Top 9 Best Capture Cards

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With gaming going mainstream, there is a huge audience out there just waiting to see exciting footage of your latest big boss battles, killing sprees, tips, tricks, high scores, and hilarious gaming misadventures. While PC gamers have a number of software options to record gameplay such as Fraps and XSplit, console users don’t have that luxury. So, while a capture card is great for PC gamers, if you own a PS4 and Xbox One, or any other console, it’s the only way for you to record, store, and transfer footage to your PC. Don’t forget some awesome PS4 games for kids!

Game capture cards for pc gamers help you showcase your gaming footage so you can create a stream, share your best plays, or build a library of clips. This will allow you to share your footage on various platforms, websites, and communities such as Facebook, YouTube, and Reddit. So if you’re looking to share your gaming experiences and preserve some of your most amazing moments, a capture card is one of the best investments that you can make.

best overall rating
  • Terrific streaming quality
  • Tons of customization
  • Sturdy, sleek design
premium choice rating
  • Impressive 4K 60 FPS recording
  • Works with PCs and consoles
  • Won’t need an upgrade for years
great value rating
  • Easy-to-use remote control
  • USB and SD card memory storage
  • Affordable capture card

But between the wide-variety of capture cards on the market and the different requirements each gamer needs, choosing the best capture card for pc can get a little confusing. That’s why we’re here. First, we’re going to discuss the things you should be looking for in good game capture devices. And then, we’re going to show you some of the best options on the market today.

What to Look for When Buying a Capture Card

Anyone who wants to capture gameplay footage from their PC, PlayStation, or Xbox is going to need a capture card. These devices capture video signals so you can edit your footage and upload it to websites or streaming platforms like YouTube. But there’s a lot of technical jargon to weed through. And with different user requirements and a variety of models on the market, choosing the right capture card for your needs can be tough.

In this buyers guide, we’re going to explain what you need to look for in a capture card so you can find one that matches your needs and budget. Later on, we’ll show you the top picks of 2018. But first, let’s walk you through the buying process so you know exactly what you should be looking for.

Image Quality

If you’re planning on sharing your footage, you obviously want it to look great. High-quality capture cards allow you to record your videos and stream them with stunning clarity. When thinking about image quality, you should keep an eye on the supported image resolutions and frames per second that the card can record.

At the bare minimum, the capture card that you buy should record in 1080p, or Full HD. But if you want the highest quality possible, and can afford the higher price tag, you should look for a card that can record in 4K capture or Ultra HD.

Interface

The interface of a video capture card is the way that it connects to your system for recording. There are two types of capture cards available: internal and external. Internal cards are installed in a free expansion slot and external cards are connected by using a USB or other connection to your computer. Depending on your device, you might also need to use DVI, HDMI capture card, or component cables to make this connection.

Internal capture cards tend to offer higher performance and reliability. The only consideration is that you need an open PCI express slot to install a card on your computer.  Since they need to be installed in a PC, they’re ideal for PC gamers but can be used by console gamers as long as you have a desktop PC nearby.

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Plus, internal cards are terrific in two system streaming setup where you dedicate one computer solely for streaming. External cards are portable, making them great for gamers with several computers or anyone looking for a device that they can take with them to a friend’s house.

Plus, many devices offer built-in internal memory, micro SD slots, or the ability to connect to an external hard drive, eliminating the need to have a PC nearby.  So if you’re a console gamer who doesn’t normally have a PC or laptop nearby, an external capture card is the perfect option.

Software

Manufacturers design their video capture cards with proprietary software that allows you to record, edit, and stream your footage. While every card features this built-in software, some are naturally better than others. You want a card made by a brand known for high-quality software with tons of features and functionalities such as streaming overlays, commentary options, and using webcam footage on top of your gameplay captures.

Input Types

Capture cards are designed with different input options so you want to select one that offers the right input for the device that you’re recording with. Modern gaming systems normally use HDMI, which is the most common input type you’ll find on today’s cards. But if you want to record gameplay from older consoles like a PlayStation or Nintendo 64 (try a new nintendo switch for some epic Nintendo switch gaming), you might want to look for a card that uses component video inputs.

