Forget FRAPS, MSI Afterburner just got even better!

Discussion in 'Video Cards and Graphics' started by bunnyfubbles, Jun 20, 2011.

  1. bunnyfubbles

    bunnyfubbles Lifer

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2001
    Messages:
    12,250
    Likes Received:
    1
    I'm not exactly sure when it was implemented (version 2.1, the latest official version? although I'm using a 2.2 beta 4 which just came out today AFAIK), but MSI has incorporated a screen and video capture feature to their Afterburner program that was previously known for its easy overclocking/overvolting/GPU monitoring prowess

    I actually own a license for FRAPS and have been fumbling with it to record live games (or capture game recordings/replays for later editing and sharing on the web) but FRAPS has always had too many cons to really make it a winner for me, the biggest being:

    1. 4GB file size limit: this dates back to old AVI container constraints, and while it can be a useful automatic splitting of video to make it easier to sort through different segments of footage, it gets tedious when recording higher resolutions and frame rates as 1080p30 can easily consume 4GB for every 90seconds of recording time. So for an hour of game play we're looking at having to mess with 40 files for compiling a video from 1080p30 source.

    2. which brings us to quality: while FRAPS default (and only) compression quality is top notch, its just not that efficient if its only capable of ~22 seconds for every GB of space for a 1080p30 video.

    3. which brings us to FRAPS' lossless RGB recording: of course the resulting quality is phenomenal if you have the hardware capable of capturing it, the problem I have had is that its extremely glitchy, and is unfortunately too glitchy to mess with. Locked framerates are a must with this and that only kills live game play recording performance even more

    4. which brings us to in-game performance while recording: Until recently FRAPS forced players to play at whatever frame rate they were recording at. This meant you needed beefy hardware to maintain a minimum framerate of 60 if you wanted a truly smooth and unencumbered playing experience while recording. Playing a 30 or less fps can be a death-sentence for competitive shooters, although fortunately many popular games have game engine recording features (think Valve Source based game recordings or Star Craft replays) that can be played back later at a lower fixed framerate while FRAPS records that. But this isn't the case for all games, and in some instances the replay isn't 100% accurate to what truly happened, thus a live recording can be mandatory, and this is where FRAPS has really been a let down over the years.

    I did say until recently, and more recent versions have improved things and will let you play at a higher frame rate than your chosen recording rate, however its pretty far from ideal. For instance I can average over 120fps in most of my games, but with FRAPS recording 1080p @ 30fps it will typically cap me at 90fps and if performance dips below that it will reduce it to 60fps or even 30fps if necessary, and if I want to regain higher gameplay performance I'll have to stop and restart the recording process. So it really is far from ideal, especially considering lossless RGB is too glitchy to use without framerate lock




    I just started messing with Afterburner 2.2 beta 4 today and have to say it solves every single one of FRAPS' shortcomings:

    1. files are contained to whenever you start and stop them (for instance i have a single 15.1GB file which would have been divided into 4 separate files in FRAPS)

    2. MSI AB provides the option of a few different video formats: uncompressed - requires major harddrive storage, for instance that 15.1GB file I mentioned is of the uncompressed format @ 1080p30 and is only 98 seconds long, that's ~154MB/sec of sustained write requirement which easily pushes the limits of my 2TB RAID0 array I record to, not to forget that 2TB would only equate to ~3.5 hours of total record time for uncompressed 1080p30.

    The other two formats are MJPG compression (which has % quality slider toggle to increase or quality at cost of file size, default is 85% and seems comparable to what FRAPS outputs by defualt) and the other is RTV1 compression (does not work with the quality slider and have yet to mess with it)

    3. unlike with FRAPS, the recordings came out with a hitch and play back on common media players flawlessly (particularly the uncompressed format vs. FRAPS' mess)

    4. most imporantly, I experience no discernible performance impact while playing and recording, this is true of compressed or uncompressed recording (of course I have a very fast rig and hard drive set up as I have a dedicated RAID0 array just for capturing video)

    5. full functionality is completely free, no watermarks, no hassle :)




