With more people recording and streaming their video games, you may want to share your gaming experiences with others! While you could point a camera at the TV screen, you will get better recordings with a gaming capture card. Since you have plenty of capture cards to look through online, we decided to make our top 10 list for the best gaming capture cards available.
We put the Elgato's HD60 S+ at number one since it has flashback recording, Mac support, and minimal input lag. We chose nine more excellent options for PC and console gaming, too. If you want to figure out which capture card will be best for the games you want to record, you should check the buying guide for essential points to keep in mind!
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Table of Contents
Gaming capture cards have various connection types, specs, and external features, so we want to go over each apsect to help you find the best option for you!
Capture cards use HDMI or composite cords. Here, we will cover what situations are best suited for each type.
A high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) is the most common video and audio cable used today. If you plan to record gameplay for modern consoles like the PS3 and Xbox 360 onwards, you will need an HDMI capture card. HDMI is a good choice since it supports HD video, so the gameplay will look smooth and clean when you record it.
It also has the video and audio in one cord, making it easier to into the TV. Since HDMI cords are universal, you can replace them if the cords you purchase for your capture card break.
Older consoles use composite cables that are yellow, white, and red. The yellow, white, and red cables control video, right audio, and left audio, respectively. While the composite cords are universal, the other end will be device-dependent, so you can’t replace them as easily.
You could use a composite-to-HDMI converter to record gameplay on an HDMI capture card, but it may lower the video’s quality. Because these games don't support HD, they will look blurry on a higher resolution. You may want to stick with a composite capture card if you plan to record older games.
When you use a capture card, you need to make sure you get the right resolution, frames per second (FPS), and supported computer type.
Capture cards support different recording resolutions, such as HD, 4K, and standard. HD recordings support 720p and 1080p, and the "p" refers to the number of pixels across the vertical side of the screen.
4K means there are 4,000 pixels along the horizontal part of the screen to make the image sharp and clear. However, higher resolutions take up more file space on your computer.
If you want to record or stream modern gameplay, you should go with HD resolution. On the other hand, standard resolution might work well for older consoles on the PS1, Nintendo 64, or earlier. You should reserve 4K recordings for modern games on the PS5 or Xbox Series X that support 4K. Standard definition is any resolution under 720 pixels.
You may also see numbers followed by an "i," like 576i. The "i" stands for "interlaced," which is a type of resolution that is smoother and takes up less bandwidth.
TV pixels let you know how many dots make up the image, so more pixels will create a clearer image. Some standard definitions will let you know the horizontal and vertical ratios. This means 4:3 has more of a square shape for the screen, while 16:9 is a widescreen. Both of those ratios support 480 pixels or less.
Many console games run at 60 frames per second, but some run at 30 frames. A few modern ones are 120 frames per second, such as games for the PS5, Xbox Series X, and computer games. Even if a console supports higher framerates, some games may not run at those rates. In short, the higher the FPS, the smoother the recording looks.
If you want to record modern and retro consoles, you should get a capture card that supports multiple FPS settings. The product pages will let you know which FPS and resolutions the capture card supports.
You may see cards include both the resolution and frame rates in the same number. For example, "4Kp60" means the card supports 4,000 pixels at 60 frames per second.
Capture cards support Windows, Mac, or multiple operating systems (OS). Most computers use a Windows OS. However, Apple products use a Mac OS, and a few others use Linux. You may come across one or two capture cards that let you record to Android or iPhone devices.
Some computers may run on different versions of the systems. For example, you have Windows 8, 10, and other Windows OSs your computer may use. You can look at the product descriptions to ensure your OS is compatible with the capture card.
You should think about if you want to buy an internal or external card and if it has built-in splitters. Here's why these points matter!
Internal capture cards go inside your computer to record gameplay. You can transmit the gameplay from one computer to the other. You can stream or record on one computer while running high-graphic games from another. However, if you plan to play and record on one computer, you may not need an internal card.
If you plan to record gameplay on a console, you will want an external card. External cards allow you to hook the console into your capture card and output it to your computer.
This makes it easy to switch your consoles as needed and plug the capture card into different computers. On the other hand, you will need to set up the capture card each time you want to use it.
Capture cards without splitters require you to buy separate splitters if you want to record and play on two screens. Splitters are devices that add another output to the capture card.
Some capture cards include built-in splitters with one input and two outputs. The input plugs in your console's HDMI, while the outputs are used for your TV and computer. The TV output will use an HDMI cable, and the computer output will have a USB or HDMI cable.
This means a splitter will let you plug into your TV and computer, so you can record games while playing them on your TV. Otherwise, you can only plug it into your computer, which may have some input lag and a small screen. Built-in splitters are available for some HDMI capture cards, but composite ones will require a separate splitter.
