I tested 4 “Linux-compatible” USB 3.0 HDMI capture cards (X-Post from /r/Linux_Gaming)


Original Post

My Specs:

Manjaro Linux (KDE) – Kernel 5.1.8-1

Windows 10 (idfk what update)

CPU: Ryzen 7 2700X


GPU: Sapphire Vega 56 Pulse

OBS Version: 23.1.0-1 (linux), 23.1.0 (64bit, windows)

Devices Tested:

Plus impressions given before testing.

Criteria for getting on my test bench:

  • 1080p 60hz (duh)

  • USB 3.0 minimum or PCIe

  • HDMI Passthrough for 0 latency on another monitor

  • Under $200

  • Has Linux in the search terms and looks like it supports V4L2 at a glance. (Otherwise, UVL is acceptable, but V4L2 wording is preferred.)

MiraBox Capture Card (HSV321) with updated firmware (more info on this later) @ $99 (on sale from $179, but unsure if it goes up from $99 due to reviews and Honey saying it didn't see any price changes in 30 days.) (Also, bypasses HDCP which is a nice bonus, but might make some companies or countries mad)

ClonerAlliance Flint 4KP @ $140 (The most expensive one here, but boasts USB Type C, mic + audio in + audio out jacks, and 4K@30fps passthrough.

Plugable Performance NIX @ $100 (When I was first looking around, I was stuck between this and the MiraBox before I decided to buy them all for this post.)

Bonus Cheapo:

"HDMI Game Video Capture Card" @ $80

This one I just wanted to add for that one person who just wants to see how a $80 "card" functions compared to the rest that have proper Passthrough and other neat features.

  • Being compared against:

Elgato HD60 Pro @ $160

I got this card back when I first got my Nintendo Switch in early 2018. And my experience with it was pretty consistent until I switched to Linux.

Things to note in no particular order:

  • Crappy sound grounding (very noisy, lots of ticking and sometimes hissing)

  • Default software… kinda sucks. But AFAIK, you can't get "Instant Gameview" without it. (I could be wrong, though)


  • Rather user friendly.

  • Good video quality with minimal lag that did me fine for most of BoTW, but started using HDMI Passthrough when I got into Celeste due to the input latency. (HDMI IN – Switch. HDMI OUT – Monitor. Software on for audio, monitor switched to HDMI input for video)

I will be daisychaining the output from the cards to the Elgato to give an exact comparison of how the other card compares in terms of video fidelity.


Detailed Reviews:

  • MiraBox

Well, this one had a bad start. First, every USB 3.0 port on my motherboard/case did not work! At all!

It was only until I plugged it into a USB Type A (Yes, A. Not C.) 3.1 port that it started outputting video consistently, and not only after reboots and only for 5 mins. Not sure if that's an issue with the Mobo, but still.

Turns out, my mobo only supports USB 3 DATA STORAGE on it's usb 3 ports. I grabbed a new PCIe USB 3.0 card, and it works fine.

After that, I had 0 audio from the card. Nada.

I had to contact the support to get the newest firmware to flash onto the card, which then solved the no-sound issue. You may be wondering "Why, Tony. Why didn't you get photos of how the output was before the update?"

Because screw having no audio! If it can't do audio on its own (even if its crappy), then I see no point in keeping the card around for video (especially since it's not the best quality to begin with).

Additionally, I did the update in Windows 10, as the updater was an EXE and I didn't wanna test my Wine or VM luck, as it had been quite low lately.

The audio however, is quite nice! No crackles, no sutters, decent latency.

Video though, is another story. If I had to put it into one word, it would be JPEG. It feels like every frame was run through a Windows XP machine (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEzhxP-pdos)

I think, if I had to guess what the issue is, it's a low bit/color depth. Maybe even a low resolution? Very fine details are smeared, alpha channels don't much exist, etc.

Also, everything is darker.

Overall: 6/10. Good audio, shite video if you actually wanna stream or record with it, unstable (freezed up a lot), strips HDCP.

  • Plugable Performance NIX

If you wanna waste your money, go here.

Crap video, audio is ok, doesn't strip HDCP, had to plug and unplug several times, etc.

Do not bother.

Overall: 3/10. It works I guess

  • Flint 4KP

So what do you get for $140? The best card I tested here, plus some USB C-A dongles.

Video quality is spot on, with no color banding, and decent color representation. Runs at 60fps without noticeably extra crappy compression.

When I got the new PCIe card, the audio did start to get a little crackly, but it's possible that's just an issue with my case/grounding. And when it was plugged into other machines or in the Mobo's USB ports, there was none.

It does strip HDCP, which is +1 point.

Bundled software is ok, but does offer a game mode for Windows users.

Using it in OBS is perfectly fine, however.

Overall: 9/10. Great vid, ok audio (could just be me), strips HDCP, USB-C, Line In/Mic In/Line Out 3.5mm jacks. Today's winner.

  • Bonus Cheapo

ditto from NIX, but without passthrough but does strip HDCP

Overall: 5/10. Cheapest one here, does what it came out to do, supports YUYV.

Winner: ClonerAlliance Flint 4KP for $140


  • The lesser performing ones do work a fair bit better if you run at a lower framerate (30 instead of 60)

  • Uncompressed comparisons here.

  • Set resolution to 1080p with YUYV for each card in OBS. Framerate is 60fps unless stated otherwise.

  • I am not sponsored, just a guy who wanted some answers and decided to share said answers.

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