A capture card captures video signals so you can edit gameplay on your computer and then stream the video on streaming platforms like Twitch or upload it as gameplay vlogs on YouTube
Here we will explain what you need to look for to buy the best capture card as well as give you a few examples of the best capture cards you can find in the market today.
So, what makes a great capture card?
Image Quality: The most essential function of a capture card is to record the video in high quality especially if you want to stream it later. Hence the first thing you will look for in a capture card is the image resolution and video resolution it supports and at what frame rate. We recommend that you opt for a capture card that supports at least 1080p resolution or Full HD at a minimum of sixty frames per second
Software: Every capture card comes with its software. This software will help you record, live stream, and edit your footage. The quality of this differs between every manufacturer. The capture card we recommend has sustained a reputation in the marketplace through quality software and various functionalities such as commentary, streaming overlays, and adding a webcam to the gameplay.
Input types: Before you purchase the capture card you need to make sure that the capture card has the correct input for the device you wish to record it with. The most popular input is HDMI which is used by most gaming consoles like Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4. A few older consoles use component cables, for them you will need to find a capture card that has a video input component.
Interface: The interface of a capture card is how it connects to the computer for recording. The most popular one is the USB, which is extremely easy to set up, another popular option is the PCIe.
The best USB Capture Cards
USB capture cards are extremely easy to set up and you can just plug them into whatever computer you want to use to record your gameplay. These cards are supported by both desktops and laptops running Windows or Mac OSX.
Most capture cards have a USB format since they are easy to set up and most compatible. However, you will need to check the compatibility of your computer’s processor with the capture card.
A slight disadvantage when it comes to USB capture cards is that they require an external power supply. In the list we have mentioned below, only one out of the 10 needs an external power supply and that is the Hauppauge HD PVR 2.
Elgato game capture HD60 is one of the best capture cards known according to the buyer’s reviews. Elgato is a notable brand that provides access to high-quality capture cards which are easy to set up with neither complicated feature that will not put buyers in any kind of difficulty. Other than these features it also comes with user-friendly software which makes the users record or stream their gameplay in the easiest way possible.
The Elgato Game Capture HD60 features allow you to record and stream your consoles highlighting specifically Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 4. well, it does not end here with recording and streaming you can also share your gameplay with others all over. People whose social life revolves around gameplay must know that such features require a good HD quality. The Elgato Game capture effortlessly captures hours of gameplay with an amazing HD quality of 1080p with 60fps which can be easily accessible on your PC.
As I mentioned earlier about the software that Elgato contains. There is still more left to be discovered by buyers about this software. This software produces flashback recording which runs in the background. So, for instance, if you are not recording and something spectacular happens during the play so you can simply check back on your PC and press the record button.
Hauppauge- HD PVR 2 is another well-known brand that users have put helpful reviews about it. Let us dig into some amazing facts about it. The Hauppauge HD PVR 2 is one of the best choices for game streaming and recording. It records seamlessly hours of the game with the help of an HDMI cable for Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PS4. Other than that, you will find the setup steps easiest. Well to make an unchallenging setup you just must leave your gaming console at 1080P60 and hit the record button.
The Hauppauge- HD PVR 2 produces software called Hauppauge Captures which contains several advantageous factors which will help during the gameplay. Firstly, it can record or stream your videos with Face Cam. And it has a feature that can record and edit your Xbox or PlayStation gameplay in HD. Furthermore, you can put your gameplay video to the next level by putting some spices like adding game commentary or multi-track audio. Lastly, you insert your logo on your video to mark your identity.
AVerMedia Live Gamer Extreme is another big name in the capture card market that has been for a long time and its name is highly due to its high-quality software and hardware. AVerMedia Live Gamer Extreme is a 3.0 USB capture card that can easily record and stream all gaming consoles like Xbox one, X box 360, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4 with high HD quality.
Without a hardware encoding process, the Live Gamer Extreme can capture stunning uncompressed footage and features ultra-low latency and perfectly synchronize gameplay and voice commentary. The Live Gamer Extreme also supports auxiliary and microphone audio sources to add in your background music or commentary.
All AVerMedia capture cards are shipped with AVerMedia’s software: RECentral 2. RECentral 2 is a powerful editing tool that allows you to edit, trim and merge gameplay on the fly.
RECentral 2 also has a lot of other features which include: adding a webcam, customized overlay, and multiple scenes complete with commentary to make sure your videos and streams look professional.
