PROS / This software's integrated live streaming makes for easy broadcasting.
CONS / The customer support resources are decidedly lackluster.
VERDICT / D3DGear combines powerful tools, ease of use and features like integrated live streaming into a package that is attractive and highly functional.
It's surprisingly difficult to find game recording software that provides powerful tools and presents them in an easy-to-use way. Fortunately, D3DGear gives you everything you need to create high-quality recording of your gameplay and strikes a balance between breadth and depth that will appeal to most users. This program is among the best game recording software available, and it earns our Top Ten Reviews Silver Award because of its accessibility and versatility.
While recording gameplay, you don't want the video game capture software slowing things down. D3DGear has the lightest impact on in-game performance out of all of the applications we tested. We benchmarked four games without any recording software and then benchmarked them again while recording with each application we reviewed.
D3DGear decreased in-game performance by only 4 percent while recording 1080p videos and 7 percent while recording 720p videos. The difference between the two is likely because the game ran at 1080p and D3DGear had to downscale it in order to create the 720p video. The extra resources required for that are apparent in our testing. Overall, this is the best result in our testing, matched only by Dxtory.
While we didn't notice any lag while starting or stopping recording, D3DGear does introduce an increase in the frames per second (fps) range during gaming. For example, without any recording, "Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor" had a minimum of 47 fps and a maximum of 103 fps. While recording with D3DGear, the game's minimum decreased to 39 fps and the maximum jumped to 180 fps. We disabled V-Sync for these tests. The increase in fps presents you with a much choppier gameplay experience. Of course, enabling V-Sync fixes most of that.
D3DGear's user interface is about as simple as it can get. There are six tabs on the left side of the primary workspace window, one for each of D3DGear's recording tools. Adjusting the settings is easy and straightforward. Once you launch D3DGear, you can minimize the application's window or even close it and the software will continue running. To start recording, all you have to do is hit the right hotkey.
One of the most exciting features of D3DGear is that this software supports live streaming from within the program. All you need to do is enter your account information for Twitch.tv or another streaming service on the broadcast tab. After that, you just hit the hotkey you assign to broadcast your video and you'll be live streaming. You can control many aspects of your live stream, including the resolution, video bitrate and frame rate. You can also balance the sound between your microphone and the system sound.
We expect more game recording software will adopt integrated live streaming in the future, but right now, not many do. This is but one of the reasons D3DGear is one of the best game recording software programs.
D3DGear supports custom hotkeys, which means that you can assign recording functions to any key that you want. If you want to begin recording when you press the Tab key, all you need to do is bind Tab to the record hotkey in the settings. Every game has different key bindings, and every player has different styles of playing. The custom hotkey feature gives you control over D3DGear's recording tools, ensuring that you get the best setup while playing and recording.
Many people like to create Let's Play videos of their games. In order to make these, you need to ensure that your game recording software supports microphone input. D3DGear supports audio input from both system sounds, such as game music and SFX, and an external source, such as a microphone. You can also balance the sound levels of the two audio sources. You don't want the game music and SFX to drown out your commentary, so this is an important tool.
For many people who record video games, 60 fps is the optimal frame rate to shoot for. D3DGear supports recording at any frame rate up to 60 fps. You can choose from the predefined options or enter a value of your choice, giving you a large amount of control over your video quality. Some people like to record at frame rates higher than 60 fps, but there is usually little benefit. In fact, in many cases the human eye won't notice a difference between 40 fps and 60 fps. For reference, most movies at the cinema run at a mere 24 fps. The main reason to record at higher frame rates is to have better-quality material to edit later on.
Speaking of editing, D3DGear has the appealing ability to save audio from a recording to a separate file. This feature can help you create a more professional-sounding video. Unfortunately, there isn't an option to adjust the video's bitrate in the video recording settings. The only option is to choose a quality level. However, you can fine-tune the video bitrate under the live streaming options. If you want to change the resolution of your recording, you can choose from presets or enter a custom resolution. Keep in mind that the higher your resolution, the larger and more taxing your video file size will be on your system resources.
Help & Support
D3DGear doesn't have as many support resources as we would like. The lack of a manual and user forums is disappointing. However, the FAQs and tutorials have a decent amount of information, and you should turn there first if you have questions or issues. If you still need help, you can contact the support team through an email form. While we would like to see better help and support for D3DGear, what's available will likely be sufficient for most users.
D3DGear offers powerful tools that are easy to use and can handle just about anything you need it to do. It records your games with minimal impact on performance, while giving you the tools and options necessary to ensure your recordings are high-quality. The integrated live streaming is a major bonus for this game recorder, as live streaming is very popular and becoming more so. The audio recording tools are powerful, and the option to record audio to a separate file is very convenient. D3DGear balances its strong tools with ease of use and does so admirably.