When it comes to capture cards, Mac users have fewer options than their Windows counterparts.
This is often due to manufacturers failing to develop the necessary drivers or even support them if they do.
Fortunately, this isn’t the case for all cards, including “UVC” devices that require no specific drivers to function.
In this post, we will take a look at some of the latest products that won’t give you any compatibility issues.
What is the best capture card for Mac?
8. IPXOZO Video Capture Card
Resolution: 1080p | Frame rate: 60fps
Connection: USB 3.0
The IPXOZO Capture Card is one of the best budget devices for Mac users wanting a quick way to run a stream. It packs a smooth 60fps at 1080p resolution and has 4K pass-through, so you can still play in ultra HD (even if it’s not captured in 4K).
What’s great about this card is that it’s very flexible and great for “on the go”. It works straight out of the box with no plugin-play drivers and does not require any external power supply. Moreover, the aluminum build is quite robust so you won’t have to worry so much about damaging it.
This card has all the standardized input connections you would expect for a newer model. It includes an HDMI in/ out, a 1/8″ audio plug for your mic, and a 3.5mm audio out. Additionally, the package comes with all the necessary cables. Including the USB power, USB 3.0, and HDMI.
7. Aoboco Video Capture 4K
Record Resolution: 1080p/ 60fps
Connection: USB 3.0
Thanks to the high-speed USB 3.0 technology and next-generation HDMI pass-through, the Aoboco can capture or transfer up to 4K resolution at 30 frames per second – all without any hiccups along the way. Lower resolutions (1080p, for example) are even easier to capture.
Streamers searching for a true “plug and play” option will love this capture card for Mac. There’s no installation drive, no external power supply, and almost no delay in getting it up and running. Simply plug your HDMI cables into the card, hook it up via USB 3.0, and you’re ready to go.
Furthermore, due to the UVC capabilities, this device can even be used with mobile devices and legacy media players (like DVD and VHS players) too.
Latency issues are a big problem for streamers wanting to record their gameplay to OBS. Luckily, the high-speed USB 3.0 technology guarantees a smooth transmission of HD video with almost no lag. As a result, this handy bit of gear eliminates those problems.
6. Elgato Cam Link 4K
Record Resolution: 4K/ 30fps, 1080p/ 60fps
Connection: USB 3.0
The Elgato Cam Link is a popular 4K capture card that connects an HDMI signal to a computer via a USB port. Unlike the other devices on this list, it does not have an HDMI output that you would link up to your TV. This makes it specific for broadcasting using a DSLR, camcorder, or action cam.
The Cam Link produces superb quality at 1080p60 or even up to 4K30fps. Thanks to the ultra-low latency technology, you can expect less than 200ms of delay. If you did want to connect it up to your console and play through OBS on your PC this is still possible, although we wouldn’t recommend it.
Besides its small, portable size, what’s great about this little dongle is that it’s “plug-and-play”. No drivers are necessary for installation. Simply plug it into a USB port and connect any camera with an HDMI out for an instant high-quality webcam.
In terms of compatibility, the Cam Link Capture Card works with macOS and OBS on macOS. No middle-man capture is required. Just add it as a video source and you’ll be on your way.
5. DIGITNOW Video Capture Card
Record Resolution: 4k/ 30fps or 1080p/ 60fps
Connection: USB 3.0
Streaming or capturing high-definition video with the DIGITNOW is effortless. 4K resolution can pass through internally at 60fps. It can then record at 4K, at a slightly lower 30 frames per second. To broadcast live, you’ll be glad to know that it’s fully compatible with OBS.
Just as you would expect with most modern-day cards, the DIGITNOW can also sync audio. Having the ability to capture video from one source and audio from another( e.g. your mic) streamlines the workflow significantly. On one end is a 3.5.mm audio port that lets you achieve this.
The beauty of this card comes down to its usability. There’s no external power supply or driver software necessary – and it works right out-of-the-box. On top of that, you can use this with a variety of different capture sources including cameras and legacy media players.
Lightweight and portable, the whole unit connects via USB 3.0 for high-speed data transmission. The USB 3.0 connectivity eliminates any latency issues.
4. UCEC GAM Live Ultra
Record Resolution: 4K/ 30fps, 1080p/ 240fps
Connection: USB 3.1
The UCEC GAM Live Ultra provides a strong capture performance at a mid-range price point. It allows you to enjoy mesmerizing 4K HDR gameplay at 60 FPS and record at 4Kp30. Due to having a high frame rate pass-through, it also supports 240Hz in Full HD.
Measuring just 4 x 4 x 1 inches, the GAM Live Ultra flaunts a square design that somewhat resembles the AVerMedia Live Gamer Bolt. The build has a solid plastic top shell with curved rounded corners. Underneath is a flashing RGB strip that lets you personalize your desktop.
