Best Capture Cards in 2023
A high-quality capture card will assist you in acquiring fantastic recordings without hindering your play, whether you want to create a professional broadcasting channel or simply enjoy sharing your gaming footage with friends. While some capture cards work best with consoles, some are better suited for PC gaming. There are some that even enable you to broadcast while simultaneously showing a picture-in-picture live of yourself by combining your gaming footage and a live feed from a camera.
The PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and the Nintendo Switch can all immediately stream and record gameplay, however, the options that consoles can provide can occasionally be somewhat limited. The greatest capture cards will help you out here because they will provide you with an upgrade over what the consoles normally have to offer.
Even if a top-notch capture card may not be absolutely necessary for PC gamers, it will significantly lessen the load on the system’s hardware. A dedicated capture card might reduce stress because, depending on your setup, recording using GPU software or a program like OBS can result in blurry footage and a number of other problems.
When recording video on a game console, combining a capture card and a PC or gaming laptop will provide you access to more functionality and broadcasting choices. In an emergency, broadcasting directly from a console is acceptable, but if you are serious about streaming or making content, you’ll be constrained without a capture card.
With the devices in our roundup, you are able to output in a minimum of 1080p60 as well as 4K without making any sacrifices. We haven’t restricted our selection to PC-only cards either; standalone and tiny form factor options are also available and highly recommended.
What to Look for in the Best Capture Card?
When it comes to choosing a capture card, there are several crucial factors that must be taken into account. These factors can have a significant impact on the device’s performance and overall functionality. When selecting a capture card, it is essential to consider several crucial factors.
Ensure that the capture card is compatible with your specific setup. Check if it supports the operating system, software, and hardware you plan to use for capturing and streaming. Compatibility issues can lead to frustrating limitations or even render the capture card unusable.
Capture Resolution and Frame Rate:
Consider the maximum resolution and frame rate the capture card can handle. Higher resolutions and frame rates will allow you to capture and record gameplay or video content with greater clarity and smoothness. Look for capture cards that support resolutions up to at least 1080p or even 4K, depending on your requirements.
Different capture cards use various connection interfaces like USB, PCIe, or Thunderbolt. Select a capture card with an interface that aligns with the available ports on your computer. USB 3.0 or higher is a common and convenient choice for most setups due to its widespread compatibility.
Latency refers to the delay between the actual gameplay or content and its display on the computer screen or stream. Lower latency is crucial, particularly for live streaming and capturing gameplay, to ensure a smooth and real-time experience for viewers. Look for capture cards with low latency ratings for optimal performance.
Software Compatibility and Features:
Check the bundled software that comes with the capture card. Ensure it supports the features you need, such as live streaming, recording, video editing, and overlays. Some capture cards may offer additional features like scene transitions, audio mixing, or customizable overlays that can enhance your content creation workflow.
Recording Format and Compression:
Consider the recording format and compression options supported by the capture card. Look for formats that are widely compatible with video editing software or streaming platforms. Additionally, some capture cards offer hardware encoding capabilities, which offload the encoding process from the CPU and can improve performance.
If you require capturing audio along with your video content, check the audio inputs and outputs available on the capture card. Look for options that support microphone inputs, line-in, or other audio sources you may need. Additionally, some capture cards offer the ability to separate audio tracks, which can be useful for post-production editing.
Set a budget for your capture card purchase. Prices can vary significantly depending on the features and quality you require. Consider your needs and find a capture card that offers the best balance between functionality and affordability within your budget.
User Reviews and Ratings:
Before finalizing your decision, read reviews and ratings from other users who have already used the capture card you’re considering. User feedback can provide insights into real-world performance, reliability, and compatibility issues that may not be apparent from the manufacturer’s specifications alone.
Consider these aspects to find a capture card that suits your needs, improves your content creation, and makes capturing and streaming gameplay or video seamless.
The Best Capture Cards Available in 2023
1.) Elgato HD60 X
- The overall best capture card
Elgato is a company that has mastered the art of capturing devices, and the Elgato HD60 X is a testament to their expertise in this field. This capture card is versatile and compatible with a wide range of setups, including gaming PCs, Macs, laptops, PS5, and Xbox X/S.
This device boasts seamless connectivity to your devices through USB-C and is compatible with an extensive range of streaming and capture software, including but not limited to YouTube, Twitch, OBS, XSplit, and Streamlabs. If your setup requirements are not highly specific, this platform serves as a comprehensive solution for seamlessly sharing your top-notch visuals with your target audience.
