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Best Elgato Cam Link Alternatives in 2021: Review and Buying Guide for Capture Cards

Do you want to start streaming your gameplay and share highlights from it?

Do you want to start streaming your gameplay and share highlights from it? Well, one of the first things you might need is a good quality capture card. Capture cards help you obtain gameplay footage without interfering with the game quality. There are many types of capture cards that work best for different purposes. Some capture cards work best with PC, consoles or both.

However, one of the best is the Elgato Cam Link. Perhaps you’re here looking for alternatives to the Elgato Cam Link. Either it is not right for you, you want to weigh out your options, or you want something affordable. We have picked out our top 5 favorites Elgato Cam Link alternatives for you. They come in a range of price points, offer great features and specs, and we can assure you they’re all good quality.

We will not only review these capture cards, but we will also explain why we picked them and provide a buying guide for you. Without further ado, let’s look at the top 5 best Elgato Cam Link Alternatives in 2021.

Our top picks

  • How we made this list

    Before diving into the reviews, let us tell you how we chose the best legato cam link alternatives. There is an overwhelming amount of capture cards on the market. Some are great, and many are not. So, to make your search easier, we decided on a few things to look for to compile this list. We wanted to make sure that we chose the best capture cards with good features and reasonable pricing.

    We began by compiling an extensive list of Elgato Cam Link competitors. Next, we eliminated the capture cards that were not up to par. We compared their customer reviews and values to narrow it down until we decided on our final 5 favorites. Lastly, we ranked each capture cared based on the specs, features and image quality you can get for the price you need to pay for it. Additionally, we looked for the best deals you can get on Amazon!

    Now, it’s time to get into the reviews.

    Review: Top 5 best Elgato cam link alternatives

    Elgato HD50 S+ – Best Overall

    Sale
    Elgato HD60 S+, External Capture Card, Stream and Record in 1080p60 HDR10 or 4K60 HDR10 with ultra-low latency on PS5, PS4/Pro, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One X/S, in OBS and more, works with PC and Mac

    Product Description

    At the top of this list is the next best thing to the Elgato Cam Link, unless you find it even better. Made by Elgato, the HD60 S+ will allow you to play console games in 4k60 HDR10 as it captures gameplay in 1080p60 HDR10 quality. One of the main reasons it is at the top of this list is its compatibility. It is compatible with any streaming software and provides full creative control. You also get Instant Gameview which will power workflow with ultra-low-latency technology.

    You will be able to play console games in their original format with zero lag. It is also good to use on PC, and the video quality is excellent. You will be able to stream or record footage using Flashback Recording. And you can record all the footage you want directly onto your hard drive. Regardless, it is probably best for you unless you have specific setup requirements.

    However, the HD60 S+ can’t pass through anything above 60Hz. You might have to look into a different option if you game on a monitor or TV with higher refresh rates. It can capture 4K footage at 30fps and 1080p footage at 60fps. It will work well for most people, and it works with various streaming and capture softwares. It does come at a pretty hefty price, costing around $180, but we think it is well worth it.

    Pros

    • High video quality
    • Instant game view
    • Compatible with various streaming softwares
    • Works with console and PC
    • Easy to use

    Cons

    • Can not pass through more than 60Hz and 1080p
    • Too simple for advanced streaming/gameplay recording

    AVerMedia Live Gamer Mini – Best Value

    Sale
    AVerMedia Live Gamer Mini Capture card, Video Stream and Record Gameplay in 1080p60 with HDMI pass-thru, Plug & Play, on OBS, Xbox series x/s, PS5, Nintendo Switch, Windows 11 / MacOs12 (GC311)

    Product Description

    If you are a dedicated gamer and want to share or stream your gameplay, the Live Gamer Mini is for you. AVerMedia has an impressive number of capture cards, as Elgato does. They’re a strong competition against Elgato, but why is the Live Gamer Mini the best value titleholder? Well, for starters, it will cost you no more than $80 while offering amazing features. It operates on Windows 10 and connects to your PC via a USB connection.

    It can provide Full HD 1080p video recording. You’ll be able to stream and record your gameplay while maintaining great video quality at 60fps. It also has a lad-free pass-through with zero latency technology. And you can play uncompressed videos on your monitor. The Live Gamer Mini has an H.264 hardware encoder that takes on loads without adding any onto your CPU.

