Best 8 Capture Cards of 2018

Best 8 Capture Card of 2018

We review eight of the best capture cards of 2018, including their pros and cons as well as pricing information. Whether you’re looking for an internal or external card, or you need Windows or Linux compatibility, these reviews will point you in the right direction for all your gaming storage needs.

Product

Description

Price

Elgato Game Capture HD60S

Elgato HD60 S capture card

Recording Quality: 1080p, 60 FPS

PC Connection: USB 3.0

HDML-Cloner Box Resolve

HDML-Cloner capture card

Recording quality: 1080p, 30 FPS

PC Connection: 
USB 2.0

Hauppauge Colossus 2

Hauppauge capture card

Recording quality: 1080p, 60 FPS

PC Connection:
USB 3.0

Pyle PVRC43

Pyle PVRC43 capture card

Recording quality: 480p, 30FPS

PC Connection: 
USB 2.0

AVerMedia Live
Gamer Extreme

AVerMedia capture card

Recording quality: 1080p, 60 FPS

PC Connection:
USB 3.0

Elgato Game Capture HD60 PRO

Elgato-HD60-Pro-capture-card

Recording quality: 1080p, 60 FPS

PC Connection:
PCIe

AVerMedia Live Gamer HD 2

AVerMedia HD capture card

Recording quality: 1080p, 60 FPS

PC Connection:
PCIe

Roxio Game Capture HD PRO

Roxio capture card

Recording quality: 1080p, 30 FPS

PC Connection:
USB 2.0

Best 8 Capture Cards of 2018

If you’re a regular gamer using a console, you know that a capture card is one of the most important tools you can invest in. Without one, you can’t record gameplay and move it to your PC or store it externally.

There are tons of capture cards on the market, but they aren’t created equal. Taking the time to compare their various features and limitations will help you choose the best capture card for your particular gaming and storage needs.

Elgato Game Capture HD60S

Elgato HD60 S capture card

Recording Quality: 1080p, 60 FPS 

PC Connection: USB 3.0 

This card is manufactured in Germany by a company that produces a wide range of excellent electronics and software. This external capture card is a plain looking black box that is easy to plug into your computer  (USB cable) or TV (HDMI cable). 

Pros

Cons

  • Excellent video quality with 1080 P HD output and a framerate of 60 FPS. The images are crystal clear and offers some of the best video quality on the market.
  • Smile
    Instant streaming, commentary and recording mean you can capture game footage easily with the built-in Twitch and YouTube streaming setups. You can also record your voice on the fly, eliminating the need to go back and record manually later. 
  • Software limitations mean you can’t do much in the way of editing beyond the basics. You won’t end up with professional quality videos without investing in additional software.

Quality

Price

Rating

$$$

HDML-Cloner Box Resolve

HDML-Cloner capture card

Recording quality: 1080p, 30 FPS 

PC Connection: USB 2.0 

This capture card is manufactured by a company that’s only been in business since 2014, so making the Best of 2018 list is something of a coup for them. They manufacture a wide variety of software and hardware. Their Evolve is a standalone capture card that can process 4K video and scale it down to 1080p resolution without having to be attached to your computer. Its limitations, however, mean casual users will be satisfied, but not serious gamers.

Pros

Cons

  • Excellent video quality with 1080 P HD output and a framerate of 60 FPS. The images are crystal clear and offers some of the best video quality on the market.
  • Smile
    Instant streaming, commentary and recording mean you can capture game footage easily with the built-in Twitch and YouTube streaming setups. You can also record your voice on the fly, eliminating the need to go back and record manually later.
  • Smile
    Editing software is included. It’s fairly basic, but for casual users it’s nice to have it at no additional cost. 
  • Smile
    Commentary and streaming capabilities allow you to record voice in real time. 
  • Smile
    A remote control in included. 
  • Meh
    Limits on scheduled recordings mean you can’t schedule more than one recording at a time. This is a feature that baffle s us, since there is no reason for it.
  • Meh
    Lack of Linux support will be a problem for some. While the card works with Windows, it doesn’t support Linux.  

Quality

Price

Rating

$$$

Hauppauge Colossus 2

Hauppauge capture card

Recording quality: 1080p, 60 FPS 

PC Connection: USB 3.0 

Hauppauge is an experienced U.S. based hardware company with a reputation for superior multimedia and television products. They’ve taken that knowledge and applied it to their internal capture card. The card looks like an internal sound card that is connected to your PC’s motherboard using a PCIe slot. This card has tons of functions and it is extremely versatile, allowing for streaming that is easy and quick. 