With the Elgato HD60 X, users can enjoy passing through for as much as 4K with HDR10 video at 60Hz. Experience seamless pass-through with VRR, ensuring that you can maintain your competitive edge while gaming without any lag. It is important to mention that the unit’s maximum output is limited to 60Hz.
Therefore, if you intend to use a high-refresh-rate monitor or TV for gaming, we recommend exploring some of our alternative options. In terms of recording capabilities, the device has the ability to capture 4K footage at 30 frames per second or 1080p footage at a higher frame rate of 60 frames per second, resulting in smoother video output. The device has the ability to capture HDR10 footage.
- Brand: Elgato
- Hardware Interface: USB 3.0
- Video Capture Resolution: 1080p
- Operating System: Windows, Mac
- Platform: Windows
|+ Easy to setup||– Much more expensive than its ‘S’ predecessor|
|+ 1080p60 and HDR support||– Not quite a 4K60 capture card|
|+ 4K passthrough||—|
|+ Great for modern gaming monitors|
2.) AVerMedia GC513 Live Gamer Portable 2 Plus
- Top Console Capture Cards
The AverMedia Live Gamer Portable 2 Plus, with its unique Toblerone-like shape, offers a delightful capturing experience that is simply unparalleled. Navigating between PC and micro SD settings can be a bit challenging, and the flashing lights are hard to miss. Ensuring that you have captured the desired content and not left HDCP on can require some attention to detail. Experience exceptional quality with smooth 60 frames per second delivered directly to your computer or Micro SD card.
The former option, a USB stick, is not as efficient as the latter for quick data transfer. The device in question is the sole item on the list that does not require a computer for capturing and possesses the ability to function at 60 frames per second. Investing in additional hardware is a wise decision if you prefer not to keep your PC running while capturing.
Moreover, if you are into streaming, the RECentral that comes with it is user-friendly and allows you to overlay text and adjust your picture-in-picture configuration with ease. This device boasts an impressive array of features despite its compact size, making it an exceptional piece of technology.
AVerMedia’s Rec Central is a user-friendly proprietary player that offers an intuitive experience. It allows for effortless usage and even enables the recording of PS4 party chat without the need for an additional cable.
- Brand: AVerMedia
- Hardware Interface: USB 2.0
- Video Capture Resolution:1080p
- Operating System: macOS 10.13, Windows 11
- Model Name: 1080p60 pc/pc free
|+ 60fps capture with no need for a PC||– Doesn’t stream 4K footage|
|+ Easy to use|
|+ Play in 4K while you record|
3.) EVGA XR1 lite
- the best budget capture card
There is no justification for why a good capture card should be so prohibitively expensive. The EVGA XR1 Lite is a cost-effective option that does not skimp on recording or construction quality despite its low price.
This includes the capability of recording in 1080p60 while simultaneously preserving 4K60 passthrough, which means that you won’t notice any lag or aesthetic effects on the overall image quality on either the Xbox Series X or the PS5. Additionally, the EVGA XR1 Lite has a dual concentration of its attention.
In addition to recording footage from your console gaming sessions, you are able to utilize it as a passthrough box for professional-grade video cameras and digital single-lens reflex cameras, which will result in a picture quality that is superior to that which a standard webcam is capable of producing.
- Brand: EVGA
- Hardware Interface: USB 3.0
- Video Capture Resolution: 1080p
- Platform: PlayStation, Xbox
- Included Components: Installation Guide, Capture Card
|+ Records in 1080p60||– Limited encoding options|
|+ 4K60 passthrough|
|+ Small size|
4.) Razer Ripsaw HD Capture Card
- With just a few button presses, the Razer Ripsaw HD makes broadcasting and gameplay capture possible.
It is unlikely that one would come across a genuine 4K capture card at a price point as affordable as that of the Razer Ripsaw HD. This particular capture card offers 4K passthrough functionality, while simultaneously streaming games in 1080p. If you’re an avid gamer with a PS4 Pro, or Xbox One X, or eagerly waiting for the 4K Nintendo Switch refresh, the Razer Ripsaw HD could be the perfect solution for your high-resolution streaming needs.
In addition, this capture card removes the obstacle of audio mixing that is reliant on software. Mixing audio can be a hassle-free experience when utilizing the hardwired mic and headphone jacks.
Regrettably, the most notable achievement of the Razer Ripsaw HD is accompanied by a significant drawback. The product in question lacks proprietary software. In order to achieve the promised 1080p streaming quality, there are two options available.
The first is to invest in an XSplit premium membership, while the second option is to utilize the Open Broadcasting Software, which is free and open source, albeit slightly less user-friendly. Furthermore, it is worth noting that the current version of the Razer Ripsaw lacks compatibility with older gaming consoles unless a set of adapters is utilized.