    Afterburner 2.2b4: http://downloads.guru3d.com/download.php?det=2740

    quick setup guide (includes video) I followed: http://versatile1.wordpress.com/2011/06/18/msi-afterburner-freeware-fraps-alternative/
     
  2. Loading...

    Similar Threads - Forget FRAPS Afterburner Forum Date
    980 Ti Non-Constant 60fps in Fraps Video Cards and Graphics Dec 13, 2015
    HD7950 Dead after forgetting to plug in the PCIe 12v Rail? Video Cards and Graphics Oct 28, 2015
    Forget nvidia, intel or AMD; Siliconarts RayChip FTW! Video Cards and Graphics Aug 8, 2014
    Forget Anti Aliasing - Where is PPI Video Cards and Graphics Dec 27, 2012
    Don't forget about the 8800GS... Video Cards and Graphics Mar 1, 2008

  3. Annisman*

    Annisman* Golden Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2010
    Messages:
    1,775
    Likes Received:
    19
    Wow. This is the answer I have been looking for ! And it's free too!

    I have always used aterburner for it's excellent monitoring and overclocking features, add video capture to that list as well.

    One question though, how does one get the recorded video uploaded to say, youtube ? What is the actual process, can somebody give me an easy answer ?
     
  4. Powermoloch

    Powermoloch Lifer

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2005
    Messages:
    10,078
    Likes Received:
    0
    hurray

    I'm going to test it out
     
  5. Red Hawk

    Red Hawk Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2011
    Messages:
    3,080
    Likes Received:
    91
    It's free?! Count me in!

    Make an account and upload a file. They've made it pretty idiot-proof (...not that I'm saying you're an idiot :D)
     
    #4 Red Hawk, Jun 21, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2011
  6. bunnyfubbles

    bunnyfubbles Lifer

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2001
    Messages:
    12,250
    Likes Received:
    1
    Unfortunately it is not bug free, just discovered the recording features cease to function if I alt-tab out of game (only game I've tested so far is Bad Company 2), to fix I have to close and restart Afterburner and then maximize the game

    I'm also going to have to retract my performance penalty claim, I'll need to do more testing but I did notice my frame rate drop a good 20-30 fps (was getting 80-90+fps instead of 110-120+) when recording in MJPG @ 100% (default is 85% which might be less taxing). At any rate its still orders of magnitude superior to FRAPS which will fractionalize your playing framerate while recording.

    I'll also have yet to mess with the manual multithreaded optimization settings, I just left it on automatic to begin with, and I don't have my 2600K overclocked as I recently swapped motherboards (upgraded to Z68 for SSD caching purposes) and I know I can hit 4.8GHz which I'm curious to see how much will help.
     
  7. pandemonium

    pandemonium Golden Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2011
    Messages:
    1,604
    Likes Received:
    1
    This is awesome news! Thanks, bunnyfubbles. :)
     
  8. Aikouka

    Aikouka Lifer

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2001
    Messages:
    27,648
    Likes Received:
    77
    Hmm I own FRAPS as well, so this could be interesting to try out. I don't really have any problems with FRAPS though... it works well in WoW given I can reorganize or delete files after boss attempts. FRAPS did have an odd bug up until late where it'd drop your framerate severely while recording. Closing and reopening the app would fix it though.
     
  9. Zap

    Zap Elite Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 1999
    Messages:
    22,378
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thanks for this heads-up. May have to check it out. I haven't bothered with MSI AB since it has been a while since I messed with a graphics card, but I gotta now.
     
  10. drizek

    drizek Golden Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2005
    Messages:
    1,410
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've been using it for the past couple of days, pretty sweet.
     
  11. rUmX

    rUmX Senior member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2001
    Messages:
    524
    Likes Received:
    3
    Good stuff. I'll have to check this out when I get a new video card, which is going to be a while since I am desperately holding out for 28nm cards.


