[Review] Review of capture cards

List of capture cards  I had experienced

Avermedia Game Broadcaster HD (C127)
iEi HDC-302E (302E)
Micomsoft SC-500N1/DVI (SC500)
Micomsoft SC-512N1-L/DVI (SC512)
Skydigital HD6 express X (HD6EX)
Skydigital SKYHD Capture X (CX)
Skydigital SKYTV HD RED (RED)
Timeleak HD72B (HD72B)

Test PC spec.
CPU : Intel Xeon E3-1230 V2 / Core i3 3230
MB : Asrock Z77 Pro4
RAM : Samsung PC3-12800U 8GB x2
GPU : Asus Geforce GTX 650 Ti
PSU : Antec VP650P 650W
SSD : Samsung 840 Pro 128GB for Operaing System
HDD : Seagate ST2000DM001-1CH164 for H.264 compressed realtime video capture
RAID : LSI 9650SE-16MIL SATA 16ch for uncompressed realtime video capture
---- RAID level 0 : WD5000AAKS x4, R/W Seq. from 495MB/sec to 240MB/sec at 80%

OS : Each cards were tested under below operating systems.
Windows XP Professional x86 for HD6EX, RED,SC500
Windows XP Professional x64 for HD6EX, HDC-302E,SC500
Windows 7 Professional x64  for SC5XX, C127, HD72B, CaptureX, HDC-302E
Windows 8/8.1 Pro x64 for SC500,SC512, C127, HD72B
Ubuntu 12.04 LTS for HDC-302E
Software : Virtualdub, Open Broadcaster Software, Amarec TV, Daum Potplayer

CPU consumption data
In cases of realtime H.264 software compressed encoding capture... (preset : very fast)
240p/480p, Intel Core2duo E6xxx Series, 40~80% depended on frame rate, motions.
720p : Intel i5 2500 (non-activated intel QSV), 10~30% used.
         Intel i3 550 (no-supported QSV), 20~50% used.
1080p60 : Intel i5 2500 (no-used intel QSV), 50~90% used.
               Intel i5 2500 (used intel QSV), 10~30% used.
               intel i3 3230 (no-used intel QSV), 100% used, it cannot be record smoothly.
               intel i3 3230 (used intel QSV), 10~30% used.
               Intel Xeon E3-1230V2 (no-supported intel QSV) 30~70% used.
               Intel i7 series above 3.3GHz, maybe same as Xeon E3-1230 V2
               Intel i3 4130 (no-used intel QSV), 40-60% used.
               Intel i3 4130 (used intel QSV), 10-20% used.

In cases of realtime uncompressed capture ... (YUV422 16bit)

- 240p/480p, bandwidth < 30MB/sec
Intel Core2duo E6xxx Series, less than 5%.

- 720p, bandwidth = 105.5MB/sec, Recommend 2 HDD of RAID0 system.
Intel i5 2500, less than 5%.
Intel i3 550, less than 10%.

1080p60, bandwidth = 238MB/sec
It MUST needed 3+ HDD of RAID0 or 2nd gen. or later of 1 SSD system.
intel i3 3230  less than 10% used.

In case of iEi HDC-302E for hardware realtime H.264 encoding
No needed for high spec. It can be recorded under core 2 duo E6700 system as 1080p60 dual stream simultaneously. However, the bundle software has no-support for hardware-decorded playing. If you want to playing recorded video, use the high spec. CPU or GPU-assisted environment.

Spec. Table

C127 HDC302E SC500 SC512 HD6EX CaptureX RED HD72B
PCI express
PCIe1 x1 PCIe1 x1 PCIe1 x1 PCIe2 x1 PCIe1 x1 PCIe1 x1 PCIe1 x1 PCIe1 x1
Chroma YUV422 YUV420 YUV422
YUV422 YUV422 YUV422 YUV422
Min. Res.
480i 480i 240p 240p 480i 480i 480i 480i
Max. Res.
1080p60 1080p60 1080i 1080p60 1080i 1080i
480i 1080i
Min. Res.
480p 480i 240p 240p - 480p - 480p
Max. Res.
1080p60 1080p60 1080i
1080p60 - 1080i - 1080i
Max. Res.
1080p30 1080p60 1080p60 1080i 1080p60 1080i 1080i
480i 1080i
Composite × × × ×
S-video × × × ×
Component × × ×
DSUB × (DVI-I) (DVI-I) × × × ×
× (HDMI) × (HDMI)
HDMI ○ (x2) (DVI-I) × ×
HDCP × × × - -
Audio ch. 2ch 2ch (x2) 2ch 2ch 2ch 2ch 2ch 2ch
RCA input × × ×
SPDIF input × × × × × × ×
HDMI audio (DVI) - -
Compression SW HW SW SW SW SW SW SW
Pass Thru. × ○ (x2) × × × ×
Rec. Stability
4.0 4.5 5.0 5.0 1.0 3.0 3.0 3.5
Nice! Double-
Awesome Ultimate Sucks HDCP.
Not bad.

