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Best External HDMI Capture Cards for Xbox, PlayStation, and Switch in 2022

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The Best External Capture Cards for Consoles
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Last Updated on November 30, 2022

Gaming has steadily gained popularity since the invention of pinball and arcade machines. What has gained an insane amount of traction in just a short period of a few years is hdmi game capturing – the recording and live-streaming of videogame play over the web on streaming services like Twitch, YouTube, and even Facebook. There are tons of USB external capture cards for consoles on the market, and they all look pretty similar, so it’s hard to pick the best one.

How to Choose the Best External HDMI Capture Card for Game Consoles

Most newer external capture cards on the market are plug-and-play, meaning they don’t require separate drivers because they use USB UVC drivers included with Windows, Mac, and certain Linux installs. For this reason, I’m not focusing on comparing which external capture cards support the different operating systems.

All of the best External capture cards support OBS Studio, Streamlabs, and XSplit, but some list other software like Potplayer, QuickTime Broadcaster, Real Producer Plus, VMix, and Wirecast. For this reason, I’m not focusing on software compatibility when comparing external capture cards.

The points of interest in this Best External Capture Card comparison are the capture resolutions and I/O ports of the most popular USB video capture cards. USB Version and Type, Audio ports, SD Card slots, and other features like Hardware Encoding and Easy Party Chat capturing on consoles like Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Playstation 4, and Playstation 5 are the main focus. Of course, price is always a factor in any purchase.


The Best External Capture Card with VRR for Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5

ASUS TUF Gaming Capture BOX-CU4K30

Best USB Capture Card ASUS CU4K30

The ASUS TUF Gaming Capture BOX-CU4K30 is one of the newer external capture cards on this list, having only been out since early 2021. It’s also the first capture card put out by ASUS which is known for its motherboards, video cards, and gaming PCs. The ASUS TUF CU4K30 is perfect for Xbox Series X/S and PS5 because it had 4K 60Hz pass-through along with easy party chat capture without special adapters or a second microphone. Another awesome feature of the ASUS TUF CU4K30 is its variable refresh rate support via HDMI 2.1a VRR standards that both PS5 and Xbox Series X/S fully support.

ASUS TUF CU4K30 Specs
  • Max Capture Resolution: 4K @30fps
  • Max Pass-Through Resolution: 4K @60Hz
  • USB Version and Type: USB 3.2 (Type C)
  • Operating System: Linux, Mac, Windows
  • Extra Features: Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), Controller Headset Pass Through, USB UVC Plug-and-Play Support, Sturdy Metal Shell
ASUS TUF CU4K30 Drawbacks
  • Very Hot: The metal shell can get very hot, especially since it lacks vents.
  • No HDR Capture: Although the device has HDR pass-through, it does not capture HDR.
  • VRR Support: Supports HDMI 2.1a VRR, but not AMD FreeSync or Nvidia G-Sync.
  • Quality Control: Some users report defective Type C cables and Audio issues.

The Best External Capture Card for 4k 60FPS Recording

Elgato 4K60 S+

Best-USB-Capture-Cards-2022-Elgato-4K60-S-Plus-JSnowCreations

The Elgato 4k60 S+ is the BEST 4k External 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.

Elgato 4K60 S+ Specs:
  • Max Capture Resolution: 4K @60fps (HDR)
  • Max Pass-Through Resolution: 4K @60Hz (HDR)
  • USB Version and Type: 3.0 (Type C)
  • Operating System: Windows
  • Extra Features: HEVC and H.264 Hardware Encoder, SD Capture
Elgato 4K60 S+ Drawbacks
  • Delay: 4K@60fps Capturing has a 250ms Delay due to compression and USB 3.0 limits.
  • Audio Stutter: Requires a firmware update to fix audio stutter and crackle issues.
  • Out of Sync: Microphone/Chat must be delayed to match 4K@60fps video delay.
  • SD Card Bug: Capturing to SD Card is inconsistent and doesn’t always work.
  • No Party Chat: Capturing party chat will require an Elgato Chat Link adapter.

The only other comparable 4K external capture card is the AVerMedia Live Gamer Bolt that has a higher framerate capture and price, plus a Thunderbolt 3 requirement.


The Best External Capture Card with Hardware Encoding

AVerMedia Live Gamer Mini GC311

Best-USB-Capture-Card-AVerMedia-Live-Gamer-Mini-JSnowCreations

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.

AVerMedia GC311 Specs
  • Max Capture Resolution: 1080p @60fps
  • Max Pass-Through Resolution: 1080p @60Hz
  • USB Version and Type: USB 2.0 (Micro B)
  • Operating System: Mac, Windows
  • Extra Features: H.264 Hardware Encoder
AVerMedia GC311 Drawbacks
  • Outdated Tech: USB 2.0 is older and slower compared to USB 3.0
  • No Party Chat: Capturing console party chat will require headset adapters.

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.


