NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Review

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GeForce Experience, ShadowPlay

To coincide with the launch of the GeForce GTX 780, NVIDIA is also releasing its GeForce Experience software to the mass market. If you’re unfamiliar with GeForce Experience, it is a companion application that will be bundled with NVIDIA’s GeForce drivers moving forward, that make it quick and easy for gamers to optimize the performance of their games for their particular PC’s configuration, without having to futz around in the game’s menu system.

NVIDIA gathers an enormous amount of performance data from a variety of sources. The company works with game developers to optimize both game engines and its own drivers before a title hits the market using a farm of systems with different configurations. Games are internally tested for driver compatibility, and customers provide feedback via public forums and the like. The net result is a comprehensive database of how any given game will perform on a wide range of hardware.

The GeForce Experience Utility

The goal of the GeForce Experience application is to streamline the optimization process by leveraging the performance data in NVIDIA’s database. Instead of depending on individual games to handle it, NVIDIA's GeForce Experience software will select the best settings for a given title depending on your system configuration. These settings aren't just picked by a superior algorithm; human testing is an integral part of the process too. We should point out that users will be able to control whether or not Optimized settings are applied on a game-by-game basis, and the GeForce Experience utility can be used to launch programs from different services as well. And power users, who prefer to tinker on their own, still have the ability to do so.

The closed beta for GeForce Experience went live a few months ago, and initially supported about 32 games. Since then, NVIDIA has responded to all of the user feedback, added some features, and updated the app to support more games and it is now ready for prime time.

ShadowPlay Menu Up Close

A cool new feature coming with GeForce Experience is dubbed ShadowPlay. If you’ve ever searched YouTube for gaming-related videos, you know how popular it is for gamers to record and post highlights from their particular proud gaming moments.

By utilizing the H.264 video encoder built-in to every Kepler GPU, ShadowPlay records up to the last 20 minutes of gameplay footage at resolutions up to 1080p at 30 FPS, and can write it to a file at the touch of a button. ShadowPlay works in the background and will consume a certain amount of RAM depending on the length of the recording (around 500MB for a 3 minute video), but compared to software-based video encoders like FRAPS, using ShadowPlay results in less of a performance hit, so you can still game while recording.

ShadowPlay will be rolling out for all Kepler-based GPUs (including the GeForce GTX 600 series) later this summer.

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