Best USB Capture Cards for HDMI Game Consoles in 2021

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Last Updated on January 7, 2021

Gaming has steadily gained popularity since pinball and arcade machines were invented, but what has gained an insane amount of traction in just a short period of a few years is game streaming – the capturing and sharing of video game play live over the web. There’s a ton of video game USB capture cards on the market, and they all look pretty similar, so it’s hard trying to pick the best one.

Top HDMI Gaming USB Capture Cards in 2021

A lot of the USB capture cards for sale are plug-and-play and don’t require separate drivers because they run on USB UVC drivers that are included with Windows, Mac, and certain Linux installs – So I’m not focused on comparing which USB capture cards are supported on different operating systems.

All of the best USB capture cards support OBS Studio, Streamlabs, and XSplit, but some of them also list other software like: Potplayer, QuickTime Broadcaster, Real Producer Plus, VMix, Wirecast. Because of this I’m not focusing on software compatibility while comparing USB capture cards either.

The main focus of this Best USB Capture Card comparison is the actual hardware of the most popular USB video capture cards – USB Version and Type, Audio ports, SD Card slots, and Hardware Encoding. Of course price is always a factor in any purchase.


Best USB Capture Card for 4k Capturing – Elgato 4K60 S+

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The Elgato 4k60 S+ is the BEST 4k USB Capture Card on the market right now considering the price and the HEVC/ H.264 hardware encoding. Capture and Pass-through full 4K 60fps HDR video over USB 3.0 Type C, or save directly to an SD Card.

  • Capure Res: 4K @60fps (HDR)
  • Pass-Thru: 4K @60fps (HDR)
  • USB: 3.0 (Type C)
  • OS: Windows
  • Extra: HEVC and H.264 Hardware Encoder

The only other comparable 4K USB capture card is the AVerMedia Live Gamer Bolt, which has a higher framerate capture and price, because of it’s USB Thunderbolt 3 requirement.


Best USB Capture Card for 1080p Capturing – Rosmarinus HU30

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The Rosmarinus Video Capture Card with 4K pass-through and 1080p capture is the best of the “budget” usb capture cards. Just like the rest of the budget cards around it has 4K @ 60fps pass-through on the HDMI but it only captures 1080p @60fps.

The Rosmarinus USB Capture Card doesn’t have as many reviews as the other cheap capture cards, but it hasn’t been on sale as long and the reviews it does have are mostly positive – perhaps slightly improved internal hardware have made it perform better than it’s predecessors. Nintendo switch users have said this is the best usb capture card for 1080p capturing since the price is so cheap and it performs so well.

$52.99


Best USB Capture Card with Hardware Encoding – AVerMedia GC311

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The AVerMedia Live Gamer Mini capture card only has 1080p capture and pass-through but it performs those functions very well, so if that’s all your looking for then it’s a solid device. However, the AVerMedia Live Gamer Mini really shines when you consider it has onboard h.264 hardware encoding which is what makes it particularly useful for people that do mobile video capturing using laptops or anyone else needing to capture video on a low-power computer.

The Elgato 4K60 S+ also has hardware encoding, h.264 and h.265 (HEVC), but it can cost up to 5x more than the AVerMedia Live Gamer Mini depending on current sale prices.


Best USB Capture Card with SD Card Slots – AVerMedia GC513

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The AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable 2 Plus, with 4K pass-through, is the best choice for capturing directly to a MicroSD card slot without the need to connect to a computer. Another prominent feature of the AverMedia Live Gamer Portable 2 Plus is the audio-passthrough features for capturing Xbox and Playstation party communication. Unlike other USB capture cards that require special audio cables and a 2nd microphone to capture party chat, with the Live Gamer Portable 2 Plus just connect the controller to the 3.5mm “controller” port and the headset to the 3.5mm “headset” port and the device seamlessly passes sound output and microphone input through to each port while capturing both at the same time!

The Elgato 4K60 S+ also captured directly to an SD card, but unless you absolutely need 4k capturing it is overkill, plus it costs more than double what the AVerMedia Live Game Portable Plus 2 runs for.


Best USB Capture Card for Non-HDMI – StarTech USB3HDCAP

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The StarTech HDMI Video Capture Device is perfect for retro gamers video capturing from older devices that don’t have HDMI outputs. The StarTech USB3HDCAP has an HDMI output, a DVI-I input, a DVI to VGA converter, and also an 8-pin A/V input that includes special adapters that allow Composite Video input (Red/White/Yellow RCA), S-Video input, as well as Component YPBPR Video input (Red/Green/Blue RCA plus Red/White Audio).

