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A roundup of the best Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C capture cards you can use to record or stream your gameplay to showcase your skills with the whole world.

As gaming enters the mainstream, it is bringing more opportunities to gamers and content creators. While some people play games for fun, others have turned the hobby into a lucrative career. Streaming games amasses a lot of followers, and with sponsorship deals, ads, and membership subscription on top streaming sites like YouTube and Twitch, you can generate a lot of revenue.

There are different hardware you need to create the best streaming setup for high-resolution videos and low latency. Besides your gaming console, you’ll need a high-end PC to handle the bulk processing work, a gaming monitor, and a capture card to send the video footage to your PC.

Different software, such as Wondershare Filmora scrn and Window’s 10 Xbox companion app, lets you capture and stream your games without dedicated hardware. However, most are limited and require more processing power, which may affect the performance of your game. Let’s see why a capture card is the best solution for your game streaming needs:

What is a Capture Card?

A capture card converts the gameplay signals from your console to digital data that can be viewed on a computer or uploaded to the internet. With this, you can record your gameplay footage and view it later or stream in real-time using YouTube, Facebook, Twitch, or other live stream services.

Capture cards let you record high-resolution videos up to 4K 30fps or 1080 60fps without a noticeable performance dip.

Typical capture cards come with at least three ports. One port (mostly HDMI) connects to your console/gaming PC, another to your monitor, and in this case, a Type-C port to your PC for recording/streaming. Depending on the model, some cards include ports for mic input and audio for easy broadcasting and real-time commentary.

How to Choose the Best Capture Card

The first obvious consideration when buying any device is the cost. If you’re looking for professional and high-end streaming set up, be ready to spend more money, however, there are still cheaper options if you’re on a budget.

Other considerations when buying a capture card include:

Video Quality

Capture cards record videos with different resolutions. The best cards can capture up to 4k 30fps or 1080 fps; however, they carry a hefty price tag. The quality of the video is vital in professional streaming and video production. Make sure you go for higher resolution recording if you’re looking to monetize your gameplay footages.

Software

Does the card come with its recording software? Capture cards such as the Elgato HD60 S include a user-friendly software that lets you record and stream your gameplay to Twitch, YouTube, and other streaming sites.

However, this is not much of a deal-breaker as there are several third-party software that can help you achieve the same thing.

XSplit and OBS are the leading software for managing your recording and streaming for the best quality game footages and live streaming.

A built-in H.264 encoder

High-end capture cards feature an integrated H.264 encoder responsible for providing power to record the gameplay footages. Such video cards ensure smoother gameplay and recording with the minimal latency possible.

Capture cards without an inbuilt encoder relies on the processing power of your PC, and as such, you’ll need a more powerful computer for seamless recording and streaming. You can check out our list of the best Thunderbolt 3 laptops by the manufacturer to find the ideal notebook for your capture card.

Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C Capture Cards Compared

ImageProductDetailsCheck Price
Elgato HD60 SCapture Resolution:  1080p 60fps
Input: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Requirements: macOS Sierra, Windows 10 (64-bit)
Interface: 2xHDMI, 1×3.5mm audio, 1xUSB-C
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AVerMedia Live Gamer BoltCapture Resolution:  4Kp 60fps HDR
Input: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Requirements: Windows 10 (macOS support coming summer)
Interface: 2xHDMI, 1×3.5mm audio, 1xThunderbolt 3
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Razer Ripsaw HDCapture Resolution:  1080p 60fps
Input: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Requirements: Windows 8 (64-bit) or higher
Interface: 2xHDMI, 2×3.5mm audio, 1xUSB-C
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Mirabox USB-C Capture CardCapture Resolution:  1080p 60fps
Input: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Pro Camera
Requirements: macOS, Windows 8 (64-bit) or higher
Interface: 2xHDMI, 2×3.5mm audio, 1xUSB-C
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ShuOne Capture CardCapture Resolution:  1080p 60fps
Input: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Pro Camera
Requirements: macOS, Windows 7/8/10 (64-bit)
Interface: 2xHDMI, 2×3.5mm audio, 1xUSB-C
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Blackmagic Design UltraStudio HD MiniCapture Resolution:  1080p 60fps
Input: PDigital & Analog Video Sources
Requirements: Mac 10.15 Catalina or later, Windows 8.1 (64-bit)
Interface: 1xThunderbolt 3, 1xHDMI Out, SDI I/O, Ref In, 2x1/4", Composite
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Pengo HDMI-USB CCapture Resolution:  1080p 60fps
Input: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Requirements: Mac OSX (10.13 or later), Windows 7/8/10 (64 bit)
Interface: 1xHDMI, 1xUSB-C (Includes USB-C to USB 3.0 adapter)
Check on Amazon

 

1. Elgato Game Capture Card HD60 S – Best Capture Card Overall

Elgato Game Capture is the best USB-C capture card with state-of-the-art specs to take let you stand out from the rest.

