How to Use a Capture Card for PC

How to Use a Capture Card for PC

Every serious gaming streamer needs a capture card. You need it to stream from your PlayStation, Xbox, or gaming PC to your streaming computer. You need it to stream from one computer to another without lagging.

So, if you’re ready to step your streaming game on Twitch or YouTube, go buy a capture card. Now!

If you’re new to capture cards, they are somewhat confusing. We’ve all been there. You have to set them up and that can be a headache.

To make your life easier so you can get to your gameplay, we’ve created a guide on how to use a capture card for a PC.

How to Set Up a Capture Card for PC

These steps to setting up a capture card are for internal cards. An external capture card is generally easier to hook up, they often just plug into an HDMI input or a USB port.

For an external capture card you hook an HDMI cable to your gaming PC and lead it to the capture device. Plug the HDMI cable into the capture device. Hook the capture card into your other PC or console through a USB device.

Now it’s time to set up your internal capture card.

1. First, turn the power off on your PC before you start. You don’t want to end up shocking yourself.

2. Disconnect every single cord from the back of your PC, including the power cord. They’ll only get in your way while you’re working.

3. You need a screwdriver for this next step. You have to remove the cover of your PC so you can get to a PCI slot. A PCI slot is where you’re going to put your capture card.

4. Now, you have to lay your computer down on its’ side so the motherboard is facing up.

5. Find a free PCI slot inside of the motherboard. Behind the slot, there’s a small bracket. Use your screwdriver to unscrew this bracket and take it out.

6. It’s time to install the capture card. You have to carefully slide the capture card into the PCI slot. Make sure it’s locked in before you head to the next step.

7. Once you lock the capture card in, you have to screw it into the PC case.

8. It’s time to put everything back together. First, screw the cover back onto the PC. Plug all the cords back in and turn it on.

9. Your computer should detect the hardware once it’s running. It’s going to lead you through installing the drivers needed for the capture card.

10. You’re going to need the software that comes with most capture cards. You’ll have to put the disc in and follow the prompts to set it up.

11. Once you’ve finished all this, all you have to do is restart your PC. 

How to Use a Capture Card for PC

Use a Capture Card for PC


If you have your capture card set up, we bet you’re ready to stream. But there are a few more steps you have to take to get there.

Here are the steps it takes so you can start streaming.

1. We’re going to start at your gaming PC. Start on your desktop. Right-click and select “Display Settings”. If no “Display Settings” option comes up, search for it.

2. While in “Display Settings”, hook up a second screen. You’ll have to choose the “Duplicated Display” option.

3. Start a video on the computer or something with movement. This way when you’re on the streaming PC, you can check that it’s working right. You can make sure it’s not lagging and it’s projecting correctly. You also should make sure the sound works.

4. Now you’re going to work on your streaming PC. Some capture cards have streaming software. But most of these programs are junk. There are tons of options out there including StreamLab or you can download OBS for free. Whatever software you’re using, make sure the capture card is set up as the video source.

5. A preview should start on the software. It’ll show you what’s happening on the screen of your gaming computer. This is when you making sure everything is running right.

6. You’re almost ready to stream. Stay at your streaming computer and keep your software open. Open up your browser and go to the website you want to stream at. You should have an account ready and sign in. Twitch is the most popular choice but there are other platforms too.

7. Whatever platform you choose, you need to find the stream key in your account settings. Once you find the numbers, right-click and copy it.

8. Go back to your streaming software. There should be stream settings that let you pick out what platform you’re streaming on. It’s going to ask for that stream key. So, paste the numbers to activate it. You need to also select the “Auto” option in the settings. Make sure you save your new settings.

9. In the software you use, make sure you have the game capture setting added. It’ll prompt and ask you a few questions, including the name of the game.

10. Make sure your microphone is set up on your streaming software. There should be a “Mic/Aux” setting. Select your microphone.

11. Are you going to stream your webcam too? You should be able to add your webcam to stream. Most software lets you adjust where the window is on the streaming screen.

12. You’re finally ready to stream. You’ve done all the hard work of setting up your capture card and hooking it up to your computer. It’s time to hit the software’s “Start Streaming” option. 

Final Thoughts

It takes a lot of work to become a streaming gamer. To make sure everything is right, you must have a capture card.

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