Compatibility is an important factor for any capture device and one area where the Live Ultra excels. Besides being fully functional on both Windows and Mac, it works well for any of the latest consoles. Additionally, its supports OBS, StreamLabs, and other popular third-party live streaming software.
Thanks to the high-speed USB 3.1 port, you’ll be glad to know that UCEC guarantees less than 100ms of latency for this card.
3. ClonerAlliance Flint 4KP Pro
Record Resolution: 4K/ 30fps or 1080p/ 120fps
Connection: USB 3.0
This ultralow latency capture card for Mac devices provides 60 FPS pass-through at 4K resolutions and even better performance at 1080p. You won’t have to worry about downscaling your content, dealing with screen tears, or compatibility issues when using this capture card, either.
The plug-and-play capabilities of this capture card should be mentioned, too. A lot of other capture /pass-through options require a relatively complex setup process. Not this one. Setting it up takes absolutely no effort at all. It’s ready to connect straight out of the box.
Of course, there are a couple of other features that help to separate this card from the rest of the pack. The super-portable design with heat dissipation properties is a big bonus. Additionally, the multi-platform support for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android devices is another big advantage.
You will also appreciate that this device comes with HDML Cloner Pro, MP4 Cloner, and other Cloner Alliance software free of charge. That software greatly expands the usability and features of this device at no extra cost.
2. Elgato Game Capture HD60 S+
Record Resolution: 4K/ 30fps or 1080p/60fps
Connection: USB 3.0
The Elgato HD60 S+ is the go-to external capture card for Twitch streamers on Mac and consoles alike. With this device, you can play all your high-fidelity games in stunning 4K60 HDR, while capturing your gameplay in superb 4k30fps or 1080p60fps quality.
The UVC support – USB video support means that no software or drivers are necessary – making it one of the best cheap products to start with if you’re new to streaming. Once connected via the USB 3.0 input, your PC will simply treat it the same way it would a standard webcam.
The ultra-low-latency connection provides “Instant Gameview” to give you full creative control over your workflow. As an upgrade of the HD60, the refined and updated HDR10 output provides more depth to your footage for superior texture mapping.
In short, it’s one of the best mid-range, external capture devices around.
1. AVerMedia Live Gamer Bolt
Record Resolution: 4K/ 60fps, 1440/ 144fps, or 1080p/ 240fps
Connection: Thunderbolt 3
The Live Gamer Bolt is the latest edition to AVerMedia’s 4K video capture lineup. This card makes a name for itself as the first external capture device that can record in 4K60 HDR (or 1080p/ 240fps). In addition to featuring the latest Thunderbolt 3 connectivity.
If you’ve never come across TB 3 connectivity before, this Is essentially an adopted USB-C format that is 8x faster than USB 3.0. You will need a TB3 port built into your motherboard for this to work, which will in turn allow it to reach its full latency potential of less than 50ms.
Besides the excellent 4k pass-through and ultra-low latency technology, we particularly like the Bolts’ ability to record in full-HD at a whopping 240 fps. This gives its users the ability to capture epic slow-mo highlight footage, while still retaining the smoothest visual recordings.
In terms of the build, the small (4.72 x 4.72 in) square size follows a very similar construction to the previous model. The diagonal “slit” design provides plenty of airflow to the internal components and there’s also a wide mouth to the unit that releases a flash of RGB.
If your Mac is compatible with Thunderbolt 3, this capture card will work wonders.
What makes a good capture card for a Mac?
A good Mac capture card is easy to set up, has a smooth seamless pass-through rate, and can produce high-quality footage with crisp audio. For a streamer, the biggest deal-breakers are having high-quality footage and no input lag.
The majority of input lag issues come from external capture cards using USB 2.0 ports. Assuming you purchase one of the newer mid-range models with a USB 3.0 port and have a USB 3.0 port to plug into on your Mac, then this should not affect you.
Internal cards tend to cost more but provide instant passthrough due to connecting directly with the motherboard. To install an internal card you will need a spare PCI-e slot inside your computer. You will also need to make sure your processor is powerful enough to handle it.
Another thing to take into consideration is what resolution you have on your gaming monitor, as it will downgrade to whatever the pass-through resolution is on the card. If you’re using a 4K monitor, be sure to buy a 4K capture card.
Capture cards are generally one of the best long-term investments a streamer can make due to the relatively slow advancements in display resolution technology. In most cases, if you decide to purchase a mid-range 4K card from the start, it should last for many years to come.
How does a capture card work?
Capture cards process analog video signal to digital video over an HDMI connection. The resulting data (often referred to as digital video stream), can then either be sent to a video display or recorded as a computer file.
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