"Real-time video capture and benchmarking."
Fraps is a simple utility that is primarily meant for benchmarking your PC’s performance while running DirectX or OpenGL applications. Almost every PC game uses either of these technologies, so Fraps has become a tool most gamers keep handy. Read on to find out if it does what it claims to do well.
Installation is quick and painless, with no complicated settings to deal with. There was no adware that was bundled in, even in the free version’s installer. No additional downloads are needed to successfully install Fraps, but you should ensure that you’re running DirectX 9.0C or higher. Any Windows OS newer than and including Windows XP is supported.
The interface is a straightforward, no frills one. All the options are organized logically into tabs and explanations are present everywhere they would be needed. One caveat is that in the trial mode, on the home screen, there’s a large banner that asks you to upgrade to the full version. One really handy feature is that Fraps comes with an option that allows it to be minimized to the system tray instead of the taskbar. Most features can be enabled or disabled using Hotkeys. Overall, the interface is nothing exceptional, but it serves the purpose.
Fraps’ features can be broken into two categories, benchmarking and screen capture. Under benchmarking, the most basic feature is the frames per second overlay. This puts a counter in a corner of your screen that displays the current number of frames per second. A more helpful tool allows you to run a timed benchmark, and Fraps logs the maximum, minimum and average FPS over the duration of your benchmark. This gives a more realistic picture of performance. Coming to screen capture, Fraps allows you to take screenshots, or capture video. The screenshot feature isn’t too helpful, since you can take screenshots using the Print Screen key anyway. However, you can set up Fraps to take a screenshot every few seconds and save it automatically. Coming to video, the options are pretty diverse, and you can set the frame rate for the video, set the audio source, and even force lossless capture. The quality of both screenshots and videos was found to be excellent.
The trial version has several restrictions on it. Apart from the ugly banner on the home screen, it puts a watermark on all recorded videos, and limits their length to 30 seconds. Further, screenshots can only be saved in the BMP format. These are pretty harsh restrictions, and can make the video capture feature useless for some users. At a list price of $37, Fraps offers too little in terms of features for the price.
Fraps does everything it advertises well. While there are alternatives, none of them offer an integrated benchmarking and screen capture toolset like Fraps does. A worthy purchase if you need all the features it offers.
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