The HD60 S features a minimalistic design, yet provides excellent features that allow you to stream and record instantly. Elgato is known for its high-end gaming accessories from streaming decks and docking stations to game and video capture cards. HD60 S capture card is one of their devices, which shows they are about to dominate the gaming industry.

Whether you’re using Xbox One or PS4, the Elgato HD60 S supports high-resolution video passthrough and lets you play your games in 4K 60fps. The card also accepts inputs from Nintendo Switch and in-game recording using your PC.

Streaming and Recording

Elgato Game Capture Card HD60 S lets you stream and record in 1080p 60fps resolution. 1080p 60fps is the highest quality available on any Thunderbolt 3/USB-C capture card. With the fast bandwidth of USB-C, the Elgato HD60 S offers ultra-low latency and lets you stream on Twitch or YouTube in real-time.

Elgato Game Capture Card HD60 S is one of the few capture cards that lets you record in 1080p 60pfs while playing your games in 4k 60fps.

The selling points of the Elgato HD60 S capture card are the flashback recording and live commentary features. Any time you forget to hit the recording button when playing games, you can slide back in time and start recording scenes at the start of the game. With a microphone input slot, stream your games while adding live commentary to take total control of your recordings.

However, this capture card doesn’t come with an integrated H.264 encoder. You’ll need a high-end PC for flawless streaming and recording without affecting your gameplay.

The Elgato HD60 S comes with a packed software with plenty of features to let your videos stand out from the crowd. Customize your stream with overlays, add your webcam, and your voice using the Live Commentary feature. The software lets you stream instantly to YouTube and Twitch to share your skills and highlights with the whole world.

Connectivity

Elgato HD60 S comes with five connectivity slots to plug in your consoles, PC, and headsets. There are two HDMI ports, a USB Type-C port, and a dedicated mic input for live commentary.

  • 1 x HDMI In
  • 1 x HDMI Out
  • 1 x USB Type C
  • 1 x Audio In
OUR TAKE
Elgato is a stunning and powerful capture device that lets you record and edit high-resolution footage for your games. It has intuitive software with excellent features to create personalized and appealing videos. Record or stream on YouTube and Twitch, while playing fluid 4K games on your console.

The Elgato HD60 S is a perfect solution for gamers and content creators. It is compatible with most consoles in the market and works with both Mac and PC. While it doesn’t ship with the best software or encoder, HD60 S meets the requirements of most professional gamers.

PROS

  • Excellent 1080p video quality
  • Reasonable price
  • Live commentary feature and flashback recording
  • Supports Mac and PC
  • Plug and play
CONS

  • Not the best software for editing footages
  • Lack of inbuilt encoder
 

2. AVerMedia Live Gamer Bolt – Best Thunderbolt 3 Capture Card

The AVerMedia Live Gamer Bolt is turning out to be the best capture card to buy in 2020. It’s the World’s first external capture device that lets you record 4K HDR10 and up to 240 frames per second at Full HD resolution.

The Live Gamer Bolt comes with a compact and small form factor design. It has vents at the top and on the side for air intake and an active fan for cooling. With 1.59-pound weight, you can take the device to capture live events just about anywhere.

The most exciting feature of the BOLT in terms of the design is its RGB lighting effects. Gamers love RGB. Most of the gaming rigs and PC builds today sport some form of RGB lighting. AVerMedia knows this and has delivered the best to the consumer video capture industry.

Streaming and Recording

AVerMedia Live Gamer Bolt supports 4K60 video passthrough and recording with and without HDR10. The device hits higher frame rates of 240fps with 1080p and 144fps at 1440p resolutions. You can now enjoy smooth and responsive gaming on your 240Hz monitor and stream the footage live to your audience and fans.

The Live Gamer Bolt is the first external video capture device to support 4K60 and 1080p 240fps video passthrough and capture.

