Sunday 27 October 2013

Which is the Best Screen Recorder?

Here we will compare 4 different screen recorders and see which one is best (if there is such thing).
I will be going thru complexity, quality, performance, framerate drop, features and filesizes.
First things first, I tested all of them in Far Cry 3, using the following two graphics presets:
1. Absolute MAX @ 1920x1080 (38-41fps without recording)
2. Everything as before, except Anti-Aliasing turned from 8x to 2x (54-78fps without recording)

Tests are done on a PC with following specs:
CPU - FX8350 Vishera 8-core @ 4.1ghz
GPU - nVidia GTX680 Phantom
RAM - Corsair Vengeance 16gb @ 1600mhz
HDD - 3tb Seagate External USB 3.0, 7200rpm with 215mb/s read/write

nVidia's ShadowPlay

Filesize: 5.5mb/s average
Framerate AA-8x: 30-35fps
Framerate AA-2x: 44fps average
Complexity: Beginner
Unique Features: Shadow Mode Recording into RAM, Free to use
Bad things: Does not record external audio (such as microphone)

Mirillis Action!
Filesize: 15mb/s average
Framerate AA-8x: 33-37fps
Framerate AA-2x: 47fps average
Complexity: Moderate
Unique Features: Audio Balancing, Youtube Upload, Video Player, Converter, CUDA Powered!
Bad Things: can't split the files automatically

Filesize: 45mb/s average
Framerate AA-8x: 30fps
Framerate AA-2x: 43fps average (@60 fps)
Complexity: Easy
Unique Features: Automatic File Split
Bad things: locks your framerate to recording framerate, forcing you to record on higher framerates which requires more HDD space and better PC (CPU, RAM and GPU)

Filesize: 65mb/s average
Framerate AA-8x: 33-35fps
Framerate AA-2x: 53fps average 
Complexity: Expert
Unique Features: Streaming, Split files between HDDs, Codec Options
Bad things: Very hard to setup, codecs are a mess, multichannel audio doesn't seem to be working, huge file sizes with default codec settings.

If you have any questions or doubts, leave a comment and I see if i can help you out.
Here are some videos regarding ShadowPlay and other recorders.

ShadowPlay Preview and First Test

ShadowPlay vs Fraps vs Action! vs Dxtory

If you ask me, i would stay away from Dxtory and go with Action! or ShadowPlay, depending on your game style and recording needs. Fraps is ok too, but i just don't like fraps because it locks you down to recording FPS, i always like to record @ 30fps (don't need more than that for youtube videos), but fraps would lock me to 30fps and playing @ 30fps is very, very bad.
Dxtory can be very good, but it's a real hassle to set it up, but biggest issue is audio, i never got it to record game + microphone at once, which brings me to ShadowPlay, it can't capture microphone either, but it's super easy to setup and it always works fine. All this still leans me towards Action!, because it works just the way i want, with little annoyances, for example i can't use Action's default output files and load them straight into Camtasia (this is what i use to edit my videos and produce them), i have to use Action's video converter (It's CUDA powered and fast, but still takes about 1h on a normal 20-30m video to convert all clips)

However something tells me that in near future nVidia will add microphone support to ShadowPlay, making it the best recorder for sure.

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