Top gamers around the world show off their mad skills by streaming live games on their YouTube channel. However, to capture and stream live games online, capture cards are a must.
A capture card is a device that lets you record video from a variety of video sources. It is a piece of hardware that is used to capture video. This device can be connected to a PC with a USB cable or HDMI cable. The best capture cards will allow you to upload your videos to various game-streaming platforms and other sites.
Buying a capture card is an essential component of capturing gameplay. Whether you are streaming games to YouTube or capturing a game to watch offline, you need a card that will provide high-quality video. If you are just starting out, you can start with a budget capture card and gradually upgrade to more expensive hardware as you gain experience.
These cards are ideal for those on a tight budget, but they are still capable of producing high-quality footage and audio. While you can get away with a cheaper solution, the quality of your videos will suffer. A budget capture card will provide high-quality video and audio with no input lag.
If you are planning to invest in a cost-effective capture card for streaming content online, we can help you make the right choice. In this buying guide, we have rounded up the best budget capture cards of this year. Each of the devices listed here has been selected, keeping the perfect balance of compatibility, video quality, software, and budget in mind.
In a hurry? Here are our top 3 favorite picks when it comes to the best budget capture cards in 2023!
Are Budget Capture Cards Worth It?
Whether you’re streaming video or recording audio, capture cards can make the process easier and more efficient. They can connect to any gaming console or PC. Almost all games have HDMI and USB ports. This makes it easier to connect a capture card to your console or PC.
When buying your first card, you should consider it an investment. Not only do capture cards provide a higher resolution than other video capture devices, but they’re also much more versatile. You can use the same card for multiple devices, including a gaming console.
Budget capture cards are affordable and come with some of the best features. If you don’t want to compromise with the video quality, choose a quality capture card. While budget capture cards are not very expensive, they can still provide you with high-quality videos.
For example, the best budget capture cards can record HDR content with a 4K resolution passthrough, while the standard version sticks to 1080p. So yes, budget capture cards are totally worth it if you select the right one.
Do Capture Cards Affect FPS?
Video capture cards are used with computers to record gameplay and encode it for playback. These devices act as a middleman between your computer and the source of the video feed, recording and streaming the game to an online platform.
However, capture cards are not meant for single PC use if you want superior gaming performance. If you use it on the same computer to capture as well as encode the stream, it will increase the CPU usage, thereby affecting the FPS.
In general, capture cards are only necessary if you are going for console capture or a dual-computer streaming setup. This way, you can easily capture the feed on one computer and use the other one for encoding to offer better performance and enjoy high FPS gaming. It will not restrict the features of the games you play.
A capture card improves your performance in a dual PC setup. The drawback to capture cards is that they can reduce the frame rate on the same computer. Those looking for high-quality streaming should look for a separate PC.
Now that you know about capture cards, let’s check out the best and most affordable ones you can purchase. Here are the top 7 best budget capture cards.
1. Elgato HD60 S+ External Capture Card – Best Overall
If you’re looking for a budget capture card, consider the Elgato HD60S+. This device sits between two HDMI cables and transfers data to your PC via a USB-C to USB-A cable. It comes with a 4K capture utility that you can use to record games and TV shows. It also has a software suite to help you convert and export footage.
The Elgato HD60S+ does not require drivers. The HD60S+’s USB video support makes it ideal for streaming videos. The card supports capturing 1080p resolution. By default, the card records all the time, but you can also set it to record retrospectively.
The Elgato HD60 S+ is available at an affordable price range. This card has a few features that make it ideal for video streaming. It allows 1080p60 gaming, or 1080p with 60 frames per second. Apart from that, you can play high-quality games with the 4K60 HDR10 feature. It offers a zero-lag passthrough.
The product is easy to set up and comes with graphical assistance. The Instant Gameview technology helps you to enjoy ultra-low latency. On top of that, it will help you to record unlimited sessions directly to the hard drive. This card also comes with a Flashback Recording feature. This way, all the footage will be stored retroactively.
The Elgato HD60 S+ is compact and portable, with a USB C port and HDMI output. The card comes with a 2-year warranty period, which means you can use it with confidence. It is also a Corsair partner. The product is lightweight and well-built, with rounded edges and a matte finish. You can use it with a PC, Mac, Xbox series, PS5, PS4 Pro, etc.
It’s important to note that the Elgato HD60 S+ capture card is a perfect option for those who need to capture games and stream them to YouTube. The device records up to 1080p 60 frames per second. It is compatible with a wide range of gaming consoles, including Xbox One. It is a great device that offers a high-quality image and recording.
Why Is This The Best Budget Capture Card In 2023?
For a mid-range capture card, the Elgato HD60 S+ is a good option. The Elgato HD60 S+ offers plenty of features for capturing gameplay video and also has a good performance record. It’s easy to install has a USB as well as an HDMI port. With this card, you can enjoy 1080p60 HDR10 capture and 4K60 HDR10 passthrough.