This is the second USB 3.0 capture card on our list. It can record and stream Xbox, PlayStation, or PC gameplay in a Full HD format at 60 frames per second with an HDMI component input.
Because this capture card has no hardware encoding process it can capture uncompressed raw video and stream with minimal latency. It also allows you to play directly in the preview window of your video recording software.
The software that comes along with the AVerMedia capture card, the RECentral 2 allows you to edit, trim and merge the gameplay, add a webcam, and overlay commentary to make videos look professional and directly stream to twitch.
It works seamlessly with RECentral or any DirectShow-compliant software. For editing, there are Sony Vegas and Adobe Premiere Pro which include smarter operation flows.
Along with this capture card is the USB 3.0 diagnosis tool which is software for the testing of performance. This tool shows whether the USB 3.0 port on the laptop or desktop can transmit the Full HD 60 fps video.
The Elgato Game Capture HD 60 Pro is remarkably like the Elgato Game Capture HD 60. This card enables you to record and stream Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 4 gameplay. The capture card seamlessly captures hours of gameplay in a stunning 1080p with 60fps which is directly accessible via PC or Mac.
The capture card allows for an Instant GameView. In this instance, GameView is an instant preview on your computer monitor to reflect what you see in-game including live commentary and its reactions on the webcam.
It also supports MasterCopy. The expert copy allows you to save a full-resolution 1080p 60fps recording of the raw gameplay at up to 60Mbps no matter what resolution you are streaming or recording at.
The software that comes along with the Elgato Game Capture HD 60 Pro has many features including
- Flashback recording: this saves the footage in the background while you are not capturing it.
- Stream command that easily adds your webcam to gameplays and changes these on a fly.
- Built-in live commentary that easily allows you to add your voice to the gameplays.
The Live Gamer HD is a PCIe capture card that enables you to record and stream the game footage up to 1080p via the PC. The card comes with an H.264 hardware encoder which decreases the CPU usage and brings smaller file sizes for editing. This lower CPU usage is especially important to PC gamers since frame rates are not dropped at higher settings.
This Live Gamer HD gives you access to higher recording powers of up to 60 Mbps and has an HDMI pass-through function so you can capture footage while gaming without seeing any delay.
It also has a dedicated record button so you can start or stop capturing without worrying about pressing the right hotkey.
The software that comes along with this capture card has features that allow you to add a webcam, customize overlays and commentary, and directly stream to Twitch, YouTube, and Ustream.
This capture card is one of the very first captured cards that can capture video footage in Ultra HD 4K resolution. It is the successor of the original intensity Pro capture card but with support for Ultra HD 4K and 1080p high frame rate support where you can save files without the need of any compression as well as import raw video.
The interfac3 included in the Blackmagic Design Intensity Pro 4K is the PCIeX1. It has an encrypted HDMI input compatible with PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Xbox 360. It supports a 2160p 4K Ultra HD resolution at 30 fps and a 1080p Full HD resolution at 60 frames per second.
The Razer Ripsaw captures a resolution of 1080p Full HD with a 4K passthrough at 60 frames per second with a USB 3.0 interface. It has built-in audio mixing.
However, it has a downside in that it does not with any proprietary software, so you are forced to use OBS or subscribe to XSplit. This is not a problem as many people use those very capable applications.
This product appeals to PC gamers who want to share their gameplay online but do not want to miss the top-notch visual identity ushered in by expensive and powerful graphics cards.
9. EVGA XR1
The EVGA XR1 is the best capture card with a built-in audio mixer. The capture card supports a 1080p resolution of up to 4K 60fps HDR passthrough. It is supported by a USB-C interface.
It is widely popular in the capture card market because of its customizable ARGB LEDs, its built-in mixer, and 4K at 120 fps HDR pass-through. Although some users avoid buying this capture card due to its complexity in configuration.
This is the best capture card on the market that uses an SD card. It supports a resolution of 1080p with a frame rate of 60fps along with a USB 3.0 interface. Besides the attractive form factor that the capture card presents, it also gives an intuitive software for editing and the ability to record straight onto a Micro SD card if you prefer to keep the HDD clear of a high storage video. The capture card is flexible, and it is the go-to option for any streamer who wants to record things on the go. The capture card also has an additional advantage in that it works straight out of the box, which adds a big plus point to its compatibility.
So here we are, a general election to what makes a capture card great along with our top 10 listings among the capture cards available in the market today. This guide will be enough for you to decide while purchasing the right capture card. Make sure to check its image quality, interface compatibility, and support of frame rates before you make an investment decision.