The Best External Capture Card for 1080p Capturing on HDMI Consoles

The AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable 2 Plus GC513

Best-USB-Capture-Card-AverMedia-Live-Gamer-Portable-2-Plus-JSnowCreations

The AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable 2 Plus is the best choice for capturing 1080p gameplay from all your HDMI Consoles like Switch, Xbox, and Playstation. The SD Card slot allows capturing Nintendo Switch gameplay directly to a MicroSD card slot without the need to connect to a computer, which is a great feature to have since the Nintendo Switch is a handheld gaming console. Another prominent feature of the AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable 2 Plus is the audio-passthrough feature for easily capturing Xbox and Playstation party chat. Other external capture cards require special audio cables or a 2nd microphone to capture party chat with just a single 3.5mm Line-In port. On the other hand, the Live Gamer Portable 2 Plus has 2x 3.5mm audio ports to connect both the headset and controller to for seamlessly capturing party chat without a complicated setup!

AVerMedia GC513 Specs
  • Max Capture Resolution: 1080p @60fps
  • Max Pass-Through Resolution: 4K @60Hz
  • USB Version and Type: USB 2.0 (Micro B)
  • Operating System: Mac, Windows
  • Extra Features: Controller Headset Pass-Through, H.264 Hardware Encoder, SD Card Capture
AVerMedia GC513 Drawbacks
  • Outdated Tech: USB 2.0 is an older, slower, USB standard.
  • Software: Hardware Encoding will require RECentral Software by AVerMedia
  • SD Limitations: Requires Class 10 or better SD Card, 128GB Max capacity.

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.


The Cheapest External Capture Card for 1080p Console Capturing

DIGITNOW 4K USB 3.0

Best-USB-Capture-Card-Rosmarinus-4K-USB-3-Capture-Card-JSnowCreations

The DIGITNOW 4K USB 3.0 Video Capture Card with 4K pass-through and 1080p capture is the best of the “budget” external capture cards. Just like the rest of the budget cards on Amazon, it has 4K @ 60Hz pass-through on the HDMI but only captures 1080p @60fps.

DIGITNOW 4K USB 3.0 Specs
  • Max Capture Resolution: 1080p @60fps
  • Max Pass-Through Resolution: 4K @60Hz
  • USB Version and Type: USB 3.0 (Type A)
  • Operating System: Linux, Mac, Windows
  • Extra Features: USB UVC Plug-and-Play
DIGITNOW 4K USB 3.0 Drawbacks
  • Colors Washed Out: Colors can be washed out or over saturated.
  • Bad Quality: Quality Control lacking, some are defective/doa.

The DIGITNOW 4K USB 3.0 Capture Card doesn’t have as many reviews as the other cheap capture cards, but it hasn’t been uo for sale nearly as long. However, the reviews it does have are mostly positive, plus DIGITNOW sells other more powerful capture cards that have fairly good reviews. Nintendo switch users are happy to have such a cheap capture card for 1080p capturing since it performs so well for the price.

$32.99


The Best External Capture Card for Retro Consoles (Non-HDMI)

StarTech HDMI Video Capture Device USB3HDCAP

Best-USB-Capture-Card-StarTech-HDMI-Device-JSnowCreations

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).

StarTech USB3HDCAP Specs
  • Max Capture Resolution: 1080p @60fps
  • Max Pass-Through Resolution: No Pass-Thru
  • USB Version and Type: USB 3.0 (Type B)
  • Operating System: Windows
  • Extra Features: Captures Composite (RCA), Component (RGB), S-Video and DVI Inputs
StarTech USB3HDCAP Drawbacks
  • No HDMI Pass-through: Must play on Capture Screen or use an HDMI Splitter.

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 External Capture Cards FULL 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.