Input resolution
Note that this result is not meaning acceptable entirely both RGB and Chroma color.
For example, There are only acceptable for 480i resolution as RGB signal by SC-5xx series. Others cannot be acceptable for 480i as RGB, only for chroma color by chroma signal such as composite/S-video/component.

C127 HDC302E SC500 SC512 HD6EX CaptureX RED HD72B








1080p@60f/50f ※1











1920x1080@60Hz ※1

※1 : Although 1080p60 preview is acceptable, actual record frame is 30fps.
※2 : Preview only. It cannot be record.


Avermedia Game Broadcaster HD (C127)
- Excellent solution for RGB capture via DSUB. However it is not possible to get the 240p/480i RGB signal screen into the DSUB.
- Perfect for HDMI capture below 1080p30/1080i, I'd recommend to use with HDCP stripper.
- Low input delay.
- Reasonable price.
- Wide-spread-used for arcade game live-broadcasting in game-center Korea

iEi HDC-302E (302E)
- Actually, this is for professional capture card.
- It can be only capable for AV standard resolution.
NTSC 480i/720p/1080i/1080p24/1080p30/1080p60
PAL 576i/720p/1080i/1080p25/1080p30/1080p50
- Output port can be usable for both real-time decode monitoring or just pass-thru.
- Output port can be usable for from 1 input to 2 output simillar as HDMI 1:2 splitter.
- It can be record 2 signal of 1080p60 simultaneously. The recording for individual resolution (i.e. input 1 720p, input 2 1080p60) are also possible.
- Directshow is not available.
- Linux SDK available.
- Automatically HDCP stripped, when the HDCP signal was into the input, the pass-through signal from output has been also stripped.

Micomsoft SC-500N1/DVI (SC500)
- Perfect solution for retro console, arcade PCB, NEC PC-9801
- Support non-standard resolution for arcade JAMMA PCB (XSYNC-1 or Syncstrike needed).
- Officially, the maximum input resolution is 1440x900p.
- According to Q/A by micomsoft, 1080p30 is only for XBOX360 via DSUB.
- HDCP stripper needed.
- Same as Startech PEXHDCAP.
- less than 1fps ~ 2fps input delay.

Micomsoft SC-512N1-L/DVI (SC512)
It support most of resolutions rather than others (from 240p to 1080p60, include non-standard of arcade JAMMA PCB).
- Completely same functional as SC-500N1/DVI, but this card is just extended for Full HD 1080p60.
- Pass-through port is available.
- Disadvantage : Expensive

Skydigital HD6 express X (HD6EX)
- Sucks.
- 2~4fps input delay.
- Good for HDTV(ATSC) capturing.
- Sometimes unstable.
- Don't buy this.

Skydigital SKYHD Capture X (CaptureX)
- Not bad.
- 2~3fps input delay.
- Ordinary for standard.
- HDCP can be stripped by trick.
- Wide support of input (composite, S-video, component, DVI/HDMI)
- SPDIF input

Skydigital SKYTV HD RED (RED)
- Good for HDTV(ATSC) capturing.
- Simply capture for retro game, VCR
- HD capturing for AUX input is not possible (480i only)
- Cheap.
- Well captured for arcade PCB "Ketsui(ケツイ) by CAVE" via composite/S-video with XAV-2s.

Timeleak HD72B (HD72B)
- Not good. Some pixels (approximately 4~6px) where the edge of the left/right screen has been force-cropped. This is only affect for preview/capture, NOT affected through pass-through output port.
- Automatically HDCP stripped, when the HDCP signal was into the input, the pass-through signal from output has been also stripped like HDC-302E mentioned above.
- When the pass-thru HDMI signal has displayed other devices (monitor, capture device), the force-cropped screen which is mentioned above has been recovered that checked by SC-512N1-L/DVI.
- Pass-through port is available.
- 2~3fps input delay.
- Cheap.
- Available resolution
NTSC 480i/480p/720p/1080i/1080p24
PAL 576i/576p/720p/1080i/1080p25

*** Example about "force-cropped" issue
 Unfortunately, I lost raw screenshot file by HD72B instead I attached resized screenshot.
Found original 1280x720 image, reuploaded.
Source : Playstation 3 dashboard, 1280x720p 60fps
Capture : Timeleak HD72B, 1280x720p 60fps with passthrough to Micomsoft SC-512N1-L/DVI that checking for cropped area.
 Figure 1. Bypassed signal has perfectly captured by SC-512N1-L/DVI, HDCP stripped by HD72B.
Figure 2. The screenshot image of Playstation 3 dashboard captured by Timeleak HD72B as HDMI signal without HDCP-stripper. The screen of left and right side has cropped approximately 4~6px from original screen, confirmed by bypass and used other card. Bypassed signal has perfectly captured by another capture card (SC-512N1-L/DVI). In addition, the screen has shifted about 2px to left from rather than perfectly-captured image. Note that image has resized from 1280x720 to 1024x576. Reupload 1280x720 original size image.

