Nvidia takes on Fraps and screen tearing

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Nvidia debuted two new PC gaming technologies today that could make gamers swoon. GeForce ShadowPlay is a free game capture application that records up to 4GBs of footage on Windows 7 and an “unlimited” amount on Windows 8 in manual mode, or the last ten minutes of gameplay in Shadow Mode when you press a hotkey.

ShadowPlay leverages the H.264 hardware encoder found on GeForce GTX 600 and 700 Series graphics cards to record 1920×1080, 60 frames per second. All DirectX 9 and newer games are supported. In comparison to software solutions that hammer the CPU, ShadowPlay’s hardware solution has an approximate 5-10% performance impact when using the max-quality 50 mbps recording mode, and by saving to automatically-encoded and compressed H.264 .mp4 files, ShadowPlay avoids the disk-thrashing, humongous, multi-gigabyte files associated with other gameplay recording applications.

The other new technology announced today was Nvidia G-SYNC, which is a separate hardware module that can be used in monitors to reportedly make stuttering and screen-tearing disappear. Epic’s Tim Sweeney seemed to like it.

“It’s the biggest leap forward in gaming monitors since we went from standard definition to high-def.”

The separate module will be available for gamers to purchase and install in their existing monitors later this year, but Nvidia hopes to have OEM pre-installed units in monitors by next year.