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hardware & recording videos

majimaji ColognePosts: 2,002Member Uncommon

Hi.

 

I tried to record some gameplay videos. But the games then become mostly unplayable.

Some examples:

Firefall, no recording: 60 to 80 FPS

Firefall, while recording: about 5 FPS?

DOTA 2, no recording: absolutely smooth with all graphics settings maxed out.

DOTA 2, while recording: absolutely unplayable, again like 5 FPS.

I got no other programs running that drain noteworthy resources (only the game and recording software).

 

I had a look at the resource monitor while playing Firefall.

CPU strain without recording: 35% to 40%

RAM, in use: 3.4GB, Standby: 4.4GB

Harddisk, read/write total: 18MB/s

 

While recording:

CPU strain: 75% to 85%

RAM: about the same, still 3.4GB to 3.5GB in use and about 4.4GB on standby

Harddisk, read/write total: about 220MB/s

 

I tried both DXtory (which compresses the video before it's saved on the harddisk) and Fraps (which saves the video uncompressed). With DXtory I get stuttery sounds and jumpy FPS, with Fraps I get normal sounds but steady superlow FPS.

 

 

 

I got following system:

RAM: 8GB

Harddisk space. 4TB

CPU: i5-3570k

Graphics card: Radeon HD 6800

 

 

Anyone got any advice?

Let's play Fallen Earth (blind, 300 episodes)

Let's play Guild Wars 2 (blind, 45 episodes)

Comments

  • RidelynnRidelynn Fresno, CAPosts: 4,178Member Uncommon

    Your best bet is probably FRAPS, recording to a separate hard drive from the game.

    Looks like DXtory compression eats your CPU, and both are eating up all your SATA bandwidth.

    Also, try lowering the recorded resolution. If you are playing at 1080, and trying to record at 1080, that could be killing you. Try knocking it down to 720.

  • majimaji ColognePosts: 2,002Member Uncommon

    Thanks for your reply.

    With Fraps, the FPS is very low as well. At least with more modern games. Sadly, I can choose there only between full HD recording and half size. 720 ain't possible.

    I just wonder which component of the setup is the reason for this problem. Is the Radeon HD 6800 too old, so that it requires help from the CPU, which ain't available anymore when I record stuff?

    Let's play Fallen Earth (blind, 300 episodes)

    Let's play Guild Wars 2 (blind, 45 episodes)

  • GruntyGrunty TexasPosts: 7,061Member Uncommon
    As I understand it the people who do this on a more than casual basis use one system for the game and one system for capturing the audio and video stream. 
  • RidelynnRidelynn Fresno, CAPosts: 4,178Member Uncommon


    Originally posted by maji
    Thanks for your reply.With Fraps, the FPS is very low as well. At least with more modern games. Sadly, I can choose there only between full HD recording and half size. 720 ain't possible.I just wonder which component of the setup is the reason for this problem. Is the Radeon HD 6800 too old, so that it requires help from the CPU, which ain't available anymore when I record stuff?

    What does it do if you record at half size?

    And again, what does it do if you change your game resolution to 720?

    Not that either of those are "the answer", just it would provide more data as what you could possibly do.

    Being able to play and record and stream at 1080 is pretty strenuous on a machine. The 6800's aren't bad cards, depending on the game they may have trouble trying to do both though. I have a feeling the real bottleneck isn't the video card, but the hard drives.

  • majimaji ColognePosts: 2,002Member Uncommon

    Hmmm, yeah, it seems that one of the bottle necks are the harddrives. They have just a speed of 5400rpm. I also got an external one.

     

    I tried now following: Playing DOTA 2, I recorded a video once on the 2TB internal harddrive, and once on my external.

    FPS without recording: between 75 and 99+

    FPS recording on internal one:  between 5 and 40 (quite jumpy)

    FPS recording on external one: between 20 and 30 (never below 20)

     

    The description of the external one says "high speed usb 2.0". Not sure if that's any different from regular USB. HMm... 20 FPS is already better, but not really good.

    Let's play Fallen Earth (blind, 300 episodes)

    Let's play Guild Wars 2 (blind, 45 episodes)

  • RidelynnRidelynn Fresno, CAPosts: 4,178Member Uncommon


    Originally posted by maji
    Hmmm, yeah, it seems that one of the bottle necks are the harddrives. They have just a speed of 5400rpm. I also got an external one. I tried now following: Playing DOTA 2, I recorded a video once on the 2TB internal harddrive, and once on my external.FPS without recording: between 75 and 99+FPS recording on internal one:  between 5 and 40 (quite jumpy)FPS recording on external one: between 20 and 30 (never below 20) The description of the external one says "high speed usb 2.0". Not sure if that's any different from regular USB. HMm... 20 FPS is already better, but not really good.

    Yeah, USB 2.0 is "hi speed" compared to the older 1.0, but still a far cry from what internal SATA can do. Get another internal drive if at all possible, 7200rpm at that.

