Best FRAPS performance tips AFAIK

Discussion in 'FRAPS General Discussion, Guides, and Tutorials' started by raffriff, Aug 4, 2011.

  1. raffriff

    raffriff Moderator Staff Member Site Contributor

    Lags, stuttering, freezing, low frame rate? This should help you.
    At least it will eliminate the most common causes of these things.

    This post is for people looking for the best Fraps performance.
    These are my best suggestions. (updated Aug 20, 2013)

    >> GOAL: 60 fps in-game (or better) while recording at 30 fps <<

    (TL;DR see the short version)

    Basic setup:
    • Fraps Capture Settings
      • start with full size, 30 fps
      • "Lock Framerate" - Off
      • "Lossless RGB" - Off
    • Turn off background processes and other features that can slow down your system
      • Anti-Virus "full time" or "resident" scan - this is important.
      • Turn off search indexing, or at least disable .avi indexing.
      • Turn off video thumbnails (WinXP, Win7) (optional but recommended)
      • Disable Windows Media Player's scanning of the Fraps folder.
      • Delete bloatware (unneeded programs that may slow down the system)
    Hard drive performance is very important for Fraps. Fraps records at very high quality (no capture
    program does better), but doing that requires huge capture files. That's just the way it is.

    Anyway, here are my best hard drive performance tips:
    • Record to a dedicated hard drive. A dedicated hard drive lets your main drive
      concentrate on writing

    • 500GB or greater, 7200RPM or greater preferred
      (larger HDD's are faster, with the sweet spot at about 1 TB)

    • Use your SSD for your OS and games installation; SSD's aren't much better than
      the better HDD's - if at all - for sequential writing (ie, Frapsing).

      (EDIT the newer, 120GB or larger SSDs can be quite fast, so this advice will be obsolete soon)
    • Don't use a "green" HDD (green HDD's can go into power-saving mode at the worst time)
    • If you you can't install a second internal drive, install your games to an external
      drive and use your internal drive for Fraps. (Maybe. Still not sure about this.)

    • I don't recommend recording to an external drive, but if you do: don't use a USB 2.0 drive;
      they're too slow; use USB 3.0 or eSATA drives only. Check the benchmarks before
      you buy. (note: using a USB 2.0 drive to record may interfere with your USB game controllers)
    • For best speed, partition the first 30% or so for Fraps. The first part of the disk is up to
      20% faster than the last part (this is known as a short stroke partition). A dedicated
      partition is also easier to keep defragged. (UPDATE: Windows 7 lets you add a new partition
      without wiping the disk! See "Easily Shrink a Volume on a Windows 7 Disk" @
      If recording to the "system" disk (not the best way to go, but sometimes you don't have
      a choice)
      , leave 80-100 GB for OS & programs and create a Fraps partition after that.

    • Optimize the Fraps partition:
      • Disable Windows System Restore.
      • Disable file compression.
      • Disable the Recycle bin (if you aren't sure you want to delete something, move it
        to another partition)
      • Have plenty of free space (try to have at least 30% free, or twice whatever you plan
        to record, whichever is more)
      • Defrag often. Fraps needs lots of contiguous free space to help avoid the dreaded, so called 4GB freeze.
      • Perform chkdsk {Drive:} /r /f /v (requires reboot, but increases performance)
    • Check this CrystalDiskMark sequential write benchmark; if it's not at least 90 MB/s on a 7200 RPM HDD, use another drive (compare to drives in the same class; if yours is slower, it may have a problem
    Tune your in-game frames per second (you may have to dial back from your normal settings to leave some computer power for Fraps)
    • Turn down some detail settings & special effects:
      • HDR, bloom, or post-effects;
      • Anti-aliasing (more than about 2xAA won't be seen on the final video);
      • Any other GPU "performance" options
    • Try disabling vertical sync & triple buffering, if you use it - vertical sync may cause
      severe fps degradation with Fraps & certain games
      • GPU Setup: "vertical sync" - off; max pre-rendered frames 0 or 1 for reduced lag
      • Game setup: "vertical sync" & "triple buffer" - off
    • Try to get 100-120 fps in-game, minimum, without Fraps recording; more is always better.
      This means there will be spare power for Fraps.
    Try setting processor affinity (Fraps is multi-threaded, but I think uses only one core)

