A capture card is an indispensable tool for recording game footage on your console.

But why exactly is that?

While PC users can use a plethora of different software such as XSplit or Fraps to record gameplay directly on their machine, console owners don’t have it that easy.

If you own a PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch or pretty much any other console, a good capture card will allow you to record and store material externally, as well as move it to your PC with no effort.

However, capture cards are numerous and so are the requirements of different users. Therefore, we have compiled this list of the very best capture cards of 2018!

Best Internal And External Sound Cards For 2018

Capture CardRecording QualityPC ConnectionLatest Price
Elgato Game Capture HD60S1080p, 60 FPSUSB 3.0
HDML-Cloner Box Pro1080p, 30 FPSUSB 2.0 (Standalone)
Hauppauge Colossus 21080p, 30 FPSPCIe
Pyle PVRC43480p, 30 FPSUSB 2.0
AVerMedia Live Gamer Extreme1080p, 60 FPSUSB 3.0
Elgato Game Capture HD60 Pro1080p, 60 FPSPCIe
AVerMedia Live Gamer HD 21080p, 60 FPSPCIe
Roxio Game Capture HD PRO1080p, 30 FPSUSB 2.0
Elgato Game Capture 4K60 Pro
(Editor’s Pick)
4K, 60 FPSPCIe

Elgato Game Capture HD60S

best capture card

About the Capture Card

Elgato is a seasoned German company that has been around since 1992, and during that time, they have excelled in producing a variety of electronics and software. The HD60S is one of many such products and is one of their best external capture cards.

Coming in the form of an inconspicuous black box, the HD60S can easily be plugged into your PC and TV set via a USB cable and an HDMI cable respectively. But what exactly is it that sets this capture card apart from the others?

Features

  • Great video quality – A Full HD 1080p output, framerate of up to 60 FPS and a maximum 40 Mbps bitrate all contribute to the superior video quality that the HD60S offers.
  • Fast USB 3.0 connectivity – This capture card connects to your PC using the latest USB 3.0 technology, which is significantly faster than the older USB versions. This high transfer speed is especially important for live-streaming, as it minimizes latency.
  • Instant streaming, recording, and commentary – Capturing game footage has never been easier, as the HD60S automates the process completely with its built-in YouTube and Twitch streaming capabilities. Moreover, it can also capture your voice on the go, sparing you the trouble of having to add it manually afterwards.

Downsides

  • Accompanying editing software is limited – If you’re taking a professional approach to streaming and video-making, you will require many more editing options than what the stock software provides.

What We Loved

  • Excellent recording/streaming quality
  • USB 3.0 connection is extremely fast
  • Easy to set up and use

What We Didn’t Like

  • Software offers few editing options

HDML-Cloner Box Pro

Best Capture Card 2019

About the Capture Card

Cloner Alliance is a young company, founded only recently in 2014, and their inventory includes several video-focused hardware and software solutions. Regardless of their status as a “newcomer” to the scene, they have already established a reputation for themselves.

The Pro is a sleek standalone capture card capable of processing 4K video input and downscaling it to a 1080p resolution with maximum efficiency and without needing to be attached to a PC. That said, it is a capture card geared towards casual users rather than gamers. And Cloner Alliance also has the Evolve, which is similar to this capture card, but a bit cheaper and supports fewer functionalities.

Features

  • 4K processing – As stated above, the Pro can process videos that are in a 4K resolution, which is a rare feature among today’s capture cards. While it may not be able to record videos in a resolution that high, the downscaled 1080p version of the video is H.264-encoded, meaning that the video will retain high quality nonetheless.
  • Instant video playback after recording – This capture card can record Full HD 1080p videos stored on a USB flash drive with the remote control. External and portable hard drives are also supported.
  • All-around digital video converter – The Box Pro can convert analog and digital video to MP4 files. Supports HDMI, VGA, AV, and YPbPr (component).
  • Remote control – The Pro comes bundled with its very own remote control which looks just like the regular one you’d see coming with a TV set.
  • Editing software – The capture card also comes with Cloner Alliance’s own free editing software. Needless to say, it is a very basic program, so if you want to do any serious editing apart from trimming or splitting videos, you’ll need something more powerful.
  • Scheduled recording – Particularly useful when used with TVs, the Pro can record automatically, you just need to tell it when.
  • Streaming capabilities and live commentary – On top of all the other features, the Pro can stream video and record your voice in real time, thus making it a good choice for streamers, too.