- Brand: Razer
- Hardware Interface: USB Type C, HDMI, 3.5mm Audio
- Video Capture Resolution: 1080p
- Operating System: Nintendo Switch
- Model Name: Razer Ripsaw HD – Game Capture Card
|+ Easy, hardware-based audio mixing||– Lacks proprietary software|
|+ 4K60 passthrough||– No more legacy console support|
|+ Small size|
5.) GENKI ShadowCast
- The ideal capture card with a tiny form factor
Have you ever desired a compact capture card that can easily fit in your pocket? If that’s the case, your search can come to an end. The Genki ShadowCast is a compact yet comprehensive screen capture and mirroring tool, designed to resemble a standard USB thumb drive.
This versatile device can be easily connected to a wide range of gaming consoles, including the PS5, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch, and Steam Deck, using an HDMI input. Once connected, it can output 1080p60 via USB-C to USB-A, allowing for seamless integration with gaming TVs or monitors.
It is possible to replicate the gameplay experience from a smaller screen onto a larger one. Additionally, the Genki Arcade program can be utilized to record the gameplay on your computer. At an affordable price point, this capture card offers exceptional value for money.
Its unique form factor sets it apart from other options currently available on the market. It is important to note that the level of consistent quality you can expect from a smaller box with limited encoding capabilities may not be on par with that of a larger box. Considering its price, it is difficult to dispute the value of this product if you are seeking a versatile option for streaming on consoles.
- Brand: Human Things
- Hardware Interface: USB
- Operating System: Mac OS
- Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, Windows, Android
- Included Components: Capture Card
|+ Tiny form factor||– Inconsistent video quality|
|+ Easy to set and use|
|+ Works on all consoles|
6.) Elgato 4K60 Pro
- The top 4K capture card
For those who prioritize capturing gameplay at the utmost resolution and frame rates, this card is a must-have. Being the sole internal capture card featured on our list, it requires a relatively high-end hardware configuration (NVIDIA GeForce GTX 10 series and an Intel Core i7 CPU or better) for its optimal functioning.
However, the output it delivers is certainly worth the investment. It was discovered that updating the graphics card drivers was necessary to ensure the proper functionality of the card. However, once configured, this card enables the capture of 4K footage at 60fps, with a maximum bitrate of 140Mbps.
Typically, this would entail requiring a significant amount of hard disk drive storage space. However, the user-friendly software conveniently encodes the capture during the recording process, thereby conserving storage space. Although the software is highly efficient in keeping up with the user, there is a minor issue that needs to be addressed.
To achieve the best possible gaming experience while using this card, it is recommended to utilize the lag-free HDMI pass-through feature and transmit the feed to a secondary monitor or a 4K screen. Assuming that you possess all of the aforementioned, it is likely that you are contemplating acquiring this card.
- Brand: Elgato
- Hardware Interface: PCIE x 8, PCIE x 4, PCIE x 16
- Video Capture Resolution: 4K
- Operating System: Xbox series x
- Special Feature: Compact
|+ 4K capture at 60fps||– Needs to high-end PC to house it|
|+ Video encoding on the fly||– Expensive|
|+ Easy-to-use software|
Best Capture Cards in 2023 – FAQS
Q: What is a capture card and why do I need one?
A: A capture card is a hardware device that allows you to record and capture video footage from external sources such as gaming consoles, PCs, or cameras. It is useful for content creators, gamers, and streamers who want to record or stream their gameplay, create video tutorials, or capture high-quality video content.
Q: What are the key features to look for in a capture card?
A: When choosing a capture card, consider features such as video resolution and frame rate support, connectivity options (HDMI, DisplayPort, USB), compatibility with your gaming console or PC, software compatibility, low latency (delay) during recording or streaming, and the ability to capture and record audio.
Q: Can I use a capture card for recording content other than gaming?
A: Yes, capture cards are not limited to gaming content. They can also be used to record and capture video footage from other sources such as cameras, camcorders, or set-top boxes. This versatility allows content creators to capture high-quality video content for various purposes, including vlogging, video production, or live streaming events.
Q: Are external or internal capture cards better?
A: Both external and internal capture cards have their advantages. External capture cards are portable, easy to set up and allow for flexibility in connecting different devices. They are ideal for content creators who need to switch between multiple sources or use their capture cards on different systems.
On the other hand, internal capture cards are installed directly into your computer and typically offer lower latency and higher performance. They are suitable for dedicated gaming or streaming setups where portability is not a priority.