Best Video Capture Card

A video capture card is a computer component which facilitates the capture of video and audio for playback/editing and saves it to a hard drive or SD card. These cards are frequently used to stream and record data while PC gaming, or from a console game through a computer, but they can also be used for digitizing analog video. There are also external video capture devices that can be used to input and record video and audio either from a secondary source or from the computer itself, but this list focuses on internal components.

These best video capture cards were chosen because they give you the best picture quality thanks to support for up to 1080i HD video, so you can easily control the resolution and size of your video. They support at least HDMI and DVI connections, though included adapters may be necessary for certain video types with these cards. All of these models also include pass through performance that lets you play a game or use other software in real time while also recording what you are doing without creating any delay or lag.

AVerMedia C985 Live Gamer HD 1080 Capture Card

This is a terrific video capture card which records at full 1080p HD quality and only requires a PCIe slot for installation. One of the best features on this device is it includes a button for quickly switching recordings on and off at will. Read Full Review

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    Why it's best:

    If you're looking for an easy solution to capturing HD video up to 1080p from your computer and recording it for later use, then this is as good as it gets. This component installs easily using just a PCIe slot on a motherboard and works with whatever additional hardware you have (such as a dedicated video card and audio card). Once connected, AVerMedia provides intuitive video recording software with various settings you can select for capturing and streaming what you do.

    Honestly, this is one of the easiest cards to use because it includes a button that connects to the card and sits outside of your computer to easily stop and start your recording at will, eliminating the need for a hotkey. While the card itself only has a pair of HDMI connections for video, a DVI to HDMI adapter is included so you can use it with DVI connections. A pair of 3.5mm audio ports is included with this card as well.

    AVerMedia C985 Live Gamer HD 1080 Capture Card

    Hauppauge Colossus PCI Express Internal HD-PVR

    This card from Hauppauge records at 1080i HD video quality and includes a number of different inputs for external devices. Keep in mind this pick only works with un-encrypted HDMI sources so it may or may not limit your recording options. Read Full Review

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      Why it's best:

      This card from Hauppauge lives up to its name pretty well since it's quite a large component that offers you a lot of choices for video streaming and capture. You get options for a few different recording formats with this card, including up to 1080i from an external component and both NTSC and PAL for recording from your computer. This card has an HDMI input for high-definition component video but keep in mind it only works with un-encrypted HDMI sources.

      One of the best features of this card is it includes a ton of adapters for AV cable input and output, which gives you a lot of video recording options. This card even includes IR technology to work as a remote control for your TV system or cable box, changing the channel or input to work more efficiently with your other hardware. This internal card is easy to use and set up but requires a system with a Windows OS and a PCIe slot. And while the included software is decent enough for recording and sharing video, there are better options to be had out there.

      Hauppauge Colossus PCI Express Internal HD-PVR

      Elgato Systems Game Capture HD High 1080p Definition Game Recorder

      If you’re mostly interested in streaming and recording PC or console gaming, then this card is probably your best option. It can capture up to 1080p 60 fps HD video, plus it includes a number of options that make it great for capturing gaming sessions. Easy pass through makes it simple to stream and record your gameplay at the same time, but this pick performs best when paired with an HDMI input. Read Full Review

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        Why it's best:

        This is probably your best overall option if you primarily want a video capture card for streaming or recording video games on your PC or via a console. It offers the absolute best video performance possible since it can capture HD video up to 1080p at 60 fps, which is as good as or better than any other card out there. The specs are a bit of overkill if you’re looking to just do some casual video capture, but the quality can make you stand out among other streamers and gamers posting videos.

        This card features Flashback Recording which lets you go back on your computer to a previous spot in your gaming and start recording, even if you weren’t already recording. You can easily stream your video along with some neat features to add custom overlays (such as a webcam) during recording for editing and later use. The included software is also very intuitive, making it easy to stream, record, and edit your video. Although you can buy adapters for other input types, this video capture card works best ideal with an HDMI input or just working right off your computer.

        Elgato Systems Game Capture HD High 1080p Definition Game Recorder

        AVerMedia DarkCrystal HD Capture Pro

        If you want a card from AVerMedia but you don't need something as expensive or feature-rich as the Live Gamer HD card, then consider this one as a great option. This card can capture up to 1080i HD video, it’s easy to set up, and also supports both HDMI and analog inputs. Read Full Review

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          Why it's best:

          This video capture solution installs into a PCIe slot on your motherboard, and the software that AVerMedia includes with this card is easy to use and gives you all the options you need. You get up to 1080i HD video with this card which is great for casual use but it lacks some of the picture quality and clarity of 1080p. While this card only has an HDMI input, it includes an adapter that gives you S-Video, composite, and component connections for more functionality than other capture cards. You’ll have to set up your own hotkey to indicate when the card should start and stop recording which makes it a little less convenient than having a dedicated start/stop button. While this isn't a huge issue, it's something to consider if you're concerned with overall ease of use.

          AVerMedia DarkCrystal HD Capture Pro

          StarTech High-definition PCIe Capture Card

          You get a pretty good card with this option from StarTech which offers support for different video formats and recording up to 1080p HD video at 60 fps. Despite that high level of performance, this card lacks an HDMI port and instead has a DVI connection that requires an adapter for HDMI. Read Full Review

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            Why it's best:

            This is a good video capture card from StarTech which has excellent support for up to 1080p HD video at 60 fps, both from within a computer and from external components. Despite the impressive level of performance, this card lacks a physical HDMI port but there is a DVI connector and HDMI adapter provided. This is not a major issue but something to consider if you primarily use HDMI cables since the adapter adds an unnecessary element.

            This video card offers support for a wide range of standards, such as NTSC, PAL, and MPEG4, plus it works with many multiple versions of Windows. While the high frame rate is impressive, the biggest issue with this card is it's rather high price point. However, this is an excellent option if you find it on sale below the suggested retail price.

            StarTech High-definition PCIe Capture Card
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