Gaming Platform

So, you’ve considered image quality, software, and input and interface types. The final thing that you should consider is the gaming platform that you’ll be using. Single system PC gamers are one of the few groups who won’t get much out of using a video capture card because they can use broadcasting screen recording software programs like XSplit to record and stream games. On the other hand, a video capture card is perfect for dual system PC gamers who have a second PC dedicated to streaming.

The capture device will connect the primary and secondary PCs, allowing users to maintain optimal performance on the gaming PC. This allows serious gamers to play at his frame per second rates while simultaneously capturing and streaming footage. Modern console gamers playing on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One can really take advantage of the benefits offered by video capture cards.

These devices allow you to transfer footage to your PC or laptop where you can edit, record, or stream your footage using the software of your choice instead of being limited by the rather lackluster in-house options offered by Sony or Microsoft. These consoles do offer limited recording and streaming functionality but the system and options are very minimal.

So if you want to create, edit, and share true high-quality videos, a capture card is an invaluable tool. The final category of the console is older systems like the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Unlike their modern counterparts, these consoles weren’t designed with any recording or streaming capabilities.

So, if you want to share gameplay footage from any of these older systems, purchasing a capture card is your only option. Capture cards are invaluable tools that give you the freedom and control to create and share stunning gameplay footage.

They’re designed to give you improved gaming performance while recording, easy uploading, and robust file formatting, personalization, and video editing features. Put this all together and it’s easy to see why they’re so popular among gaming enthusiasts around the world.

While choosing the right capture card might seem tough, keeping the above factors in mind will guarantee that you find the model that’s perfect for your needs and budget.

If you’re looking to create amazing, high-quality gameplay videos, you’ve come to the right place. We took the time to compare the most popular capture cards on the market and evaluated them based on their design, performance, specs, reviews, features, and price. In the end, we came up with our list of the top 10 capture cards of 2018. Whether you’re a PC or console gamer, we’re sure you’ll be able to find the model that’s perfect for your gaming needs!

View the Best Capture Card for the Money, Below.

best overall rating

1. Elgato Game Capture HD 60 Pro

Elgato Game Capture HD60 Pro

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Read Customer Reviews Here »

The Elgato Game Capture HD 60 Pro is the most powerful capture card offered by this industry-leading company. It’s one of the best options for anyone who wants to invest in a dynamic device capable of creating hours of stunning gameplay footage.

Interface

The HD60 Pro is an internal capture card which is inserted into your computer’s PCIe slot. Because of this, it’s not compatible with laptops or Macs but it’s a great option for desktop PC users.

Specifications

This Elgato Game Capture HD60 Pro is a powerful capture card designed to create high-quality gaming videos. The HD60 Pro records in Full HD 1080p resolution at 60 frames per second and offers the highest bitrate in the HD60 series at 60 Mbps. It features a built-in H.264 chip, allowing it to compress video with a minimal quality loss. And, for versatility, it’s designed with inputs for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch as well as a lag-free HDMI output.

Features

This is a well-designed device with solid features. It’s built with a black and dark grey electro-galvanized steel casing with sharp edges and clear port labels. And with stream control and customization, the HD60 Pro lets you add live commentary, overlays, and webcam feeds to your stream so you can edit your footage on the fly.

For easier broadcasting, it features built-in live streaming onto platforms like YouTube and Twitch. Plus, Instant Gameview lets you stream smoothly with low-latency technology for unrivaled real-time performance.

See more information on Elgato Game Capture HD 60 Pro.

Why We Like It
  • Terrific streaming quality
  • Tons of customization
  • Sturdy, sleek design
  • H.264 encoder saves space while preserving video quality
Frame Rate
60 FPS
Capture Quality
1080p
Connection Type
PCIe
Editor Rating
premium choice rating

2. Elgato 4K60 Pro

Elgato Game Capture 4K60 Pro

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Wherever you’re streaming or sharing your videos, your audience wants to see stunning, dynamic footage. That’s where the Elgato Game Capture 4K60 Pro comes in. This Elgato 4K60 Pro premium recording device is designed for serious gamers who want the best possible results.

Interface

The 4K60 is an internal capture card designed to be inserted into your PC’s PCIe x4 slot.

Specifications

Elgato’s premium entry delivers immaculate 4K 2160p resolution at 60 frames per second and a maximum bitrate of 140 Mbps. That means the Elgato 4K60 Pro offers 4 times the detail that a Full HD model could provide. This spec alone ensures that it can keep up with any high-end gaming rig on the market today for the foreseeable future.