    If you can't get 60 fps (or 2x record rate) on-screen, try some or all of these tweaks, until
    performance is good enough:

    • Use lower resolution (1080, or 720 if necessary)
    • Record at half size. (1/4 disk usage for tremendous performance. If recording at
      1080 or better, half size is not bad looking and can be up-sized to 720. Vertical sync

      may affect resized image quality)
    • Turn AA Off completely
    • Force lower DirectX version
    • Play game in window mode (looking at you, Minecraft)
    • Lower resolution some more.
    • Record at 25 fps instead of 30 fps (uses 17% less everything)
    • Try another capture program...
    • Maybe go to a RAID-0 setup for extreme situations; RAIDs are tough to set up though;
      unreliable too; a single, dedicated, high-performance HDD should be enough.
    Certain games (mostly Java & emulator-based games) have other problems, which I can't
    address here; search the forum.

    More FAQ stuff - Raffriff's links page

    If you have anything to add (or subtract) please let me know.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2013
  2. raffriff

    raffriff Moderator Staff Member Site Contributor

    Here's a chart I made showing the
    Highest Expected Fraps Data Rates
    for various situations:

    [EDIT June 2012 - chart version 3, with new data from our findings here]


    Anyone with a well-tuned 7200 RPM, 750GB+ dedicated HDD should be able to record at any data rate marked in blue or green. Yellow will need a high performance drive, and red will most likely require RAID.

    Raw data rate is calculated as
    MB/s = W x H x FPS x 3 / 1024 / 1024
    BTW, this is the size of an uncompressed AVI without audio.

    Fraps Data Rate is the maximum data rate observed in a number of games. Fraps always compresses the video. Depending on the game, the compressed size will be from 15% to 30% of the uncompressed size. See: Variance in bitrate between game titles while recording with Fraps - Why it matters.

    Qf is a way of expressing the compressed data rate, factoring out resolution & frame rate:
    MB/sec = Qf * W x H x FPS / 8 / 1024 / 1024
    Qf = (Mbps x 1,000,000) / (W x H x FPS)
    Compression ratio = Qf/24
    If a video was uncompressed (or 'compressed', but its content was incompressible), its Qf would be 12.0 (RGB off; YUV420) or 24.0 (RGB on). For most normal games, Qf seems to run between 2.5 and 7.0 (RGB off), so by assuming Qf = 8 (RGB off), my estimate is conservative. You may rarely see spikes going higher, but I only saw that with special test sources.

    In the chart, some of the sizes have names: "Fraps Max" (2560x1600) is the highest supported capture resolution as of June 2012. [Edit - current max resolution is 7680x4800 as of July 2012]. "Triple" means three monitors; "2K" is a professional digital cinema format, just for comparison. Note digital cinema is normally 24 or 25 fps - never 60 fps.

    NOTE: when you start getting into the higher Raw data rates, other factors come into play besides drive performance - such as PCIe bus and RAM bandwidth. If you really need super high-resolution, high-frame-rate capture with no lag, you need an external HDMI recorder - and hi-def ones aren't cheap!
  3. Nuno_p

    Nuno_p Well-Known Member

    These are some serious a helpfull tests.​

    Thank you for you hard working testing all those settings. :)
  4. raffriff

    raffriff Moderator Staff Member Site Contributor

    Thank you. Tell me, would you give me some numbers from your experience?

    Here's an example of what I'm looking for:
    "1280x720 xF x30: 120 fps w/o Fraps; solid 30 fps recording, 60 fps in-game"

    Here's an example of a setting that doesn't work for me; this is useful information as well:
    "1920x1080 xF x60: 90 fps w/o Fraps; 7-12 fps recording"

    Only if you happen to know off the top of your head.
    If I'm wrong in the OP about what I will call the "4x" rule, I'd like to fix it or pretend I never posted it.
  5. raffriff

    raffriff Moderator Staff Member Site Contributor

    OK more testing, now that I have my external hard drive:

    (All tests mentioned below using GTR2 @ 1280x720 xF x30; I did other tests, but the results weren't as interesting)

