can use programs such as XSplit and OBS. The manufacturer offers a two-year warranty on the product.

Customers in the United States have access to full customer support. Phone support is available to users who need assistance setting up capture cards. To run this capture card, you need an Nvidia GTX 650 or better. The Radeon equivalent is the R7 250X or better.

Pros
  • Supports up to eight graphics cards for superior performance
  • RECentral allows for easy live streaming. Includes options for live editing, content overlay and adding audio
  • PCI Express connection results in latency-free recordings
  • Captures videos uncompressed. Ideal for those who want maximum quality in their files
  • 1080p60 quality is ideal for recording videos and live streaming
Cons
  • No built-in H.264 encoder
  • Only works with Windows computers. No Mac or Linux support
  • Uses an older version of the RECentral software
  • No 4K support

4. AVerMedia Live Gamer Extreme – Best Capture Card for Streaming

AVerMedia Live Gamer Extreme

Twitch has never been easier to use. Are you looking for a product that allows you to start live streaming in minutes? Learn more by reading on! AVerMedia Live Gamer Extreme is an ideal capture card for prospective streamers and content creators. Full 1080p60 video capture is supported.

The capture card provides ultra-low latency connections. It is compatible with all consoles, including Xbox, Playstation, Wii U, Nintendo Switch, and the NES Classic. Streaming occurs over USB 3.0 for ultra-low latency. Users can live edit while streaming. The AVerMedia Live Gamer Extreme allows you to add a webcam, overlay, picture in picture, and other features to a live stream.

Users can record retroactively with TimeShift technology. Live Gamer Extreme comes with a two-year warranty from AverMedia. There is support for multiple audio connections. Users can record uncompressed videos at 1080p60 quality. When necessary, lower settings are available.

Live Gamer Extreme requires a PC connection. It connects through USB 3.0, meaning laptops are usable with the capture card. The AVerMedia Live Gamer Extreme only supports Windows operating systems. Mac and Linux users may want to find another card.

Pros
  • Broadcasting to Twitch, YouTube, Ustream and other streaming websites is very easy
  • Uses the latest version of the RECentral software.
  • Supports aux and microphone audio sources
  • Live editing, trimming, merging and TimeShift are possible with the AVerMedia Live Gamer Extreme
  • 1080p60fps quality is ideal for live streaming content on Twitch. Users can capture uncompressed content for the highest quality live streams
  • The AVerMedia Live Gamer Extreme works with DirectShow compatible streaming applications. Xsplit and OBS are usable
Cons
  • Requires a PC to use
  • Does not include a built-in H.264 encoder
  • Only works with Windows. No Mac or Linux support
  • Does not work with Windows versions lower than Windows 7

5. Elgato Game Capture HD60 S – Best Capture Card for Xbox One

 Elgato Game Capture HD60

It has never been easier to record content on the Xbox One. With the Elgato Game Capture HD60 S, Xbox content can be recorded effortlessly. Supports Xbox One, One S, and One X consoles. Also compatible with PlayStation, Wii U, and Nintendo Switch. It is also possible to record PC games.

The Elgato Game Capture HD60 S uses the latest USB 3.0 connection. Laptops can use the Game Capture HD60 S since it has USB and not PCIe connectivity. Live streaming is built-in. Instant Gameview provides low latency streaming at all times. Users can add webcams and overlays to streams with ease.

The HD60 S is so compact that it can be used for streaming and recording on the move. Users can easily record content using Elgato Game Capture HD software with a laptop, console, and the HD60 S. Third-party software is supported. With the HD60 S, you can use programs such as OBS.

Pros
  • Content bitrate of up to 40 Mbps
  • Instant Game view produces near-perfect streaming performance for Xbox One gaming
  • Unlimited stream customization. Add webcam, overlays, alerts, picture in picture, and other features to the stream
  • Full 1080p60 capture allows for incredible quality while recording content
  • Affordable 1080p streaming and recording in a pocketable package
Cons
  • Does not include a built-in H.264 hardware encoder.
  • Requires a PC to run
  • Only works with Windows 10 60-bit versions, and MacOS Sierra
  • No support for Linux
  • Capture streaming is not as lag-free as pass-through streaming

Best Capture Cards Buying Guide

Gamers can use capture cards to record footage from their games. On the latest Xbox, PlayStation and Wii consoles, you can record content for streaming or videos. You can also record PC gaming content. Not all capture cards work on all devices. Others work exclusively with computers. I’ll talk about that later!

best-capture-card-buying-guide

Raw footage will be produced as soon as you hit record on the capture card. They can edit the raw footage into shorter videos or upload it unedited. Now gamers can stream gameplay content in real time to online audiences. Streaming takes place on specific online platforms like Twitch.tv and YouTube.