Downsides

  • No Linux Support – While the card works seamlessly with all Windows operating systems, it does not support Linux. Therefore, if this is your operating system of choice, you should consider another capture card.
  • USB 2.0, not USB 3.0 – This capture card comes with a USB 2.0 interface, even though 3.0 is the better standard today and this will put some limitations on the smooth experience of live broadcasting with this card. Players who have high requirements for live streaming should consider another capture card.

What We Loved

  • 4K video processing and HDMI/AV/VGA/YPbPr are supported
  • Does not need to be connected to a PC to work
  • Works great both for TV and gaming

What We Didn’t Like

  • Only works with Windows operating systems
  • USB 2.0

Hauppauge Colossus 2

cheap capture card

About the Capture Card

Coming from the veteran US-based hardware company Hauppauge, the Colossus 2 is one powerful internal capture card. Hauppauge is generally known for their many high-quality TV and multimedia products, so how does this particular capture card live up to that reputation?

Seeing as it is an internal sound card that connects directly to your motherboard via a PCIe slot, it is not much to look at. However, functionality is where the Colossus 2 truly shines. It is quite versatile in terms of connectivity, and it also makes recording and streaming both efficient and convenient.

Features

  • Connectivity – The Colossus 2 comes with 1 HDMI output, 1 HDMI input, a component video input, SP/DIF optical audio input, a microphone input and an IR receiver input/output port. This ensures that the card is compatible with many devices other than just gaming consoles.
  • Full HD recording – The Colossus 2 can record content in 1080p with a framerate of 30 FPS and uses an H.264 video encoder, which results in well-compressed videos that save a lot of space but sacrifice little in quality.
  • StreamEez– This software that comes bundled with the capture card serves to facilitate the use of live streaming platforms such as Twitch, YouTube or Ustream. It may not have as many features or look as good as some other programs of this type, but it is free and it gets the job done.

Downsides

  • Lack of portability – Seeing as the Colossus 2 is an internal capture card, it can only be used with desktop PCs. So, if you use a laptop to process your videos, or need a capture card that you can easily carry with you, this one is far from the ideal choice.

What We Loved

  • Supports a number of connectivity options
  • Hauppage’s StreamEez is convenient to have

What We Didn’t Like

  • Cannot be used with laptops or transported easily

Pyle PVRC43

best capture card 2018

About the Capture Card

Pyle is a company that was founded in the 1960s and they are better known for their audio equipment, rather than multimedia or video products. Counting among the latter, however, is the PVRC43 capture card.

The PVRC43 is a standalone capture card, meaning that it doesn’t need to be connected to a computer in order to function. There is no denying that it is a budget capture card, but what exactly helps it rank high in this particular category?

Features

  • Connectivity – Unlike most other capture cards on this list, the PVRC43 uses an analogue AV/RCA cable as primary means of connection. However, it can also connect to digital devices via an HDMI adapter.
  • Standalone recording – As mentioned above, this capture card can record material without needing to be connected to a computer, and stores all captured footage on a microSD memory card.
  • Plugand-Play compatibility – The PVRC43 does not need any additional drivers to be installed on a computer, and any content stored on it can be played as soon as it is connected.

Downsides

  • HDMI adapter not included – As already stated, this capture card utilizes an analogue connection. However, almost all the devices you would connect it to use HDMI, and an HDMI adapter is not included in the box but is sold separately instead.
  • SD quality video – Seeing as it only has an analogue AV/RCA connector, the maximum video resolution supported by the PVRC43 is 480p. Needless to say, this would be considered too low for most, if not all professional streamers and content creators.

What We Loved

  • Can record without being connected to a computer
  • Easy to use, both for recording and playing recorded video
  • No additional software required
  • Affordable

What We Didn’t Like

  • No native HDMI support, requires a separate adapter
  • No HD video support

AVerMedia Live Gamer Extreme

best external capture card

About the Capture Card

AVerMedia is a Taiwanese company started in the early 1990s. They rose to prominence relatively quickly, and they produce a range of video and audio equipment today.