Click to purchase
Minimal Input Lag, Flashback Recording, and Mac Support
PCI-Express Gen 2 x4｜GC573
4K and HD Resolution Capture Card That's Easy to Use
An Internal Graphics Card With Excellent Recording Quality
Live Gamer Portable 2 Plus｜GC513
Record With or Without a Computer
Records Older Games and Simplifies YouTube Uploading
A Great Option for Retro Game Recording and Streaming
HDMI Game Video Capture Card
An Android-Compatible Card With USB-A and C Options
4K HDMI Game Video Capture Card
A Small Capture Card With Excellent 4K Recording
Video Capture Card
A Plug-and-Play Capture Card With HD Support
USB 2.0 Audio/Video Converter
Composite Capture Card for Retro Gaming
This capture card focuses on offering HD and 4K recordings to get a clear image. It's designed to have minimal input lag for smoother gameplay. It even has a flashback recording feature, so you can rewind and record gameplay.
A couple of reviewers didn't like that they have to use a USB cord for power, saying it can be fussy. However, many reviewers loved that it's easy to use and works with several systems, including Mac computers. They also happily reported that it has very little or no lag during use!
This internal capture card offers HD and 4K resolutions to record and stream your games. It supports 60 to 240 FPS to give you smooth gameplay and videos. It even includes surround sound recording so that your viewers can be immersed in the game with you!
A few reviewers had issues with the FPS capping at 60 when they tried to record at 1080 pixels. Nevertheless, plenty of reviewers loved how the capture card could record at 4K resolution. They also noticed that it's easy to set up and use! They also appreciated that it's portable and takes up very little space.
This capture card goes inside of your computer so that you can record gameplay while displaying it on TV and computer screens. It allows you to record and stream in standard and HD resolutions. It's designed to record PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and other HDMI consoles. Plus, it supports a wide range of resolutions and frame rates.
A couple of reviewers said the device's software can have problems recording audio. However, plenty of reviewers said it records excellent HD-quality graphics, saying there are no issues with lag. They also loved that it displays games on their computer monitor for instant previews.
This capture card has you plug into your computer through an HDMI rather than a USB cord. It lets you record on your computer, but you can also plug in a micro SD card to record without a computer. It even has a mic port and volume control on the card.
Some reviewers said that this capture card has significant input delay without a splitter. Despite that point, many reviewers liked that it's easy to record with. They also appreciated that they can use a micro SD card to record gameplay.
This option is built around capturing gameplay on Windows, Mac, iPods, and iPhones. The capture card has built-in support with YouTube so that you can easily upload videos. It even includes widescreen support for games that use composite cords.
Some reviewers couldn't get this capture card to work with Windows 10 computers. Nevertheless, most said it does a great job recording older games. They also loved that this device makes it easy for them to put their videos on YouTube.
This card has long wires for both the USB port and composite cords. It's one of the smallest capture cards available so that you can switch it between computers easily. It even works with multiple versions of Windows, such as 7, 8, and 10.
A few reviewers had problems with a soft buzzing noise playing in the background when they recorded gameplay. Despite that point, a good number of reviewers said it's great for recording retro games. They also said it works well for streaming and produces a clean image.
This card comes in USB Type-A and C versions, so you can pick whichever one works better for your computer. It has a built-in splitter so that you can record while playing on your TV. It's even compatible with Android devices for mobile gamers!
Some reviewers had issues with the audio sounding fuzzy or not as good as they expected. On the bright side, an abundance of reviewers said this capture card displays a clear picture while recording. They also said it works great for streaming games.
This capture card comes with built-in splitters and a USB cord to connect to your computer. It has audio and mic ports so that you can record your voice while hearing the audio. It even has an aluminum shell to protect the card if it falls or gets bumped.
A few reviewers had problems with the USB port and cord, saying they couldn't plug the cord all the way into the capture card. On the other hand, many said that the 4K resolution looks great and produces sharp videos. They also loved that it's small and easy to transport.
This small capture card keeps things simple with one input and output. It lets you record gameplay from your Android device while also supporting Windows, Mac, and Linux. Despite its size, it even supports 4K resolution if you want to record high-quality gameplay.
A few reviewers had issues with their game lagging when they tried to play it without a splitter. On the other hand, many reviewers were impressed with its plug-and-play approach, saying they could use it immediately. They also liked that it supports HD resolutions when recording games.
This is a smaller capture card shaped like a thumb drive, so it's easy to store and transport. It's best suited for recording retro games. It has a lid to keep the USB port protected when you aren't using it. It also includes a disc with some recording software.
A couple of reviewers said they sometimes had trouble getting it to record audio. On the bright side, quite a few reviewers said the software is great and makes recording easy. They also loved that it works with a variety of software.
Now that you have a capture card, you need to find some games to record or stream. Look through some of our favorite games below!
Still unsure of which gaming capture card is right for you? Check out what Amazon buyers like.
The descriptions of each product are referenced from content available on manufacturer, brand, and e-commerce sites.
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