Capture Card Test 2021: The best capture cards in comparison

A capture card is essential today if you want to share your gameplay live with the world via stream. These cards are very compact and yet real computing wonders as well as multi-talents. This expansion card allows you to pick up the signal from your console or second computer and pass it on to your main computer. Using the capture card, you can stream everything directly to your PC while you’re playing a game on your console, and then stream it directly to the Internet. 

Especially if you set a high value on a very good stream, the capture card is the ideal booster. It can, with the help of the integrated chip, greatly improve and upscale the quality of the stream. You can then leave the rest to your PC. It renders the signal through streaming software and transmits it to the Internet. However, the capture card can not only transmit the image, but also the sound of the other computer or console. To achieve the maximum streaming quality, many professional streamers use cards that cost up to 1000 $. In order to get a taste of streaming, tickets for less than 100 $ will suffice at the beginning.

The best capture cards in the overview

Internal or external capture card: Which is better?

Important: Before buying a suitable capture card, think carefully about whether you want a model for external or internal use. You can’t just make this decision from a personal point of view, you also have to take your device into account. For example, if you like to travel a lot and are always in different places, then an external capture card is the better choice. With the new USB 3.0 and USB 3.1 ports, you now have enough speed to send FullHD signals to your computer. 

Whenever you move from one place to another, you can simply remove the external capture card from the USB port and rein it in.

With the internal version of the capture card, on the other hand, you always have to remove everything separately and it can only be used on desktop PCs. To stream from your notebook, you can’t use an external capture card because it requires a PCI Express slot. Due to the new and very fast ports, today the external models are also getting better and more popular, despite a bad reputation among streamers.

How do I connect a capture card?

Every beginner can connect a capture card without problems and comfortably. You can simply plug the internal capture card into the free PCI-Express 1x slot or 4x slot. Screw them on tight and then you just have to connect them to your power supply to power them up. If you have never installed or removed anything from a PC before, the installation can easily take 20 to 30 minutes. For the more experienced among you, I’m sure it won’t take more than a minute. 

With the external capture card it is even easier. Just connect it to a free USB port with the included USB cable and you’re ready to go. Now connect the end device from which you want to stream with the HDMI cable to the HDMI In port on the capture card. This step is the same for both the internal and external capture card. Using the included software or streaming software (OBS or Xsplit), you can now view your signal on your computer.

Are capture cards compatible with all devices?

There are capture cards that are only usable for certain consoles or only for the PC. However, you need to know that these models often work on other devices as well. Not just the ones listed. The card only has to take the output signal of your console or computer. This means that all cards work with all devices. Only if certain devices are explicitly excluded by the manufacturer, it is not possible. It is best to ask the manufacturer’s support in advance to be on the safe side.

These are the most important connections of a capture card

Capture cards are fairly simple in design. Almost all the models you’ll find only have USB and HDMI ports. However, like everywhere else, there are very expensive and unique models in this area. There we move then in the range of the 1000 $ and more. As a normal streamer you are well equipped with the conventional cards. There you have an HDMI in and out port as well as a USB port if you’re using an external card. These connections make installing the capture card a breeze.

Why do you actually need a capture card? Tutorial

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