13 Sep 2021 12:48 PM +00:00

Best Capture Card 2021: Top Choices For Recording, Streaming And More!

If you're looking for the best capture card to record your gameplay, we're here to help you with your search.

Capture cards allow you to record your console or PC gameplay, whether you're streaming live on Twitch or uploading later to YouTube they can be essential.

We've looked closely at specs, reviews and any other additional features to bring together our list of top picks.

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So, whether you want to go all-in with the AVerMedia Live Gamer Duo or looking for a fantastic budget choice like the GENKI ShadowCast, we've got you covered right here.

Let's take a look!

Best Capture Card

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Best Capture Card All-Rounder - Elgato HD60 S+ Capture Card

Image Credit: Corsair
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Image Credit: Corsair

Manufacturer: Corsair | Colour: Black | Item Weight: 109 grams | Hardware Interface: USB 3.0 | Resolution: 1080p | Frame Rate: 60 fps | Compatible Devices: Xbox Series X/S, PS4

Elgato are a name that in reality needs no introduction, especially when it comes to capture cards.

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The HD60 S+ looks to be quite the capable all-rounder that's also intuitive to use thanks to simple connection via HDMI to the device you're capturing, and USB 3.0 to the device you're recording to.

You'll find there's support for recording 1080p video at 60fps, which should allow for smooth gameplay whether you're streaming over Twitch or uploading to YouTube.

If you are new to the whole streaming scene, plugging a capture card in and setting it up can be quite a daunting prospect, but luckily, the HD60 S+ features some bundled software that looks to simplify the process.

There is also a built-in video editing suite that we think works well providing you're just trimming bits of videos. If you are properly sitting down and creating a masterpiece, then getting one of the best laptops for video editing will be a better bet.

Best Capture Card Premium Choice - AVerMedia Live Gamer Duo

Image Credit: AVerMedia
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Image Credit: AVerMedia

Manufacturer: AVerMedia | Colour: Black / RGB | Item Weight: 471 grams | Hardware Interface: HDMI 2.0 | Resolution: 1080p | Frame Rate: 60 fps | Compatible Devices: Console, PC

For more of a professional pick, the AVerMedia Live Gamer Duo certainly stood out to us as a rather high-end choice for a capture card.

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It offers what looks to be some incredible convenience for gamers and streamers who want to flit between two devices, be it a console and their main rig. This can be particularly handy if you are a competitive player on multiple platforms, be it two consoles, or between console and PC.

Being a high-end pick means that the AVerMedia Live Gamer Duo works well for those more complicated streams where you're not just utilising one form of media and it's also got the power to back it up.

You can record in 1080p at 60fps too, across those two different devices and as this is a PCIe card that slots right into your PC, it won't be taking up any more space outside your rig and possibly look unsightly.

Best Capture Card Under 100 - Razer Ripsaw HD

Image Credit: Razer
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Image Credit: Razer

Manufacturer: Razer | Colour: Black | Item Weight: 180 grams | Hardware Interface: HDMI 2.0 and USB 3.0 | Resolution: 1080p | Frame Rate: 60 fps | Compatible Devices: Console, PC

The Razer Ripsaw HD looks to be a cracking choice for those wanting a decent capture card for less than a three-figure sum.

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There's the usual ability to record at 1080p at a frame rate of 60fps, but with this card, you do have the option to pass through a 4K output. This means that whilst your audience will see a 1080p video stream, you can play the games in 4K, as long as your hardware is up to scratch.

It makes the Razer Ripsaw HD an appealing choice for those who want to stream online but don't want to sacrifice their own video quality and lose out on the sharpness a 4K output presents.

You'll also find that Razer's offering features an intuitive interface for built-in audio mixing with hard-wired headphones and mic jacks, which is perfect for plugging that cool Razer headset you've got to go along with this capture card.

Best Capture Card 4K - ASUS TUF Gaming Video Capture Card

Image Credit: ASUS
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Image Credit: ASUS

Manufacturer: ASUS | Colour: Silver / RGB | Item Weight: 480 grams | Hardware Interface: HDMI 2.0 and USB Type-C | Resolution: 1080p / 2K / 4K | Frame Rate: 120 / 60 / 30 fps | Compatible Devices: Console, PC

If 4K video output is a priority, then the ASUS TUF Gaming Video Capture Card looks like an incredible do-it-all option.

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The headline feature here is that this card is capable of outputting 4K video at 30fps, as well as 2K video at 60fps, and integrally, 1080p video at a staggering 120fps, which will allow for super-smooth output on any videos or streams.

This is also one of the forward-thinking capture cards around as it connects via USB-C, in a similar vein to some of the best portable monitors, an area in which Asus also excels.

The ASUS TUF Gaming Video Capture Card can also pass through the video signal from your capture device, be it console or PC, to your monitor at either 4K at 60Hz with HDR, 2K at 144Hz or 1080p at 240Hz. allowing for an even slicker native output.

For the gamers out there too, you'll also find some RGB lighting present that also doubles up as a handy status indicator.

Best Capture Card Budget Choice - GENKI ShadowCast

Image Credit: Human Things
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Image Credit: Human Things

Manufacturer: Human Things | Colour: Silver | Item Weight: 10 grams | Hardware Interface: USB Type-C | Resolution: 1080p| Frame Rate: 30 fps | Compatible Devices: Nintendo Switch, PS5, Xbox Series X/S

We think that a great choice for those looking for a compact capture card on a budget is the GENKI ShadowCast.

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It connects via a single HDMI port to a console of your choosing, which can then be connected up to your PC in order to set things up properly via USB-C. This offers a practical plug and play setup with minimal cables also ensuring things remain clutter-free.

As your PC will treat the ShadowCast like a webcam, there's no drivers or additional software to install, and you're then free to utilise any capture software you wish, including the highly popular OBS.

The maximum output resolution on offer is 1080p at 30fps which is fine for content creators just looking to get started and even for those who stream and film videos casually.

Frequently Asked Questions About The Best Capture Cards

How do capture cards work?

Capture cards work simply by having an HDMI input that can then be connected to a device where the footage can be stored and cast, either live through streaming on the likes of Twitch, or edited and uploaded to YouTube.

Some will have built-in capture software, whilst others like the GENKI ShadowCast will rely on the user downloading a suite like OBS that can then capture the input from the original device, like a games console.

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Is it worth getting a capture card?

If you're going to be spending some time capturing game footage and streaming, then we think getting a capture card is a great idea.

They allow for proper high-quality footage to be captured which in turn can raise the production value of videos and streams, and some can even offer 4K output, as is the case with the ASUS TUF Gaming Video Capture Card, for example.

What's better - an internal or external capture card?

This all depends on the space you've got, but also how convenient it'll be to connect to different devices.

If your console is within easy reach from your PC, then going for an internal capture card, akin to the AVerMedia Live Gamer Duo keeps things easy by allowing it to be hooked up directly to your PC's motherboard, but it can be a little fiddly to install.

However, if you're wanting to run a cable from your console to the PC, then an external card like the Elgato HD60 S+ may be better. They're also more portable, so if you do want to take your console out, or you're running things into a laptop, then going for an external card can work well.

Read More: Best Keyboard 2021: Top Picks From Budget To Premium