The video capture card allows you to stream and record gameplay on PC and consoles. This type of device sends the data stream directly during the game to the computer or broadcasts it directly to the selected platform (Twitch, etc.).
However, every capture card is different, so it's important to choose the device that best suits your needs. That's why we've put together a list of the best video capture cards, thanks to which any gamer can record or stream gameplay in the highest quality!
Below are seven models that are great for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, PC and Nintendo Switch. Note that all devices work only if your gaming station is equipped with a port HDMI (which is quite likely in modern realities).
- 1 Small guide
- 1.1 How to use the capture card?
- 1.2 How to choose a capture card?
- 1.3 When should I buy a video capture card?
- 2 Best Video Capture Cards
- 2.1 Elgato Game Capture HD60 S+
- 2.2 Asus Tuf Gaming CU4K30
- 2.3 AverMedia Live Gamer Portable 2 Plus
- 2.4 AverMedia Live Gamer Mini
- 2.5 Elgato 4K60 Pro
- 2.6 Elgato Game Capture 4K60 S+
- 2.7 AverMedia Live Gamer Duo
- 2.8 EVGA XR1
How to use a capture card?
The operation of a capture card is pretty straightforward. It acts as a link between the system you are playing on and the screen and records the gameplay.
In most cases, one HDMI cable is connected from the console or PC to the capture card, and another HDMI cable is connected from the capture card to the TV or monitor.
The USB cable connects the capture card to the PC. Once connected, you can add the device as an input device in your streaming software (such as OBS Studio).
How to choose a capture card?
If you know exactly what to look for, then choosing a capture card will not be difficult. The most important characteristics are the maximum supported resolution and frame rate.
If you're playing on a next generation console (PS5 or Xbox Series X), it's especially important to choose a capture card that can handle the console's full resolution and frame rate.
If you're just streaming gameplay rather than recording, you can get by with a lower resolution (permanent 4K streaming will have to wait a few more years anyway).
Also worth mentioning is the connection method. Five of the seven cards described below connect to the computer via a USB cable, while the rest use PCIe.
The latter are inserted into the PC case, and although they look different, they perform the same function. The only difference is that PCIe cards deliver better bandwidth than USB (so they are ideal for gameplay recording as they have virtually no latency).
Finally, consider write through mode. The capture card may limit the resolution and frame rate of games depending on the pass-through. For example, the Elgato Game Capture HD60 S+ supports 4K 60 FPS pass-through, allowing you to enjoy full resolution on your PS5 or Xbox Series X while streaming or recording gameplay.
When should I buy a video capture card?
Yes, PS5 and Xbox Series X provide the ability to record gameplay using the built-in software, but it is better to use a capture card. Not only does it allow you to fully customize your stream with programs like XSplit and OBS, but it also delivers better quality.
Without going into too much technical detail, however, the video encoding process is extremely demanding on the system's processor, which results in internal gameplay recording resulting in lower encoding quality.
The problem is that higher resolution gameplay can only be recorded for a certain period of time.
The capture card solves this problem, as it allows you to customize the quality of gameplay, as well as record longer and at higher resolutions. A good capture card is also important for streaming as it ensures the full quality of the game.
Best Video Capture Cards
Elgato Game Capture HD60 S+
Elgato HD60 is one of the best video capture cards on the market, but not so long ago the company introduced the next generation model called HD60 S+. Stylistically and mechanically the device is almost identical to HD60 S, but it has a unique advantage: the device gives 4K HDR at 60 FPS in the end-to-end HDMI mode (in this mode, the output always reinches the incoming signal).
Despite the fact that HD60 S + is still limited to 1080p HDR at 60 frames per second, you can still squeeze the maximum graphic features from your new console. HD60 S + is also able to record in 4K, but at 30 frames per second.
When developing HD60 S +, Elgato explicitly aimed at the Xbox Series X / S and PlayStation 5 Console, but the device works great on PS4 and Xbox One.
No matter what console you use, the setting process is very simple. You need to connect the HDMI cable to the console and the device, and then connect the supplied USB cable to the computer, after which the software for Studio Studio and XSplit type will automatically detect the console as a source of the input signal.
As for the technical characteristics of the PC, then HD60 S + requires a little more compared to the usual S:
- for Windows: You will need at least the Intel i5 processor of the 6th generation, 4 GB of RAM and of the video card NVIDIA GTX of the 10th series.
- for Mac: 4 GB of RAM, but there is enough Intel i5 of the 4th generation and a graphic chip from AMD or NVIDIA.
- Instant Streaming.
- FLASHBACK RECORDING function.
- Compatibility with consoles, PCs and Mac.
- No encoder H.264.
- Limited options for editing software.
ASUS TUF Gaming Cu4K30
ASUS TUF GAMING CU4K30 - a great option if you are looking for a video capture card for the next generation console. As the name implies, you can record or fight gameplay with a resolution up to 4K at a speed of 30 frames per second. The model also supports the capture in the resolution of 2K at 60 fps and 1080p at 120 FPS.