This video capture device features a built-in encoder to do all the video processing tasks, such as scaling and downscaling video resolution, frame rate conversion, and switching from HDR to SDR, without affecting your system’s performance.

Onboard you also get the following bundled software: the RECentral 4 streaming app and Cyberlink PowerDirector 15 for editing 4K video footage. RECentral 4 lets you stream to multiple services, and provides a lot of cool features such as turning the RGB lighting on/off and disabling HDR capture.

Connectivity

Live Gamer Bolt features four connectivity ports. A Thunderbolt 3 port for connecting your PC, two HDMI ports for input/output, and a 3.5mm audio input for live broadcasting or connection to an audio mixer. TB3 appeals to not only mac users but also provide incredibly low latency of less than 50ms.

With HDMI connection, BOLT supports most gaming consoles, including Xbox, PlayStation, and Switch. The support for 4K video at 60 frames per second makes it the best bet for the next-generation consoles, Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5.

  • 1 x Thunderbolt 3
  • 1 x HDMI In
  • 1 x HDMI Out
  • 1 x 3.5mm Audio In
OUR TAKE
There are many external capture cards in the market, but the AVerMedia Live Gamer Bolt is the real deal. The support for 4K60 video recording and 240fps is a winning choice for content creators and gamers. Thunderbolt 3 delivers the uncompressed video capture to your PC without any lag or compromise. This device has a higher price tag than the other options, but worth it if you have a Thunderbolt 3 PC. For enthusiasts looking for high frame rates and resolution, BOLT is the sure bet.
PROS

  • 4K 60fps video capture with HDR
  • High frame rates up to 240fps
  • Built-in encoder
  • Thunderbolt 3 connectivity
  • RGB lighting
  • Included software for streaming and editing
CONS

  • Does not support external RGB controllers
 

3. Razer Ripsaw HD – Best USB-C Capture Card for XBOX One

Razer Ripsaw HD is an excellent capture card for your Xbox One console with support for 4K gaming, 1080p capture, and instant streaming.

With a large build design than the Elgato HD60 S, Razer Ripsaw HD provides seamless recording and streaming of your gaming footages and share it with your followers. Razer Ripsaw HD is not explicitly for Xbox One; this capture card works with other consoles such as PS4 and Nintendo Switch, as well as recording using gaming PCs.

The only downside of the Razer Ripsaw HD compared to the Elgato HD60 S is that it doesn’t support Mac computers. You can only record and stream your games using Windows PCs.

The Razer Ripsaw HD is easy to set up and doesn’t require any prior installations. Simply plug in your gaming devices and start streaming. However, unlike the Elgato HD60 S, the Razer capture card doesn’t come with packed software, requiring you to rely on third-party solutions such as XSplit and OBS.

Streaming and Recording

The Razer Ripsaw HD provides excellent specs allowing you to record high-quality videos to spice up your streaming channels. The card supports 4K 60fps video passthrough, which lets you play your games in 4K and record crystal-clear footages in 1080p 60 fps resolution. With this, you can save your outstanding skills for later or stream live on YouTube, Twitch, Mixer, or other platforms.

Razer Ripsaw HD includes two 3.5mm audio I/O, which allows the card to accepts multiple audio sources and broadcast. Add real-time voice commentary to your game footage using the mic input to interact effectively with your followers when streaming.

Connectivity

The Razer Ripsaw HD capture card has the edge over the Elgato HD60 S in terms of connectivity. In addition to the HDMI I/O and the USB Type C ports, Razer includes two dedicated 3.5mm audio slots for input and output.

  • 1 x HDMI In
  • 1 x HDMI Out
  • 1 x USB Type C
  • 1 x 3.5mm audio In
  • 1 x 3.5mm audio Out
OUR TAKE
Perfect in both design and performance, the Razer Ripsaw HD is an excellent capture card for gamers willing to share their skills with friends. Razer Ripsaw HD supports 4K gaming and gaming footage capture at 1080p 60fps. While it may only work with Windows PCs, this capture card delivers ultimate value with high-quality video capture and crisp sound to ensure your followers stick to your videos to the end.
PROS

  • Supports 4K 60fps gaming
  • High-quality video capture
  • Excellent audio mixing capabilities
  • Sturdy and elegant build design
CONS

  • Does not come with its software
  • Not compatible with Mac
 

4. Mirabox USB-C Capture Card – Best Capture Card for Mac

An excellent USB-C capture card for MacBook Pro with support for 1080p video recording, live commentary and works with both PS4 and Xbox One.

