Many industries succumbed to losses during the pandemic, but the gaming industry wasn’t one of them. It churned out amazing games that did lift the spirits. Another sector that was largely unaffected and instead got more power in recent times, content creation.
Playing games online is exciting, but the icing on the cake is when you share that experience with others. A lot of gamers started streaming their game and enjoyed the experience. Some did it because as a pastime, whereas others decided to make a career out of it.
Nintendo Switch is rapidly gaining popularity, and content creators are backing it up with engaging videos. To stream from Switch, you need to use capture cards, or else your videos may look like Lego designs.
What Is a Capture Card?
Before we jump to the main topic, we will briefly explain the Capture Card.
It is a device that converts gameplay signals to digital data for online sharing and streaming. In other words, it helps you to record and stream games from your console.
How does it work?
The usual working arrangement is that you need to connect VGA or HDMI cable to the card and then to the TV/monitor. The card acts as a bridge between your console/PC and your display device. Some cards directly record the stream or relay to the PC/console recording.
Do You Need a Capture Card for Switch?
A capture card is not a fundamental requirement to play games on Switch. However, it is a vital part of the setup if you plan on streaming your gameplay or on recording it.
There is a way to stream from Switch without using a Capture Card, provided you have the necessary software and some hardware. Head towards the FAQ section if want to know how to stream your game without a Nintendo Switch capture card.
But before that, check out the best capture cards for Nintendo Switch you can buy today!
Best Capture Card For Nintendo Switch
1. AVerMedia Live Gamer Mini
Although the name has mini in it, this capture card is a powerhouse, supporting 1080p at 60 fps. You do need to install RECentral software to make it work. The software is user-friendly and easily tweakable according to your preferences. It has an onboard encoder that supports your system by ensuring uninterrupted gaming performance.
You do only get USB 2.0 instead v 3.0, but that doesn’t affect its performance much. The default profile kind of hinders its performance, but that can be changed by setting up a new one according to your liking. If the issue persists after creating a new profile, an update to RECentral software is bound to fix it.
AVerMedia Live Gamer Mini is designed for portability and handles almost everything thrown at it with ease. The most disappointing part is that the makers decided to go with USB 2.0. Otherwise, this Nintendo Switch capture card is one of the best you can buy, especially considering its price tag of around $130.
Resolution: 1080p | Frame rate: 60fps | Interface: USB 2.0
If you are looking to buy a capture card that is lightweight and fits right inside your pocket, this is it. The Elgato Game Capture HD60 S is one of the first capture cards to accept any unencrypted HDMI video signal up to 1080p at 60fps.
Elgato is pushing the boundaries of video capturing tech with this offering. The HD60 S offers insanely low latency thanks to its faster USB 3.0 interface. It also supports Instant Gameview and HDR, paving the way for instant streaming at stunning HD resolutions.
This HD60 S has built-in support for live commentary and streaming for Twitch, Youtube, etc. It also supports unlimited capture directly patched through to your PC. There are a few letdowns though, starting with the absence of an encoder. Although you can manage without an inbuilt encoder through the software, a professional gamer can easily recognize the lags.
However, the faster interface makes up for this flaw. Also, if you don’t have USB 3.0 on your PC, you won’t get any signal. This is not a deal-breaker as most devices do come with 3.0 nowadays but backward compatibility would have been great considering the portability already on offer.
Elgato Game Capture HD60 S is the only card on the list that houses a USB Type-C. It helps you stream and record effortlessly at stunning 1080p resolutions. For around $179, you get consistent performance and unbeatable value-for-money.
Resolution: 1080p | Frame rate: 60fps | Interface: USB 3.0
Next on the list is one of the sleekest Switch capture cards around offered by Epiphan Systems. It supports 4K resolutions at 30fps. Sadly, it does 60fps only at 1080p, but nevertheless still a good deal.
The best part of this card is its portability. It’s so small that you can easily fit it inside your pocket. It’s plug and play as well, so you don’t need extra software for setup.
There are almost no lags even at performance peaks. Also, if, by any chance, you happen to witness it, you can post issues on the forum and get an immediate response or solution.The moderators on the Epiphan forum are highly responsive and more often than not will provide you with a solution.
If you aren’t interested in streaming and just want to record, Epiphan works well in this department too.
The AV.io 4K is compact, easy to use, and does not need any additional software to start recording. It is more suitable for people who travel more and require portability along with consistent performance. For around $500, this is a premium addition to your portable streaming & gaming setup.
Resolution: 4K | Frame rate: 30fps/60fps | Interface: USB 3.0
Compatibility: Nintendo Switch, PC,Mac, PS4, Xbox One
Razer Ripsaw HD is sort of a flagship killer as it provides most of the features you will find in top models but at an extremely competitive price. It offers 1080p at 60fps with 4K passthrough and supports USB 3.0.
Sounds too good to be true? Unfortunately, it does have a significant flaw. Unlike most other Razer hardware, there is no software to accessorize with the Ripsaw HD.
So, you have to either spend on Xsplit Premium membership or depend on the free, open-source software OBS (Open Broadcasting Software.) OBS is reasonably good but you may need more than software for the necessary outputs.