  • majimaji ColognePosts: 2,002Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Ridelynn

     


    Originally posted by maji
    Hmmm, yeah, it seems that one of the bottle necks are the harddrives. They have just a speed of 5400rpm. I also got an external one.

     

     

    I tried now following: Playing DOTA 2, I recorded a video once on the 2TB internal harddrive, and once on my external.

    FPS without recording: between 75 and 99+

    FPS recording on internal one:  between 5 and 40 (quite jumpy)

    FPS recording on external one: between 20 and 30 (never below 20)

     

    The description of the external one says "high speed usb 2.0". Not sure if that's any different from regular USB. HMm... 20 FPS is already better, but not really good.


     

    Yeah, USB 2.0 is "hi speed" compared to the older 1.0, but still a far cry from what internal SATA can do. Get another internal drive if at all possible, 7200rpm at that.

    Hm, well, I'll see about that. I don't want to throw away my 2TB one, despite it just having 5400 RPM. The 1TB one though... But my OS and everything is installed on it. Oh well...

    Let's play Fallen Earth (blind, 300 episodes)

    Let's play Guild Wars 2 (blind, 45 episodes)

  • RidelynnRidelynn Fresno, CAPosts: 4,178Member Uncommon

    Well, putting another internal one would be ideal, it would be the cheapest (and nearly the fastest). Most computers support at least 4 SATA devices normally (CD-ROM is usually on one of them though), and there really isn't a practical limit to the number of hard drives you can have. There are other ways to skin the cat though.

    One option is to get another SATA controller - these are not expensive ($25 maybe for a cheap one). Sometimes these come with eSATA ports - which allow you to use nearly any internal hard drive as an external, at full SATA speeds. This is probably the cheapest option if you have room to plug in a PCI card in your computer.

    Another one would be to get a USB 3.0 adapter, and an external drive that supports USB 3.0 - those are nearly as fast as SATA in the first place. Your USB 1.0/2.0 stuff will work with it, but not at full speed, so you'd need another USB 3.0 external enclosure to record to.

    And another option would be to use a Gigabit ethernet NAS (and to make sure your existing NIC is gigabit, if not, upgrade that as well). This would probably be the most expensive of the options, but it's also the most flexible, since it would allow all devices at home access to the same high speed storage device, and allow you to change the media in the storage device independent of all your devices. ~Most~ current pre-packaged NAS'es support RAID (allowing you to span multiple disks out for increased storage and reliability), and have built-in servers for various nice things, like web servers, iPhone storage, iTunes streaming, etc.

  • majimaji ColognePosts: 2,002Member Uncommon
    My mainboard is a Gigabyte GA-Z77-D3H. It's USB slots are 3.0, according to the description. Hmm... I guess I'll try that. I found a 128GB USB 3.0 stick that, according to the comments on the product, never writes slower than 80mb/s. That should do the trick. In case my hard drives really are the problem.

    Let's play Fallen Earth (blind, 300 episodes)

    Let's play Guild Wars 2 (blind, 45 episodes)

  • RidelynnRidelynn Fresno, CAPosts: 4,178Member Uncommon


    Originally posted by maji
    Wouldn't maybe a large high speed USB stick solve the problem? I read about 128GB USB 3.0 Sticks, that write with 80mb/s. That should be fast enough. Then I could keep my hard disks too. The question is just whether my harddisks really are the problem...

     

    Edit: I just wrote this at the same time as you wrote your last one. 



    2-3 problems with that:

    To get 80MB/sec, you need to have a USB 3.0 port to plug it into. If you do, then great, this part isn't a problem.

    The second problem is, they are expensive. You can get a SATA3 120G SSD drive for $20 less, throw it on a USB 3.0 external enclosure for $5, and have essentially the same thing, with the option to install it internally later if you wanted to. Of for that matter, a much less expensive 2T 7200rpm drive, the same enclosure, and still come away with 80MB/sec transfer and much more capacity.

    And the last problem: you need more bandwidth than that, especially if you are wanting 1080p
    10 bit @ 1280 x 720p @ 60fps = 211 MB per/sec for uncompressed raw video.
    10 bit @ 1920 x 1080 @ 60i = 237 MB per/sec (that would be roughly the equivalent of 30FPS)

    So you can see, 80M/sec isn't going to get you very far. Getting 20fps out of USB 2.0 (which peaks out around 30-35MB/sec) is really not bad at all.

  • majimaji ColognePosts: 2,002Member Uncommon

    Are you sure about the bandwidth?

    I just told Fraps to record full HD with 30 FPS and split it in 4GB files. They're both 137 seconds long. 4000MB / 137 = ~30MB/s recorded. Or do I miss something?

    Let's play Fallen Earth (blind, 300 episodes)

    Let's play Guild Wars 2 (blind, 45 episodes)

  • birdycephonbirdycephon Salt Lake City, UTPosts: 1,314Member
    Is your OS 32bit or 64bit? 32bit OS can only ever use 3.5 gigs of RAM.
  • RidelynnRidelynn Fresno, CAPosts: 4,178Member Uncommon


    Originally posted by maji
    Are you sure about the bandwidth?

