Capture Cards: Do You Need Them?

A capture card is an input device that “captures” game audio and video from your system and converts those signals to digital data. 

That digital data then gets sent to your computer for encoding and can then easily be recorded or live-streamed. 

Who Needs a Capture Card?

Whether you use a capture card depends on your stream goals and your console of choice. 

Switch Streamers need a capture card 

If you want to stream from the Nintendo Switch, you need a capture card. The switch doesn't have a built in app for streaming. 

XBOX and PlayStation

Both XBOX and PlayStation have apps that let you stream directly from the console 

PC Gaming

Most PCS have screen capture functionality that will let you stream without a card


Serious Streamers Need a Card

Unless your streaming from XBOX, which has a companion app, you need a capture card so you can use the computer to set your stream up how you want it. 

The Best Capture Cards for streamers

Here are the best capture cards for folks who want to take streaming seriously     ---->

But First!

Internal vs External

You need to know the difference between an internal and external capture card. Internal cards are better, but you need a desktop computer that you can switch parts around with to use one. External cards are good for laptops. 

Best External Card

Elgato Game Capture HD 60s 

This card can capture up to 60 fps . It also has a recording speed of up to 1080p, so it can capture pretty much anything. 

Best Internal Card

Elgato Game Capture HD60 Pro

The HD60 pro captures at 60 FPS and includes an h.264 hardware encoder. It only takes up one PCIe port, which is great for folks who love to custom-build PCs. 

Best of the Best

AverMedia Live Gamer 4K

This card is a beast. You only need it if you want to be a pro, and it gets pricey.  It captures at up to 240FPS!

The most affordable

Y&H HDMI Game Capture Card

If you're on a budget, check out the Y&H card. It offers basic live stream capture and the standard 1080p recording.  No bells or whistles, but it will get the job done

Swipe Up!

For More Options!

Swipe up to learn more about whether you need a capture card - including a secret some folks use to stream from the Nintendo Switch without one!

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