Another reason to get the Elgato HD60 S+ is its low latency. When previewing the game, it has the lowest latency. This card is easy to install and connects with a USB cable. It is immediately detected by the PC. The Elgato comes with its own game capture software, and its video recording software makes it very easy to create video and audio content.
Besides its low price, the Elgato HD60 S+ can deliver excellent video quality. Regardless of what you’re looking for in a budget capture card, the Elgato HD60 S+ is a great option for capturing game footage. It is compatible with all the top gaming consoles along with PC and Mac.
The Elgato HD60 S+ is the least expensive capture card and supports 1080p60 gameplay. Its 60 Mbps bitrate is adequate for game streaming and has an excellent video bitrate of up to sixty Mbps. Both resolution and bitrate determine the quality of the video. For gamers, this is the ideal budget capture card. It also gives you the highest possible quality. Its low latency is a huge plus when capturing games.
2. Elgato 4K60 Pro MK.2 Internal Capture Card – Premium Pick
The Elgato 4K60 Pro MK.2 Internal Capture Card is an excellent option for recording and streaming your games. Its size and new features make it ideal for those who enjoy playing high-end video games. It is a PCIe capture card that takes up one PCIe slot. It’s not too large and works well in smaller PC cases. Unlike some other cards, the Elgato doesn’t restrict your hardware choices. This capture card can be used in conjunction with several other capture cards, making it perfect for eSports tournaments and other events where video game-related activity is a staple.
While the Elgato 4K60 Pro MK2.2 Internal Capture Card isn’t cheap, the price is not exorbitantly high like some other cards. It is a premium budget capture card for people who want to stream live games. Its many useful features are worth the money. The Elgato 4K60 Pro Mk.2 Internal Capture Card can record 4K gameplay at 60 frames per second, which is ideal for streaming and gaming.
The card is compatible with various PCIe x4 x8 x16 slots and is also compatible with OBS and XSplit software. The Elgato 4K60 Pro MK-2 Internal Capture Card is a popular consumer-grade capture card that can record 60-fps content in 4K. The Instant game view and 2160p 60 FPS capture feature to make it perfect for streaming high-quality content.
The Elgato 4K60 Pro MK-2 has all the features you need for your gaming. It supports 1080p at 120Hz, 240Hz, and 1440p at 144Hz. Whether you’re using the card for gaming or for streaming, it will definitely be a great addition to your system. This product is a great choice for streamers and video creators.
The Elgato 4K60 Pro MK-2 Internal Capture Card is designed to support 4K resolution. It supports 240Hz passthrough and ultra-low latency Instant Gameview technology. Besides supporting a wide range of video formats, the Elgato 4K60 Pro MK-2 Internal C-MK.2 is also capable of recording 2160p 60 fps.
With this card, you can enjoy additional features like Flashback recording, multi-app support, multi-device support, etc. It works perfectly with PS5, PS4 Pro, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One X, YouTube, Twitch.
3. DIGITNOW 4K60 Pro PCIe Capture Card – Runner Up
This DIGITNOW 4K60 Pro PCIE capture card is a very popular product for content creators. Its low price makes it an attractive option for any content creator who wants to stream videos. This capture card is an excellent choice for gamers. It supports all HDMI inputs, which is a great feature for those who are constantly playing games.
The card can also record gameplay at the highest resolution possible, which is 1080P at 120 Hz. While it does not support 4K 60Hz, it does support a very high-resolution setting. You can enjoy a zero-lag passthrough with this card. It supports up to 240Hz passthrough. This makes it ideal for streaming games.
As an added bonus, this card is driver-free and easy to install. You only need a spare PCIe slot and a spare GPU to use this card. Once installed, you can set up your DIGITNOW 4K60 Pro and start recording. You can view your recorded footage right away. If you have a gaming monitor, you can use this card to record gameplay.
The DIGITNOW 4K60 Pro capture card is an affordable PCI-Express card that packs ultra HD passthrough and is perfect for streaming. It can record up to 1080P at 120 Hz, and you’ll be able to playback in 4K. This capture card is highly portable, and its compatibility with most operating systems and 3rd party software makes it a great choice for anyone looking to capture videos.
4. LEADNOVO Audio Video Capture Card – Budget Pick
LEADNOVO Audio Video Capture Card is one of the most affordable cards in the market, which allows you to record and monitor audio. It comes with HDMI input and output with USB ports and a cable. This device is also extremely affordable, and you can save money by buying a lower-end model with more features.
One of the best features of this capture card is that it supports 1080p resolution. The refresh rate is 60fps, which is ideal for most recording scenarios. You can enjoy Full HD 1080p capture with this card. The picture quality will be clear, and you will be able to broadcast the video live.
