FRAPS has been in the gameplay capture business for over a decade now, inarguably serving as the best solution for early gameplay video recordings. The advent of casual streaming and competitive eSports has finally pushed recorded game content to widespread consumption. ISP-provided datarates have mostly stabilized to usable levels, which helps in production and consumption of high bit-rate content.

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ShadowPlay was announced as a FRAPS alternative last year by nVidia, and is only compatible with nVidia devices. The tool uses an integrated H.264 video encoder on Kepler and Maxwell hardware, ensuring most the performance drag is loaded on the GPU rather than the CPU; moreover, it's being loaded on specific components of the GPU that are built for video encoding and largely unused while gaming.

FRAPS does no live encoding and only records raw data output, which theoretically means it will have the best quality (lossless), but also demands the most resources in storage and CPU cycles.

NVidia debuted its Fraps-like ShadowPlay video capture technology alongside the GTX 780 almost a year ago, further announcing updates to enable desktop and Java application support in April, 2014. ShadowPlay comes packaged with a suite of nVidia software (GeForce Experience), a bundle that attempts to add extra weight to purchasing decisions when considering AMD's oft-affordable alternatives. AMD has made similar moves with Mantle and game optimization, though hasn't yet moved into the gameplay capture space. Until now.

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AMD has included Raptr's "Gaming Evolved" application in its recent driver install packages as an optional add-on. The two companies announced today their "Game Video Recorder," or "GVR," in direct competition to nVidia's ShadowPlay. The GVR shares some similarities to ShadowPlay in its processing, which we'll discuss before getting into AMD specifics.

This weekend's sales roundup features 8GB of RAM for $70, an AMD AM3+ mobo for $115, a gaming mouse for $35, and a GTX 760 at $210. Keep posted to our Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube feeds for more deals and advice during the week.

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ASUS ROG Swift PG278Q Specs, Release Date

Written by Saturday, 26 July 2014 17:00

ASUS has announced that the ASUS ROG Swift PG278Q we saw during CES is officially shipping at the end of August. It's a fair bit later than the Q2 target they were shooting for, but if all goes to plan, it will be here shortly. This is the first WQHD screen to use NVIDIA's G-Sync. The 27" monitor will feature a 144Hz refresh rate at 2560x1440 for normal 2D viewing; the Swift PG278Q drops to 120Hz in 3D mode. It also has a response time of 1ms (GTG) and 2xUSB 3.0 ports in addition to the DisplayPort 1.2 input.

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RAM Prices Continue Rising -- Here's Why

Written by Saturday, 26 July 2014 08:00

RAM prices are on the rise again. If you've watched the market prices on RAM -- either through our weekend sales round ups or just through shopping in general -- you'd have noticed the price of an 8GB 1600MHz kit has nearly tripled. Around the end of 2012 through the first few months of 2013, the price of our example kit was in the mid $30-40 range; since that golden period, the price has raised pretty steadily toward the current resting spot. Prices had a major peak around the end of last year after supplier Hynix's factor fire, but February saw prices settle at what appeared to be a fairly steady $70-80 range.

It seems that this is no longer the case.

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Starting around June of this year, prices began climbing once again. The current price appears to be in the mid $80-90 range and is poised to climb even higher. DDR3 hasn't changed much -- why is the price so volatile? To adequately answer this, let's recap RAM's position in the PC world and talk about how it's made.

GRID: Autosport (benchmarked) is sure to get the juices flowing for any car lover. Doubly so with the graphics enhancements that benefit from Haswell chips from Intel. But what happens when you want performance that matches a 500-horsepower car and only have a 100-horsepower Saturn budget? Simple, grab this build, add a touch of overclocking, grab a copy of GRID: Autosport, and enjoy the drive.

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The focus of this build was to feature the overclockable Intel Pentium G3258, offer solid mid-to-high level graphics for gaming, and allow for easy upgrades in the future. Our last few extreme budget gaming PC builds were mostly AMD and, based on some great comments both in the forums and article comments, I felt it was time to give Intel a chance to make its mark in this price range.

For those looking to build a cheap gaming PC with the ability to run games on high / ultra graphics -- all for just around $500 -- this is where the buck stops.

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