Xbox One and PlayStation 4 have integrated game capture tools that allow you to record or broadcast your best moments of contention with the world, but they are limited. On the Xbox One you can only record a few minutes of footage, while the PlayStation 4 blocks the exchange of certain scenes full of spoilers. That's why we bring you here this guide of the best capture cards for your favorite console, so you can make transmissions almost professionally.
On the broadcast front, the Xbox One broadcasts to Mixer by default, but it can also stream live via the Twitter application. Technically, you can use the Xbox Companion application of Windows 10 and third-party streaming tools to stream your game to any service, but here you are making a broadcast. Streaming and capturing other consoles, such as Nintendo Switch or PlayStation 3, can work using the Xbox One HDMI input port, OneGuide, the Xbox Companion application, and the integrated Windows 10 tool or third-party software.
Meanwhile, on PlayStation 4, you can use the integrated Streaming tool to stream its settings live on Twitch and YouTube. Transmission from a PC can work using the Remote Use software (Remote Play in English) and third-party transmission tools, but again you are making a transmission.
It seems that the best solution is to use an internal or external capture device called a capture card. The best capture cards offer flexible and high-fidelity recording and transmission options, which helps take your content to the next level and make it look professional. Our guide suggests external models so you can jump to capture your game without opening your computer.
How do capture cards work?
It is called a “capture card” because the first commercial models were exactly the same as a “discrete video card, that is, a separate card from the main card, but its function was to capture photo or video and audio from your computer, some Models also worked as a video card, but in our case today we will only use the term for external capture devices.
Capture cards can work in different ways depending on the model, but they all act as transfer devices between your game console, your computer and your screen. Instead of connecting your HDMI or VGA cable from your console to your TV, you connect the console to the capture card. A second cable connects the capture card to your TV. Finally, a USB cable connects the capture card to your computer so that it can transmit data while recording images.
Some capture cards include a built-in H.264 encoder, which handles most of the processing power required to record video game sequences. Those cards that do not have this encoder may require a more powerful computer to handle mass processing, so keep in mind the features of your device before making a purchase.
Also keep in mind that we include separate capture cards for each of the three consoles depending on the specific features adapted to that system, you can use the same card for all three. If a specific model suits your taste but is not marked as the "best" for your console, I will go out anyway!
The best capture card for PS4
Elgato Game Capture HD60 S
Pros: Instant transmission, flashback recording, console, support for Mac and PC.
Cons: lacks H.264 encoder, limited editing software capabilities.
When you see Elgato products launched in recent years, it's easy to see why the company currently governs the game capture card market. From your internal capture cards to your external devices and software, the line Game capture Elgato can handle almost anything.
Elgato's HD60 S is a great choice for consoles, especially PlayStation 4. You don't need a capture card with 4K capability since PlayStation 4 can't play 4K games and its most powerful brother, PlayStation 4 Pro, doesn't play most of the games. native 4K games.
The HD60 S supports 1080p captures at 60 fps or frames per second. It also provides features like “Instant streaming“, Which allows your captured content to be quickly activated on Twitch or YouTube. Its “Flashback Recording” allows you to retroactively save images of your favorite game. It is also compatible with Mac through proprietary software.
The device connects to your computer through a USB-C connection (5 Gbps). You will need Windows 10 (64 bit) or macOS Sierra and a fourth-generation Intel Core i5 quad-core processor (or better). Macs require discrete AMD and Nvidia GPUs, while Windows 10 computers support integrated graphics.
Unlike older discontinued models, this version does not have a built-in H.264 encoder. That means your computer will do more work. In addition, the included editing software is largely limited to trimming and gathering footage.
The best capture card for Xbox One X
Razer Ripsaw HD
Pros: 4K step, audio mixing and microphone input, compatible with most capture software, PC, Mac and last generation console support.
Cons: Without proprietary software.
The reinforced Xbox One X is compatible with true native 4K games, which makes Razers Ripsaw HD the optimal choice. However, it only records and transmits in 1080p at 60 frames per second. But don't worry: it provides a 4K pass-through port so you can continue playing in 4K despite the low resolution capture.
However, the Raips Ripsaw HD is not designed specifically for Xbox One X. It is also compatible with previous generation consoles, such as PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. That said, if you want to stream or capture older games, you can do it with this device.
The Razer Ripsaw HD connects to your computer through a USB-C to USB-A cable (5 Gbps). It also includes separate headphone and microphone jacks on the front so you can easily record quality comments while playing.
