Xbox Series X, Xbox Series SSource: Matt Brown | Windows Central

Best Capture Cards for Xbox Series X and Series S Windows Central 2020

The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S are a significant leap forward in hardware, providing resolutions and frame rates not seen before on consoles. If you're looking to create content or stream your gameplay, you're going to need a capture card that can keep up, and that's where this round up will help. The one to get right now is the AVerMedia Live Gamer 4k.

Best Overall: AVerMedia Live Gamer 4K

Live Gamer 4KSource: Windows Central

AVerMedia's flagship internal capture card, a PCIe one instead of a USB connection, was the company's first foray into a consumer 4K60 capable unit. It's been around for some time now, but it's still the king, and its long life means it's now more affordable than ever.

You get not only 4K capture at 60 FPS but 1440p capture at 120 FPS and 1080p capture at a mindboggling 240 FPS if you want to use it with a PC as well. The Live Gamer 4K is also capable of capturing HDR content, which is a pretty big deal.

The connection is PCIe x4 Gen 2, and you get virtually no latency between what's happening on your console and in the RECentral companion app or your favorite streaming software. You can capture in the efficient h.265 format, and the icing on the cake is an RGB light strip to really set it off inside your rig.

As we move into next-gen consoles like the Series X and Series S with both higher resolutions and higher frame rates possible, you need a capture card that's up to the task. And it's still the AVerMedia Live Gamer 4K.

Pros

  • 4K capture at 60 FPS.
  • Captures HDR.
  • 4K HDR passthrough.
  • Easy to use.
  • High frame rate capture and passthrough

Cons

  • Requires a desktop PC.

Best Overall

AVerMedia Live Gamer 4K

The one to get right now if you're getting a next-gen Xbox

Not only does the Live Gamer 4K capture 4K video at 60 FPS, but it can capture HDR, as well as high frame rate 1080p video and passthrough, which makes it a perfect match to the new Xbox consoles.

Runner-up: Elgato 4K60 Pro MK2

Elgato 4K60 ProSource: Windows Central

Elgato's previous version of this capture card was a little too expensive and feature-lacking compared to the competition. The improved MK2 version offers not only HDR10 support for capture but pass through up to 240 FPS at 1080p if you like to play on PC. The price is now also much more reasonable, which for some, might be enough to make it the one to get.

It doesn't have a hardware h.264 encoder like its smaller brother, the HD60 Pro, but it can still render footage at up to a 140Mbps bitrate to make sure it always looks its best. Xbox Series X optimized games won't have a problem with the 4K60 Pro.

It's also worth pointing out for the more advanced creators out there; you can stack multiple 4K60 Pro MK2 cards into your PC, as long as your system can handle it. You can also now capture your feed in multiple apps at once, allowing both streaming and high-quality captures from a single card.

Pros

  • 4K capture at 60 FPS.
  • Captures HDR.
  • Multi-feed
  • Use multiple cards at once.
  • High frame rate capture and passthrough

Cons

  • Requires a desktop PC.

Runner-up

Elgato 4K60 Pro MK2

The updated model is so much better.

Elgato comes out swinging with HDR and high-frame-rate passthrough and will capture your games looking their best.

Best External: AVerMedia Live Gamer Bolt

Live Gamer BoltSource: Windows Central

This isn't your average external capture card. What the Live Gamer Bolt is, in fact, is essentially a carbon copy of the Live Gamer 4K, but one that doesn't need to be inside a PC, which makes it perfect to use with small-form machines and gaming laptops.

Thanks to the bandwidth allowed by Thunderbolt 3, the Bolt can deliver 4K60 video, HDR, and up to 240 FPS capture and pass through if you step down to 1080p. The video is uncompressed, so you can guarantee it looks its best when you're capturing with one of these. Thunderbolt 3 is both the killer feature and the barrier to entry, though.

It's also a thoughtfully designed product, easy to integrate into your setup, has its own internal cooling, and, best of all, adds virtually no additional load to your system resources. It is expensive, though, but when it comes to creating the best looking footage of your Xbox Series X and Series S games, it's worth the investment.

