If you want to start streaming or you are already a streamer, you are certainly aware of the importance of a capture card.
The best capture card for OBS, in my opinion, is Elgato HD60 S+ because of the great video quality, wide compatibility, simple setup process, and reliability.
In case you are not sure which capture card is best for your preferences and, thus, which capture card to purchase, I created this list to help you with this very important and significant issue.
QUICK OVERVIEW: Best Capture Cards for OBS
Elgato HD60 S+
Elgato 4K 60 Pro MK.2
AVerMedia Live Gamer Plus
Table of Contents
Best Capture Card for OBS
Tested & Reviewed
Given that I completely understand how tricky the process of choosing the right capture card can be, I have analyzed a bunch of them, collected data, and summarized all the important information that you need to know throughout choosing process.
Your only job is to sit and check this list, and I promise you that after doing that, it will be much easier to pick a proper capture card.
1. Elgato HD60 S+
Best capture card for OBS
Why do I think Elgato HD60 S+ is the best among these?
Because it is easy and fast to set up, superb, powerful, and stunning.
Additionally, Elgato guarantees maximum enjoyment and performance. I didn’t expect less than that.
Who is it best for?
This particular capture card is one of the best capture cards on the market and, therefore, is suitable for everyone. Thus, whether you are a rookie or an experienced streamer doesn’t make a big difference since this capture card will help you level up your streaming and content.
However, I have to admit that HD60 S+ is slightly expensive, so you should buy it if you are planning to stream professionally, given that it is a big investment.
The setup process is quick and easy, and it won’t take you more than 5 minutes, and you are ready to start streaming. The only thing you need to do if you use any console is to connect it to HD60 S+ with the HDMI cable.
On the other hand, with OBS, the process is even simpler since you only have to add a video source and select the Elgato Game Capture option.
Something that adds to the greatness of this capture card is the fact that you can stream content at Full-HD thanks to HDR10 as well as experience 4K60 gaming.
Furthermore, my tests have shown that with this capture card, you can count on images of amazing quality, perfect recordings, and even more perfect screenshots, and all that without any lags or latencies. Lightning, in general, is very bright, and you will certainly get a more detailed picture.
As for the performance with OBS streaming software, this capture card’s presentation was stunning, so I have to highlight that it is the best capture card for OBS.
When it comes to areas to improve, my findings indicate that when you try to convert images from HDR to SDR, some colors look a bit washed up and got lost during that converting process.
Additionally, the USB cable could be a bit longer, but it can be solved simply by using the USB extender.
Finally, the last feature that could be considered this capture card’s weakness is the lack of Displayport support.
I believe that this capture card is a game-changer since it enables you to enjoy your streaming and gaming and, at the same time, capture images of astonishing quality.
Therefore, I have to conclude that HD60 S+ exceeded expectations and is incomparable to any other similar device.
- 4K HDR pass-through
- Easy setup process
- Amazing quality
- Small footprint
- Short USB cable
2. Elgato 4K60 Pro MK. 2
The most precise capture card
According to Elgato, the 4K60 Pro is nearly flawless, superior, smooth, solid, and very precise. They claim it provides fantastic content, extreme quality, and crystal-clear images.
Subsequently, Elgato claims that 4K60 is compatible with multiple apps simultaneously. They also assert that it is powerful but easy to use and that it is created with a dedication to provide great performance and to be helpful.
Let’s see if my experience backs up all of these claims.
Who is it best for?
I believe that this capture card can work very well for multiple sorts of streamers, from beginners to experienced ones. In addition, it can also be used for other purposes apart from streaming.
However, according to the gathered information, Elgato 4K60’s4K60’s setup and installation process are very simple, so even users with a lack of experience in this field can easily install and use it.
Elgato also highlights this capture card is ideal for those who don’t have much experience and amateur streamers.
On the other hand, its performances are pretty amazing. Thus, it can surely meet even the more experienced streamers’ expectations.
As I mentioned before, I have evaluated the setup process as plain.
Nevertheless, if you have a dilemma called OBS vs. capture card, you will be happy to hear that this ” vs.” can easily become “and.” Namely, you can easily use this capture card with OBS if you follow these several steps.