The Mirabox USB-C capture card provides flawless experience when paired with a Mac PC. That’s because it doesn’t have an integrated encoder, so you’ll need a powerful Windows PC with Nvidia GeForce GTX 600 or better GPU for excellent recording and lower latency.

It has a minimalistic build design yet provides all the ports for excellent game footage capturing and audio broadcasting. The card works with most consoles in the market, including PS4/PS3, Xbox, Wii U, Nintendo Switch, and others. You can even connect Pro cameras, like DSLR, to the HDMI input to use as a webcam solution.

The main benefit of the Mirabox USB-C capture card is its great value. This capture card costs a lot less than the Elgato and Razer capture cards and yet provides almost similar specs.

Streaming and Recording

The Mirabox USB-C capture card lets you record excellent videos in 1080p 60 fps and live stream instantly to YouTube, Facebook, and Skype, amongst others. It has very low latency, which prevents input lag, allowing you to send accurate strikes and add precise voice commentary to your game footage.

However, the Mirabox capture card only supports up to 4K gaming at 30fps. If you’re looking for higher frame rates, check out the Elgato and Razer capture cards. Also, it doesn’t come with software to customize your recording and streams, but it supports third-party applications like OBS.

Connectivity

Mirabox capture device features five connectivity slots. There are two HDMI ports for input/output, a USB-C port to connect your PC and two 3.5 mm audio slots for mic and headsets. Despite its lower cost, the Mirabox capture card manages more ports than the Elgato HD60 S.

  • 1 x HDMI In
  • 1 x HDMI Out
  • 1 x USB Type C
  • 1 x 3.5mm audio In
  • 1 x 3.5mm Audio Out
OUR TAKE
The Mirabox USB-C capture card provides excellent value with excellent features for a lower price. Like the premium options, Mirabox supports recording and streaming at 1080p 60fps for crystal clear videos and lets you add voice commentary via the mic input slot. It is an excellent capture card for your mac when on a budget as you will only have to give up 4K 60fps gaming.
PROS

  • Great value
  • Excellent 1080p video recording
  • Supports both Mac and PC
  • Plenty of ports for audio and video
CONS

  • Still no inbuilt encoder
  • Does not come with software
 

5. ShuOne Capture Card – Best Value Capture Card

The ShuOne capture card provides great value for your money with ultra-low latency, cross-platform compatibility, and clear 1080p video recording.

If you’re looking for the best features on a budget, the capture card from ShuOne meets the bill. It a small and light device yet provides all the elements for capturing high-quality gaming footage. ShuOne USB-C capture card works with the latest consoles, including PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo, and the last generation consoles such as PS3 and Xbox 360.

ShuOne does come with software, nor does it have an integrated encoder, which isn’t much of a surprise considering its lower price range. However, it works with both Mac and PCs, and also supports Linux and Ubuntu Mate.

Streaming and Recording

The ShuOne capture card supports Full HD 1080p recording and streaming at 60 frames per second. It is plug and play and supports instant streaming when you fire up your Xbox or PS4. However, the card only allows 4K 30fps HDMI passthrough, so you cannot play 4k games at 60fps on your console.

The ShuOne USB-C capture card provides excellent game capturing features with unbeatable prices, rivaling the premium options in the market.

ShuOne includes two 3.5mm audio slots, which are perfect for adding voice during game live sessions or recording to showcase your skill moves later. It is compatible with streaming software, such as OBS and XSplit, which lets you stream to YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, and other platforms.

Connectivity

Onboard there are five slots to complete your gaming setup. One HDMI input for your console or any input device, HDMI output slot to connect your display, a USB-C port to the streaming PC, and two 3.5mm audio for two-channel headsets or mic input.

  • 1 x HDMI In
  • 1 x HDMI Out
  • 1 x USB Type-C
  • 1 x 3.5mm audio In
  • 1 x 3.5mm Audio Out
OUR TAKE
The ShuOne, like the Mirabox USB-C capture card, provides excellent features at a reasonable price. This capture card lets you play up to 4K 30fps games while recording 1080p 60fps videos for your live streaming channels. The device does not require extra drivers and works seamlessly with most consoles in the market. It is an excellent capture card, especially if you’re working with both Mac and Windows computers.
PROS

  • Great Value
  • Reasonable price
  • Stream and record at 1080p 60fps
  • Includes ports for audio input and output
  • Supports Mac, Windows, and Linux operating systems
CONS

  • Still does come with software
  • Requires powerful PCs
 

6. Blackmagic Design UltraStudio HD Mini – Thunderbolt 3 Capture Card for Broadcasters

The Blackmagic Design UltraStudio HD Mini is a portable capture and playback device for professional broadcasters. It allows you to capture video footage from digital and analog sources, such as cameras, directly to your PC.