    I just told Fraps to record full HD with 30 FPS and split it in 4GB files. They're both 137 seconds long. 4000MB / 137 = ~30MB/s recorded. Or do I miss something?


    Those numbers were taking from a video recording site, but we can do the math ourselves:

    We usually play at a 32-bit color depth (8 bits per RGB channel, plus 8 bits alpha channel). To dump the framebuffer though, we don't need all 32-bits, just the RGB values, so that's 24-bits of color data per pixel.

    There are 1920x1080 pixels in "HD", that's 1920 x 1080 = 2,073,000 pixels per frame.

    24 bits per pixel by 2,073,000 pixels = 24 x 2,073,000 = 49,766,400 bits per frame

    8 bits in a byte, so 49,766,400 / 8 = 6,220,880 bytes per frame

    60 frames per second, so 6,220,880 x 60 = 373,248,000 bytes per second

    1024 bytes per kilobyte, and 1024 kilobytes per megabyte, so 373,248,000 / (1024x1024) = 356 MB/sec for raw, uncompressed video

    I don't know how FRAPS saves the data, or what bit depth they are converting it to.

  • majimaji ColognePosts: 2,002Member Uncommon

    I got a 64bit OS.

     

    Well, I guess the best I can do is ask around if a friend got an USB 3.0 usb stick and see how well it does its job. :) Thanks for the help.

    Let's play Fallen Earth (blind, 300 episodes)

    Let's play Guild Wars 2 (blind, 45 episodes)

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,784Member Uncommon

    Make sure that there is a lot of free space on your hard drive, and then defragment it immediately before recording a video.  See if that helps.  Even a 5400 RPM hard drive should be able to do sequential write speeds around 100 MB/s.  By contrast, USB 2.0 caps you at about 50 MB/s theoretically, and considerably less than that in actual real-world usage.

    The problem with hard drives is that they're really only good at sequential data transfers.  Whenever the hard drive has to stop to move to a different physical place on a platter to read or write, it has to wait about 10 ms or so before it can do anything else.  10 ms may not sound like much, but if you have to do it thousands of times in a row, you can see the problem.

    Fortunately, though, recording a video should be sequential writes.  That means that you pay the 10 ms penalty when you start writing, and then after that, only when it runs out of buffered data to write and has to wait for more data to accumulate before it starts writing again.  If your hard drive is badly fragmented, however, then it could start writing, then quickly run into data already written to the platter and have to stop for a while and then start writing somewhere else.  If it writes for 1 ms, then has to take 10 ms to move somewhere else, then writes for another 1 ms, then has to stop for 10 ms, and so forth, then you can see the problem.  Defragmenting your hard drive takes all of the data on the drive and physically moves it around so that you'll have a big, huge contiguous empty area that lets the hard drive write away.

    Another possible problem is if something else is trying to use your hard drive at the same time.  If you start recording a video, and then something else wants to read from or write to the hard drive, then the hard drive has to stop recording, deal with what the other program wants, and then return to recording.  That means you pay the ~10 ms switching penalty twice.  The game you're playing likely needs to use your hard drive as you're trying to record things, though the details will vary wildly from game to game.

    You can avoid that by having a completely separate hard drive that you write to.  An internal SATA drive is probably your best bet here, as performance will be far more consistent than if you're using USB.  This doesn't need to be all that expensive.  For example:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=22-148-767

    If you don't use it for anything other than recording videos, then no other programs should interfere with it.  Seagate says that drive can do 125 MB/s.  For purely sequential transfers with nothing else trying to use the hard drive at the same time, if there isn't a bottleneck elsewhere, 125 MB/s is realistically attainable, too.

  • ReizlaReizla AlkmaarPosts: 3,300Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Ridelynn

    Your best bet is probably FRAPS, recording to a separate hard drive from the game.

    Looks like DXtory compression eats your CPU, and both are eating up all your SATA bandwidth.

    Also, try lowering the recorded resolution. If you are playing at 1080, and trying to record at 1080, that could be killing you. Try knocking it down to 720.

    Was about to advice FRAPS as well. been using it for ages (legally purchased version) and I have a seperate 320Gb drive for movies & sounds. Never a problem unless the game I try to record is badly written (GW2 recorded with 10FPS...). Only problem then is to get a good editing tool... I'm using AVS4You myself (again, legally purchased version) and love how much editing options it gives for a price that low. I would advice AGAINST Pinnacle Studio for editing. I have it here and the basic version (more expensive than AVS4You BTW) doesn't support HD. If you want HD (and I guess you will) you'll pay $75 extra or so...

    AsRock 990FX Extreme3
    AMD Phenom II 1090T ~3.2Ghz
    GEiL 16Gb DDR3 1600Mhz
    ASUS GTX970 3x HD monitor 1920x1080

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