    Moreover, it supports the streaming software RECentral. RECentral is powerful streaming software, comes with a streaming pack that offers great functions. You’ll be able to multi-stream, use rich overlays, Chroma Key, and so much more. The system requirements for the Live Gamer Mini are an i5-3330 or later CPU and Nvidia GTX 650 or later GPU. And you also need Mac OS X 10.12 or later to support the UVC protocol. An i7 processor is recommended for laptops.

    Live Gamer Mini has so much to offer for such a good price point. It is undoubtedly the best for budget buyers looking for great quality. Additionally, it is easy to use! You only have to plug it in and begin playing. It’s convenient because you can plug it in and begin recording right away.

    Pros

    • Great video quality
    • Supports RECentral
    • Low price, good value
    • Easy to use
    • 264 hardware encoder

    Cons

    • Not suitable for consoles
    • Only supports one streaming software

    AVerMedia Live Gamer Thunderbolt 3 – Premium Choice

    AVerMedia Live Gamer Bolt: Thunderbolt 3 External Capture Card, Stream and Record in 4K60 HDR10, Support Win 11 and MacOS 10.15, Not for Apple M1 CPU, Perfect for PS4 Pro, PS5, Xbox Series X/S (GC555)

    Product Description

    AVerMedia Thunderbolt 3 is a premium choice on this list for great reasons. If you are looking for a high-quality alternative to the Elgato Cam Link, this is it! It is not only compatible with PC, but it is also good to use for iPad and iPhones. As for video quality, you will be able to capture 4Kp60 HDR content recorded in MPEG4 format.

    You will be able to record as much as 240fps. The maximum resolution it can pass through is 2160p at 60Hz HDR, 1440p at 144Hz and 1080p at 240Hz. To get a better 4Kp60 video quality, you can use the HDMI 2.1 cable. Moreover, it can support Mac OS 10.15 or later and Windows 10. But, it does not support Apple M1.

    Additionally, you can install AVerMedia RECentral to get the best audio and video support. It gives you full creative control and makes using the Thunderbolt 3 easier. There is one slight drawback, though. You will require a Thunderbolt 3.0 port to use it. Unfortunately, it is not compatible with USB-C, but it is not a big issue.

    It does run for quite a handful amount of money. Regardless, we believe it is well worth it, and you can get the most out of the Live Gamer Thunderbolt 3. Being the premium choice, it is a given that it will have a premium price tag too.

    Pros

    • Can record up to 240Hz
    • Excellent video and audio quality
    • Compatible with iPhone and iPad
    • 3 ports
    • Perfect for professional gaming streams

    Cons

    • Does not support USB-C
    • Does not support the Apple M1 platform
    • Expensive

    AVerMedia Live Gamer Duo – Best For Streaming

    Sale
    AVerMedia Live Gamer Duo. Dual HDMI 1080p PCIe Video Capture Card, Stream with 4k60 HDR and FHD 240fps Pass-Through, Work with DSLR, Xbox Series x/s, PS5, Nintendo Switch, Windows 11 (GC570D)

    Product Description

    The Live gamer Duo is for you if you need something to up your streaming quality and impress your audience. it is an internal capture card, which means its transmission and connection are much faster. It has 2 separate HDMI inputs, one for you and your gameplay. It is the perfect capture card if you like to record yourself while recording your gameplay. You can simultaneously record both inputs in uncompressed full HD formats.

    The video quality that the Live Gamer Duo offers is great! It has a 4Kp60 high dynamic range pass-through. The Live Gamer Duo can record at full HD at up to 240Hz. Its ultra-low Latency technology will allow your game directly on the software device monitor. Moreover, if you have a particular setup or PC build, its 3 preset RGB modes will help make your case look unique.

    It is quite expensive, but it’s the best to stream in comparison to other internal capture cards. It takes an immense load off your processor and provides smooth video quality. There is no lag or delay of content while you stream and record yourself. Often, gamers and streamers need to use multiple capture cards to maintain good audio, video and gameplay streaming. With the Live Gamer Duo, your needs are met at once!