The pass-through mode allows you to enjoy the gameplay in maximum resolution and at a maximum frame rate: the signal can be transmitted in 4K at 60 fps or 1080p at 240 FPS. In addition, in the end-to-end model also supports HDR.
Note that the device is equipped with headphone and controller ports on the front panel, so you can easily connect them and not bother with a console or PC.
The capture card itself connects to the computer with a single USB-C cable which is ready to go right out of the box - you don't need to download any drivers.
Although the design of the video capture card is usually not a big deal, the CU4K30 looks great! It is made of aluminum and has the Asus Tuf logo on the top of the device. There is even a small RGB backlight that reports various states of the device (for example, if the signal has been interrupted or the firmware is being updated).
- Aluminum housing.
- 4K60 pass-through.
- RGB lighting.
- No capture in 4K at 60 FPS.
AverMedia Live Gamer Portable 2 Plus
The Nintendo Switch is especially known for its portability, making it a great option for gamers who travel a lot, and with With a suitable carrying bag, you can even take the docking station with you.
If you want to record gameplay while traveling but don't want to take your PC with you, AverMedia Live Gamer Portable 2 Plus is the best capture card for Nintendo Switch. It's great for Nintendo's hybrid console, but it's also perfectly compatible with PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, and Xbox One.
Live Gamer Portable 2 Plus allows you to record gameplay without a PC because it is equipped with an H.264 encoder. The device shoots in 1080p at 60 frames per second, which is the Nintendo Switch's limit.
Then the device saves the video to the microSD card, from where all the content will be transferred to your computer.
If you want to stream live, you need to connect the video capture card to your computer and use the Avermedia (RECentral) software. It's fairly easy to use and boasts features quite comparable to OBS and XSplit. Real-time editing allows you to cut unwanted elements from a video and then save the final result as a file.
In addition to the microSD and Micro USB ports, the unit is equipped with two HDMIs (on the back), one of which is for 4K (non-HDR) pass-through. On the front panel there are separate connectors for the microphone and headphones, as well as the volume and regime adjustment buttons (PCs, without a PC, drive).
System requirements are a bit strange: The desktop PC must be equipped with at least the Core i5-3330 and the GTX 650 video card, and the laptop is Core i7-4810mq and GTX 870M (or better).
One of the main deficiencies of Avermedia Live Gamer Portable 2 Plus is that proprietary software works only with Windows. The company offers a beta version for Mac, but Apple users probably have to install third-party software (OBS and XSplit).
- Compactness and portability.
- End-to-end transmission 4K.
- Universal and easy-to-use software.
- Video recording on MicroSD.
- Console support and PC.
- Mac users will have to download third-party software.
Avermedia Live Gamer MINI
Avermedia Live Gamer Mini - Excellent budget model offering all the necessary functions at a great price! The capture card supports recording and streaming in 1080p at 60 frames per second, as well as through-mode with zero delay, which allows you to fully control the gameplay in real time. In a sense, Live Gamer Mini even surpasses the capture cards that are twice as expensive!
This is mainly due to the built-in H.264 encoder. As in the case of Elgato HD 60, Live Gamer MINI removes the load from the central processor during streaming or recording and takes video coding processing.
We note and the accompanying Streamengine software is a simple application that allows you to record gameplay before it is directed to the selected streaming platform.
As in the case of Live Gamer Portable 2 Plus, described above, this model comes with Recentral software - here there is everything you need for Streaming on YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, etc., and Also support for chromakes and audio mixer.
If you prefer other software, Live Gamer MINI supports Xsplit, OBS and OBS Studio.
Video capture card is quite simple: it is small (thickness is less than inch) and has only three ports (HDMI input, HDMI output and USB 2.0 output).
As for system requirements, you will need at least Intel i5-3330 and GTX 650 on the desktop PC and I7-4810MQ and GTX 870M on the laptop. The card requires at least 4 GB of RAM on laptops and desktop computers, although Avermedia recommends 8 GB.
Here, as in the case of the previous capture card, MAC users have access only to the Express version of Recentral. It does not have functions in real time and optimization, presented in the full version of the Windows program.
- Built-in encoder H.264.
- through real-time mode.
- Streaming in 1080p at 60 frames per second.
- No software for Mac.
Elgato 4K60 Pro
Elgato 4K60 Pro - one of the best cards of video capture, which literally destroys all competitors (consequently, the price is suitable). This is an internal model (placed directly in the computer case), which issues a much better bandwidth thanks to the PCIE X4 interface. It is much faster than USB 3.0 under any circumstances, and USB 2.0 remains out of comparison.
The main feature of 4K60 Pro is that the model is capable of recording content in the resolution of 2160p at 60 frames per second. In addition, it supports 1080p60 and HDR10.
Thus, the device is mainly intended for computer gamers. By itself, setting the card into the computer The task is simple, however, for this, the effort will still have to make (you need to open the side cover of the case, etc.).
