Best capture cards for PC gaming
These are the best capture cards for streamers, video creators, and regular gamers—from 4K cards to portable Elgato boxes.
If you’re thinking about taking your streaming game to the next level, you’re going to want to make sure you have the best capture card for PC in your system. Whether you’re looking to monetize and break into the professional streaming game or simply want to give yourself more options and make your shows looks better, picking the right capture gear, including the best microphone for streaming and one of the best webcams, may help you stand out and produce your best work.
The best capture card for PC is in the eye of the beholder: Everybody has their own goals. There are cards that will let you stream in 4K, but not everyone is watching on 4K monitors and screens, so that may seem like overkill, depending on your plan and the power of your system. (Or systems! Some streamers use two PCs, one for playing and one for streaming). Some screen capture devices are geared towards recording footage, rather than broadcasting, so it’s important to look for any indication that there’s a distinction between the two. Lastly, Streaming can get complicated, so an intuitive interface isn’t a given. While most streamers tend to use OBS or XSplit, it’s always nice to have system software that’s capable in case you choose to use it. Keep a look out for all these factors when picking the best capture card for PC, whether or not you wind up with one of our picks.
Elgato Game Capture HD60 S
The best capture card for newcomers
Resolution: 1080p | Frame rate: 60fps | Interface: USB 3.0
+ Excellent capture quality
+ Good price
– Editing software isn’t great
This is the perfect card for anyone wanting to get their gameplay online with as little hassle as possible. Elgato are experts in their field, and the HD60 S proves it; reasonably priced and simple to use, it’s probably the best place to start if you’re new to streaming. Crisp 1080p recordings at 60fps are a feather in its cap, while USB 3.0 connectivity is a happy bonus. Built-in software to get you up and running seal the deal. In fact, the only downside would be the card’s fairly limited editing suite—it’s not much good for anything beyond trimming video. However, it does have ‘Flashback Recording’ to help you retroactively capture even if you forgot to hit ‘record’.
AverMedia Live Gamer Portable 2 Plus
A brilliant, user friendly pick
Resolution: 1080p | Frame rate: 60fps | Interface: USB 3.0
+ Play in 4K while you record
– Doesn’t stream in 4K
Straightforward and reassuringly unsubtle, the Live Gamer Portable 2 Plus packs smooth 60fps and 1080p recording, 4K pass-through so you can still play in ultra HD (even if it’s not captured in 4K), USB 3.0, Mac compatibility, and dirty great flashing lights to tell you if you’re capturing or have left HDCP on. Besides an attractive form-factor with black casing, red trim, and neon-blue strip lighting, it packs intuitive software for live editing and the ability to record straight onto a Micro SD card if you’d prefer to keep your HDD clear of space-absorbing video. This is a capture card with flexibility, particularly if you record on the go. It works straight out of the box too—always a plus.
Elgato Game Capture HD60 Pro
A great card for pros, although it won’t do 4K
Resolution: 1080p | Frame rate: 60fps | Interface: PCIe x1, HDMI
+ Advanced encoder
+ Bitrate of 60mbps
– Only streams in 720p
If you want to take your recordings to the next level, Elgato’s internal HD60 Pro card is a good shout. Indeed, their website claims that this card features “an advanced, onboard H.264 encoder that enables you to record unlimited footage in superb 1080p [60fps] quality, at a bitrate up to 60Mbps.” Not too shabby. Although it only streams in 720p, it still manages a solid 60fps. Petite, classy form-factor are in the HD60 Pro’s favor as well. At around $150/£150, it’s a sound option that gives great results for less.
Razer Ripsaw HD
The illustrious 1080p-4K middleground option
Resolution: 1080p capture; 4K passthrough | Frame rate: 60fps | Interface: USB 3.0
+ 4K 60fps passthrough
+ Built-in audio mixing
– No editing software
Admittedly, the one downside to the Razer Ripsaw HD is that it’s not the Elgato HD60 Pro. It doesn’t have its own proprietary software, so you’re forced to use OBS or subscribe to XSplit. On the other hand, many people prefer those wares to Elgato’s own, and most of us use those third party applications on our own volition. And because it doesn’t have its own software, the Ripsaw HD also supports built-in, easy to use audio mixing with the help of its hardwired, “hassle free” mic and headphone jacks. For the price, it also has the best picture quality.
Although it’s still limited to 1080p streaming and capture, the Ripsaw HD lets you experience your favorite games—while streaming or capturing—at 4K 60fps. This ought to appeal to PC gamers who want to share their gameplay online, but don’t want to miss out on the top-notch visual fidelity ushered in by their expensive and powerful graphics cards.
Elgato Game Capture 4K60 Pro
The best 4K capture card for serious aficionados
Resolution: 4K | Frame rate: 60fps | Interface: PCIe x4
+ 4K capture with 60fps
+ Video encoding
– Needs a high-end PC
For pro-users who will settle at nothing but the best, Elgato’s 4K60 Pro is your jam. It builds on the HD60 Pro’s ultra-low latency with 4K 60fps capture, 1080p 60fps streaming, and all the benefits of Elgato software. Even though it needs a high-end PC to get off the ground, this is an excellent piece of kit for those who are set on capturing gameplay at the highest resolution and frame rate possible.
We’d recommend an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 20-series and at least an 8th gen Intel Core i7 CPU (or better) to avoid any latency. Although it’s wise to make sure you’ve got enough space on your HDD for all those videos as well, the 4K60 Pro has an encoder to reduce file size and save you much-needed memory real-estate. Oh, and one more thing: the best way to play while using this card is with a lag-free HDMI passthrough that shoots the feed to a 4K screen or second monitor.
Source from PCGamer
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