External Capture Card ▾PriceCapture ResPass-ThroughConnectivityFeaturesOS
ASUS TUF CU4K30$209.294K @30fps
-
2K @60fps
-
1080 @120fps
4K @60Hz
-
2K @144Hz
-
1080 @240Hz
5 Ports:
USB 3.2
(Type C),
2x HDMI,
2x 3.5mm
Variable Refresh Rate (VRR)
Controller Headset Pass Through
USB UVC Plug-and-Play Support
Linux,
Mac,
Windows
AVerMedia Live Gamer Bolt GC555$299.994K @60fps (HDR)4K @60Hz (HDR)3 Ports:
Thunderbolt 3,
2x HDMI
Best Capture quality but needs Thunderbolt 3 USBMac,
Windows
AVerMedia Live Gamer Ultra GC553$189.864K @30fps
-
1080 @60fps (HDR)
4K @60Hz (HDR)3 Ports:
USB 3.1
(Type C),
2x HDMI
High Framerate Capture
USB UVC Plug-and-Play Support
Mac,
Windows
AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable 2 Plus GC513$99.991080 @60fps4K @60Hz5 Ports:
USB 2.0
(Micro B),
2x HDMI,
2x 3.5MM,
MicroSD Slot
Controller Headset Pass Through
H.264 Hardware Encoder
Mac,
Windows
AVerMedia Live Gamer Mini GC311$89.991080 @60fps1080 @60Hz3 Ports:
USB 2.0
(Micro B),
2x HDMI
H.264 Hardware EncoderMac,
Windows
DIGITNOW 4k/60Hz HDR10 U601$99.994K @30fps
-
2K @60fps
-
1080 @120fps
4K @60Hz (HDR)5 Ports:
USB 3.0
(Type A),
2x HDMI,
2x 3.5mm
USB UVC Plug-and-Play SupportLinux,
Mac,
Windows
DIGITNOW HD 60S U925$99.994K @30fps
-
1080 @60fps
4K @60Hz6 Ports:
USB 3.0
(Type A),
2x HDMI,
2x 3.5mm,
DC 5V
(Micro B)
USB UVC Plug-and-Play SupportAndroid,
Linux,
Mac,
Windows
DIGITNOW Full HD 1080P U602$49.994K @30fps
-
1440 @60fps
-
1080 @120fps
4K @60Hz
-
1440 @144Hz
-
1080 @240Hz
5 Ports:
USB 3.0
(Type A),
2x HDMI,
2x 3.5mm
USB UVC Plug-and-Play SupportLinux,
Mac,
Windows
DIGITNOW 4K USB 3.0$32.991080 @60fps4K @60Hz5 Ports:
USB 3.0
(Type A),
2x HDMI,
2x 3.5mm
USB UVC Plug-and-Play SupportLinux,
Mac,
Windows
Elgato Game Capture 4K60 S+$320.004K @60fps (HDR)4K @60Hz (HDR)5 Ports:
USB 3.0
(Type C),
2x HDMI,
2x 3.5mm,
SD Card
HEVC and H.264 Hardware EncoderWindows
Elgato Game Capture HD60 X$199.991080 @60fps (HDR)4K @60Hz (HDR)3 Ports:
USB 3.0
(Type C),
2x HDMI
1x 3.5mm
Variable Refresh Rate (FreeSync, G-Sync, VRR)Mac,
Windows
Elgato Game Capture HD60 S+$160.261080 @60fps (HDR)4K @60Hz (HDR)3 Ports:
USB 3.0
(Type C),
2x HDMI
HDR10 Capture and FlashBack RecordingMac,
Windows
Elgato Game Capture HD60 S$1791080 @60fps1080 @60Hz3 Ports:
USB 3.0
(Type C),
2x HDMI
FlashBack Recording using Elgato SoftwareMac,
Windows
EVGA XR1 Pro 144-U1-CB21-LR$194.154K @30fps
-
1440 @60fps
-
1080 @120fps
4k @60Hz (HDR)5 Ports:
USB 3.1
(Type C),
2x HDMI,
2x 3.5mm
Controller Headset Pass Through
USB UVC Plug-and-Play Support
Linux,
Mac,
Windows
EVGA XR1 lite 141-U1-CB20-LR$95.291080 @60fps4K @60Hz3 Ports:
USB 3.0
(Type C),
2x HDMI
USB UVC Plug-and-Play SupportLinux,
Mac,
Windows
Magewell USB Capture HDMI 4K Plus 32100$4794K @30fps4K @60Hz5 Ports:
USB 3.0
(Type A),
2x HDMI,
2x 3.5mm
USB UVC Plug-and-Play SupportChrome,
Linux,
Mac,
Windows
Magewell USB Capture HDMI Plus 32040$3591080 @60fps4K @60Hz5 Ports:
USB 3.0
(Type A),
2x HDMI,
2x 3.5mm
USB UVC Plug-and-Play SupportChrome,
Linux,
Mac,
Windows
Mirabox USB3.0 4K$39.991080 @60fps4K @30Hz3 Ports:
USB 3.0
(Type A),
2x HDMI
USB UVC Plug-and-Play SupportLinux,
Mac,
Windows
Mirabox USB-C Capture Card$59.991080 @60fps4K @60Hz5 Ports:
USB 3.0
(Type C),
2x HDMI,
2x 3.5mm
USB UVC Plug-and-Play Support
..and a carabiner?
Linux,
Mac,
Windows
NZXT Signal 4K30 ST-SESC1-WW$179.994K @30fps
-
1080 @60fps
4K @60Hz (HDR)
-
1440 @144Hz (HDR)
-
1080 @240Hz (HDR)
3 Ports:
USB 3.2
(Type C),
2x HDMI
USB UVC Plug-and-Play SupportLinux,
Mac,
Windows
NZXT Signal HD60 ST-EESC1-WW$128.561080 @60fps4K @60Hz (HDR)3 Ports:
USB 3.2
(Type C),
2x HDMI
USB UVC Plug-and-Play SupportLinux,
Mac,
Windows
Razer Ripsaw HD Capture Card$129.131080 @60fps4K @60Hz5 Ports:
USB 3.0
(Type C),
2x HDMI,
2x 3.5mm
Made by AVerMedia (Live Gamer Extreme re-shell)Windows
StarTech HDMI Video Capture Device$157.641080 @60HzN/A4 Ports:
USB 3.0
(Type B),
HDMI input,
DVI input,
A/V input
Great for devices with Composite and Component outputs.Windows
TreasLin Gaming USB3.0 HDMI Capture Card$24.991080 @60fps1080 @60Hz3 Ports:
USB 3.0
(Type A),
2x HDMI
USB UVC Plug-and-Play SupportLinux,
Mac,
Windows

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