For many gamers, the go-to application for performance benchmarking, screenshot capturing and also video recording has always been FRAPS. But if there’s one major thing FRAPS is lacking, it’s competition, something that might end with PlayClaw. This program offers many of FRAPS’ features, along with a couple of unique ones as well.
Original review here: PlayClaw – Has FRAPS’ Killer Arrived?
Well, both Fraps and PlayClaw was updated to new versions and it’s time to compare these tools again. Who is the best?
Fraps since version 3.1.0 from 8th Feb 2010 can capture videos without syncronizing with ingame fps. Finally! And they’ve fixed bug with Intel Core i5/i7 CPUs so now I can run it on my Win7 x64.
Also in version 3.1.2 from 4th Mar 2010 they’ve “Fixed slow recording speeds for some users in Battlefield: Bad Company 2″. That’s good because I want to test performance in this game.
PlayClaw in recent version 1.9 build 919 from Mar 17, 2010 have some optimizations for FullHD video frames.
I will do simple test with Battlefield Bad Company 2 game – spawn in one point then run Fraps and try to record 30fps video in full-size mode and half-size modes and the same operation I’ll do with PlayClaw. All recordings in PlayClaw will be done in low compression mode because this compression is very similar to fraps’ one.
Fraps and PlayClaw are the most powerful game video recorders and I want to know, which one is the best. In previous game video recorders test drive I’ve tested several recorders and generally Fraps was on the first place and PlayClaw on second. This test was made on old hardware (Intel Core2Duo, GeForce 8800GT) and with old versions.
Now Fraps is updated to 3.0.3 and PlayClaw to 1.7 build 699 with new features and bug fixes. And I can test them on new Intel Core i5 and ATI Radeon 5750.
Fraps was updated to 3.0.0 and then to 3.0.1 version with support of DirectX 11 and some bugfixes.
PlayClaw was updated to 1.7 version also with support of DirectX 11 capture and small improvements and few bugfixes.
Fraps vs PlayClaw competition will be soon. We’ll make tests onIntel Core i5 CPU with new ATI Radeon 5xxx.
16th October 2009 – Fraps 2.9.99 released with a few bug fixes.Fraps change log
21th October 2009 – PlayClaw 1.6 build 608 released with overlays improvements, bug fix with video codec for Sony Vegas. One of added overlays abilities is very useful for overclockers. Now PlayClaw can show over game screen your video GPU, memory and board temperatures! But this overlay is in test mode (at this moment only for NVidia cards).
Sytexis software released new version of PlayClaw withDirectX10 support. I’ve checked it on Crysis, World in Conflict,STALKER: Call of Pripyat and it’s working
It’s time to make new performance tests with main competitor –Fraps.
There are a few fixes (Need for Speed Shift is now supported) and added one important feature. Now PlayClaw can write video files with size more than 4Gb. This feature is automatically available if hard disk for recordings has NTFS file system.
As a sample, you can find NFS Shift video on YouTube.
There are number of commercial recorders which have various abilities but all of them can record videos from games.
Which recorder is the best of the best?
We’ll take Fraps, PlayClaw, ZD Soft Screen Recorder,GameCam, Total Screen Recorder and test them in various conditions. As test applications will be taken Battlefield Heroesgame and sample from DirectX9 SDK AntiAlias. Game will be used to test in real conditions and AntiAlias sample will be used to check video codecs performance, because this application doesn’t load CPU and video card very high and our game recorders can show all their power. All recorders are in trial mode, audio recording is disabled.
Test computer specification: Intel Core2Duo E6550 (2.33Ghz), RAM 2Gb DDR2-800, 2 HDDs, Video GeForce 8800GT 1Gb, Windows XP Pro SP3. All tests Screen resolution will be done in full screen mode, frame size is 1440×900, 32bit color depth.
First results! GameCam limit FPS to 30 and frame size to512x320 so it is impossible to compare it with other recorders. ZD Soft Screen Recorder capture video in Windows Media format and this prevent us to determine recorded video real FPS and frame size. Leaders in video codec performance are Fraps andPlayClaw. They produce maximum frame rate (68 and 55 in low compression). But PlayClaw allow application run with higher FPS. The lowest frame size (and as result, final video clip size) was done with PlayClaw (high compression). This mode take a lot of CPU power (look at video FPS, it is two times lower than in low compression), but frame size is six times lower!
The worst recorder is Total Screen Recorder. This recorder (asGameCam) use build-in Windows video codecs and produce extremely low video FPS no matter which codec was selected. It looks like the problem is in recorder and not in video codecs. We will remove it from our recorders test list.
Ok, first test is over. Now let’s run recorders with relatively new game Battlefield Heroes.
Well, as you can see, ZD Soft Screen Recorder give almost same results as in previous test. But now we can determine application FPS. Not bad result but it was with lags, so it is impossible to play with pleasure. GameCam doesn’t support Battlefield Heroes at all. Anyway it is impossible to understand how good or bad this recorder with trial version. Fraps is still getting first place in codec performance, PlayClaw win the contest with lowest frame size.
So, we have 2 winners. Who is better for you? It’s your decision. We didn’t test recorders with modern 3-4 cores CPU (or Core i7 with 4 cores and Hyper-Threading). But this test will be later.
Both our winners have ability to capture Vista Core audio. If you have Windows Vista or Windows 7 then it is important feature for you. All other recorders haven’t this feature and sometimes (depend of your hardware configuration) they are useless if you want to capture audio with video.
PlayClaw also have useful feature for online gaming – Ventrilo and Teamspeak overlay. This feature will allow you to see speaking players’ nicknames on game screen.
PlayClaw web site: http://www.playclaw.com
Fraps web site: http://www.fraps.com
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