    Pros

    • Internal capture card ideal for custom gaming PC build
    • High resolution and quality video and streaming
    • 2 separate HDMI inputs

    Cons

    • Petty expensive
    • Not portable like external capture cards
    • Requires base PC building experience to connect

    BlueAVS 1080P HDMI to USB Video Capture Card – Most Affordable

    Sale
    BlueAVS HDMI to USB Video Capture Card 1080P for Live Video Streaming Record via DSLR Camcorder Action Cam - Capture 1080P@30Hz (Metal-Gray)

    Product Description

    If you are on a tight budget and need something to help make video recording go smoother, then you’ve found it. The blues is a USB interface video capturing device that is simple yet useful. It will not offer you all the fancy specs and features other capture devices can, but it gets the job done. It is best to transmit the camera feed into your computer if you only need something.

    It can support a resolution output of 1080p at 30Hz, and an input resolution of 4K at 60Hz. It can be good to record yourself while you play games and stream. It will easily connect to a DSLR camera, action cam or camcorder with a PC or Mac. Unfortunately, it is not compatible with consoles. However, it can record videos directly onto your hard disk without lagging.

    The BlueAVS video capture card is ideal for HD acquisition, medical imaging, teaching recording, streaming via camera, etc. it is real-time feedback that allows you to shoot and produce with your favorite tools. It is exceptionally cheap, costing no more than $25 on amazon! What more could you want if all you need is to transmit data from your camera to your PC?

    Pros

    • Easy to use
    • Very cheap
    • High resolution and video quality
    • Records directly onto the hard disk

    Cons

    • Too simple for advanced uses
    • Not ideal to stream gameplay
    • One input and output ports

    Buying Guide: How to choose a good Capture Card

    If you are new to this, we have you covered. This buying guide will tell you about the major criteria that make up a good capture card. When looking for a good capture card, you will have to focus on video quality, software compatibility, cost, and some more specifications. The following things are to be considered:

    Video Quality

    Professionals strongly recommend finding a capture card that can record Ultra HD or 4K video. However, you will need a very powerful PC to edit such data. If you have a mid-level PC in power, find a capture card with suitable specs. You should get high-quality video using the capture card you buy. It should also support higher resolutions further and refresh rates if you change your setup.

    If you are recording a powerful game, you need 4Kor Ultra HD specifications. A strong capture card can render and stream your content without giving you trouble. Moreover, it is supposed to take a load off your PC. A high-quality capture card will not only offer you good video quality but also make it easier on your PC to run the game while streaming.

    Software

    Before buying a capture card, make sure it comes with good software if required. Often, you might have to install a separate streaming or recording software to get the most out of your capture card. If you do not already have a good one, buying a capture card that comes with its software goes a long way. You will get full creative control and check how well your devices are working. If you run into technical issues, it can help resolve them too.

    Hardware Interface

    It is important to get a capture card that you can easily use. Most advanced capture cards are slightly complicated. That is due to the various features they come with. Most external capture cards are simplistic and straightforward. However, if you opt for an internal capture card, you will find that you need to learn how to navigate through the software.

    Internal capture cards are much faster and generally better than external capture cards. If you are a professional gamer and enjoy the quality and internal capture card offers, it is worth investing some time to understand its user interface. Most capture card interfaces are through a PC mouse. However, it will vary if you use it on consoles, phones or tablets. All you need to do is get one compatible with your devices and needs.

    Input type

    There are various types of input and output ports available. Some capture cards will support USB connectivity, and some will not. While USB connection is the most convenient and common, HDMI connections might be better. You can record higher resolutions and get better-quality videos through an HDMI cable. Unless your PC does not have an HDMI port, which is unlikely, you will not have any issues connecting your PC or console to the capture card.

    It is also important to know that capture cards with HDMI port connections can record and stream gameplay on consoles. USB connectivity might be trickier in that case because not all consoles can support it. Moreover, a TV connection requires HDMI cables anyway. On the off chance that you already bought a certain capture card and changed your setup, and the connectivity is no longer compatible, there’s an easy fix. You can opt for adapters, but that may cause some transmission issues.

    Compatibility

    It is important to check if your capture card is compatible with your devices, PC/laptop/console operating systems and whether it can connect to your camera, monitor, TV or tablet/phone. A good capture card for you will be compatible with all the devices you use. It will only compliment your setup and make streaming easier for you. Moreover, you also need to make sure it is compatible with your PC or console.

    You need to match the specs of both console and your capture card. It must be able to support the input type, resolution, refresh rates and game loads themselves. Most of the popular gaming consoles such as PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Wii U can support HDMI connectivity and transfer. However, if you use consoles such as Nintendo 64, you are required to get component cables and video input features.

