Looking for a capture card? Our guide has the top picks

Whether or not you’re streaming video games for an viewers otherwise you need to report some informal gameplay footage out of your PC, PS5, Xbox Sequence X, or Nintendo Swap, you would possibly want a capture card. It’s an important accent that may course of your console’s uncompressed video sign, both sending it to a PC for livestreaming or changing it into a file which you can edit later to share on-line.

There are a number of fashions on the market, and also you would possibly get fortunate discovering the proper one with out placing in the analysis. Then once more, you could not get so fortunate. Our guide contains dependable, feature-packed capture playing cards, overlaying a vary of expensive and cheap choices. To finish the streaming setup, we’ve additionally included some suggestions for digital camera capture playing cards, in case you need to flip your DSLR into a webcam. We’ll maintain this put up up to date as extra fashions turn out to be obtainable.

Greatest capture card

Elgato HD 60 X

Picture: Elgato

The perfect capture card for most individuals is the $159 Elgato HD60 X. Once we polled the Polygon video staff for their enter, the HD60 X was the unanimous winner. It was chosen as a result of they suppose it provides the greatest efficiency and options in comparison with different capture playing cards in its worth vary.

The HD60 X connects to PCs through USB (it contains a USB-C to USB-A cable), and it has a most capture decision of 4K at 30 frames per second. It may well deal with 4K passthrough at as much as 60 fps. These specs are greater than enough for capturing footage from any current-gen console. In the event you’re recording in 1440p or 1080p resolutions, it may possibly capture at a sooner 120 fps.

Including to its spectacular record of specs, the HD60 X grants consumers entry to Elgato’s 4K Capture Utility software program. This software isn’t completely mandatory, but it surely’s simpler to study for streaming newcomers than OBS Studio. The 4K Capture Utility additionally permits you to report commentary over your video clip, when you’d like, and take top quality screenshots from the captured video.

Exterior of a sale, the HD60 X is often priced at $199.99, but it surely typically sells for much less. In its place that’s considerably inexpensive, the $64.99 UCEC GAM Live capture card helps the similar passthrough/capture resolutions and body charges as the HD60 X, but it surely might not be as dependable as the HD60 X.

Greatest price range capture card

AVerMedia Live Gamer Mini

A stock photo of the AVerMedia Live Gamer Mini

Picture: AVerMedia

In the event you’re simply testing the waters with capturing and enhancing gameplay footage, there are some good capture card choices that value properly underneath $100. The AVerMedia Live Gamer Mini has a record worth of $99.99, however is frequently obtainable for round $80. This pocket-size capture card is able to recording 1080p footage at as much as 60 fps and has a matching passthrough decision, making it the good selection for capturing footage from the Nintendo Swap. The Reside Gamer Mini is suitable with different consoles as properly, however this mannequin gained’t make PS5 and Xbox video games look their greatest.

A stock photo of the AVerMedia Live Gamer Mini

Picture: AVerMedia

A inexpensive (and even smaller) choice is the $50 Genki ShadowCast. The ShadowCast is successfully an HDMI to USB-C dongle that permits you to solid the video sign of your supply console to a desktop or laptop computer with the support of the free Genki Arcade app. You can too stream that footage instantly into PC instruments like OBS Studio. Whereas the ShadowCast is suitable with all current-generation consoles, it may possibly solely course of 1080p footage at 30 fps, and the footage high quality is suitable, not distinctive.

Greatest 4K capture card

AVerMedia 4K60 HDR10

A stock photo of the AVerMedia 4K60 HDR10

Picture: AVerMedia

On account of the present limits of how a lot knowledge you possibly can funnel via a USB connection, PCIe capture playing cards are your best choice if you wish to capture gameplay at 4K, 60 fps. The only option we’ve discovered for doing that’s the AVerMedia 4K60 HDR10, which is often obtainable for round $200.

A stock photo of the AVerMedia 4K60 HDR10 installed in a desktop PC

Picture: AVerMedia

As its title suggests, the 4K60 is able to a most capture and passthrough decision of 4K at 60 fps, even with HDR enabled. The cardboard can even report at increased body charges with decrease resolutions than 4K, maxing out at 144 fps for 1440p, or 240 fps at 1080p. It’s essential to notice, nonetheless, that whereas the Xbox Sequence X and PlayStation 5 are each able to outputting 4K resolutions at 120 fps, this capture card’s HDMI 2.0 ports imply you’ll solely be capable of capture 120 fps footage by flattening your console’s output decision to 1440p. We’re holding our eyes out for capture playing cards that use HDMI 2.1, which is able to enable for capturing 4K footage at as much as 120 fps on consoles.

Some options to AVerMedia’s 4K60 embrace Elgato’s PCIe card, the 4K60 Pro MK.2, which is supplied with comparable specs, however prices $249.99. The most important distinction (apart from the model title) is that AVerMedia’s choice doesn’t embrace video enhancing software program. That’s no huge deal, so long as you’re wanting to discover ways to use OBS Studio.

There are PCIe card choices obtainable on Amazon for as little as $100, however given the potential for an unvetted PCIe card to do some precise hurt to your desktop (or simply not work as marketed), we wouldn’t suggest taking this route.

Greatest capture card that doesn’t require a PC

AVerMedia GC513 Portable 2 Plus

A stock photo of the AVermedia GC513 Portable 2 Plus

Picture: AVerMedia

Stand-alone capture playing cards can capture footage with out being tethered to a PC. As a substitute, they function a microSD or full-size SD card slot that can retailer your gameplay till you possibly can deposit the information onto your PC. This function alone makes this sort of capture card the most versatile choice, regardless that they presently assist a decrease capture decision than the options. However look no additional for one which’s preferrred for bringing to tournaments, or different conditions the place a laptop computer or desktop gained’t be obtainable to you.

A close-up of a microSD card inserted into the AVerMedia GC513 Portable 2 Plus

Picture: AVerMedia

Till Elgato makes a extra aggressive choice than its discontinued 4K60 S+, your best choice for a stand-alone card is the AVerMedia GC513 Portable 2 Plus, which helps 4K passthrough at 60 fps, however is restricted to recording 1080p at 60 fps. Whereas recording to distant storage is a key promoting level for the GC513, it can be used whereas related on to a PC, like different capture card fashions.

At present, stand-alone capture playing cards are a rarity on this product class, so there isn’t an abundance of options. Nevertheless, when you’re wanting for one thing that prices much less, the Hauppauge HD PVR Pro is obtainable on Amazon for round $130. The HD PVR Professional provides lots of the similar specs as its AVerMedia counterpart, however is suitable with standard-size SD playing cards along with microSD playing cards, not like the GC513, which may solely use microSD playing cards for storage.

A stock photo of the AVerMedia 4K60 HDR10 installed in a desktop PC

Picture: AVerMedia

Greatest digital camera capture card

Elgato Cam Link 4K

A stock photo of the Elgato Cam Link 4K

Picture: Elgato

Digicam capture playing cards are extra of a area of interest product, permitting you to show most DSLR cameras into a webcam. Some newer DSLR cameras assist this function out of the field with native USB connections, however different cameras might want to depend on a digital camera capture card to translate what your digital camera sees into a video sign that’s usable by your PC.

Your best choice for that is the Elgato Cam Link 4K, which permits for 4K video capture at as much as 30 fps and is totally suitable with a number of DSLR cameras from well-liked producers like Nikon, Canon, and GoPro.

AVerMedia provides a barely inexpensive digital camera capture card that options comparable specs for about the similar worth. The AVerMedia BU113 can technically report 4K footage at 30 fps, however its shorter list of fully compatible cameras means solely a handful of units can assist this function.

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