Pros

Cons

  • Connectivity is through an HDMI output, an HDMI input, SP/DIF optical audio input, a component video input, an IR receiver input/output and a microphone input. These multiple options mean you’ll probably be able to use the card with other devices beyond game consoles.
  • Smile
    StreamEez is the software included with the capture card for streaming to YouTube, Ustream or Twitch. While it doesn’t have all the features of some other programs for streaming, it is free, and it is easy to use.
  • Smile
    Full HD recording at 1080p and an impressive framerate of 30 FPS utilizes an H.264 video encoder. Translation? Compressed videos that give you high quality while freeing up lots of storage space
  • Meh
    Portability is lacking because it uses an internal card that only works with desktop computers. You can’t use your laptop for processing or editing and you can’t tote this capture card with you. Although this is the only “con” for the Colossus 2, it’s a big stumbling block for many users. If this weren’t an issue, the Colossus 2 might have ranked number one in our Top 10. 

Quality

Price

Rating

$$$

Pyle PVRC43

Pyle PVRC43 capture card

Recording Quality: 480p, 30FPS 

PC Connection: USB 2.0 

Pyle has been making audio equipment since the 1960’s and is a new contender in the video and multimedia arenas. The PVRC43 capture card is an impressive entry into the field. It’s a standalone that doesn’t have to be connected to a computer to work.  

Pros

Cons

  • Standalone recording is the stand-out feature here. It stores the footage on a memory card (microSD)
  • Smile
    Connectivity uses an analog AV/RCA cable, which is a bit old-fashioned, but gets the job done. You can also get an HDMI adapter if you want to connect to digital devices.
  • Smile
    Plug & Play capability means you don’t have to install drivers on your PC and you can play stored footage immediately. 
  • Meh
    Video quality is lacking because the resolution is just 480p. Content creators and dedicated gamers will pass on this card because they just won’t get the clarity and sharpness they’re looking for. 

Quality

Price

Rating

$$$

AVerMedia Live Gamer Extreme

AVerMedia capture card

Recording Quality: 1080p, 60 FPS 

PC Connection: USB 3.0  

Based in Taiwan, AVerMedia quickly became well known for the quality and range of their audio/video equipment in the 1990s. Their Live Gamer Extreme capture cards are external cards catering to serious gamers looking for high quality streaming. 

Pros

Cons

  • Connection speed via the USB 3.0 rivals the speeds of internal PCIe capture cards. Users can successfully use low-latency transfer  for HD streaming. 
  • Smile
    Exceptional recording quality due to the ability to record in uncompressed, Full HD at 60 FPS. It delivers high resolution and framerate for top-quality footage for even the most serious gamer. 
  • Smile
    Streaming and editing software (RECentral2) is included with the capture card, letting users customize webcam feeds, overlays and much more. The software’s TimeShift program allows live video editing. 
  • Smile
    Audio mixing lets gamers add music and/or live commentary to their footage via two microphone jacks
  • Meh
    Windows-only format means you can’t use the Live Gamer Extreme with either MacOS or Linux, severely limiting the popularity of this system. 
  • Meh
    Streaming and editing software (RECentral 2) does have some nice features (check out the “Pros” section above), but there are limitations, so it’s still more of an ‘extra’ than true, full-service editing software. 

Quality

Price

Rating

$$$

Elgato Game Capture HD60 PRO

Elgato-HD60-Pro-capture-card

Recording quality: 1080p, 60 FPS 

PC Connection: PCIe 

Pros

Cons

  • Recording quality is impressive with Full HD 1080p resolution and the highest bitrate of all capture cards with 60 FPS. 
  • Smile
    Integrated H.264 chip allows high quality compression of stored gaming sessions with very little loss in quality of the video. 
  • Smile
    Customizable features include webcam feeds, overlays and live commentary. It’s easy to make additions and changes on the fly with stream controls. 
  • Meh
    Windows 10 only really narrows the compatibility of this card. It’s only compatible with the 64-bit version of Windows 10, which limits who can use this capture card. 
  • Meh
    PC limitations further narrow the adaptability of this card, as it is an internal card that is installed directly in the motherboard. There’s no opportunity to process or edit on a laptop unless you invest in a separate, external card. 
  • Meh
    A bit pricier than most other capture cards offering similar features. 