First of all, you should open OBS and add a new Video Capture Device using the “+” icon. After that, go to the Device menu and choose the 4K60 option. Finally, you have options to set the resolution, FPS, format, and color. After doing that, you are good to go.
Furthermore, our analyses have demonstrated that the card doesn’tdoesn’t do encoding and have also confirmed how good Elgato 4K Capture Utility is.
That is recording software which also has some great additional options. Namely, with it, you can retroactively save your gameplay, record microphone audio separately, and arrange and edit your video and audio footage in post-production.
Compared to some previous Elgato models, this one supports HDR, which allows you to create more quality and brighter images with colors closer to those we see in real life.
However, when it comes to things they got wrong, Elgato made one major mistake regarding design and cooling.
The whole device is almost completely sealed with a metal shell. Although there are some vent holes, they are not big enough to prevent the device from overheating.
My observations indicated that after some time, the device becomes very hot since there is no active airflow.
Subsequently, according to my research, the device’sdevice’s temperature can reach 80°C, which is extremely hot.
Nevertheless, the silver lining is that even in these high temperatures, there was no decrease in terms of performance.
- HDR pass-through
- Free 4K Elgato Capture Utility software
- Good compatibility with OBS
3. AVerMedia Portable 2 Plus
Best for amateur streamers
AVerMedia’s products are innovative, high-quality, ergonomically sound, and environmentally and user-friendly.
They say Live Gamer Portable 2 Plus is amazing, easy to use, and powerful. Let’s dive into the specs!
Who is it best for?
AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable 2 Plus is ideal for beginners. Some other capture cards, especially in the past, were very tricky to use if you are an inexperienced streamer. However, I suggest this device to every beginner.
What makes this card so good for rookies is that it works with any HDMI input, gives you more control during the streaming process, and it’s very simple to use. Therefore, it is a great option for all streaming starters, and I would recommend it to all of them.
Even though this card can capture a maximum of 1080p, there is an option of passing through a 4K signal to the TV.
So you can practically view recordings in 4K, even though you can’t record them in it. Additionally, this capture card doesn’t support HDR, which is a slight minus compared to some other ultra-modern cards.
My tests have shown that, while there were no lags when it comes to HDMI-TV connection, noticeable lags were identified with captured videos on a laptop.
Therefore, games shouldn’t be played directly from the capture software window. When it comes to PC, you can connect the device to any USB 3.0 port on your PC and capture footage with no issues.
A very useful option with this card is the option of recording the footage straight to a microSD card, so for this operation, you don’t even need a PC. However, for this action, you will need a Class 10 microSD card or higher.
I believe that this particular capture card is not so suitable for use with OBS since AVerMedia has its streaming platform called RECentral 4.
It’s not as good and complex as OBS, but it works well. Of course, you could use it with OBS, but since you get RECentral, it could be needless.
The quality of the footage is very high, the picture is clear, the streaming goes smoothly, and there is no risk of overheating.
- PC-Free option
- Clear capture and smooth streaming
- Modern design
- RECentral streaming platform
- No overheating risk
- No HDR
4. AVerMedia Live Gamer ULTRA
Best for competitive streamers and gamers
AVerMedia presents this capture card as a capture card of the new generation and claims that it provides a full experience. Subsequently, the company guarantees that there are no lags and that recordings are super smooth.
Additionally, AVerMedia describes Live Gamer ULTRA as one-of-a-kind, powerful, and very unique.
Who is it best for?
If you want a powerful and high-quality device, Live Gamer ULTRA is the right one to buy. However, I would personally recommend it to those who want to stream seriously and professionally.
Not that starters shouldn’t have high-quality equipment, but this capture card is more suitable for professionals, especially in terms of price.
Namely, this card is quite expensive, and if you are a beginner or perhaps not sure whether you are going to stream professionally, you could find a much cheaper capture card to start with.
When it comes to Live Gamer ULTRA’s strengths, my results demonstrate that you can capture content of amazing quality in 4K and that there are no latencies.
As with the previous AVerMedia capture card, RECentral software comes for free with this one as well. That means that with Live Gamer ULTRA, you get a free substitution for OBS, which is why most people who use AVerMedia capture cards do not use OBS.
