How do capture cards work?

How do capture cards work?

Capture cards are a good option If you stream video games and also want to record any gameplay footage or computer screen at a good resolution. But, how does a capture card work?

Hi, Jyotirmoy here, in this post, I am gonna discuss about capture cards working process so that you exactly know what to do after buying it. Here is the answer-

A capture card is installed between your GPU and monitor. When you play any game, the output from GPU comes through the capture card, and via a USB cable it transfers the converted data into the pc again. That’s why using a capture card can give more high-quality recording/streaming without affecting your PC’s performance.

How does capture card work in PC?

To understand how the capture cards work, first, let’s discuss how a PC run games. So, when you give any commands to your computer, it goes to the CPU first, since we are discussing about gameplay here, it mainly deals with graphics. The graphics parts processes in GPU (graphics card) and after that, you can see the output in your monitor.

Each command you give while playing games does this process and that’s how you can play any game.

How do capture cards work?

Now, a capture card is installed between the GPU and the screen you are using (like monitor, TV, etc). The output from the graphics card directly goes in the capture card first, in raw format.

Then, capture card encodes (keep reading to know its meaning)/records and convert these frequency/ signal and save them on your computer via the USB cable. So, when you see the folder in your PC, you can get the recorded gameplay videos in good quality.

If you can’t understand the term encoding, it means converting any video, audio file from one format to another. There are different encoding formats but capture cards generally use H.264.

Here, capture cards convert raw inputs comes from the GPU to our accessible format and store in the PC.

This is about recording any gameplay or your computer screen in capture cards, but what about streaming?

How do capture cards work in streaming?

Now, for streaming also, capture cards are very beneficial. But, if you want to do streaming with these capture cards, you must have multiple screens. The working process of capture cards is the same in streaming also.

On one screen you can play games and on another, you can manage the streaming settings and also read the comments. That’s why two-screen is important for streaming with capture cards.

How do capture cards work in consoles (PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch)?

For console gamers also, capture cards are a very good option. But, capture cards need an additional device where it can store recorded files to work in consoles. So, it will be awesome if you have an additional PC or a laptop while using these capture cards.

Note that, it will be completely okay if your PC, laptop is not powerful or have a potato PC. Since we are only gonna store the recorded gameplay, footage, the PCs, laptops hardware doesn’t matter much. But make sure to have enough storage in your additional device.

How do capture cards work?

To install capture cards on consoles you just have to insert the HDMI cable from the console (which you connect to monitor) and connect the output (HDMI from capture card) HDMI cable with your monitor.

At last, just connect the USB cable of the capture card with the device where you want to store the recording, that’s it.

So, after doing this process, the capture card is gonna encode the raw data come from GPU and convert and record it and also forward it to the monitor so you don’t notice any lag during this process.

That’s why it can give good results without any issue and perfect for console users who want to record their gameplay or steam.

Using this method you can use a capture card in any console like PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo switches.

I hope after reading this you can now understand How do capture cards work in consoles like PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo switch.

Now, why you should use these capture cards?

While playing games, since GPU is busy processing data, when you also give the task of recording gameplay to the GPU, no matter how powerful your GPU is, it is not gonna do both tasks properly, as a result, you get an average recording and feel lags.

Like this, when you use any recording software, the entire recording load goes to GPU and CPU, as a result, PC performance decreases.

But, when you use a capture card, it not only records at a high quality but also decreases load from the GPU, CPU. Since it records, streams from the output of GPU, GPU’s performance, actually the whole PC’s performance is not affected by it. As a result, you get high-resolution recordings without a decrease in performance.


The main reason you should use capture cards because of quality. Yes, if you don’t want to compromise quality and also want the best gameplay possible from your PC, you have to use a capture card once.

If you use other software for recording and streaming, you might see sudden buffers and it also affects in-game performance.

Overall, the video quality recorded from capture cards is way better than the software. And you also want the cool features, you should also use it. Your viewers are also gonna get quality content from it.

Wrapping up:

Capture cards are made for streamers, gamers, and for those who want to record their games at maximum resolution possible and also don’t compromise with PC’s performance. So, if you also feel, you are also doing the same, use a capture card.

In this post, I have discussed about how capture cards work in different platforms like PC, consoles for game recording, streaming.

I hope you have understood their whole recording and streaming process after reading this post.

If you have any doubt make sure to comment down below or contact me via email.

That’s it for today, see you in the next post tada:)

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