Quality

Price

Rating

$$$

AVerMedia Live Gamer HD 2

AVerMedia HD capture card

Recording Quality:  1080p, 60 FPS 

PC Connection:  PCIe 

Another repeat performer, the Live Gamer HD 2 by AVerMedia is the second of AVerMedia’s capture cards to make the list. It builds on the earlier success of the company’s earlier Live Gamer HD but introduces some nice improvements. It’s an internal card with an unusual design. The sleek metal exterior features a pattern of triangle-shaped holes and a flashing LED light. It looks cool, but that’s not the only reason to appreciate it.

Check out the “pros” below to learn more. 

Pros

Cons

  • This high-end capture card can record video in Full HD 1080p resolution at 60 frames per second, which enhances gamers’ immersion and appreciation of recorded gaming sequences.  
  • Smile
    Plug-and-Play means you’ll never have to worry about installing additional drivers, or driver conflicts. Once it’s on your computer, you’re good to go. 
  • Smile
    RECentral 3 streaming and editing software improves the function of the earlier RECentral 2 program. AVerMedia has improved its functionality so that it’s easy to use with XSplit, OBS and other programs using plugins.  You can also customize your streams and edit the video immediately. 
  • Meh
    Still only compatible with PCs because it’s an internal card that won’t work on laptops. 
  • Meh
    Windows is the only operating system that the Game Capture HD60 Pro works with, and only with versions 8 or higher. For older versions of Windows or Linux in any form, you’ll have to look elsewhere. 

Quality

Price

Rating

$$$

Roxio Game Capture HD PRO

Roxio capture card

Recording quality: 1080p, 30 FPS 

PC Connection:  USB 2.0 

Roxio makes a large array of multimedia products but has only been in business since 2001. For a relative newcomer, the company makes a decent, inexpensive capture card that they’ve tagged as “PRO,” but that isn’t accurate. This is a budget capture card that’s convenient but not powerful enough for true pro projects.   

In the casual gamer arena, however, it does its job well. 

Pros

Cons

  • Very good video quality, but not excellent. The Full HD 1080 resolution is there, but at just 30 frames per second, which places this card in second place to others that offer 60 FPS at 1080. 
  • Smile
    H.264 encoding provides excellent compression technology to capture superior video while saving storage space. 
  • Smile
    Analog connections are included to enable additional connectivity to older gaming systems. There are 10 RCA connectors built in. 
  • Smile
    Inexpensive at less than $100. 
  • Meh
    Cheap casing and design really bring the desirability of this capture card down. The cheap, plastic case is unattractive and weak, making it prone to damage. Overall, it just looks a bit, well, weird.
  • Meh
    USB 2.0 connectivity allows Full HD video recording, but it isn’t able to stream in real time. An upgrade to USB 3.0 would have made a real difference here.

Quality

Price

Rating

$$

What to Look For In a Capture Card 

There are four essential things to look for in a capture card. They are: 

  • Software – Each capture card manufacturer has its own software built into the card to record and stream the images. Look for software that makes recording easy and has multiple functions such as streaming overlays, adding webcam over play and adding comments. 
  • Image – The video images should be high quality with excellent resolution. The number of frames per second that can be recorded is also important. Look for full HD or at least 1080p. The top of the line cards can even record in Ultra HD or 4K. 
  • Interface – How a capture card connects to your computer. The most common is a USB connection, which is easy to set up and use. There is also PCIe, which is harder to set up, but can record footage without any pauses or delays. 
  • Input – A capture card is useless if you don’t purchase one that has the correct input for your gaming device. Most systems, including  xBox One, xBox 360, PlayStation 3 & 4 and WiiU, use HDMI. Some other systems use component video input (component cables). One system that relies on these is the Nintendo 64. 

We’ve looked at dozens of capture cards and evaluated them for the elements above in order to bring you a list of what we feel are the best ones for 2018. We looked at overall functionality, image quality and compatibility with gaming systems and computers. Which one is best for you will depend partly on the equipment you use, so be sure you check on compatibility before purchasing. 

It’s obvious there are many capture cards available for both serious gamers and casual users. There is no one card that’s ideal for everybody and compatible with all systems. Do a bit of homework on your own to find the perfect card for your gaming needs. 

James

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