    There were a number of variables I played with, with the goal of getting a solid 30fps recording AND a solid 60fps on-screen, with a selection of game replay files (some were more demanding on my system than others). I couldn't live with less resolution OR half-size OR with a 15fps recording, so that left me with a limited set of choices:
    • Internal vs. External hard drive
    • 4xAA vs. 2xAA vs. no AA
    • Detail settings in the game
    • Overclocking the GPU
    • Forcing the game to use DirectX 7 vs. DirectX 9
    Bottom line, ALL these changes made a difference, NONE outstandingly so.
    • When I enabled recording, the on-screen frame rate would "lock" to 30 or 60fps; I didn't see it change during the recording in this particular test (you and I both know it does sometimes).
    • There is a "threshold" raw frame rate that lets you lock into 60fps on-screen; for me, using my internal drive, it's about 120fps; using my external, the requirement is relaxed to about 100fps (this means my proposed "4x" rule-of-thumb, for required raw FR vs. Fraps FR, needs to be adjusted for faster hard drives).
    • If my settings were right on the "edge", I would get 30fps on-screen while recording sometimes, and 60fps other times, with no way to predict what would happen.
    Changing the detail settings in the game made basically no difference for me, in this test. In order to get a solid 60fps on-screen with this game at this resolution (and a solid 30fps recording, which was easier), I had to set it up with
    • 4xAA/4xAF dialed back to 2xAA/4xAF;
    • overclock the GPU by 15% (very conservative - it's a laptop);
    • force DirectX 7, AND
    • use the external hard drive.
    The difference in raw FR was not that great: in one test, I went from 70-80 fps to 100-115 fps raw, and my threshold went down from 120 to around 100. That was enough to get me from 30fps on-screen to 60 fps.

    This particular external HD setup is no prize winner; so I imagine a really good HD setup will make more of a difference than this one did. I'm thinking hardware RAID 0. Is it worth the $$?

    To sum up, I would say you need to meet a "threshold" or minimum raw frame rate to get a good recording; a faster hard drive will lower your threshold, and other system tweaks will raise your raw frame rate. You need to look at both types of changes; tweak the system to bring your raw frame rate above your threshold, and/or upgrade your hard drive(s) to lower your threshold below your raw frame rate.

    Now, different programs will require different settings, and some can't be helped I'm afraid. I tried these tests first on the benchmark program 3DMark 2001, because it would load faster then a regular game. Well, :confused: no matter whether Fraps was recording as 15 or 30, half-size or full, this program would drop to 7 fps when recording, while it got 240 raw. ::headscratch::
  6. raffriff

    raffriff Moderator Staff Member Site Contributor

  7. Interesting information here. I appreciate the hard work and dedication that is put into this. There's passion put into this, I admire that.

    Anyhow, I am expecting a new drive in a few days for dedicated Fraps recording. The data that this drive ( St2000DM001 ) seems to be an ideal candidate for Seq writing (recording). I was contemplating with the 3TB, but settled for the 2TB instead. Here is a link as followed.

    I've recently started down the path to video recording and video editing/rendering. I'm rather new still and in the learning phases of the " DLO's ( desired learning objectives )." This site has helped me a lot, and for that I'm grateful there are helpful people " out their." Thanks to everyone and all you do.

    Mike / Rockk
  8. hi i am currently using the free fraps version only for the fps display but i am thinking of recording some gameplay videos. My question is if i purchase fraps should i install fraps to my C: drive and write to the C: drive? Should i install it to my C: drive and write to a second drive? what would be my best option?
  9. raffriff

    raffriff Moderator Staff Member Site Contributor

    Did you read the OP?? :) I know it's too long; all my posts are... but look for "record to a dedicated hard drive"

    Doesn't matter much where you install Fraps, but it does matter where you save your movies. You want to save your movies to a dedicated hard drive if possible.
  10. Hello,

    at first: Thank you for all the work.
    I would like to know, if there are any information about the CPU-Load while recording or in other words:

    How much CPU-Power do i need for recording xxxx X xxxx with xxfps in RGB on/off?

    For Example:
    Recording a dark HL-Mod
    Resolution: 1680x1050 Half-Size (840x524)
    FPS: 25
    RGB off
    Extra Fraps HDD (should not be a Problem)

    I can play most of the time with more than 25fps, but sometimes i got framedrops and i think it is because off my CPU.