The adequately named Live Gamer Extreme is a powerful external capture card geared specifically towards streaming quality content, as evident from the fast USB 3.0 port and the 1080p 60 FPS recording quality.

Features

  • Recording quality – The Live Gamer Extreme captures video in an uncompressed Full HD format at 60 FPS, as we have already mentioned. Seeing as this is the default resolution and framerate that most gamers still stick to today, it makes this capture card an excellent choice for delivering your gameplay footage to an audience in the highest possible quality.
  • Connection speed – Whereas USB 2.0 cards face a significant drawback in terms of speed when compared to internal PCIe capture cards, this disadvantage is rendered almost nil by the extremely fast USB 3.0, which is 10 times faster than the previous generation. This allows low-latency transfer of high-quality data that makes HD streaming possible.
  • Audio MixIn – The Live Gamer Extreme allows users to add music to their stream on the fly. Moreover, it also supports live commentary thanks to the two 3.5mm microphone jacks placed on the front of the device.
  • RECentral 2 – This is AVerMedia’s own streaming and editing software that comes with the capture card. It allows the user to customize their stream with overlays, webcam feed and more. As for videos, they can even be edited live thanks to the program’s TimeShift feature.

Downsides

  • Only supports Windows – There is not support for Linux or MacOS, so if you game on either of those operating systems, you will have to look elsewhere.
  • RECentral 2 is somewhat limited – Even though it offers more options and is overall more powerful than the usual editing programs coming with capture cards, RECentral 2 is still nowhere near as powerful as proper editing software.

What We Loved

  • Low latency streaming
  • Full HD uncompressed video quality
  • Live commentary

What We Didn’t Like

  • Works only with Windows
  • Editing software not that powerful

Elgato Game Capture HD60 Pro

top rated capture card

About the Capture Card

The Game Capture HD60 Pro is the most powerful capture card currently manufactured by Elgato, whom we have already introduced in the first entry on this list.

However, the HD60 Pro differs from HD60S in several ways. Most notably, it is an internal capture card that interfaces with a computer via a PCIe slot. It sports a sleek black and dark grey metal exterior becoming of its name, and it shares some features with other HD60 capture cards but also has a couple of unique ones.

Features

  • Recording quality – Like most of the HD60 series, the HD60 Pro records in a Full HD 1080p resolution in 60 FPS. Moreover, it has the highest maximum bitrate out of all of them at 60 Mbps.
  • H.264 Encoding – The capture card includes an integrated H.264 chip that enables the card to optimally compress the recorded material with almost no visible loss in video quality.
  • Stream control and customization – The HD60 Pro allows users to add various overlays, webcam feeds, as well as live commentary to their stream at any point. You can change almost anything you want as you go.

Downsides

  • PC only – Seeing as it is an internal capture card that interfaces with a motherboard through a PCIe slot, it can obviously only be used with PC. Therefore, if you use a laptop to process and edit your videos, you will need an external capture card.
  • Windows 10 only – To further narrow the card’s compatibility options, it works only with the 64-bit version of Windows 10, which will undoubtedly leave some Linux users disappointed.

What We Loved

  • High recording/streaming quality
  • H.264 encoder preserves quality and saves space
  • Many stream customization options

What We Didn’t Like

  • Limited compatibility

AVerMedia Live Gamer HD 2

capture card for streaming

About the Capture Card

The Live Gamer HD 2 is AVerMedia’s successor to their highly popular Live Gamer HD capture card, and this new iteration brings a number of changes with itself.

This internal capture card comes with a unique design: a metal exterior adorned with a pattern of triangular holes, and with a blue LED light shining underneath. There is no arguing that it is a great looking piece of hardware, but how does it fare in action?

Features

  • High video quality – Like all other high-end capture cards, the Live Gamer HD 2 is capable of recording videos in a Full HD 1080p resolution, and at 60 frames per second.
  • Plug and play – There is no hassle of installing drivers or dealing with driver conflicts with this card, as it is ready to go the moment you install it in your computer.
  • RECentral 3 – This piece of editing and streaming software is a direct successor to the RECentral 2 found in AVerMedia’s older capture cards. It can easily be integrated with programs such as XSplit or OBS via plugins, and it allows users to edit their videos and customize their streams on the fly.