Therefore, in this case, in the “capture card vs. OBS” clash, the victory goes to the capture card. In addition, you’ll get, also for free, a PowerDirector 15, software that you can use to edit your videos.
Another big plus for this device is the fact that it supports HDR. Furthermore, the setup process is quick and easy, given that you can connect everything in a couple of minutes using an HDMI cable.
As for weaknesses, the first and the most important one is that you will need a very advanced laptop or PC to use this capture card since the system requirements are very demanding, so we believe that this is the area that could be improved.
Apart from being very cool, the design of this capture card is created to prevent overheating. Namely, there is a metal net on top of the device as well as several holes on the front and back side, which provide airflow and, therefore, eliminate the risk of overheating.
- HDR capability
- No risk of overheating
- Quick and simple setup
- Free RECentral and PowerDirector 15
- Very demanding system requirements
5. Razer Ripsaw HD
Great budget capture card
Razer represents itself as one of the leading brands in the gaming field. According to Razer, the company’s products are high-quality and suitable for all generations.
As the manufacturer says, Razer Ripsaw is a powerful device that will allow you to record smoothly and in HD.
With this device, you will be able to take your streaming and gaming to a professional level. As Ripsaw’s main features, Razer highlights compatibility with various consoles and powerful performance.
Who is it best for?
Given that this capture card is very easy to set up and use, it could represent a perfect solution for starters. Nevertheless, experienced streamers can also use it since its performance during my evaluation process was quite solid.
An important feature of this capture card is its price. From our perspective, I believe that it is affordable. Therefore, if you want to engage in streaming and yet not spend a lot of money on a capture card, Razer Ripsaw is my recommendation.
As I determined before, the setup process is very easy, and I could even conclude that this device belongs to the “plug & play” category.
As the manufacturer stated, this card can be used with various consoles, but I want to add that it can also be used with OBS, and I believe that this is one of the best OBS-compatible capture cards.
The OBS setup process is easy. After you open OBS, click “Source,” click the “+” icon, and ad Razer Ripsaw as your Video Capture Device. Afterward, you should determine the settings your capture card will use.
In terms of resolution, you should click “Custom” and then set the resolution to 1920×1080 at 60 FPS. Finally, you should select Razer Ripsaw Microphone as your custom audio device and set the Video Bitrate to 2500-3000 Kbps, and you are ready to stream.
As pros, I would highlight the very good quality of both video and audio recordings, without any lags or latencies.
Additionally, Razer Ripsaw offers you the option of feeding your microphone into it, given that there are 3.5mm inputs and outputs. Lastly, I have to admit that this device is very affordable.
As the thing Razer got wrong, I would like to feature the fact that, unlike Elgato or AVerMedia, which have free capture software included, Razer doesn’t offer one. That’s why most Razer users often avail of broadcasting apps such as OBS.
Considering all the information I have gathered, I could say that this device has a good price-quality relationship, but still, my impression is that Razer Ripsaw is a bit worse than expected.
- Solid quality
- Microphone input and output
- Plug & play
- No HDR
- No capture software included
6. MiraBox HSV321
Great plug-and-play capture card
MiraBox is the brand that belongs to Shenzhen An Rui Xin Technology Co.Ltd, the company that was founded in 2013 and that produces various digital video and audio products. They describe their products as advanced and based on a great experience.
Concerning the MiraBox HSV321 capture card, the manufacturer claims that it is strong, reliable, and compatible with various apps and consoles.
Here is my opinion.
Who is it best for?
Concerning the fact that the installation process is very quick and easy and that this device is practically “plug & play,” this capture card could be ideal for people who don’t have much experience and don’t want to bother with these issues.
Apart from that, its compatibility with almost all existing consoles and broadcasting apps makes it perfect for numerous users.
The setup process is very easy, so you can start streaming only a few minutes after opening the box. After that, you can easily connect it to your console, whether you have Nintendo, Xbox, PlayStation, or any other console.
This capture card is very suitable for OBS, making it a perfect OBS capture card. Additionally, HSV321 is compatible with all Windows operating systems and Mac.
Things that MiraBox got right are high resolution and almost no latencies at all.
