Question / Help Opinions and questions, capture card?


To begin with, my hardware and bandwidth.
CPU: I5-3570k @ 4.5
GPU: GTX 670 OC'd
RAM: 8GB @ 1600mhz

2mbps upload (in august im going to get 10mbps upload), monthly bandwidth of 375GB

I mostly like to play games that involve moving around a lot (FPS games primarily), and I plan on streaming at 720P with 60FPS. Im currently half-assing it with decent quality using 1500mbps @ 540p @60fps, using the veryfast preset in OBS with decent performance in most games. But something I want to do once my upload rate gets better is to increase the quality but not use a massive amount of bandwidth due to my ISP restricting the monthly bandwidth -_- (stupid canadian internet companies). So one way to do that is to use a lower preset, but the lower the preset goes the more performance I lose. Ive been looking into quicksync, but apparently its quality isnt that great (people say comprable to superfast preset), and to get decent quality it would take a lot of bandwidth, to which I wonder how much it would take with quicksync to run a first person shooter @720p @ 60fps?

Another thing I could do to completely negate the performance hit and get better quality is to get a decent capture card which would allow me to lower the bitrate without sacrificing too much quality so I dont hit my capacity (I hope capture cards get good quality?). If they are able to achieve a pretty good quality with less bitrate required are there any that you guys would recommend that would be comprable to veryfast/faster?


Town drunk
Will copy-paste my response to this question from the test build thread for anyone's future reference:

Capture cards will provide even worse quality for the same bitrate, and are largely useless on a single PC setup, especially since OBS can't make use of the hardware encoders on them (nor would you ever want to). The only way a capture card helps for PC gaming is if you are using a 2PC setup, and then lower the encoding preset and/or tweak the encoder with lots of custom settings.


Also bare in mind that most of the streaming services don't like bitrates over 8000. Also u have to consider download speeds of your viewers.

Its really strange that in year 2013 there are still ISPs without flat rate...


Active Member
Just seconding what Krazy said. Unless you're running a 2-system encoding setup, a capture card will do precisely two things: jack, and squat. If you're running an 'anti-hacker' game that prevents hooking the executable, it can allow you to capture fullscreen with a mirrored display output... but next to no one bothers to stream those. So back to square one; capture card will do you no good, as far as OBS is concerned.

You can use it to offload work if you use RecCentral (instead of OBS), but the hardware encoder results look like crap, to be frank, and the software is primitive (at best) as far as presentation. Don't bother.


Ok, thanks for the information. So then, talking about a 2 PC setup. The specs I listed above are in my current PC, I have a second PC in my closet with,
Intel E8400 @ 3.5'ish
4GB of RAM
ATI HD 5850
windows vistaaaa 32 bit(main PC has windows 7 64 bit)
If I were to get a capture card, how well would that run for being the 2nd PC for 720p @ 60fps and what sort of preset (ballpark guess) would I be able to get? Veryfast I hope at a minimum.

edit: with the preset 'superfast' does it require a very high bitrate to run FPS games smoothly?


Active Member
Not sure that an older C2Duo is really going to be able to keep up with encoding 720p@60 constant. Would actually be a bit surprised if it could even do 720p@30 (mostly as I have that CPU in an aging laptop), much less on anything slower than Veryfast (or even ultrafast, probably). On the encoding side, CPU is king. And that one's been made a pauper with time.

Looks like QuickSync would be your most realistic option, without splashing out to build a dedicated second streaming rig.


Active Member
To point out another option... a new CPU would only cost a bit more than buying a capture card, and save you a lot of headache and hassle of screwing around with a two-system setup. Just saying. Plus, you could potentially step up to an i7 at the same time.