Comparing the Top PC Game Recording Software in 2017

Not all game recording software is created equal. There are so many game recording tools out there, but a lot of them are really not that great. One of the most popular game recorders, Fraps, is actually outclassed by several better recording tools. Don’t spend your money on a mediocre recording program like Fraps!

Top recording software in 2017

In the early days of Youtube gaming, content creators had to invest around $2,000-$3,000 into a gaming PC and a second streaming PC to produce high quality footage without lagging while playing resource-intensive games. In 2017, it’s now possible for an average gamer to do the same thing without buying a dedicated streaming/recording PC or spending an excessive amount on components.

Furthermore, advances in hard drive technology allow for the average gamer to improve their in-game performance while recording by using an SSD as their dedicated recording hard drive. Additionally, using an SSD as the dedicated storage device for encoded video will reduce instances of recorded footage appearing laggy, broken, or having skipped frames. This was previously an issue caused by slow HDDs.

Previously, SSDs were extremely expensive and the average gamer had a 128gb SSD, which wasn’t adequate for storing large recorded files.

However, 500gb SSDs are now incredibly affordable in 2017 and is one of the quickest and most cost effective upgrades every PC gamer should do.

In 2017, there are still some clear market leaders, but the biggest change over previous years is the improvements of NVIDIA Shadowplay.

1. ShadowPlay

If you have an NVIDIA graphics card then you already have access to ShadowPlay. ShadowPlay is considered one of the best free game recorders because it records high-quality footage without sacrificing in-game performance. In fact, you probably won’t notice any performance loss while recording with ShadowPlay. NVIDIA boasts that there is only a 5-10% frame rate loss while recording with ShadowPlay! It is also possible to record both in-game sound and microphones on separate audio tracks. However, multi-track audio recording is not possible currently, but will probably be added in the future. Possibly the best reason to use ShadowPlay is the Shadow-mode recording functionality. Shadow-mode allows you to record up to 20 minutes in the past. That’s right – in the past! This is great because it allows for you to play a game without recording constantly, but you can still save clips on the off chance you do something amazing.

Why we love it:

  • Almost no noticeable frame loss while recording
  • Records in-game sound and microphone
  • Shadow mode is AMAZING
  • Adjustable bit-rate and output resolution
  • Can record at 60fps or 30fps
  • FREE

Useful Links:

The best ShadowPlay recordings settings

2. Dxtory Recording Software

Dxtory offers the perfect balance between performance and quality. You won’t notice a big drop in framerate when recording and your output video files will look amazing! However, the biggest reason we recommend Dxtory is that it has built-in multi-track audio recording. This allows you to record your game, VoIP (teamspeak/Skype), Microphone, and any other audio on separate audio tracks. This means that you can easily remove your Skype/Teamspeak audio when editing footage. Dxtory is currently the only game recording software with built-in multi-track audio recording!

Why it’s the best:

  • CPU and GPU settings allow for performance optimization
  • Changeable video codec (can use better video codecs for increased performance, quality, and compression)
  • Adjustable recording resolution, quality, and framerate
  • Multi-track audio recording

Useful Links:

The Best Dxtory Settings

3. MSI Afterburner

MSI Afterburner is an overclocking utility and hardware monitoring tool. It can also record gameplay footage! Since this recording software is built into an overclocking tool, it is optimized to work well with your hardware. We found that MSI Afterburner had minimal impact on game performance even when recording at the highest possible settings! We were absolutely blown away by the in-game performance and video output quality. Honestly, we can’t believe that this software is free! Also, This software works really well with mid-range hardware, so you don’t need a supercomputer to record at the highest settings without sacrificing performance!

Why it’s the best:

  • Very minimal performance impact
  • Exceptional customization and quality settings (bit rate, resolution, frame rate)
  • Create profiles with unique settings
  • Screen or game capture
  • Multiple audio sources

Download MSI Afterburner

MSI Afterburner recording settings

4. Open Broadcaster

Open Broadcaster is widely used for Twitch streaming. However, it can also be used to record footage directly. The best part is that it’s completely free! Open Broadcaster is one of the most customizable game recorders on the market currently. You can adjust the video, audio, and encoding settings for the perfect balance between performance and quality. OBS is not limited to just recording game footage–you can choose game capture, window capture, or monitor capture. Finally, one of the best reasons to use OBS is plugins. There are a ton of plugins created by the community that enhance Open Broadcaster’s functionality. The downside of OBS is that you need at least an i7 processor to get the most out of this game recorder.

Why we love it:

  • Excellent audio, video, and encoding options
  • Can choose the recording framerate and resolution
  • Game, window, or monitor capture
  • Plugins!
  • FREE!

Download Open Broadcaster

How to record with OBS


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I'm a long time PC gamer and Youtuber/Twitch streamer. My guides and tutorials are based off of my experience.

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