5 Best Budget Capture Cards – 2020 Updated

The best budget capture cards for streaming costs between 100 USD to 150 USD. You might think it is a lot of money for a small piece of hardware. Not really! Some popular capture cards cost upwards of 500 USD. Capture cards have become a need for online streamers. Gamers capture their game sessions and either stream it lives or saves it for later viewing. Best capture cards provide editing features and functionality to upload your content to Youtube directly. You can set up your youtube channel, provide gaming walk-throughs, reviews, highlights, and whatnot.

There are built-in game recording features in PlayStation and Xbox30 consoles. However, each has its limitations. So big gaming console players are opting to invest in capture cards for a better experience. These capture cards offer streamers more freedom, functionality, and control over the captured footage. While obtaining a video isn’t very CPU intensive, encoding the captured footage requires more CPU resources. Gaming consoles usually cannot adequately handle the encoding process. Therefore capture cards have become a must-have for hardcore gamers and online streamers. 

Now that we are done with the introduction part let’s get to the subject of our article. Read on for our reviews of the best budget capture cards. Rest assured, there won’t be many Elgatos included in our list because of the obvious pricing reasons. You can check out our TLDs at the end of each review if you don’t like to read through the entire article and can’t wait to get back to your game.

1. Hauppauge HD PVR Rocket Top Of The Best Budget Capture Cards

  • Resolution: 1080p 
  • Frame rate: 30fps
  • Interface: USB 2.0/3.0
  • Works with: USB Thumb Drive
  • Records in: MP4

This little magic box enables you to capture the video without popping it into a laptop or desktop. You can switch it directly into your TV or console using the USB cable, pop in the USB drive and start recording right away. Easy peasy lemon squeezy right? Plus, the boxset also includes a mic to input your commentary while playing. You can directly insert your vocals on the video without having to enter into your editing room. The sound works excellent without any degradation or loss of sync. There’s even a giant red light on top of the console to let you know that everything is working fine and your console is recording the video. If it starts flashing green, it means you have left HDCP. Feeling confused? We are as confused about this choice of colors as you are. 

We have only one disappointment, though. Hauppauge HD PVR Rocket captures video at 30fps. So those of you who want a higher resolution should check out our rest of the list. Rest of you can keep reading as we continue drooling over this package. The Rocket makes editing and importing videos reasonably easy because it captures video in MP4 format. Its setup is equally comfortable when you are capturing video via a desktop or PC. Pop in the device, run its proprietary streaming software, and start recording. It is worth noting here that its software doesn’t run on the Mac OS. Also, this interface is geared towards gamers. If you want to record TV, you might want to check out other capture cards in our list.

All in all, this budget device is small, portable, easy-to-use, durable, and has all the basic functionality you would expect in a high-end capture card. If you don’t care much about the frame rate, Rocket should be your first choice.


2. AVerMedia Live Gamer Extreme 

  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Frame rate: 60fps
  • Interface: USB 3.0
  • Works with: PC only
  • Records in: Mp4

Of all the options mentioned in this list, this is perhaps the most suitable for live streaming. Using this device, you can live stream at an excellent 60 fps frame rate. Just download and install the capture software from Avermedia.com, plug the device in, and start capturing. The USB device is suitable to go with default software settings. It has zero latency, so where other devices lag on capture, this will offer absolutely no delay. You can play as well on a PC while capturing the video as on a TV, ideal for situations when you have to work with multiple devices. So you can concentrate on just one screen. This device has two audio inputs which are another exciting feature. You can add dialogue as well as music separately. 

However, like all budget devices, AVerMedia Live Gamer Extreme does have some limitations. In this case, you cannot edit your live video. Video is captured and live-streamed as it is. Of course, you can always buy editing software to go along with this device.

Ultimately, this is a device for capturing and streaming high –quality live videos. Therefore if you are not bothered by extensive editing, you should give this capture card a chance. 

 3. AverMedia Live Gamer Portable

  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Interface: USB 2.0
  • Frame rate: 30fps
  • Works well with: SD card alone or plugged into PC or Mac 
  • Records in: MP4

Here’s another marvel from AverMedia. This PC free capture card is perfect for recording a quick stream of the video when you suddenly spot something cool during a game. It is very compact, lightweight, portable and slides into consoles like it’s a part of the console hardware. It is easy to set up and equally easy to use. Turn off the HDCP, plug it into your console, and press the red button. If the card is working fine, it will pulse a red light. If there is some issue with the card, it will pulse red and blue alternatively. It records your footage in MP4 format like other capture cards in this list. Weighing 117g and the size of an iPhone, it beats every other device in portability. This device is best for recording and live streaming on the go. What’s more, you can even add commentary on top of the video.

LGP records video at 30fps which is it’s the only drawback. All in all, when you take into consideration the value for money, this capture card is undeniably one of the best budget capture cards.

4. Roxio Game Capture HD Pro

Rozio capture card hd pro
  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Frame rate: 30fps
  • Interface: USB 2.0
  • Works with: SD card alone or plugged into PC 
  • Records in: MP4

It comes with a feature that auto-captures your last hour of gameplay along with an option to flag your best moments. You can live-stream to twitch or youtube using its proprietary software. Some other features of the software include soundtracks, picture-in-picture boxes, transitions, and an option to include text, thus making your content look more sophisticated and professional. Video rendering is also quick. This sweet baby has a built-in encoder to reduce your PC burden significantly. So when you capture your gameplay on a PC, the game runs smoothly without any lag. 

Unfortunately, this capture card is not compatible with Mac. If you are using Mac, you should check out some of the other capture card options mentioned in this article. It also uses an older USB version i.e., USB 2.0 instead of 3.0, which may cause some latency issues during live streaming. Some other users are reporting reliability issues. Honestly, you get what you pay for. In such a low price, we couldn’t have asked for more. 

5. AGPtEK HD Game Capture video capture 

  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Frame rate: 30fps
  • Interface: USB 2.0
  • Works with: SD card alone or plugged into PC, Mac or any other console 
  • Records in: MP4

The standard AGPtEK HD Game capture device supports up to 2 TB for external hard disk(FAT32 only). Considering the compact size of this device, it seems impressive. You can even plug in the Flash drive (up to 128GB) for some extra hard disk space. The power consumption is low. It runs silently and smoothly without turning itself into a solid piece of lava. The HD resolution looks like HD unlike some other devices in the same budget range, which compress down the resolution. Plug in your microphone and you can even record your voice on top of the recorded gameplay.

The only downside of this device seems to be the fact that it is built only for recording. You cannot live-stream your gameplay with any device or record online games. 

That’s all with our list of the best budget capture cards. Considering the topic, we didn’t feel the need to include any model by Elgato since most of their inventory cost upwards of 150 USD. Additionally, we couldn’t include some other options like Blackmagic Design Intensity Extreme and ClonerAlliance HDML-Cloner Box pro. Honestly, with the advancement of technology, there are always better models coming in the market. If you are not looking for something very serious and want to record your gameplay on a modest budget, these capture cards provide the best functionality and value for money. 


Also Visit: Best DPI For FPS Games

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