$30 capture cards – Are they good enough?

$30 Capture Card Example Videos:

720p 60fps:

1080p 30fps:

OBS Game Capture:

720p 60fps:

1080p 30fps:

Avermedia Extreme Cap u3:

720p 60fps:

1080p 30fps:

I ordered and did extensive testing with two $30 capture cards.  I believe you can get these for less, if you can find them.

There's good and bad with these capture cards!  I will go over everything in this post that I have discovered.  (All links are amazon associate links!)

Let's cover what's going to be an issue for these cards.

Audio:

It's MONO ONLY!   I tired forcing different drivers and I still couldn't get Stereo audio from these things.  So the biggest issue up front, if you plan on using this to capture game consoles, it won't capture STEREO audio.  You can still get audio from your consoles in other ways, for instance an HDMI audio extractor or HDMI matrix with audio extraction, some cables, and an AUX or LINE in on your motherboard or other soundcard.  I will link everything you would need below if you still want to use one of these cards.

Video:

These cards are FAST.  The latency of these cards is amazing, it's fast enough for a DSLR or camera without having to worry about the audio being out of sync.  It's not perfect but no one will notice the latency, generally speaking.

The quality isn't the best I have ever seen.  There's some artifacts around certain color gradients and the image needs color correction, but once you adjust it's 100% usable.  For $30 it's hard to complain about the quality here.  The HD60 is only slightly better in image quality, and after encoding to twitch I would say these little capture cards, just because latency is better, are better for streaming.

That said... should you get one of these?

WARNING: NOT ACTUALLY USB 3.0
https://amzn.to/2Yqrrau

https://amzn.to/2MU9Q5m

Maybe?

If you are planning on using cameras with HDMI out or need a budget capture card, these will get you started with a decent image.

Here's what you will need to work around the MONO audio issue:

HDMI 4x2 Matrix:  https://amzn.to/3cZBAQJ
I suggest one of these if you ever plan on getting a soundboard or if you need an HDMI splitter.  This cover all the basic functions of what you will need and set you up for future equipment upgrades.

Audio Cables: 1/8" audio cable https://amzn.to/2XUCI3R
This will let you get the audio out of the HDMI matrix and into your computers line in jack.  The line in jack is usually a blue port on the back of your motherboard.  Plugging things directly into the motherboard can sometimes end up with a noisy input though so keep this in mind.  You may want to try a USB sound card with line in.

For cleaner sound use a ground loop isolation cable:  I use 4 of these to clean up the sound on each channel I am running into my soundboard.
https://amzn.to/3fdFJ50

If you have any questions feel free to contact me!

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. codemonkey0888

    I personally would buy this for convenience and budget. You can at least immediately grow your channel in scope of games streamed this way and upgrade to a better quality capture card later. It is definitely watchable in my opinion. Especially if audio quality is the only gig and it can be worked around.

    1. TheSunnyMachine

      Agree! I recently got the Live Gamer Duo and when comparing this $30 capture card to a $250 capture card it’s shocking how good it actually is. Especially for retro games!

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