    Price

    The most important thing to consider when choosing a good capture card is the price point. Is it too expensive for you? is it costing too much for unsatisfactory features? Or is the cost affordable enough for excellent features? You need to decide on a budget before you go on and buy a capture card. Moreover, it is best if you read up on reviews before settling for an expensive one especially. Professional advice is to invest a little extra money if you want the best of the best video quality!

    Final Verdict: Best Elgato Cam Link Alternative

    So what is the best Elgato Cam Link Alternative? Our top choice is the Elgato HD60 S+, and let us remind you why. The HD60 S+ capturing device is not only of great value, but it is also the best at covering most requirements of video recording and streaming. It is simple yet has a lot of good specs. Its ultra-low latency and zero-lag pass-through technology allow for a smooth video feed and streaming video quality.

    Moreover, it can support PC and popular consoles such as PS5, PS4, PS4 Pro, Xbox One, Xbox X/S. It will capture your video and stream it at 1080p in 60Hz and HDR10, or 4K resolution as 60Hz as well. It is the ideal capture card for beginners and professional gamers alike! However, if this is not the capture card for you, you can look at the remaining options we selected, whether you require more or less from one.

    If you are a professional gamer, you can opt for our Premium choice, the AVerMedia Live Gamer Thunderbolt 3. Perhaps, you need better streaming capabilities, and the AVerMedia Live Gamer Duo is perfect. If you are on a tight budget, you can opt for BlueAVS Video Capture Card. And if you can spare a little extra money, then the AVerMedia Live Gamer Mini is our best value choice.

    To conclude, we hope that our list of capture cards for Elgato Cam Link alternatives was helpful! Not only that, but so were the reviews and Buying Guide we provided. Now that you know what to look for in a good capture card, we hope you can find the right one for you!

    FAQs

    1)    What is a capture card?

    A capture card is a hardware input device that connects to a computer. It converts video signals from a camera’s output into a digital format the computer can recognize. It is also used for streaming, connecting a camera to a computer or recording live gameplay from the monitor or TV screen. There are various types of capture cards. Some can connect to PC, consoles or both. They are used to maintain video quality and are often used by streamers or content creators.

    What’s the difference between internal and external capture cards?

    Capture cards will either be external or internal. External capture cards are connected via USB connectivity. At the same time, internal capture cards are fixed into the motherboard via PCle slot. External capture cards are portable, but internal ones are not. However, an internal capture card is faster but can only be used with a desktop.

    2)    Is it better to stream with a capture card?

    If you are a professional gamer and stream or share gameplay footage, it might be better to use a capture card. There are streaming/recording softwares to help you stream. However, capture cards are superior because of the video quality maintained. There are also a few more reasons why capture cards are better to stream with:

    3)    Remove load from your PC

    If you don’t use a powerful PC, you can reduce some of the load from recording and streaming by using a capture card. It will help you run games and stream gameplay smoothly at once. You could get by with a powerful PC, but it can be very expensive. Thus, you can get by with a decent PC and a high-quality capture card. You will not only reduce the load from your PC, but you will also save money.

    4)    High video quality

    As mentioned earlier, capture cards can maintain high-quality video/streaming. You could only stream and record with average quality using the software. You might also face latency issues in the transition while running other softwares unless you use a capture card.

    5)    Manageability and flexibility

    High-quality capture cards are easily manageable and flexible. They may be portable and connected via USB, allowing you to use them on different PCs or laptops. You can connect some capture cards (internal capture cards) to the motherboard to provide faster transmissions. Some external cards can also improve audio quality. You can connect audio hardware such as headphones or a microphone and record your commentary too.

    6)    How does a capture card work?

    Capture cards are responsible for taking raw gameplay/video feed from your monitor, TV or camera. They put the feed into a language that your computer or streaming service can understand. It allows video and streaming quality to not deteriorate due to lag, latency, compression, etc. Moreover, capture cards do not encode the data but facilitate transmissions. It makes smoother data transmission to and from your computer and video/streaming service.

    7)    How long can you record with a capture card?

    Generally, you will be able to record as much as you want, so long as you have enough storage on your PC. Consoles may be trickier, and you might have a lot of limitations when recording on them. The capabilities of a capture card will vary from one to the next. Therefore, depending on your needs and setup requirements, you’d have to look for a suitable capture card. Most high-quality capture cards aim to make console and PC video recording as limitless as possible.

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