The best capture card for PC gaming offers recording freedom, the ability to expand your gaming repertoire beyond PC platforms and into console exclusive territory, and lessens the load on your gaming PC for high-fidelity streaming. If you\’re a budding Twitch or Mixer streamer, a capture card makes your dual-PC broadcast that little bit easier—so make sure you pick the right one for the job.

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The best capture card for you, specifically, will depend on what kind of content you plan to make. Are you streaming or recording footage to edit later? Some cards are better for one or the other. Video resolution, particularly for streaming, varies from card-to-card, too. 

We recommend most people look for 1080p capabilities with any potential capture card purchase. There are also good 4K capture cards, but they’re expensive and most people aren’t capturing a ton of 4K video—the storage needs alone. Most capture cards also come with some kind of software: While most streamers use some form of OBS or XSplit, video work is nothing if not unpredictable so it doesn’t hurt to have good software as a backup.

In general, our selections cover a few different scenarios, but we leaned toward recommending as many good all-around options as possible. You never know what kind of content you’re going to want to make in the future, so these cards will hopefully prepare you for anything. If you’re picking up a capture card as part of a larger build for a streaming setup, take a look at our picks for the best webcams and the best microphones for streaming.

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1. Elgato Game Capture HD60 S

The best capture card for streaming and recording

Resolution: 1080p | Frame rate: 60fps | Interface: USB 3.0

US$179.99View at CORSAIRPrimeUS$269View at AmazonSee all prices (3 found)1 Amazon customer review

Excellent capture qualityGood priceEditing 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 and your gaming PC can\’t manage it solo. 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’.

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2. AverMedia Live Gamer Portable 2 Plus

A brilliant, user friendly pick

Resolution: 1080p | Frame rate: 60fps | Interface: USB 3.0

PrimeUS$139.99View at AmazonUS$139.99View at Best BuyUS$169.99View at DellSee all prices (4 found)300 Amazon customer reviews

Ease-of-usePlay in 4K while you recordDoesn\’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.

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3. Elgato Game Capture 4K60 S+

Best Capture Card for recording in 4K60 and HDR

Resolution: 4K, HDR10 | Frame rate: 60fps | Interface: USB 3.0, SD Card

4K60 HDR10 CaptureOnboard HEVC encodingStandalone SD Card RecordingExpensiveTemperamental software

If you\’re looking at the capture the best footage without compromising any of the graphical quality, the Elgato Game Capture 4K60 S+ does just that. Thanks to onboard HEVC encoding, it lightens the CPU load and keeps video files at manageable sizes, which you\’ll need when recording 4K 60fps footage with HDR. More importantly, the 4K60 S+ automatically adjusts recording resolution, bit rate, and file format on whatever device is plugged in, which means you won\’t have to spend too much time tweaking settings.

The most significant and requested update to Elgato\’s capture cards comes in the form of the ability for standalone recording via the SD card(not included). You\’ll be able to capture footage without the need for a computer. Just plug in the console or PC and hit record. Everything records onto the SD card (not included) for later editing. The Elgato Game Capture 4K60 S+ is an excellent tool for content creators who travel to trade shows or off-site game demos and need an easy way to record gameplay even if the $400 price tag might be a little tough to swallow. If you\’re just looking to stream at 1080p and don\’t care about 4K footage, you\’ve got way cheaper options that work just as well on this list.

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4. 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

PrimeUS$170.59View at AmazonUS$184.99View at NeweggUS$199.99View at AdoramaSee all prices (5 found)541 Amazon customer reviews

Advanced encoderBitrate of 60mbps
No 4K

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. It can also stream at 1080p when using Game Capture HD, OBS Studio and Xsplit. Petite, classy form-factor are in the HD60 Pro’s favor as well.

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5. Razer Ripsaw HD

The illustrious 1080p-4K middleground option

Resolution: 1080p capture; 4K passthrough | Frame rate: 60fps | Interface: USB 3.0

US$159.99View at Microsoft USNo price informationCheck AmazonSee all prices (2 found)

4K 60fps passthroughBuilt-in audio mixingNo 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 first-hand—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. 

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6. Elgato Game Capture 4K60 Pro

The best 4K capture card for serious aficionados

Resolution: 4K | Frame rate: 60fps | Interface: PCIe x4

US$399.95View at Microsoft USUS$519.94View at AmazonUS$530.19View at AmazonSee all prices (4 found)124 Amazon customer reviews

4K capture with 60fpsVideo encoding1080p240hz / 1440p144hz passthroughNeeds a high-end PC

For pro-users who will settle at nothing but the best, Elgato’s 4K60 Pro is your jam. 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.

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.

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