    I used to do lots of FRAPS recording and it has worked very well for me. Since the files are uncompressed you do need a VERY fast storage for recording. I used to run 5x 1.5TB Greens in RAID-5 that did 300+ MB/s writes (IIRC) and I was able to record 1080p60 (Street Fighter 4 matches) videos without a hitch. The 4GB file limit was indeed a b*tch to deal with. The low framerate from recording is a because your recording drive is too slow - Fraps drops the framerate to keep audio+video in sync. The remedy is to lower the resolution or framerate but even then Fraps doesn't even offer much options there -- half or full res based on the 3D res.
     
  12. bunnyfubbles

    bunnyfubbles Lifer

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2001
    Messages:
    12,250
    Likes Received:
    1
    FRAPS does use compression by default, however it does have a lossless RGB recording option which does require substantially higher sustained writes to properly record, otherwise FRAPS default setting recording 1080p30 really only requires about 44MB/sec of sustained write speed, something just about any single modern HDD can do. For 1080p60 you'll need the fastest modern 7200RPM drives if you don't want to mess with multiple drives and RAID.

    No my recording setup is not too slow, I run 4 x 1TB 7200RPM Samsung F3 drives in RAID0 (strictly as a video file read/write source as I have OS/apps on an Crucial M4 SSD) which is certainly faster than your setup.

    basically FRAPS will drop because its old and inefficient with how it records. They've slowly been adding features to improve things over time, but now we finally have something that has not only caught up, but provided a truly superior solution in just about every way.

    Where FRAPS has been a huge disappointment (such as with messing with lossless/uncompressed recording), Afterburner has thus far been flawless

    Heck, this is another way Afterburner is superior as it provides the option for 1/3 and 1/4 frame recording in addition to full and 1/2 frame.

    They even provide a multithreaded optimization feature where I can specify automatic, disabled, or 1-8 threads (assuming because I run a quadcore i7 with HT) to try. I imagine there might be a way to tweak this to help maximize gameplay performance.

    In fact after thoroughly examining both apps, there are only a few aspects where Afterburner (at least currently) seems to fall short from what FRAPS offers:

    1. is FRAPS offers an option to hide mouse cursor in video while Afterburner does not - not too big of a deal for me

    2. Afterburner only offers framerate recording rates from 10-100 in increments of 5, whereas FRAPS offers a specific frame rate setting including the ability to capture at odd rates like 29.97 for better compatibility with older TVs, although this is becoming less relevant now that we're in the age of digital progressive displays

    3. no option for recording from external sources (such as your own microphone)
     
  13. formulav8

    formulav8 Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2000
    Messages:
    6,432
    Likes Received:
    198
    Whats kinda funny is one of MSI's positives is that: "now you don't have to spend $37 to buy Fraps" I'm sure the Fraps team is not happy about this.

    Also at least part of the video features was in version 2.1 iirc. I've used this MSI toolfor a very long time now and does the job perfectly for what I want.
     
  14. Hauk

    Hauk Platinum Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2001
    Messages:
    2,808
    Likes Received:
    0
    Seems like a great time to charge for Afterburner. ;)

    Hopefully not though.
     
  15. MarkLuvsCS

    MarkLuvsCS Senior member

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2004
    Messages:
    736
    Likes Received:
    0
    FRAPS hasn't evolved in almost a decade. I say good riddance. Taski Recorder was a free package that gave users tons of options for recording and it worked pretty well. Unfortunately the dev stopped updating it so it only worked on dx9 stuff mainly. I still don't understand why FRAPS doesn't have encoding options other than their raw capture. Nowadays multicore CPUs are so common it almost seems like a waste for all that processing power. I think it's great to be able to setup some encoding for video recording to use some of that processing power that rarely ever peaks in games. Sure games do dip a little bit because it's doing multiple things but honestly going from ~70 fps to 50ish isn't noticeable.

    Thanks OP for spreading the word on the awesomeness that is MSI afterburner. I recently picked up one of their TwinFrozr II model video cards which ran extremely cool. It's worth supporting a company that is trying to support it's user-base with free software for all to use.
     