    Intel Core2Duo E8400 @3GHz
    4GB Ram
    ATI HD4870
    WD Cavier Blue 500GB for Frapsmovies
  11. Thalmor Wizard

    Thalmor Wizard Moderator Staff Member Site Contributor

    Processor is weak, you may want to upgrade. If you can get it, Core 2 Quad Q9505 @ 2.83GHz or higher is optimal.
  12. raffriff

    raffriff Moderator Staff Member Site Contributor

    Best FRAPS performance tips AFAIK (the short short version)
    • Fraps Capture Settings
      • start with full size, 30 fps
      • "Lock Framerate" - Off
      • "Lossless RGB" - Off
    • Turn off background processes and other features that can slow down your system...
    • Record to a dedicated hard drive.
      • 500GB or greater, 7200RPM or greater preferred
      • Have at least 30% free space
      • Defrag often
      • Don't use a "green" HDD
      • Don't record to an external drive - but if you do, don't use USB 2.0;
        use USB 3.0 or eSATA
    • Turn down some detail settings & special effects...
    • Try disabling vertical sync & triple buffering...
    • Try to get 100-120 fps in-game, minimum, without Fraps recording; more is always better.
  13. I've been wondering about the in-game framerate lock from fraps for a while and how to combat it. It makes sense that the easy way to program something like this would result in a game framrate as a multiple of the fraps framerate, since it ensures that the AVI will always be consistently written.

    There's a lot of discussion in this thread and elsewhere on the net about recording @ 30 with in game FPS @ 60. What I'm curious about is if anyone has already tried to figure out the threshholds fore recording @ 25 with in game @ 75. I'd much prefer 75 to 60 in game, and am quite happy to record at 25 to get this, but the game in question (Tribes Ascend) has a maximum framerate locked to 90 with smoothing off or 122 with smoothing on (smoothing being an in game setting, not sure if fraps will care about this). I can keep this framerate without ever dipping in game with fraps not running, but I wonder whether that's high enough for fraps to "allow" the game to render at 75 while it takes every third frame, or if it will drop it to 50 and take every second.
  14. raffriff

    raffriff Moderator Staff Member Site Contributor

    allmhuran, you're gonna have to try it. Every setup is different. 25 fps uses 17% less everything compared to 30 fps, as I say above, so there's a good chance it will work for you.
  15. Thanks raff. In the end I couldn't maintain fraps @ 25 with game @ 75. Heck, I couldn't even maintain fraps @ 30 with game @ 60, because "respawns" in the game seem to cause a big framerate drop (to about 40, which then makes fraps drop it to 30).

    In the end I switched to dxtory. I'll miss the buffer recording, but the framerate independence is just too much better than what fraps currently has.
  16. ciarlo2006

    ciarlo2006 Site Contributor Well-Known Member

    Very well detailed post. Many people will appreciate this, even if they don't register to say so.
  17. I must say that:
    1. About disks
    AVOID MARVELL/JMICRON CONTROLERS that are runing on SATA3- they're crap, and their RAID implementiation is actually not a raid but 'port replication', which means it's somethig diffrent than RAID, yet does not always means its better. In my very long FRAPS experience that chips resulted in more problems than features. Switched to Intel ICH10R and all probles are gone. Jmicron and Marvell controllers should be used only for SSD disks for system and some media readers. They do not support online storage check/rebuilding and this is huge drawback when something goes wrong (you must stay in bios to rebuild an array, which is PAIN).

    Not sure about x67 or newer chipsets, though (needs clarification).

    If you own Intel chipset motherboards (that refer to the most of the modern Intel based CPU motherboards) then you probably already have ICHx (where i x is a number) chipset that suppors RAID condifurations. If you got also Intel Rapid Storage Manager (former Intel Matrix Storage Manager) then you can make mixed raid on the disks.

    For example you got 2 disks 1TB and OS on the other disk.
    Then you can split the 2 1TB disks to, let say:
    300 GB RAID0 (first part of disk dedicated to fast and non crucial data)
    700 GB RAID1 (other data)
    In that way you got two devices in the system, first small for fraps movies/cache files, that stores not so improtant data that should be accessed very fast, second stores more valuable data, where the speed is not so improtant, but you want to be prepared in case of one dis failure.

    If you own UPS or if you're ready to take a risk of data loss on power outage - enable write caching on the disk, it's in the options in Intel Rapid Storage Manager.