It also has inputs for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and unencrypted HDMI as well as a lag-free HDMI that’s marketed towards PC and console users.

Features

Elgato uses Gameview to offer real-time precision so you’ll never skip frames, even when running at higher pixel rates. And the sleek, modern design ensures that it fits in with high-end gaming rigs. Plus, it’s designed with great dedicated software that will make a recording, editing, and exporting your footage with the editing app of your choice a breeze.

See more information on Elgato 4K60 Pro.

Why We Like It
  • Impressive 4K 60 FPS recording
  • Works with PCs and consoles
  • Won’t need an upgrade for years
Frame Rate
60 FPS
Capture Quality
2160p
Connection Type
PCIe
Editor Rating
great value rating

3. AGPtek VG0025-MBE1 HD 1080P Game Capture Recording Device

AGPtek VG0025-MBE1 HD 1080P

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Gamers who aren’t looking to spend a lot of money should definitely take a look at this capture card from AGBtek. It’s a great option for anyone on a budget who wants to record Full HD videos of their gameplay and comes with some useful features that aren’t found in some of its more expensive competitors.

Interface

This AGPtek capture card is designed with an external interface, making it great for anyone with multiple gaming rigs or someone who’s on the go. Simply use the USB 2.0 Host input to start recording.

Specifications

While it doesn’t record 1080p at 60 FPS like some other more expensive devices on the market, this capture card still can record at 1080p at 30 FPS with a maximum bitrate of 18 Mbps. And if you really want to step the frames per second up to 60, you can record at a lower 720p resolution. It also comes with 3 options for video output—HDMI, component, or composite.

Features

This might be a budget option but it still comes with some very useful features that almost any gamer will enjoy. The SNAPSHOT feature allows you to capture a still image with a single press of a button. And it even comes with a remote control that allows you to select different input modes and settings.

See more information on AGPtek VG0025-MBE1 HD 1080P Game Capture Recording Device.

Why We Like It
  • Easy-to-use remote control
  • USB and SD card memory storage
  • Affordable capture card
Frame Rate
30 FPS
Capture Quality
1080p
Connection Type
USB 2.0
Editor Rating

4. Cloner Alliance CA-1180E HDML Evolve

Cloner Alliance CA-1180E

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While Cloner Alliance is relatively new to the scene, they’ve already established a name for themselves by manufacturing some great products. The Evolve is a terrific capture card that can take 4K video and efficiently convert it to 1080p without the need for a PC.

Interface

With an external interface, you can attach this to any PC, console, or TV with the necessary HDMI cables.

Specifications

The HDML-Cloner Box Evolve can’t record or upload 4K videos but it can process them into a Full HD 1080p format with ease. Plus, since the video is encoded with H.264, you won’t even lose that much in terms of video quality. And with 2 HDMI and 1 AV inputs, it’s easy to connect this capture card to any gaming system.

Features

This capture card offers plenty of features at a relatively affordable price. You can store video footage on a TF memory card, USB flash drive, or on your computer. And it even comes with a remote control that will let you adjust settings, inputs, and even program scheduled recordings. Plus, it comes with an integrated live feature that will let you broadcast real-time videos on Facebook, YouTube, and other platforms, even while adding live commentary or voiceover.

See more information on Cloner Alliance CA-1180E HDML Evolve.

Why We Like It
  • Doesn’t need to be connected to a PC
  • Processes 4K video
  • Good for gaming and TV streaming
  • Relatively affordable
Frame Rate
30 FPS
Capture Quality
1080p
Connection Type
USB 2.0
Editor Rating

5. AVerMedia Live Gamer HD 2 GC570

AVerMedia Live Gamer HD 2 GC570

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AVerMedia’s Live Gamer HD is one of the most popular capture cards on the market and, with the Live Gamer HD 2, they’ve managed to step up their game. Built with a black metal housing with a glowing blue LED light, it’s certainly stylish but more importantly, it’s one of the top capture cards out there today.

Interface

Unlike many of the other external models offered by AVerMedia, the Live Gamer HD 2 has an internal interface that requires you to install it in your PC’s PCIe slot.

Specifications

The Live Gamer HD 2 has Full HD 1080p recording capability at 60 frames per second, putting it in the same class as other premium options on the market. For speed and superior video quality, it can capture uncompressed videos. And it gives you the option of recording compressed or uncompressed footage, giving you unparalleled control over your bandwidth. Plus, the Live Gamer HD 2 can support up to 8 cards, meaning that you can capture video from several channels at once.