Gamers can use the buying guide to find out what type of capture card they can use to record or stream footage in real time. When buying a capture card, everyone has different needs. Budget is a consideration. You will need a capture card that has the features you need, and fits within your budget. You can use the guide to find the best capture cards available today.

What Features Make a Great Capture Card?

It is easy to look at the price tag or reviews for a capture card and make an instant buying decision. These machines are so complicated. There are unique features, drawbacks, and limitations to each capture card. What will you do with your capture card? What is the purpose of it? Before choosing a capture card, answer these questions. Is it possible to find the perfect capture card on a budget? Find out more by reading on!

Image Quality

When choosing a capture card, it is important to consider the image quality of recordings. The records on some of the more affordable capture cards are limited to 1080p30. The recording quality is at full HD resolution. The “30” represents the frames per second of the recording. 1080p30 recordings will be useful both for streaming and YouTube for gamers on a budget.

If you want to make the best videos, you can go in a different direction. High-end capture cards offer video quality up to 4k60. By using a capture card of this kind, a gamer could record videos at four times the quality of 1080p, and at 60 frames per second. The best capture card for 4k60 video is a 4k60 capture card.

Even so, not every gamer will need a 4k60 capture card. A majority of gamers do not have the console or computer setup needed to play major games at 4k resolutions. For the best balance between quality and affordability, a capture card that can handle 1080p60 recordings is the best option. 60 frames per second still provide smooth playback, and it’s in full HD.

Input Options

Your capture card’s input options determine the devices it is compatible with. Some capture cards can only be used with computers. Some allow cross-platform compatibility.

Most consoles are compatible with cards that support HDMI input. HDMI inputs are compatible with gaming consoles like the Xbox, PlayStation, Wii, and computer graphics cards. Gamers who only want to record footage on their computer can use PC-specific capture cards. Those who play on different consoles should try to purchase a capture card with HDMI inputs.

top-rated-capture-card

Interface

We have discussed one type of connection. Capture card for the device where gameplay is taking place. The second connection to understand is how the capture card captures and releases the footage it is recording. A capture card can be connected to a console to grab footage for videos or streaming. A capture card must be connected to a computer simultaneously. A computer connection is required to manage the capture card’s interface. This is also where you can review the real-time footage that is coming in through the capture card.

There are two ways to connect capture cards to computers. They will use a PCIe connection or a USB 3.0 connection. High-end laptops and desktops will be able to use capture cards with USB 3.0 connectivity. With a laptop, a capture card using PCIe connections will not work as those ports are not visible to the user.

Some laptops have mini PCI-E ports. With a PCI-E to mini PCI-E adapter, those laptops may be able to connect to capture cards. This type of connection is not recommended, as it may compromise the quality and stability of the recording.

A PCIe connection is not a problem if the gamer is using a desktop with the capture card. It will work with almost any modern motherboard. Laptop owners should only consider capture cards with USB 3.0 connections.

Software

The software used with a capture card varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. A capture card from a major manufacturer, such as Elgato or Hauppauge, will come with its standard software. Smaller manufacturers may offer capture cards with third-party software. It is important to evaluate the quality of the software that comes with a capture card. It is the software’s interface that allows streaming, adding commentary, adding a webcam, and other features.

See online reviews and the experiences of other content creators and streamers. You will gain a deeper understanding of the limitations, issues, and features of different capture card software. When you find the right balance between hardware and software features, you have made the right purchase.

Conclusion

Capture cards have a huge market. Every year, new capture cards are released. Do you choose a capture card with PCIe or USB 3.0 connections? Is 1080p60 sufficient? Are you in need of 4K60 support? It’s a tough decision.

How you use the capture card will influence some decisions. Some are more objective than others. With a good capture card, you can record and stream HD footage from your computer or console seamlessly.

We hope that our list will help you choose the best capture card for your budget. There are some incredible choices on our top ten list. By reading the list and our buying guide, you can make an informed buying decision.


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Tech Hamster – Technology News, Reviews, and Buying Guides is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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