    2. I'd like to see if anyone made any tests about tripple buffering.
    In general this of course increases load over GPU, but results sin much better/smoother gameplay, designed to avoid tearing. It is affordable if you hardware can cope that. I think it may even make FRAPS recording better in certain situations.
    Although, that are my assumptions, so that would require testing.
    raffriff likes this.
  18. raffriff

    raffriff Moderator Staff Member Site Contributor

    Kasz, thank you for the RAID information. Sounds like excellent advice.

    Write caching will work with Fraps for a while, but soon the cache will become full and your performance tumbles.

    Regarding triple buffering, what you say is true - however if your frame rates are very low (less than 60? 30?) vertical sync can severely degrade your framerate even more, so I always disable it. When recording without v-sync, you may see screen tearing in the game but it won't be recorded. When v-sync is disabled, triple buffer has no effect.

    *If* vertical sync does not cause this problem (we need more testing here) and is left enabled, then as you say, triple buffering is good for performance & smoothness - but note that triple buffering increases latency a bit -- 3-13 ms. [per Anandtech]

    But, wait: Microsoft doesn't implement "triple buffering" in DirectX :eek: they implement "render ahead" [per Anandtech] [per nvidia]. This doesn't mean the game developer can't implemented triple buffering in the game engine. Actually the two are similar is purpose and function. Default render-ahead is 3 frames, with the range being from 0 to 8; lower render-ahead for less latency, higher for more smoothness.
  19. About RAID setups - always use exackly the same disks to create an array, because of latencies:
    - RAID 0 - requires 2 or more disks that sum as space available - is the fastest but it has very nasty feature
    -- it gives great spead during read/write
    -- it makes ALL data lost when one of the disks dies.
    - RAID 1 - requires 2 disks, but reults in half of the spase available - can cope with recording of video
    -- read speed can be up to 2x of the normal disk
    -- write speed speed is equal or just below the normal single disks (cause system waits till econds device finishes
    -- when one disk dies, you got data on the another disk - great for storing important data
    - RAID 10 - mix of both two worlds, requires at least 4 disks, results i the size of 2 disks - very pricey, better to get SSD, or one very fast disk
    -- better writing and reading
    -- can survive to up 2 disks failures
    -- with so many disks you can also experiment with 2x RAID1 setup and setting dynamic striped disk on that
    - RAID 5 - good for storage, ususally requires at least 3 disks, resulting in space available of all disks -1
    -- good read performance
    -- HORRIBLE writing performance - avoid it for video capturing/editing
    -- those sets are for storage where you read a lot and write not much

    Write caching helps when there are big chunks of data stacked, AFAIR windows 7 has something like 500MB of cache by default. And it may help on situation when your system suddenly needs some smaller reads/writes when you record.

    FRAPS as far as I remember always grabs whole screen frame from the buffer, thus it works as if the vsync is on. And that is why the movies are recorded without tearing.

    The only impact tripple buffering or render ahead produce is load on the graphic card. If your card cannot cope with the load, you will not get any benefit.
    Yet if your card has some power to spare after rendering one frame, then it may start to render another one, while FRAPS grabs the already rendered frame from the buffer. I'm not the tech guy, but i think it's the way it works.

    Of course there is also problem with audio desynch, the video may be delayed to aroudn 13ms, but I think it will not be noticeable, unless on _very_ slow motion videos.

    One more thing, I's always better to record @60FPS and later convert it to 30 or 25 during conversion.
    I've noticed it serves better than running defualt 30 FPS, although it requires better hardware during recording, and later on requires changing fps to desired framerate.
  20. ciarlo2006

    ciarlo2006 Site Contributor Well-Known Member

    Just a couple of things I'd like to add to this if I may. If you've mentioned these, I apologize, I only skimmed through it.

    Disable prefetch.
    Disable Superfetch.
    If you have more than 4GB of memory, turn off Page Filing. (Obviously memory is alot faster than a hard-drive, and this can be a bottleneck.)
    Enable write caching on hard-drive.
    Clear 'both' temp folders. I suggest this is done manually, and I use custom folders with CCleaner to do this. I also clear the ATI folder when the drivers are finished installing.
    If you decide to do this with CCleaner, when you select the folder to clean, select files and folders but 'not' the folder itself.
    Disable the windows search update and uninstall it if you already have it.
    If I remember any more I'll add them another time.

    Must add, these are what I do when I fresh install windows, as well as more I have seen raffriff post. If you are a computer newbie, then I do not suggest you do these, especially the write caching.

    You do this on your own accord and I take blame for nothing.


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