Pros:

  • 4K60 HDR capture
  • 1080p at up to 240 FPS
  • Stunning quality footage
  • Virtually no impact on system resources
  • Works with laptops and desktops

Cons:

  • Requires Thunderbolt 3
  • Very expensive

Best External

AVerMedia Live Gamer Bolt

Finally, an exact match for the best internal capture cards

Using the power of Thunderbolt 3, what the Live Gamer Bolt delivers is genuinely astonishing, with laptop gamers in particular now able to tap into serious quality captures.

Best for YouTubers: Elgato 4K60S+

4k60 S LifestyleSource: Corsair

2020 hasn't been a good year for LAN events and global gaming shows. Eventually, the world will return to normal, and for the traveling gamer or the YouTube content creator, this is the capture card to pack.

That's because it doesn't need a PC to operate, which, while niche, could be the game changing feature you've been looking for. Pop an SD card inside it and capture content directly to storage rather than filling up your laptop, which you can keep in your bag anyway.

As far as the new Xbox consoles go, it's a good match, too. 4K60 video is possible, as is HDR, and it will look glorious. In fact, the only real downer is that you lose out on high frame rate gameplay, but considering it only requires USB and not Thunderbolt and still has an internal hardware encoder, it's a trade-off you might be OK with.

Pros:

  • Convenient size and weight
  • Fantastic encoding performance
  • Doesn't require a PC
  • Includes multiple plug types for different regions, ideal for travel

Cons:

  • No high frame rate gameplay
  • Quite pricey

Best for YouTube

Elgato 4K60S+

The traveling gamer's new best friend

The support for 4K60 HDR video is certainly a bonus for Xbox Series X, but the big sell here is that you can use it without the need for a PC at all.

Best for Laptops: AVerMedia Live Gamer Ultra

Live Gamer UltraSource: Windows Central

You may not be able to get 60 FPS at 4K, but this USB 3.1 card can grab 30 FPS at this resolution, which is still impressive. The Live Gamer Ultra can also pass through 4K60 video and HDR, though it can't capture the latter.

But at least your output doesn't suffer because you're using a USB capture card. And that's a pretty remarkable thing in itself given the bandwidth required for high resolution, high bitrate video. This is also the most affordable capture card you can get that will handle video this good from your new console.

Capture at 1080p can go up to 120 FPS, so it's also good to use it with a PC. But, if you're using a gaming laptop, so long as you meet the requirements of an Intel Core i7-7700HQ, 8GB of RAM, and a GTX 1050 Ti for 4K, you're going to get some great looking video from your new Xbox Series X or Series S.

Pros

  • 4K capture at 30 FPS.
  • 4k60 HDR pass-through.
  • Uses USB
  • Simple to use.

Cons

  • Requires a fairly high-spec laptop.
  • No HDR capture.

Best for Laptops

AVerMedia Live Gamer Ultra

If you use a laptop, the Live Gamer Ultra is where it's at

Being able to capture 4K video from your Xbox Series X on a laptop is made possible by this incredible little box from AVerMedia.

The bottom line

As we are now in an exciting new era for console gaming, the content will look better than ever before. Whether you're playing, watching, or creating content, the games on the Xbox Series X and Series S deserve the best.

Even though it's been around awhile, that title still goes to the AVerMedia Live Gamer 4K. It's now fairly affordable and was so ahead of its time when it launched that its capabilities even today are mightily impressive.

Whether you're gunning for high frame rates, 4K, HDR, or a mix of all three, the Live Gamer 4K has you covered. It's a truly remarkable capture card and worthy of a home in any gamer's system.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Richard Devine Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming.

Jez Corden is a full-time writer for Windows Central, focusing on Xbox, Surface, and Windows PC. He spends the vast majority of his time gaming or writing about gaming, with a mission to provide gamers in the Microsoft ecosystem the best and most up-to-date info possible.

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