    #14 MarkLuvsCS, Jun 22, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2011
  16. bunnyfubbles

    bunnyfubbles Lifer

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2001
    Messages:
    12,250
    Likes Received:
    1
    naw, a far more likely short term worst case scenario would be they start locking out features if you don't own an MSI Videocard


    yeah, I even went as far as to throw around an idea in a Bulldozer thread that AMD should so something similar to try and promote Bulldozer as a gaming CPU when it seems more than likely that, while it will likely be fast enough, seems destined to fail to unseat a CPU like the 2500K as the best gaming oriented CPU. However with all those extra cores that will more than likely sit unused while gaming it should make for an excellent CPU for encoding video capture on the fly.
     
  17. ColdFLo

    ColdFLo Junior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Excuse me can you go into more detail about your capture array? I'm really hoping for some non performance hit HD capture(maybe raw if encoding causes heavier proc usage) for crysis 3(likes 8 cores making the hurdle that much higher). I only have a 2600k and I'm thinking I may just need to set an array(which will take some time I'm on the leaderboard and I want to start recording cheaters but I don't have allot of time(they are always coming)). I have 2 samsung hd103sjs I can purpose for a raid 0. Are you using ssd caching on the capture array? Are u using a seperate raid card? If so what and what settings? Please all the details you can remember greatly appreciated. I know this thread is kind of old(necro) but to be honest this is probably the best post on gaming video capture on the whole of the web. I've searched extensively twice now.
     
    #16 ColdFLo, Mar 26, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2013
  18. spandexninja

    spandexninja Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2013
    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    You don't need an array. Just record to a hard drive that your game is not installed on and you won't take a performance hit.
     
  19. BrentJ

    BrentJ Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2003
    Messages:
    135
    Likes Received:
    6
    FRAPs can save video files into one large file, just make sure "split movies every 4 Gigabytes" is unchecked under the movie tab, then it will save your video file in one large file. Maybe you need to update your version.
     
  20. bunnyfubbles

    bunnyfubbles Lifer

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2001
    Messages:
    12,250
    Likes Received:
    1
    yeah that post was made a while ago, and it was also right before the HDD manufacturing crisis that caused prices to skyrocket and stagnate, so my capture array hasn't really changed much in all that time.

    However what has changed is my strategy, as I have since moved on to a capture card for most of my impromptu recording. I use the AVerMedia C985 Live Gamer HD (http://www.avermedia-usa.com/AVertv/Product/ProductDetail.aspx?Id=513) which can capture and encode video all at once with minimal hardware impact and virtually no perceptible impact on game performance (since the card can do live encoding, it requires little CPU and relatively little HDD space/speed).

    The primary downside is that it is limited to capturing 1080p30 or 720p60 resolution/framerates with a maximum bitrate of 20Mbps, but it is easily the most transparent recording method I have used in single system capture setup. The only better setup would be to use such a capture card on a 2nd system and then using that system to then record in lossless or use its CPU to encode in something better.

    However since it seems like you only want this for impromptu stuff and do not necessarily need impeccable quality for highlight purposes, the solution should be perfect for you.

    What might seal the deal is that the card comes with a breakout USB button that you can sit on top your desk to trigger when you want to start/stop recording (it will light up and flash to let you know of the capture card's operational status)


    If you weren't looking to spend any money I don't know how much help I can be but to recommend trying those HDDs in a RAID-0 setup and messing around with Afterburner. SSD caching won't help with recording, so there's no need to bother with something like that. Dxtory is another option, and even though the full program costs money, IIRC it can be used for free you just have to put up with a watermark, which if all you're trying to do is catch cheaters that shouldn't be a deal breaker.


    probably, seeing as how I made that post 2 years ago.

    at any rate, I pretty much lost all faith in FRAPs and seriously doubt they've gone through some sort of revolutionary change and thus would still recommend Afterburner if only because it is free (and I'd expect it to be superior still)

    and I have also since discovered an alternative program called Dxtory (http://dxtory.com/), which makes both FRAPs and Afterburner look amateur in comparison.

    Free? go MSI

    Willing to pay? Dxtory worth every penny. Fraps, not so much.