4 Best Thunderbolt Capture Cards in 2022

By Robin Owens 13 days ago, Thunderbolt

The best Thunderbolt capture card on the market.

best thunderbolt capture card

This guide will help you choose the best Thunderbolt capture card, using which you can record or stream your games to share your experience with viewers around the world. Here, I will tell you what to take into account when choosing a great capture card to enhance your broadcasting experience.

Top 4 Best Thunderbolt Capture Cards

  1. Blackmagic Design UltraStudio - Our Choice
  2. Elgato Game Capture - Good image quality
  3. AVerMedia Live Gamer Bolt - Easy to install
  4. Razer Ripsaw - Great compatibility

Since gaming is getting more and more popular, it opens up more possibilities for gamers and content creators. Some people just enjoy playing games, and some turned it into profitable careers. In this article, you will find a list of USB video and external audio capture cards with RCA, 1/4'' support and XLR audio inputs.

1. Blackmagic Design UltraStudio

Our Choice
blackmagic capture card

Hardware Interface: Thunderbolt 3 | Supported Resolutions: Ultra HD

  • ✚ User-friendly interface
  • ✚ Excellent signal
  • ✚ A nice design
  • ✚ Good image quality
  • Expensive

This is the best Thunderbolt capture card because it comes with software, a manual and a 2-year warranty. It offers blazing-fast speeds (40 Gb/s), which allows you to record and play uncompressed SD and HD videos up to 1080p at 60fps with 16 channels of embedded audio. It provides advanced broadcast-quality connections with 3G-SDI, analog YUV and NTSC/PAL composite video inputs, and reference input.

2. Elgato Game Capture

Good image quality
elgato capture card

Hardware Interface: USB 3.0 | Supported Resolutions: 1080p60

  • ✚ Long-lasting design
  • ✚ Offers tech support
  • ✚ Good image quality
  • ✚ Decent stream quality
  • No advanced features

In the 2.0 version of Elgato Game Capture HD software, you need to select the “Allow 60fps” option instead of “Preserve Source Format”. However, this card can record 1080p video at 30fps (29.97fps) only. With this Thunderbolt capture card, you can broadcast and record your best gaming achievements. It provides superb 1080p quality at 60 fps and has a live commentary feature.

3. AVerMedia Live Gamer Bolt

Easy to install
avermedia capture card

Hardware Interface: Thunderbolt 3 | Supported Resolutions: 4K HDR

  • ✚ Good quality of streaming
  • ✚ Simple to setup
  • ✚ Top image quality
  • ✚ Nice features for such a price
  • Tech support
  • Difficult to master

High Refresh Rate pass-through lets you take advantage of the game thanks to supporting 144hz and 240hz displays. This Thunderbolt 3 capture card is compatible with macOS 10.15 or higher and Windows 10. It allows content creators to record uncompressed 4K HDR video at 60 fps or full HD video at 240 fps by using an external, compact enclosure.

4. Razer Ripsaw

Great compatibility
razer capture card

Hardware Interface: USB 3.0 | Supported Resolutions: Full HD 1080P at 60 FPS

  • ✚ Great signal
  • ✚ Decent stream quality
  • ✚ Simple to use
  • ✚ Robust
  • Poor camera quality
  • Price/quality ratio

This Thunderbolt video capture card is a nice addition to your professional streaming setup, whether you are using a gaming console or PC. It guarantees detailed video and audio, which allows you to stream at excellent quality. It comes with a 3.5 mm audio cable for simple installation without software needed. It also features two input and output HDMI 2.0 ports, USB-C power/input, and a mic/headphone jack pass-through. You will enjoy high-quality streaming regardless of the device you are using.

blackmagic capture card
Blackmagic Design UltraStudio
Our Choice
  • Hardware Interface: Thunderbolt 3
  • Supported Resolutions: Ultra HD
elgato capture card
Elgato Game Capture
  • Hardware Interface: USB 3.0
  • Supported Resolutions: 1080p60
avermedia capture card
AVerMedia Live Gamer Bolt
Easy to install
  • Hardware Interface: Thunderbolt 3
  • Supported Resolutions: 4K HDR

How to Choose Thunderbolt Capture Card

best thunderbolt capture card

With various software, like Wondershare Filmora Scrn and the 10 Xbox companion app from Window, you can record and stream gameplay without using special hardware. However, most of them are limited and need more processing power, which can affect your gaming performance. Read on to find out why a Thunderbolt capture card is the best option for streaming games.

What Is a Capture Card?

This device converts the gameplay signals from your console into digital data that you can view on a PC or share to the Internet. This allows you to capture your games to watch them later or stream live via YouTube, Facebook, Twitch, etc. Standard capture cards have a minimum of three ports. One of them (usually, HDMI) connects to a console or gaming computer, the other can be used for connecting a monitor and the Type-C port allows you to connect a capture card to your PC for recording and streaming. Some cards come with microphone and audio ports for simpler streaming and live commenting.

Connection Type

Having defined what input you need, you can understand which types of connections are necessary for your workflow. PCIe is the standard for internal desktop capture cards and is the most standard type of such cards. The largest limitation you will face is the number of PCIe lanes on your motherboard. Thus, if you are setting up a new system, you have to reserve your PCIe lanes for graphics and video capture cards. Using a PCIe lane on additional Ethernet and USB 3.x connections can be a costly mistake if you don’t have enough space for an additional video capture card.

Number of Cards and Inputs

thunderbolt video capture

If you are going to use a switcher and stream your gameplay, you only need one input video capture card that supports the output from your switcher. If not, you will have a capture card input for each camcorder that has to be connected to a software video switcher, like Telestream Wirecast or vMix. You can find PCIe and USB video capture cards that support up to four HD inputs and PCIe cards that support eight HD inputs. However, I haven’t seen 4K cards that support more than one input. It’s possible to add as many capture cards to your system as you wish, but ensure you have enough PCIe channels and lanes and a speedy computer and graphics card to handle multiple video inputs.


  • • What is a capture card used for?

It’s an input device for converting game signals to digital data that you can share on the Web. With it, gamers can capture and save their gameplay. With a capture card and various additions such as an HDMI cable, you can easily record and share your games.

  • • Is it possible to stream without a capture card?

Yes, you can do it from a PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Android and iOS.

  • • Can I use OBS without a capture card?

To stream to Twitch, YouTube or Mixer with OBS (Open Broadcast Software), you don’t need to have an advanced capture card. All you need is your Xbox One and PC. Game streaming becomes more and more popular in the whole world. 

  • • What’s better a capture card or OBS?

Capture Card. When installed on a single PC, it will not provide any performance improvement over capturing your game with game or window capture. Using a capture card on one computer will actually require more resources.