Downsides

  • PC and Windows-only – Seeing as it is an internal capture card, the Live Gamer HD 2 can obviously only be used with a PC. However, it only supports Windows versions from 8 and up, so those who have an older version of Windows or prefer Linux will be unable to use this card.

What We Loved

  • Full HD 60 FPS recording and streaming
  • Easy to install and easy to use
  • Software is convenient, even if not the most powerful

What We Didn’t Like

  • Works only on Windows 8+
  • Lack of portability

Roxio Game Capture HD PRO

best internal capture card

About the Capture Card

Roxio is a California-based company founded in 2001 which produces an array of multimedia products, including capture cards.

The Game Capture HD PRO is, despite what the name implies, a budget capture card. It is a compact and convenient piece of tech, albeit the design is rather bland. But when push comes to shove, it definitely can pull its own weight.

Features

  • Video quality – The Game Capture HD PRO records content in the standard Full HD 1080p resolution, although only at 30 FPS, which lags behind some of the more powerful cards.
  • 264 encoding – As we have already established, H.264 represents the best compression technology currently available, allowing you to capture high-quality video while saving space. As such, it is a welcome feature in any capture card.
  • Analogue connectors – As it was released during the twilight of the previous generation consoles, the Game Capture HD PRO incorporates a total of 10 RCA connectors in its design so as to enable this form of connection as well.

Downsides

  • Design and build quality – We have already mentioned that the HD Pro’s design is not its strong suit. This is due to the exterior appearance looking quite chaotic and random, and the build actually being quite flimsy and made of cheap-feeling plastic.
  • USB 2.0 – Even though the card can capture Full HD video, it will hardly be able to stream it in real time due to its PC connection being the last generation USB 2.0.

What We Loved

  • Full HD video recording
  • H.264 encoded
  • Analogue connectors for older devices

What We Didn’t Like

  • Cheap build and design
  • Slow connection not suitable for streaming

Elgato Game Capture 4K60 Pro

top capture card

About the Capture Card

And finally, we have yet another solution from Elgato, and it is the best one that they have offered to date: the Elgato 4K60 Pro.

This internal capture card has its own heatsink and a patterned external design which will help it fit in well with most high-end gaming rigs. However, the performance is far more impressive than the design in this case.

Features

  • Unprecedented video quality – The 4K60 Pro is the first real 4K capture card that can seamlessly record 2160p video in 60 FPS, and at a bitrate of up to 140 Mbps. Not only does this put it a clear notch above the competition, but it also makes it very future-proof.
  • Connectivity – The 4K60 Pro is fairly simple when it comes to connection options: it has a single HDMI in and a single HDMI out. This is due to the fact that it is marketed towards both PC and console users, and the latter rely solely on HDMI as a means of connection.
  • Design – As we have mentioned in the intro, this capture card sports a sleek and modern exterior which fully justifies the “Pro” in its name. This is something that should be appreciated from both an aesthetic and a practical standpoint. Namely, it ensures that the card looks good in open or translucent cases, while also making it easier to handle.
  • Compatibility – Naturally, the 4K60 Pro is fully compatible with a PC, but it is also great for the recent console revisions which were released with the intention of living up to the new 4K display resolutions: the PlayStation 4 Pro and the Xbox One X. Even though those consoles cannot run native 4K in 60 FPS like high-end gaming computers can, being able to capture that very resolution is a plus in itself.

Downsides

  • Price – Seeing as it is the first 4K capture card whose technical capabilities are far above the competition, so is its price far above the competition. Needless to say, only the most serious streamers will be able to afford it at the moment, as the price tag hardly makes it a good capture card for starters.
  • Hardware requirements – It goes without saying that 4K resolutions are very taxing for hardware, even if it’s just video processing. As such, the recommended hardware requirements for the 4K60 Pro are quite something: a 6th generation Intel i7 or AMD Ryzen 7 CPU, and an Nvidia GeForce 10-series or AMD RX Vega-series GPU.