UltraStudio HD Mini comes with a unique design compared to the other capture cards in this roundup. It’s the only capture card in this roundup with an LCD preview screen that displays real-time video footage from the connected source. There are different playback and control buttons to customize your video recordings.

Streaming and Recording

The UltraStudio HD Mini supports video capture up to 1080p 60fps with 16 channels of embedded audio. It has a Thunderbolt 3 port so you can send footages to your NLE of choice or PC for live streaming with minimal lag time. Use apps such as Flash Media Live Encoder to stream to different platforms such as YouTube or Facebook.

The device supports various editing applications, such as DaVinci Resolve, Fusion, Adobe Premiere Pro CC, and Avid Pro Tools, which are essential when capturing video from cameras. With this, you can record and edit captured footage to showcase your best skills and customized brand effects.

However, this device lacks an HDMI input port and may not work with gaming consoles and other HDMI video sources.

Connectivity

The UltraStudio HD Mini features an impressive selection of ports but lacks an HDMI input.

  • 1 x Thunderbolt 3
  • 1 x HDMI Out
  • 1 x SDI In (3Gbps SD/HD switchable)
  • 2 x SDI Out (3Gbps SD/HD switchable)
  • 1 x Ref In
  • 2 x 1/4″ (Balanced & Unbalanced Analog Audio)
  • 1 x 3BNC (Component / Composite) Input
OUR TAKE
UltraStudio HD Mini is a professional capture device for broadcasters and live streamers. It comes with multiple inputs for connecting SDI and analog video sources and a Thunderbolt 3 port for PC and Mac. However, it’s limited compared to the other options with the lack of an HDMI input port. It may not sit well for console gamers. But for video recording and broadcasting, UltraStudio HD Mini is among the powerful devices you can buy.
PROS

  • Thunderbolt 3 connectivity
  • Supports 1080p 60fps video capture
  • Great interface
  • Supports most editing software
  • Plenty of ports
CONS

  • Lacks HDMI input
  • No built-in encoder
 

7. Pengo HDMI-USB C Video Game Capture Device – Cheapest Capture Card

The cheapest capture card that lets you record high definition gaming footage from PS4, Xbox, or your PC.

Capture cards do not have to cost an arm and leg. The Pengo capture card provides a range of features to stream your gameplay on a budget. The card supports most consoles, such as PS4 and Xbox, and other HDMI output devices. However, considering its low price, you have to make some compromises.

Pengo HDMI-USB C capture card comes with a single HDMI input slot and an attached USB-C cable, which means if the cable runs faulty, the whole device becomes unusable.

Regardless of the number of ports, the Pengo device works like a charm with both Mac and PCs and records high-quality videos with almost zero latency. It is plug and play and doesn’t need any drivers on either operating system.

Streaming and Recording

Pengo HDMI to USB-C grabber captures 1080p videos at 60fps, allowing you to capture every frame and movement on your games for the best engaging streams. It has lower latency, and recording doesn’t affect the performance of your games.

Different third-party applications such as OBS, PotPlayer, QuickTime, and XSplit are compatible with the Pengo capture card. They can help you customize your game footage before streaming to YouTube, Facebook, or any streaming service.

Connectivity

The Pengo HDMI to USB-C capture device comes with a limited number of ports. There is only one HDMI input slot and USB-C port to your computer. It does not include an audio input slot for live commentary.

  • 1 x HDMI In
  • 1 x USB Type-C
OUR TAKE
Pengo HDMI-USB C is the best capture device when you’re on a budget. The card lets you record and stream quality 1080p videos from your console and share it with on live streaming platforms. However, it comes with minimal features, which are only perfect if you’re starting or have a lower budget. It is an excellent accessory if you just want to record your gameplays and save for later to stream directly to YouTube, Twitch, or Facebook.
PROS

  • Cheap capture device
  • Stream and record at 1080p and 60fps
  • Works with both Mac and Windows
  • Supports different software for streaming
CONS

  • No audio input for live commentary
  • Does not come with software
  • No second HDMI output port
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