Features

AVerMedia upgraded this model by offering its newest editing and streaming software, RECentral 3. This feature will allow you to edit videos, customize your streams in real-time, add overlays, and customize quality settings. Plus, it can be integrated with programs like XSplit in seconds.

See more information on AVerMedia Live Gamer HD 2 GC570.

Why We Like It
  • Capable of recording Full HD 1080p video at 60 FPS
  • Robust editing and streaming software
  • Moderately priced
  • Can support up to 8 cards at once
Frame Rate
60 FPS
Capture Quality
1080p
Connection Type
PCIe
Editor Rating

6. Hauppauge HD PVR 60 Gaming Edition

Hauppauge HD PVR 60 Gaming Edition

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Packaged with USB, HDMI, and component cables, the Hauppauge HD PVR 60 comes with everything you need to capture gaming footage whether you are playing on a PC, laptop, or console. This means that you don’t have to spend a penny on additional adapters. More importantly, it’s capable of making sharp, high-resolution recordings.

Interface

The Hauppauge HD PVR 60 is an external device, allowing you to take it with you and use it with a wide-variety of gaming rigs.

Specifications

This external capture card uses a H.264 high-definition encoder to capture your gameplay in stunning 1080p Full HD, making it a perfect option for YouTube channels. Plus, with HDMI and component inputs, connecting it to your TV, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS4, PS3, or PC is simple.

60 frames per second game recorder

Features

Hauppauge designed this device for easy use. You can add commentary while recording or streaming videos and you can share your footage on YouTube with one click. Plus, it comes complete with Hauppauge Capture. This software package allows you to adjust the video quality, edit and upload videos, and even add a webcam box that can be positioned anywhere in your video.

See more information on Hauppauge HD PVR 60 Gaming Edition.

Why We Like It
  • High-resolution 1080p Full HD recordings
  • Compatible with consoles and PC gaming rigs
  • Comes with cables for older consoles like PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
  • Highly portable
Frame Rate
60 FPS
Capture Quality
1080p
Connection Type
USB
Editor Rating

7. AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable 2

AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable 2

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Looking for a way to record and stream gameplay footage from a new or classic console system without hooking up to your PC? Then check out the AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable 2 Capture Card. It’s one of the best models in its class and is perfect for anyone on the go.

Interface

The Live Gamer Portable 2 is an external device that can record everything on a microSD card so you can use it with or without a PC or laptop.

Specifications

Capable of recording 1080p Full HD video at 60 frames per second, this capture card is on par with other premium options on the market. And since it offers an h.264 encoder, it supports 4K video pass-through, converting it to 1080p with little loss to video quality.

Features

The LGP2 is perfect if you’re not a fan of complicated setups and installations since you can take it right out of the box, plug it in, and start playing. And with the console party chat feature, you can record your teammates’ voices easily. And the Hot Button lets you stream to sites like YouTube and Twitch with one click. Plus, it’s compatible with software programs like XSplit and OBS and even supports Mac OS with the right 3rd party apps. And juggling multiple scenes, adjusting the audio mix, and adding overlays is a breeze with the upgraded RECentral 3 editing software.

See more information on AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable 2.

Why We Like It
  • Can record onto MicroSD card without a PC
  • Hassle-free setup
  • Solid 1080p video recording capabilities
  • Can support video platforms like OBS
Frame Rate
60 FPS
Capture Quality
1080p
Connection Type
USB
Editor Rating

8. Roxio Game Capture HD PRO

) Roxio Game Capture HD PRO

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The Roxio Game Capture HD Pro is a solid model designed for gamers on a budget. While it’s fairly simple in terms of construction and design, it can record sharp video and can be used to stream from your PC, laptop, or gaming console.

Interface

This external Roxio capture card uses a USB 2.0 interface, making it a good option for anyone with multiple gaming systems and gamers who are looking for a portable device.

Specifications

With 1080p Full HD recording capability at 30 frames per second, the Game Capture HD Pro can stream and record sharp content but lags a bit compared to some of the more powerful cards boasting 60 FPS. Built with H.264 encoding, it offers the best compression technology around, allowing you to optimize storage space without sacrificing video quality. Plus, it features 10 RCA connectors, allowing you to use it to capture gameplay on older analogue consoles.