What We Loved

  • First capture card to offer 4K 60 FPS video capture
  • Stylish design
  • Compatible with XONE X and PS4 Pro
  • Highly future-proof

What We Didn’t Like

  • Expensive
  • Needs a powerful desktop computer in order to run properly

What to Keep in Mind When Buying a Capture Card

Internal vs External

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYhkhUu7fN4

There are obvious advantages and disadvantages to both of these categories. In essence, internal sound cards connect to the motherboard via a PCIe slot and thus ensure the fastest connection but are not easy to move around, for obvious reasons. On the other hand, external capture cards are slower but can easily be moved around.

So, which to choose?

If all the devices you intend to be recording, streaming from can easily be connected to your computer, then an internal capture card is the best choice. If that is not the case, then you will definitely need the portability of an external capture card.

And lastly, if you intend on live streaming with an external card, always pick the one with a USB 3.0 connection! This bridges the speed gap between PCIe and the previous generation’s USB 2.0, even though it is still not quite as good. Theoretically, USB 3.0 has higher maximum data transfer speeds, but PCIe is much more reliable and remains faster in practice.

Your Internet Connection

This is only important if you intend on live streaming, especially if you want to stream in a higher video quality. The approximate upload speed requirements for different resolutions are as follows:

  • 3 Mbps for 480p SD quality
  • 5 Mbps for 720p HD quality
  • 8 Mbps for 1080p HD quality
  • 25 Mbps for 4K UHD quality

Therefore, make sure to check your upload speed with SpeedTest. No point in getting an expensive capture card that can stream a Full HD 60 FPS video if your bandwidth can’t handle its part.

If you have a WiFi connection and you feel like you’re supposed to get better download and upload speeds, then check out our guide on the best WiFi extenders as these will help you get a better wireless connection if your WiFi is far away from your computer.

Your Gaming Platform

As we have mentioned in the intro, PC users don’t actually need a capture card in order to stream, as the graphics card and the CPU can do all the work. However, this would inevitably lead to an impact on performance.

This effect can vary greatly, from a minimal to a crippling impact on FPS that makes the actual game unplayable. Luckily, testing this is a piece of cake – just fire up whatever streaming software you intend to use and see how your PC performs.

On the other hand, you absolutely need a capture card if you’re a console owner. Why? Simply because console hardware isn’t powerful enough to handle both game rendering and video processing simultaneously. This is where capture cards step in and take care of that part of the work.

And lastly, keep your console’s own power in mind, too. If you own a regular or “slim” version of a console, you needn’t concern yourself with whether the capture card can record 1080p content at 60 FPS, since the console itself wouldn’t be able to render that. If, however, you own one of the more advanced variants of a console such as the PS4 Pro or the Xbox One X, then definitely consider a more powerful capture card to go with them.

Conclusion

The Best Capture Card

capture card for pc

So, ultimately, which of these capture cards is the best capture card of 2018?

All things considered, Elgato’s 4K60 Pro takes the cake. It is the first capture card truly capable of recording gameplay in an UltraHD resolution, and at 60 frames per second, no less. Furthermore, it is compatible both with PC and consoles, something that owners of the new 4K-capable PS4 Pro and Xbox One X will surely appreciate.

But it doesn’t end there!

To top it all off, Elgato has proven to manufacture some of the longest-lasting capture cards as well as some of the most stable software that incorporates a breadth of useful features.

And ultimately, it should also be noted that this card represents an excellent future-proof solution due to its 4K recording capabilities. The UltraHD resolution have just started breaking into the mainstream and it is the biggest resolution jump in years. That said, you can rest assured that a durable high-quality card like this will serve you well for the foreseeable future.

The Best Budget Capture Card

capture card elgatoWhen it comes to determining which capture card offers the best balance of quality and affordability, it would have to be Roxio’s Game Capture HD PRO.

Granted, Pyle’s capture card is even cheaper, but its lack of HD recording capability leaves it hopelessly outclassed, especially since its price tag is not low enough to make up for this shortcoming.

As for the Game Capture HD PRO, it is neither the best looking nor the most powerful capture card out there, but it gets the job done admirably. It can record in a Full HD resolution, which is what every gamer will be looking for, but don’t expect the video quality to be able to compete with Elgato’s or AVerMedia’s premium capture cards.

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