This is somewhat difficult to contemplate for Razer fans who swear by their Razer Synapse gaming software. We may get a dedicated software add-on later but there is none available yet.
Razer Ripsaw HD impressed gamers with its comprehensive features and streaming capabilities. Even though you can easily manage with OBS, it would have easily surpassed its competitors if it had its own software. But at under $160, this is surely worth a buy.
What if we told you that you don’t require a PC to record? AVerMedia 2 Plus helps you to save your recordings directly to a microSD card, thus eliminating the requirement of a PC.
It offers 1080p at 60 fps recording with 4K passthrough in a highly compact design, perfectly suited for gamers.
As with other offerings from AVerMedia, you need to install RECentral software for it to work. This capture card has a 3-way sliding switch, 2 audio ports to connect headphones and mic.
The RECentral software also supports multi-mode wherein you can record multiple videos feeds simultaneously.
It was good to see AVermedia accept its mistakes from previous generations and implement changes on this card. Although it still requires some tweaks, this is easily one of the best cards from AverMedia.
Priced at under $140, this is a budget and cheap capture card for Nintendo Switch you can put in your top 3 list.
Next on the list is 4K60 PRO from Elgato. A successor to the HD60 PRO, the 4K60 offers recording at 4K at 60 fps, unlike others on the list that only have 4K Passthrough. The performance is truly exceptional, with no lags, and is easy to set up.
If you are looking to buy a capture card that will keep you future-proof, this is it. The Elgato Game Capture 4K60 S+ is one of the first capture cards to come with 4K resolution video capturing capabilities at 60 fps along with HDR 10 support.
Elgato is pushing the boundaries of video capturing tech with this offering. The 4K60 S+ is the first card to offer direct-to-PC or SD card video recording. It is also the only external capture card that can deliver at 4K resolutions.
You also get to enjoy real-time image optimization, a vital add-on that makes streaming easier without the hassle of finding the best settings. It also supports HDR, paving the way for perhaps the best still and video excerpts any card can capture in the market.
There are a few letdowns though, starting with Elgato’s 4K Capture Utility software. Video files don’t get support for editing, and you are stuck with the raw. So, you must invest or find third-party software to fix this problem.
Storage is not an issue as it can support an SD card up to 256GB. Yet, the lack of Instant Gameview for lag-free recording is an exclusion – instant recordings at low input lag is easier at FHD than at 4K without compromising under 60 fps.
Elgato Game Capture 4K60 S+ is the only card on the list that houses a USB Type-C in the list. It helps you stream and record effortlessly at stunning 4K resolutions.
At around $399, you know you are paying a premium. This capture card does come with specs of the future. However, for $20 less, you can get to enjoy Instant Gameview with the other Elgato on this list!
Resolution: 4K | Frame rate: 60fps | Interface: USB 3.0
MiraBox, at first glance, reminds you of your hard disk. As you might have guessed, it is a low-end capture card, but it does get the job done.
This card is a step above the rest, offering smooth video capture with multiple handy features. MiraBox supports 1080p/60 fps recording. The USB is rated to be a little finicky, but it delivers 9 times out of 10.
Fortunately, the setup is quick and straightforward. You don’t need to scour through the internet searching for drivers as it is Plug and Play. It has a zero-latency HDMI output which is a welcome move for any capture card.
However, a very small section of users has complained about heating and inconsistent audio capture.
MiraBox is one of the simplest options available to stream your content online without any hassle. If you are looking for a Nintendo Switch capture card on a budget, then MiraBox can be your first choice priced at around $100.
LEADNOVO, at first glance, reminds you of Lenovo. As you might have guessed, it is a low-end capture card but, it does get the job done. This card is a step above the rest, offering smooth video capture with added benefits.
LEADNOVO supports 1080p/60 fps recording and 4K in 60fps. It has one major flaw, though. It gets hot when used for longer durations.
Fortunately, the setup is quick and straightforward. You will need an extra pair of HDMI cables for connecting it. Unlike other capture cards, you get a headphone and microphone port, useful to listen and record audio through it.
LEADNOVO is one of the simplest options available to stream your content online without any hassle.
If you are looking for a capture card on a budget, then LEADNOVO can be your first choice priced at under $60.
Yes, it can but the feature is limited to few models. A capture card converts the video signal to digital output/ data that can be shared online. Most cards come with a dedicated slot for headphones and mic that help in capturing the audio. In contrast, other cards require you to connect headphones via USB to capture sound.
Can You Stream On Switch Without a Capture Card?
It is possible but considering the hassles and the other hardware required, you are better off buying a capture card. You can try streaming your game from console to your PC via a default window captured on an OBS. Anyways if you still want to pursue it, here is the link on how to. Happy Streaming!
Does a Capture Card Reduce Lag?
A capture card only allows you to stream your game as a video. It does not reduce lag. Instead, streamed videos from a capture card may have some lag itself. This lag will depend on your gaming setup’s performance, the capture card itself and even the game you are playing. It is advisable to always use at least a 60 fps capture card to reduce in-stream lag.
We have covered every aspect regarding capture cards to help you make an informed decision. However, you will find a number of new manufacturers offering capture cards for switch and other gaming setups. It is advised to buy only from established brands or to at least follow through on user reviews before buying what you think is the best capture card for your gaming setup!