The LEADNOVO Audio Video Capture Card is easy to install and only requires an extra pair of HDMI cables. Using this card is also easy. It comes with a headphone and a microphone port as well. The super performance chip inside the card makes it perfect for continuous streaming.
It is compatible with multiple systems. You can use it with PCs as well as a gaming console. The high-speed transmission port helps you to stream videos to YouTube and Twitch directly. The LEADNOVO Audio Video Capture Card is an excellent choice for recording and streaming audio. It is a great option if you’re looking for a cheap capture card.
The UCEC GAM Live game video capture card is a powerful multipurpose powerhouse. It has a robust ABS plastic shell and ports that are situated in dips for extra safety. It is compatible with Windows 7, 8, 10, Mac OS X 10.9 or higher, Linux, and popular gaming consoles. The device supports most third-party streaming software, including Twitch. It is very easy to install and uses an available software application. The package includes the capture card, HDMI cable, and USB 3.0 Type C cable.
The GAM LIVE 4K USB 3.0 game video capture card supports high-definition and 4K resolutions. You can enjoy 1080p quality with 60/120 fps. The 4K 30FPS output and input ports are supported by HDMI, ensuring lag-free streaming. This card also comes with a zero-lag HDMI loop-out port. The low latency technology and the HDMI loop-out port offer users an extreme gaming experience.
UCEC GAM Live 4K USB 3 video capture card is compatible with the most popular game consoles and has many applications. It also works with older analog sources, enabling you to convert the recordings into modern formats. You can use it with popular devices like Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS5, PS4, PS3, HDMI Camera, DSLR, Nintendo Switch, TV Box, and so on.
The EVGA XR1 lite capture card lets you record gaming at 1080p/60fps. The compact design makes it easy to store, and its USB 3.0 connection makes it easy to connect to DSLR cameras or use as a high-quality webcam. In addition to being a great gaming capture card, the EVGA XR1 lite has many other uses, so you should definitely check out the features before purchasing.
In terms of performance, the EVGA XR1 lite offers 1080p/60fps video capture and is compatible with both PCs and consoles. You can enjoy a 4K passthrough with this card. Its compact design makes it easy to carry and connect to your DSLR.
It’s OBS certified, which makes it great for streaming live games to various platforms, such as Twitch. EVGA’s XR1 lite capture card records at 1080p/60fps and supports 4K/60fps. It’s USB 3.0 compatible and has no driver problems.
The DIGITNOW U923 4K video capture card is an HDMI-based capture card that is compatible with PCs running Windows. It supports maximum input and output resolutions of 4K (60Hz and 30Hz). The HDMI-based interface is compatible with many HD devices.
It also supports 3rd-party software and is suitable for use with HDMI video sources. The 3.5mm audio out port and microphone allow you to include external audio devices. The card also offers screen sharing and can be used with software applications like Potplayer and Twitch.
The DIGITNOW U923 4K video capture card is a great choice for those who want to capture their favorite HD videos. It supports input resolutions up to 4K, with up to 60FPS. You can enjoy no latency 4K passthrough with this device. With its built-in USB 3.0, the DIGITNOW U923 video capture card allows you to connect two devices to it at the same time. In addition to this, the DIGITNOW U923 USB-C-based game capture card also supports screen sharing.
How to Choose the Best Budget Capture Card in 2023?
Choosing the best budget capture card is not as easy as you might think. Fortunately, the market is flooded with options. The following buying guide will help you to select the best budget capture card in the market.
There are several factors that you should consider when buying a capture card. The first and foremost one is image quality. The higher the quality, the better the video. A high-quality image will prevent distortions and blurs. For example, a 1080p capture card will stream videos in full high-definition. You need to choose a capture card that supports full HD 4K streaming.
The most important factor you need to consider when buying a capture card is budget. If you are new to streaming, it is best to start with a budget device. Once you get the hang of it and need additional features, you can use high-end capture cards. However, make sure you compare the price with the features and select the best one.
One of the most important factors to consider when buying a capture card is compatibility. You’ll need to make sure your capture card supports the input formats used by your recording device. HDMI connections are very popular, and you’ll need to find a card that supports this connection. There are many types of inputs for video capture cards. One of the most important is HDMI, which is used by the majority of gaming consoles.
Ease of Use
When buying a capture card, you should consider how easy it is to use it. Many devices feature various features, and you will want to make sure that it is user-friendly and easy to install. You should also consider how flexible the device is and how much you’ll be able to record. There are also many different options for capturing video, and you can choose from internal or external cards.
A good capture card can save you money on hardware costs, as well as improve your gameplay recording capabilities. The best budget capture cards are capable of capturing up to 4K. If you plan on streaming games regularly, a budget capture card will help you do so in an affordable way. In this guide, we have reviewed the top 7 best budget capture cards.
You can select any of these devices for streaming purposes. While we tried to pick only the best options, we plan to update this page regularly as better models launch. If you think we missed something or want to suggest anything, do let us know by commenting below.