The great thing about being a PC gamer is that there are so many free options for recording high-quality gameplay. Recording software is amazing but has one major downside: heavy resource usage. Recording software uses your graphics card, CPU, and hard drive to encode gameplay footage. This encoding process is resource intensive, which causes lag and reduces your frame rate while in-game.
You can reduce the performance impact of recording software by lowering in-game graphics settings, reducing recording quality, or spending hundreds upgrading hardware components.
But who wants to play on low-quality settings, record sub-par looking footage, or spend $400 on a high-end processor?
Upgrading your hardware may reduce the impact of the recording software on performance, but there will still be SOME performance impact. The ideal scenario is that you are able to play and record at the same time with ZERO impact on game performance.
This is where PC capture cards are worth it.
A PC Capture Card can be used to record or stream gameplay in high-quality with nearly no performance impact. This means you can avoid paying hundreds upgrading your hardware components!
Keep in mind that the capture card doesn’t completely eliminate the normal performance impact of encoding while playing a game. A capture card still needs to use some CPU processing power to encode the recorded video.
In order to completely eliminate any performance impact and get the highest quality recording settings with no performance impact, you’ll need to build a second PC to act as a dedicated recording/streaming device. Then, you’ll experience no latency.
However, a capture card is about as close as you can get to a perfect balance between performance and latency. Most people report a 1-5 FPS drop while using a PC capture card, whereas the average framedrop from capture software is around 25fps.
Plus, Amazon offers a no-questions asked 30 day return policy. If the capture card doesn’t cut it, just send it back.
Currently the best PC capture card on the market is the AVerMedia Game Recorder, which records at 1080p. It includes a physical button that you press to start/stop game recording. It’s easy to set up and greatly reduces the impact recording has on your CPU. It also comes packaged with streaming and video editing software!