Features

This is a budget model but still comes with some very useful features to make streaming, recording, and editing easier. You can stream your footage to YouTube or Twitch while checking the speed of your live stream and testing your bandwidth. And for efficiency, videos can be posted on Facebook and YouTube with one click. Plus, it allows you to edit your footage with special effects, voiceovers, music, inlays, and over 95 transitions.

See more information on Roxio Game Capture HD PRO.

Why We Like It
  • Affordable model
  • Offers H.264 encoding for storage optimization and better video quality
  • Full HD 1080p recording capability
  • Can be connected to older consoles
Frame Rate
30 FPS
Capture Quality
1080p
Connection Type
USB 2.0
Editor Rating

9. AVerMedia GC550 Live Gamer Extreme

AVerMedia GC550 Live Gamer Extreme

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AVerMedia makes it onto our list of the top 10 capture cards of 2018 again with the Live Gamer Extreme. It’s a fast, powerful device capable of recording stunning gameplay footage on practically any gaming rig.

Interface

The Live Gamer Extreme is an impressive external interfacing device that uses USB 3.0. While cards with USB 2.0 interfaces lag compared to internal PCIe cards, the USB 3.0 is incredibly fast, offering low-latency transfer for smooth, high-quality HD streaming.

Specifications

The Live Gamer Extreme can capture uncompressed 1080p Full HD video at 60 frames per second. The USB 3.0 interface allows it to come close to the speed offered by internal PCIe capture cards. And it features HDMI, RCA L/R, 3.5mm mic, and 3.5mm auxiliary audio inputs.

Features

This is a robust gaming card with solid editing features. TimeShift allows you to record retroactively, so you never have to worry about missing the action. And you can add music, voiceover, and live commentary on the fly with the two 3.5mm microphone jacks. Plus, with RECentral2, you can customize your footage, adding a webcam feed, overlays, picture-in-picture, and more.

See more information on AVerMedia GC550 Live Gamer Extreme.

Why We Like It
  • Lightning-fast USB 3.0 interface
  • Records uncompressed Full HD 1080p video
  • External device or added portability
  • Low-latency video streaming
Frame Rate
60 FPS
Capture Quality
1080p
Connection Type
USB 3.0
Editor Rating

Choosing the Right Capture Card

You’re going to need a video capture card if you want to stream or record gameplay footage from your PC, Xbox, PlayStation, or Wii. These devices allow you to capture the video signal from your gaming rig so that you can edit your footage and upload it or stream it to sites like Facebook, YouTube, Ustream, or Twitch. Choosing the right capture card might seem confusing at first.

But if you keep four main factors in mind, finding a high-quality model that’s perfect for your needs is actually pretty simple. The main things that you need to consider when purchasing a capture card are its image quality, types of capture cards inputs accepted, whether it’s an internal or external interface, and the software it supports.

capture-cards-image-3

The final factor that you need to keep in mind is cost. Capture cards can range from around $50 up to around $200. Depending on your budget, this might not be a major factor. But for those with a limited budget, it’s good to keep in mind that most high-quality Full HD capture cards are going to be more affordable than Ultra HD 4K models.

And while the idea of 4K might be intriguing, this high resolution format should only be a consideration if you own a powerful PC that can handle and edit such high quality data. Otherwise, you’re better off selecting a 1080p Full HD card with a frame rate around 60 FPS.

Expert Tip

While a capture card captures and records gameplay footage from your console or PC, you’ll need your PC to edit it. For optimal performance, you need a PC that’s up to the task. Look at the system requirements on the video capture card that you’re thinking about purchasing. Most will require a minimum of an Intel Core i5 4th generation processor.

Of course, there are other equivalents available on the market. But the main thing that you need to ensure is that you have enough CPU power and RAM to handle the high-quality video and audio data that you’ll be uploading from your video capture card.

Did You Know?

Since most companies will regularly release software updates to boost performance, add features, or fix bugs, it’s a good idea to check for these updates periodically and ensure that you are using the latest version of the company’s software. This applies whether you use the proprietary software packaged within your capture card or outside streaming software like XSplit or OBS.

By keeping your software updated, you’ll get the most out of your investment and ensure that you’re receiving optimum performance from your video capture devices.