There is a lot going on in videocard land at the moment. It is not just stronger faster, harder, bigger, better graphic cards that are being released but also software to make life easier, faster, stronger, harder, bigger, better, etc for us gamers. AMD for example is playing around with Mantle, a nifty feature where the game will directly communicate with the graphic card to make sure no power is lost and improving performance, and Nvidia has it's Shadowplay. The latter being the one I am going to promote here.
What is Shadowplay.
Shadowplay is a hardware accelerate screen recording app designed for and made by Nvidia. It is similar to Fraps (for recording) or Xsplit (for streaming). But without the performance loss! Shadowplay uses a new dedicated capture API* to achieve this. It also uses the new H.264 video encoding hardware that can be found in the newer Nvidia 600 and 700 graphics card series.
Oh my god, that is awesome! How do I install and use this?
First go to Geforce-Experience, and install the Geforce Experience if you havnt done so yet. This is Nvidia's fancy little program that will tell you when there are driver updates (including beta ones if you want), it can optimize game settings for smoothest gameplay, spam you with news you wont care about, Nvidia Shield and... Shadowplay!
Once you installed the Geforce Experience you can go to Settings and the Shadowplay tab and change some settings around, hotkeys to start and end recording, location of the overlay icon, etc. It's all very self-explanatory.
In the top right you have the button Shadowplay, hit it and this little window pops up;
•The on and off button.
•Below the on/off button you have an Open Folder (to view past recordings) and a Settings button.
•The Mode button, which allows you to switch between; Manual, Shadow and Stream to Twitch.
•Shadow Time, this is where you can set how much of your past gameplay it will record. There is a little slider you can move up and down and you will see the time and HD storage it will take go up and down with it. More on this below.
•Video quality button, change the quality of the recorded video. (important when you try to stream with low uploads)
•The Audio button, change what you want people to hear when listening to your stream or your video.
Pick your preferable settings, start your game and start recording/streaming.
Here is a nice little overview of what the Icon looks like ingame in different modes;
(pictures taken from http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/)
In Shadow mode, it "shadows" your last 20minutes of gameplay (20 is the max). You can also use manual mode ofcourse to capture it. But with Shadow Mode running you wont have to worry that you can't show anyone that awesome kill/move/etc you just did. Just hit the button and the last 20 minutes are saved to your harddrive. It can dish out 1080p video's at 50mbps.
And most important, with barely any performance loss. It is still in beta testing, so there might be some hickups here and there but so far it has proven to be pretty solid. Shadowplay is supported for Nvidia GTX650 cards and up. Notebook GPU's are NOT supported at this time.
*An application programming interface (API) specifies how components should interact with eachother.