4K60 Pro - Map of video capture for gamers not only because it is internal, but also because it is pretty demanding: you will need at least graphics processor NVIDIA 10th series, as well as the Core i7 of the 6th generation or Ryzen 7. In addition, the card supports only Windows.
Fortunately, Elgato Elgato 4k60 Pro is worth it! It is equipped with all the steep features as HD60 S, among which it is worth highlighting FlashBack Recording and through mode with a resolution up to 1080p240 or 1440p144.
- Support HDR.
- Record in 4K at 60 FPS.
- Supports multiple programs for streaming.
- Only PCIE connection.
- High system requirements.
ELGATO GAME CAPTURE 4K60 S +
Elgato Game Capture 4K60 S + is, in fact, 4k60 Pro, but in the box. The model is almost twice as expensive (the price reaches almost 40,000 rubles), but has several advantages over Pro version.
S + is equipped with a built-in H.264 / H.265 hardware encoder. That is why there is no supercomputer to use the device, since all the processing occurs on the map itself (nevertheless you still need a decent playing station).
As in the case of 4K60 PRO, the computer must be equipped with at least 8 GB RAM and the NVIDIA graphics processor of the 10th series, as well as Windows 10. To the processor requirement less Strict: enough Ryzen 7 or Core i5 6 generation.
Considering that the model is equipped with an encoder, to use 4K60 S + you will not even need a PC. Thanks to the built-in SD cardroom, you can easily record gameplay without PC in 4K resolution at 60 fps. In addition, 4K60 S + supports HDR in case you play on xbox one x or PS4 Pro.
However, there are several drawbacks. 4K60 S + does not support pass-through mode with high resolution and frame rate, as in the case of a PCIE version, and the Instant GameView feature (allows you to synchronize the recording of the gameplay with the sound coming from the microphone, of webcams or other sources) issues a delay in 250 milliseconds.
However, 4K60 S + is an excellent card video capture, if we talk about the gameplay recording with the maximum resolution and frame rate.
- Built-in encoder H.264 / H.265.
- SD card reader.
- HDR support.
- Record in 4K with a speed of 60 frames per second.
- Very expensive.
- The pass-through mode does not write in high resolution.
Avermedia Live Gamer Duo
All of the above capture cards are equipped at one input and output, so you can simultaneously fight or write only from one source.
Avermedia Live Gamer Duo allows you to record from two sources at the same time! Moreover, this can be done in a 1080p resolution at 60 frames per second.
It is very convenient. If you, for example, are not satisfied with your webcam, you can connect the camera to the second entry on the map. The first input is also supported by HDR, so you can record the gameplay in HDR on PS4 Pro and Xbox One X.
Note that Live Gamer Duo is a PCIE card, so it needs to be installed in the computer. If you compare it with the devices of the same price category, namely with Elgato 4k60 Pro, then Live Gamer Duo does not support recording or streaming in 4K format.
However, the device gives 4K to 60 FPS in through-mode, so you can still enjoy all the graphic delights of modern games.
If you prefer to squeeze the maximum frame rate, then through the mode allows you to play 1080p with a frequency of 240 Hz or 1440p with a frequency 144 Hz.
Unlike other Avermedia models indicated above, Gamer Duo is not equipped with H.264 encoder, so a decent PC will be needed to use the device. In addition to the free PCIE slot, at least I5 of the 6th generation or the Ryzen 5 of the first generation, as well as GTX 1050 or R7 560 (and better) are needed. As for RAM, then 8 GB will be enough.
And finally, the software: Avermedia Live Gamer Duo comes with Avermedia Recentral, however, the card supports almost any other software for Stryming. We note and customizable RGB-backlight (you can choose how the device will be lit).
- Two HDMI inputs.
- HDR support.
- Through mode 4K60.
- No 4K.
EVGA XR1, released in 2020, was ambiguously accepted by users due to high prices and incomprehensible characteristics. At the beginning, the cost was indeed unnecessarily high, but then EVGA reduced it, and now the device will cost about $ 110, which is quite good as for the device of this level.
This card is capable of recording and string in 1080p format at a speed of up to 60 frames per second, and also supports pass-through mode 4K60."Advanced" through mode from EVGA deserves special attention: XR1 can give 1440p at 120 frames per second.
Thus, you should expect a good frame rate indicator when playing PS5 and Xbox Series X, and it does not need to turn off the capture map (although keep in mind that the recording is still limited to the 1080p60 resolution).
XR1 is also equipped with a built-in audio player, which allows you to easily adjust the volume of the game, microphone and group chat. Note and a set of ArgB LEDs. They can be configured using the supplied software EVGA XR1.
EVGA did not mention system requirements, but we are confident that almost any relatively new laptop or desktop PC should cope. To connect the XR1 to the computer you will need a USB 3.0 port.
EVGA XR1 is an excellent capture map, offering several cross-cutting modes and intuitive audio-friendly, but at the current price - at the time of writing the article, the company sells a device for 110 dollars instead of 190. We believe that the full price can be purchased anything better.
- Built-in audio mixer.
- End-to-end transmission 4K.
- ArgB LEDs.
- Expensive at full price.