Nvidia's Game Changer...ShadowPlay
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  1. #1
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    Nvidia's Game Changer...ShadowPlay

    shadow play.png

    I was quite excited a few weeks ago when I heard Nvidia talk about using their onboard NVENC h264 hardware encoding system for game capture with next to no hit on performance. Normally I'm skeptical of such claims, but this is exactly what the PS4 is doing as well. And now, I can't believe this wasn't done sooner.

    To use Nvidia's "ShadowPlay" feature you have to download the Nvidia GeForce Experience app which many people generally avoid as it may feel like bloatware to those are already adept at customizing 3d settings on a per-game basis. But this makes it all worthwhile.

    ShadowPlay is currently in Beta so there are some limitations. Currently you can select recording quality between Low, Medium, and High settings. However, the capture resolution and frame rate are currently locked in at [email protected] There are also 2 recording modes. A Manual mode that allows you to start/stop video capture at will, and the Shadow mode which automatically records the last X minutes of gameplay, where X can be anywhere from 1 minute to 20 minutes long. A key combination can be pressed to save the last X minutes of gameplay at any time. So you can game as you normally do, and if you happen to see or do something epic, you can save it. Just like your PVR. Simple as that.

    The software requires 7.5GB of data is required for 20 minutes of "Shadow" mode recording at high quality. Recording gameplay of Batman Arkham Origins for 60 seconds in manual mode took up only 180MB of space. This is a far better recording platform than any software solution or even hardware solution you may currently be using. Now let's hope there's some way to enable higher resolution recording, even if at a lower frame rate.

    You can download GeForce Experience and access ShadowPlay through here: http://www.geforce.com/geforce-experience

    This is only for GTX 600 series cards and above. Happy Recording!

  2. #2
    I wonder how long it will take for AMD to make something like this and when we'll be able to use third party software to take advantage of this tech. Exciting nonetheless.

  3. #3
    Needs more res 'n' fps capabilities, but looks good. Another reason why I most probably will go green when I next upgrade my graphics card. The other reason being GSync, assuming it turns out as incredible as I suspect it will

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  4. #4
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    This actually convinced my buddy to get a used 780 over a 290x, when he is finally upgrading over SLI 480's.
    What's cookin, good lookin?

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    I won't lie that I was rather envious of the 290x's performance. If I didn't have such a massive OC on my titans, I'd have been quite upset. AMD has a few things going for it:

    - dx11.2 support with tier 2 tiled resources (though with 6gb VRAM on Titan this likely isn't an issue)
    - similar/better performance for far less money
    - GCN. While not many games will use it, the ones that do...like frostbite 3...will have less of an issue hitting a CPU cap as the directx API overhead is removed for a much leaner system. Bf4 beta was locking me down at around 90fps in some spots due to CPU bottleneck at 5.2ghz....quite sad.

    But nvidia also has a few things that I'm excited about:

    - nvidia gameworks is neat, but nothing major. However...the new implementations of physx are great. Instead of just being a bunch of overdone particles, they are actually using the particles to create smoke, steam, snow, etc etc...that's quite fun IMO.
    - shadow play, of course, is a HUGE one right now. AMD can't match it as they don't have separate integrated hardware encoders. They could add it in future cards. But that'll be the next generation, if it even happens.
    - microstutter and sli performance. Still far better than crossfire.
    - due to AMD taking a year off from competing, Nvidia now has the largest share of the market. Which means developers are more likely to optimize for nvidia cards.

    I'm also going to throw this in. Game streaming to the nvidia shield. The shield....is actually an incredible piece of tech for an amazing price. Especially with the new $100 discount promo if you buy a high end nvidia card. The only problem with it is the 720p display. The shield 2, with 1080p and larger screen (by 1" preferably), tegra 5, and slightly better controls will be a force to be reckoned with. It will provide amazing mobile PC class gaming. From my understanding, the streaming of your PC games is done through the built in hardware encoder on your card which is the same system powering shadow play. So no performance loss. Now imagine playing a PC game at 1080p with maxed out graphics on a portable 6" console. I'm excited for it.

  6. #6
    To your list, I would also pencil in NV G-Sync (pencil only because it's not out yet and for now is limited to 1080p TN). Looks to have huge potential. I'm even more excited about it than I am about Mantle

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackOctagon View Post
    To your list, I would also pencil in NV G-Sync (pencil only because it's not out yet and for now is limited to 1080p TN). Looks to have huge potential. I'm even more excited about it than I am about Mantle

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    I won't write it off as that'd be ignorant from my side but it's one of those technologies I'd have to wait and see. If it's limited to 1080p displays then it won't do me any good. The only thing I'd ever run in the next few years other than 1440p at 120Hz is 4k at 60hz. Maybe. And only for some games. Could be interesting if it's easily adaptable to a variety of monitor types.

  8. #8
    Some shadowplay videos:







    The best part really is that I hit the "record" button after this stuff happened. Second best part is the performance hit for recording the last 5 minuets is about 0. Can't wait for 1440p options, also wish I could record 30fps, just to save space and upload sizes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nocturnal7x View Post
    Some shadowplay videos:







    The best part really is that I hit the "record" button after this stuff happened. Second best part is the performance hit for recording the last 5 minuets is about 0. Can't wait for 1440p options, also wish I could record 30fps, just to save space and upload sizes.

    30fps 1440p would be a godsend. However, the hardware encoder may be incapable of working with resolutions above 1080p. I've never been able to use the hardware encoder for 1440p encoding using hardware accelerated programs like vreveal..

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by HyperMatrix
    I won't lie that I was rather envious of the 290x's performance. If I didn't have such a massive OC on my titans, I'd have been quite upset.
    I wouldn't worry too much yet. Tom's Hardware testing has the retail 290x downclocking itself due to thermal limits. The retail version isn't hitting anywhere near the test unit performance level unless you use aftermarket cooling. I guess you could tally this one under AMD/ATI engineering fail. It'll be interesting to see if they opt for a new cooling solution or if they have some other engineering problem in the design.

    Quote Originally Posted by HyperMatrix
    I won't write it off as that'd be ignorant from my side but it's one of those technologies I'd have to wait and see. If it's limited to 1080p displays then it won't do me any good. The only thing I'd ever run in the next few years other than 1440p at 120Hz is 4k at 60hz. Maybe. And only for some games. Could be interesting if it's easily adaptable to a variety of monitor types.
    There are already four panel manufacturers on board. In the end it's essentially a variable frequency control for the panel which should be a boon for high FPS needs. The added bonus is that it's a cheap piece of hardware so including it in all product lines wouldn't be much of an issue. BenQ focuses heavily on TN 1080p panels but Asus has a more diverse lineup so you might watch there to see what panels they announce next (they've already outed their first G-Sync panel).


 

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