With the help of a capture card, you can record your favorite in-game moments so that you may relive them at a later date. You also get the chance to transform your gameplay footage into movies or short clips that you can then share with your friends. Unlike software alternatives which drain your system’s resources, capture cards enable you to record in-game footage without interfering with your actual play in any visible way.
Having said that, let us point out that each capture card comes with its own perks and shortcomings, which is why you need to scout the market thoroughly before making any sort of purchase. To give you a better idea of what to look for, we put together a list of the ten best capture cards money can buy.
Best Gaming Mousepads – Reviews
10AGPtek HDMI/YPBPR Recorder HD Game Capture Recorder
Capable of recording 1080p footage, this capable yet inexpensive capture card from AGPtek stands out for all the right reasons. Not only is it very easy to use but you are also guaranteed to be able to use it with virtually any device out there with no issues to speak of. In fact, this card doesn’t require any PC to work properly, just as long as your gaming device has USB ports to connect the recorder.
9Diamond Game Caster HD GC2000
This particular game caster comes with a Capture/Edit function that includes adding real-time voice commentary, a feature not many capture cards have nowadays. At the same time, it is a standalone device by design, meaning that you won’t actually need a PC to get it running. Also, this ingenious capture card allows you to stream your recorded footage directly to Twitch, Upstream, or on your Smartphone with no limits whatsoever.
8Intensity Pro 4K Capture & Playback Card
The Intensity Pro Capture & Playback Card from Blackmagic Design is definitely one of the most technologically advanced capture cards out there. Thanks to its ingenious construction, it will accommodate HDMI video & audio outputs in SD, HD, or Ultra HD depending on your device. What’s interesting about this card is that it enables you to record 1080p footage at a steady 60fps speed, a feature you should always look for in a capture card.
7AGPtek HD Game Capture HD Video Capture Card
This HDMI-ready capture card records YPbPr video and games to a 1080p standard. You can then save this footage to a USB flash drive or to a USB hard drive with no limitations whatsoever, a versatility not many capture cards have. Also worth mentioning is that in order to get the device running, all you have to do is to connect it to your favorite gaming platform via USB and you’re ready to start recording without the need to install any drivers.
6Roxio Game Capture HD PRO
Roxio’s Game Capture HD PRO is the type of capture card that anyone who enjoys gaming on a console should invest in. We say this because it is easy to set up, easy to use, and even easier to transfer files from. In fact, you can share videos via YouTube, Facebook, or RoosterTeeth with just a simple touch of a button. You can also capture real-time footage in HD quality from any PS4 or Xbox you might have.
5AVerMedia HD DVR High Definition / Analog Video Capture Card
It is important for any capture card to be easy to use, which is the exact feature that makes this particular card stand out. It features an uncompressed capturing capacity with a 4:2:2 color resolution, a build that allows you to capture high-quality analog footage in almost perfect conditions. At the same time, it allows you to capture footage of up to 1080i HD via an HDMI connection and is fully compatible with Windows 10.
4HDML – Cloner Box
With this particular capture card, you get to experience lag-free, full HD 1080p footage capturing. While some fo you would expect such a device to be quite expensive, the truth is that it is surprisingly affordable by most standards. In fact, you are unlikely to find a more capable capture card in this price range. We say this because it comes with a 16 GB USB flash drive, a user-friendly interface, and a free lifetime firmware and software upgrade.
3Magewell XI100DUSB-HDMI USB Capture
Capable of working perfectly well with Windows, Linux, or MAC OS, this capture card from Magewell will surely appeal to a wide audience. It is capable of capturing full HD up/down scaling 1080x720p footage under any circumstances and without slowing down your gaming experience. At the same time, it can accommodate multiple devices on a single host while offering image control and multiple output settings to choose from.
2AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable Capture Card
The AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable Capture Card is designed to work well with any Xbox, PlayStation, or WiiU console out there, which may explain its popularity. That aside, it is also quite capable in its own right. The reason we say this is because it can capture Full HD 1080p footage via an H.264 hardware encoder, doing so with minimum latency when streaming and recording. Interestingly enough, this device has stand-alone capabilities, meaning that it will record directly to an SD card of your choosing without the need for a PC.