On the other hand, I noticed a couple of weaknesses. First, I experienced problems during the connection stage since the capture card failed to recognize the PC a few times.
Furthermore, a major problem with this capture card is overheating. It heats very easily, so it can’t work for a long period, and it is my recommendation to shut it off when it’s not in use.
An interesting service provided by the manufacturer is that you can ask them to add your logo or any other shape, letter, or word on top of the device, i.e., on the metal box that covers the inside part of the capture card.
So, from my perspective, this capture card could serve as an alternative to some more expensive cards since it’s very affordable, but it’s worse than I expected.
- High resolution
- No latencies
- Good compatibility
- Stylish design
- Connection problems
- Overheats quickly
- No HDR
7. PACOXI 4K HDMI
The cheapest option
PACOXI is another well-known brand of streaming equipment that I will mention on this list. This company’s products are known for good quality and very affordable prices.
With this particular device, PACOXI offers great compatibility, both in terms of software and devices, amazingly clear images, and reliability.
Who is it best for?
As with the previous capture card, the PACOXI capture card doesn’t have enough quality to do a great job for experienced and demanding streamers.
PACOXI could be a reasonable option for people who want to start streaming for fun and those who don’t want to spend a lot of money on equipment.
This card is even cheaper than the previous one, which makes it the cheapest capture card on this list and practically a capture card that everyone can afford.
PACOXI is another “plug & play” capture card, which means that you don’t need to install drivers to use it, and that makes the setup process very simple. It is very compatible with numerous consoles and broadcasting apps such as OBS.
You don’t need to have a very powerful PC or laptop to be able to use this card, given that its system requirement standards are quite low.
Considering this device’s price and general quality, the picture is quite quality, and there are not many lags and latencies. The resolution is satisfactory, and the colors are bright and vivid.
3.5mm input jacks for microphones and headphones are very useful and work well for streamers and gamers.
The device is very small, lightweight, and very portable. It also has a metal covering, which prevents physical damage to the device.
I didn’t have any issues connecting it to OBS, but people have claimed that the device is not compatible with either Streamlabs OBS or OBS, so I advise all customers who plan to use this capture card with these apps to keep this warning in mind.
- Quite compatible
- 4K quality
- Microphone and headphones input jacks
- Very cheap
- Lower quality than the competition
- No HDR
- Possible compatibility issues
Things to consider when buying Best Capture Card for OBS
1. Pass-through and resolution
Pass-through and resolution are essential when talking about capture cards. Even though those which don’t support HDR can do a very good job, having a capture card that supports HDR has become almost a necessity if you want to stream on a higher level.
You want your capture card to be compatible with as many consoles, broadcasting apps, and operating systems as possible. It will make your streaming easier since you won’t need to think whether your PC, laptop, or gaming console will be compatible with your capture card.
Price is always an important feature in every purchasing story. On this list we presented some more expensive and some cheaper cards, so your decision will depend on your preferences and financial situation.
Related: Best Budget Capture Card
First of all, I hope that this list has helped you to decide which capture card to purchase since that was my main goal. My part of the job is done, and now it is all up to you.
If you’re still unsure, here is a quick summary of the top three capture cards:
- Elgato HD60 S+ as the best overall,
- Elgato 4K60 Pro MK. 2 as the ultra-precise capture card,
- AVerMedia Portable 2 Plus as the best for beginners.
If you have a switch and no intent of buying a capture card, there is a nice way of a streaming switch without a capture card. Check it out.
Related: Best Capture Card for Streaming
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you need a capture card for OBS?
The capture card is not necessary for OBS. It will mostly depend on your finances and on which level you want to do your streaming. If you want to do it more professionally and to have footage of higher quality, a capture card will enable you that.
Can I stream without a capture card?
Yes, you can. If you use your PC or laptop for streaming, you don’t need a capture card. However, if you use consoles or perhaps your phone for streaming, you will need a capture card, unless you use some of the online apps. Finally, you can stream without a capture card, but it would definitely increase your stream’s quality.
Do capture cards reduce FPS?
Capture cards do not reduce FPS. Capture cards only get between the computer and monitor and split the feed. However, a computer’s performance might be affected by capture cards, but that impact shouldn’t be so considerable.
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