However, the Ripsaw HD is not perfect. Although it costs the same as Elgato's offers, it does not come with a software package, which requires you to use third-party solutions such as OBS or XSplit. It is not currently compatible with Mac, as it requires a Windows computer. However, it falls under the umbrella of Synapse 3.
For desktop computers, you need at least a 6th generation Intel Core i3-6100 chip and the GTX 660 GPU from Nvidia or higher. On laptops, you need at least a fourth generation Intel Core i7-4810MQ and the GTX 870M from Nvidia or higher.
The best capture card for Nintendo Switch
AverMedia Live Gamer Portable 2 Plus
Pros: Small and portable, step 4K, the software is versatile and easy to use, records images in MicroSD, console and PC support.
Cons: Mac users need third-party software.
The portability of Nintendo Switch makes it an excellent choice for traveling players, and with the right case, you can even take the system port with you. If you want to record the game while traveling but don't want to bring a computer, the AverMedia Live Gamer Portable 2 Plus is the perfect choice.
With Live Gamer Portable 2 Plus you can record games without a computer using its built-in H.264 encoder. Capture in 1080p at 60 frames per second, which is the limit of the capabilities of Nintendo Switch. Save your video to a MicroSD card, which you can access through the device's Micro-USB connection to a computer (storage mode) or by transferring the MicroSD card.
If you want to broadcast the game live, you must connect the capture card to your computer and use the Avermedia (RECentral) software. It is easy to use and comes with features comparable to OBS and XSplit. Live editing allows you to cut recordings before saving them as a file.
In addition to the MicroSD and Micro-USB ports, the unit provides two HDMI ports along the back, one of which serves as a 4K step (without HDR). On the front there are separate sockets for microphone and headphones, along with volume and mode control buttons (PC, without PC, storage). Check the system requirements for Windows and MacOS computer to see what you need on the computer side.
The main drawback of Live Gamer Portable 2 Plus is that its patented software only works with Windows. The company offers an "express" version in beta for Mac, but you will probably need third-party software such as OBS and XSplit.
The best cheap capture card
Roxio Game Capture HD Pro
Pros: Affordable and versatile software, PC, last generation support.
Cons: incompatible with Mac, uses USB 2.0, does not include cables.
You don't need to break your bank account to buy a capture card, and with Roxio Game Capture HD Pro, you barely notice.
Usually, it sells for less than $ 100 dollars, the Roxio Game Capture HD Pro features an auto capture component to record the last hour of your game. Proprietary software includes transitions, picture-in-picture frames, soundtracks and text to make your content look professional. It is transmitted directly to YouTube or Twitch.
Roxio Game Capture HD Pro includes a built-in H.264 encoder to make your computer work significantly less. It includes HDMI and component connectors, allowing you to capture essentially any device up to 1080p at 30 frames per second. The only drawback here is that you cannot connect a PlayStation 3 to its HDMI input due to HDCP reasons. It also does not include HDMI or component cables.
Unfortunately, Roxio Game Capture HD Pro is not compatible with Mac, so you must choose one of our other options. It also uses USB 2.0 instead of USB 3.1, which could cause latency problems during transmission. Some users report problems with reliability, but you get what you pay for!
The system requirements are minimal at best. Your computer needs at least one Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8GHz or AMD Athlon x2 64 2.0GHz processor. You will also need graphics compatible with DirectX 9.0c and 2 GB of system memory. This device is shipped with a USB cable.
Final note: Elgato Game Capture HD60 vs. Elgato Game Capture HD60 S
Currently, Elgato has only one external capture device for sale: Game Capture HD60 S. It serves as a replacement for Game Capture HD60, and although it is superior in several aspects, it also presents some differences that could make its predecessor more suitable for you .
Elgato Game Capture HD60 uses H.264 for encoding that does not use your computer's resources. The HD60 S, however, does not have an H.264 encoder, which requires your computer to do more work. The Master Copy function on the older device also gives you a higher quality recording compared to the Copy in sequence recording on the HD60 S.
However, the Elgato Game Capture HD60 S comes equipped with “Instant Game View”, so you can see your content and even the images of your webcam in real time while you play. It also supports USB 3.1 for a low latency gaming experience.
Both capture devices are compatible with all current systems, as is the original Game Capture HD device. However, the only one still in production is the HD60 S, so you will pay much more than the retail price suggested to the public for the previous HD60.