Some of peoples came from thread which is talking about capture card, thank you for visit. Many people want to use the internal capture devices, which is using PCI-E slot, that are relativily stable than external USB devices. I know about micomsoft XCAPTURE-1, blackmagic Intensity Extream, avermedia extreamcap U3. Especially both XCAPTURE-1 and extreamcap U3 are using USB 3.0 port that are unstable when it connect into USB port, which is controlled by low quality cheap. If you use these ones, you should to check your USB controller in motherboard, the capture device vendors recommended "Intel" and "Renesas" USB 3.0 controller.

One more thing, I have no experience about new 1080p60f internal capture card, skydigital supercast X6, which is using PCI-E 4x(actually 2x bandwidth) from Korea. This one unofficially support HDCP-stripping function as once skydigital did :). To striping HDCP, find 3 keys of "HDCP" keyword in registry editor then modify the value from 0 to 1. But I don't recommend of this one,  it's very unstable in certain system and has many of bugs in firmware/driver, still has many problems. (checked 2014/08/08) Some few reviewer saying "normally functional", but many people saying "have some compatibility problem in my PC". I have experience of some devices by this vendor, always feel fucking unstable.

(2015/6/12 added)
Found from other review, when the card is in 4x slot, it should be checked first motherboard has included PLX switch for pci express slot. If so then fine or unstable.

For 16x slot, it seems like fine in this state (using lastest driver).

Please don't buy skydigital devices. It's sucks.


  1. Interesting review, but I'd like more info, such as:
    * what driver version did you use
    * what software did you use
    * what OS did you use (and aside from the 302B, do any run on linux?)
    * what was the system load like (including CPU, RAM, and GPU usage)
    * are these cards more effective if operated from an external system?

    1. Peter Schmidt
      Thanks for comment! According to your comment...

      * what driver version did you use
      Sorry I don't remember what exactly driver version used. I will update the driver version I used.

      * what software did you use
      I used some directshow-capable software such as Amarec TV, virtualdub, OBS,
      Only the bundle software used for iEi HDC-302E. This card is not capable for directshow whether the
      device has listed in directshow, could not received from video source.

      * what OS did you use (and aside from the 302B, do any run on linux?)
      My post has updated, please see the above.
      Unfortunately, there are no driver for linux/unix platform as officially except iEi HDC-302E.

      About the avermedia C127, unofficial linux driver has found from this link. It seems like non-free.

      * what was the system load like (including CPU, RAM, and GPU usage)
      Sorry, I didn't checked the GPU consumption. See the updated post.

      * are these cards more effective if operated from an external system?
      Yes. this report is checked under as external systems. I checked the record playstaion 3, arcade PCB,
      external PC game sources into my record-PC.

      Console machine ----- Record-PC
      Arcade PCB ----- Record-PC
      PC games (i.e. diablo 3) ----- Record-PC

      It may possible to use as "1 PC system" if you have sufficient performance of CPU/GPU.

  2. Can you expand on what you meant by forced cropping with the HD72B? Is it present in OBS?

    1. Anonymous
      Thanks for comment!

      The HD72A/HD72B series, which has nice feature of HDCP-stripping function, it also has long-latency of beginning capture of screen and limited capable resolutions.

      The "forced-cropping" about HD72 series means when you are capturing the digital screen (PS3, PC, Xbox360 by HDMI), the edge of screen (left and right) will be cropped as 4~6pixels. I have been updated for you. For example, there is target screen which is PS3 as 1280x720, you would seen the preview/recording screen as 1268x720 whether 12pixels of horizon has lost. It also happened other all resolutions such as 480i. I didn't checked as 1080p30 or 1080i. Maybe this problem will be solved by new driver however I don't expected of that.

      Strictly, this result has been confirmed by timeleak HD72B, not by HD72A. The difference of those are that included HDMI bypass port or not. I found several clips of video result by HD72A, you can find as "HD72A" keyword that also has same results of cropped problem.
      Mine result also found in youtube, it is not good-answer that is PS1 upscaled screen (Drummna 1st)

      About with OBS, yes, Even if screen quality is good, it would be occurred same problem in all of directshow compatible software include OBS.
      I checked by virtualdub, daum potplayer, OBS, FMLE, didn't checked by xsplit but I think it would be also occurred.

  3. This is a very helpful post, thanks! It's almost impossible to find reviews of capture hardware which mention input delay. I'll probably get a SC-512 soon.

    Do you have any experience with Blackmagic capture hardware?

    1. Durante
      Thanks for comment!

      Yes, the SC-512 is the best internal capture device for consumer ever I used. Although this is quiet expansive it will be provide to you exceptional capture environment.

      About blackmagic's, sorry I had no experience of that. According to my friend who are using intensity pro, whether the device performance was nice, only acceptable for AV standard resolution. For example, it acceptable 480i, 720p, 1080i, NOT 480p, 1080p30.
      And it has interesting feature that, that card has transcoding function, which means when you input into component, you can passthrough the signal as HDMI output. Reverse also would be possible, HDMI input --- component output.

      Is this helpful for you?


  4. Hello,
    Great article, a lot of useful informations.
    I have a HDC-302E card for test on linux and would be interested to know how did you get it supported on Ubuntu LTS 12.04; IEI gives driver for FC 16/17 only on their website.