The StarTech HDMI Video Capture Device doesn’t have video pass-through capabilities so an HDMI splitter would need to be used if wanting to play on a 2nd monitor/screen and not the USB-connected device’s screen, however since the device has a USB 3.0 port users have reported minimal lag and most just play on the capture preview screen.


Best USB Capture Cards in 2021 Comparison Table

Sort Table Columns by clicking Table Header Cells – Sorting by Capture Resolution, Pass-Through Resolution, or by Price would be the most help in finding the best comparison of usb video capture cards.

USB Capture Card Capture Res Pass-Through Connectivity OS Features Buy
Rosmarinus 4K USB 3.0 1080p @60fps 4K @60fps 5 Ports:
USB 3.0 (A),
2x HDMI,
2x 3.5mm
Linux, Mac, Windows
USB UVC Plug-and-Play Support $52.99
ZasLuke 4K USB 3.0 1080 @60fps 4K @60fps 5 Ports:
USB 3.0 (A), 
2x HDMI,
2x 3.5MM
Linux, Mac, Windows USB UVC Plug-and-Play Support $54.99
AVerMedia Live Gamer Mini 1080 @60fps 1080 @60fps 3 Ports:
USB 2.0
(Micro B),
2x HDMI
Mac, Windows H.264 Hardware Encoder $79.00
AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable 2 Plus 1080 @60fps 4K @60fps 5 Ports:
USB 2.0
(Micro B),
2x HDMI, 
2x 3.5MM,
MicroSD Slot
Mac, Windows Party Chat pass-through and Capture $138.57
Elgato Game Capture HD60 S 1080 @60fps 1080 @60fps 3 Ports:
USB 3.0
(Type C),
2x HDMI
Mac, Windows FlashBack Recording using Elgato Software $148.99
Elgato Game Capture HD60 S+ 1080 @60fps (HDR) 4K @60fps (HDR) 3 Ports:
USB 3.0
(Type C),
2x HDMI
Mac, Windows HDR10 Capture and FlashBack Recording $199.99
AVerMedia Live Gamer Ultra 4K @30fps


1080 @60fps (HDR)

4K @60fps (HDR) 3 Ports:
USB 3.1
(Type C),
2x HDMI
Mac, Windows High Framerate Capture and UVC USB Support $191.37
AVerMedia Live Gamer Bolt 4K @60fps (HDR) 4K @60fps (HDR) 3 Ports:
Thunderbolt 3,
2x HDMI
Mac, Windows Best Capture quality but needs Thunderbolt 3 USB $449.99
Magewell USB Capture HDMI 4K Plus 4k @30fps 4K @60fps 5 Ports:
USB 3.0 (A),
2x HDMI,
2x 3.5mm
Chrome, Linux, Mac, Windows USB UVC Plug-and-Play Support

$459.00
Magewell USB Capture HDMI Plus 1080 @60fps 4K @60fps 5 Ports:
USB 3.0 (A),
2x HDMI,
2x 3.5mm
Chrome, Linux, Mac, Windows USB UVC Plug-and-Play Support

$359.00
Elgato Game Capture 4K60 S+ 4K @60fps (HDR) 4K @60fps (HDR) 5 Ports:
USB 3.0
(Type C),
2x HDMI,
2x 3.5mm,
SD Card
Windows HEVC and H.264 Hardware Encoder $399.99
Razer Ripsaw HD 1080 @60fps 4K @60fps 5 Ports:
USB 3.0
(Type C),
2x HDMI,
2x 3.5mm
Windows Made by AVerMedia and is basically their Live Gamer Extreme $151.04
Mirabox USB-C Capture Card 1080 @60fps 4K @60fps 5 Ports:
USB 3.0
(Type C),
2x HDMI,
2x 3.5mm
Linux, Mac, Windows USB UVC Plug-and-Play Support.. and a carabiner? $109.99
TreasLin Gaming USB3.0 HDMI Capture Card 1080 @60fps 1080 @60fps 3 Ports:
USB 3.0 (A),
2x HDMI
Linux, Mac, Windows USB UVC Plug-and-Play Support $59.99
StarTech.com HDMI Video Capture Device N/A 1080 @60fps 4 Ports:
USB 3.0
(Type B),
HDMI input,
DVI input,
A/V input
Windows Great for devices with Composite and Component outputs. $180.99

 

 

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