1Elgato Game Capture HD60 S
When it comes to capture cards, no other device meets the high standards of the Elgato Game Capture HD60 S, a game capture card designed to work with virtually any console out there. It does so in a stunning 1080p, 60 fps quality, which is no less than what you should expect from any high-end capture card on the market.
Furthermore, this device benefits from a state of the art USB 3.0 Type C connection along with the ability to live stream your footage via Twitch or YouTube with just the push of a button. Overall, it is perhaps the best capture card the market has to offer at this point in time.
Can’t Find What You’re Looking For? Check these suggestions:
Capture Card Buying Guide
An Introduction To Capture Cards
Online game streaming has reached an all-new high, and it’s more popular than it has ever been before. What originally started out as just gamers streaming their games to a few close friends have become a whole community of gamers taking their gaming activities to the entire world thanks to websites such as YouTube, UStream, and of course, Twitch.
At first, this activity was only performed by gamers playing games such as DOTA 2 or Hearthstone, but other games have been continuously added to the mix, too. Even virtual tabletop sessions of Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder and Maid RPG are being streamed on the Internet nowadays. The result of all of this activity is that not only has Twitch and YouTube seen an influx of game subscribers, but many professional gamers are making a living from their streams.
Of course, before a person can start their own stream from games they play on their PC or on their favorite console, they first have to be able to capture their streams so they can edit and eventually post them to their favorite streaming service. And of course, they’re going to want to get the best quality capture card that they can find for this job.
To facilitate our readers finding the best capture cards available, we’ve not only listed the best models currently available, but we also felt that it was appropriate to list some of the things that gamers should look for when they’re purchasing one of these devices. Having stated our goal, let’s head on into the thick of things and talk about capture card features.
The Best Capture Card Features
Although capture cards come in a variety of different styles and with all different types of features, there are really only a few features that gamers will probably want. The features that gamers are going to want to consider are what we like to call the Big Four. These are the four big features that are found on the best capture cards sold nowadays. These big four features include Image Quality, Interface, Software, and Input Type. Let’s examine each category in more detail so that you can purchase sort out what you’ll need your capture card to do before you put down good money on one.
- HD Image Quality – The first thing that a prospective capture card buyer is going to want to consider is the image quality of the card. After all, who is going to watch streams of your games if they’re pixelated, stutter or are of extremely low quality? Probably not too many people, so it’s important to choose a card with good image quality. Although image quality keeps improving at a fantastic rate, which may age our article a little bit, generally speaking, a gamer should choose a card that’s at least 1080p. That’s considered HD-quality. Of course, that’s the basic tier a gamer should consider, and if they want to really improve their streams, then they’ll want to choose an Ultra HD capture card—also known as a 4K one. If the gamer does choose to go with this option, they should also ensure that their computer and video editing software is powerful enough to handle it.
- Interface Type – Capture cards can connect to computers or game systems in a variety of ways, but the two most popular connection options are PCIe and USB. Although USB options are the easiest to set up, they also don’t provide the capabilities that PCIe models provide. Of course, if you don’t feel comfortable cracking open your computer and inserting a capture card, then a USB interface may just be the way to go.
- Input Types – In the past, there were two different types of input a user can choose to record their streams: HDMI and Composite video capture. However, most of the modern games played today on modern consoles are best recorded using HDMI. And all of the major game systems including Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3 & 4, and the Wii U support this option. However, if your Twitch or YouTube channel is dedicated to old school gaming, then you may end up having to use a Composite Video Capture Card for hooking up to your Nintendo 64 or Sega Genesis console for recording.
- Software – The second to last thing to consider is the software that comes with the capture card. Although we haven’t seen a capture card that doesn’t include its own software, it’s still important to make sure that the device not only comes with its own software but that the software is compatible with your computer’s OS. As far as the video editing, live streaming and recording features of the capture card software is concerned, there’s a great difference between the different manufacturer’s. Just be sure that you evaluate the capture card’s software as intently as you do its hardware.
- Cost – The final thing that you’re going to want to consider is the capture card’s cost. Capture cards run the gambit of the price spectrum, from very inexpensive one to very, very expensive professional models. Although we can’t tell you how much to spend on your capture card, we can tell you that you should balance your needs with the device’s price tag. And remember this: cheap capture cards produce cheap results, so choose a model that’s at least a mid-range priced model. On the other hand, if you absolutely need professional results, be sure to get the best capture card you can find to get the results that you expect.