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BioShock Gameplay Performance - Page 1 of 3

INTRODUCTION

Based on feedback in our BioShock performance discussion thread, the GeForce 8800 Series of graphics cards is delivering better than expected performance in the "genetically enhanced" 3D action shooter from 2K Games. Since BioShock does not feature an internal benchmark, I began evaluating areas for possible use as a gameplay walkthrough.

BioShock

A visual walkthrough, as demonstrated by video, is helpful in determining gameplay performance as it provides the reader with the necessary information to execute their own benchmarks. Doing so allows them to compare performance against the system in this article and from other readers. If you have benchmark results to contribute, please do so in this forum thread. We appreciate your efforts for contributing.

Gameplay Video - The Crash Site
Click to Enlarge - 2.1 MB)
Link to Partial Gameplay Video Clip (~2 MB)
Link to Full Length Gameplay Video Clip (~13 MB)

Developing a series of performance tests for BioShock will especially benefit those who are in the process of evaluating graphics hardware for a new system build or a system upgrade.

TEST SYSTEM

Hardware and Operating System

  • Intel Core 2 Duo E6850 - 3.0GHz Conroe Core - 4MB L2 Cache
  • BFG nForce 680i SLI Motherboard
  • 4GB Corsair XMS PC8500 DDR2 SDRAM 5-5-5-18-2T @ 400MHz
  • Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZX
  • Dell 3007WFP LCD Monitor
  • Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2
  • DirectX 9.0c

Graphics Cards, Drivers, and Driver Settings

  • XFX GeForce 8800 Ultra XXX Edition
  • ForceWare Beta 163.44
  • 32-Bit Color
  • Vsync Disabled
  • 60Hz Refresh Rate
  • High Quality Texture Filtering
  • Gamma Correct Antialiasing
  • Supersampling Transparency Antialiasing

Applications Benchmarked

  • BioShock

Notes

  • Antialiasing and anisotropic filtering were forced via the driver control panel
  • In-game graphics settings were configured to their highest quality
  • Creative EAX audio was disabled

PERFORMANCE - THE CRASH SITE

Our first set of benchmark results is a plot of the frame rate per second (fps), a real-time statistic provided by Fraps, as the gameplay depicted in the video was executed. Tests were run at a resolution of 2560x1600 with no antialiasing (red), 2x antialiasing (blue), and 4x antialiasing (green).

Gameplay Performance - The Crash Site

The main area of interest in the graph lies along the 30 fps horizontal dashed line. Graphics settings that can maintain 30 fps across the length of the graph are desirable. Matched with a high-end Core 2 Duo processor, the GeForce 8800 Ultra maintained 30fps in a majority of the frames when no antialiasing (AA) was used.

At the start of BioShock, the player is immediately drawn into the game through its sound and visual qualities. Water and flame effects are convincing and the sinking aircraft is an indication that you are the sole survivor of a tragic accident.

Occurrence of Minimum Frame Rate

The next statistic, which was developed by Clay Angelly in Excel, groups the raw frame rate data and churns out results similar to F.E.A.R. The spreadsheet has two input parameters - the lowest acceptable frame rate and desired frame rate. Both figures are then used to compute the "number of frames" and "percent of frames" statistics.

Gameplay Summary - The Crash Site

Since BioShock is a first person shooter, frame rates between 30 and 60 fps are sought after. At a resolution of 2560x1600 with no AA, 84% of the frames were between 30 and 60 fps in "The Crash Site" test. Performance would improve by forming an SLI configuration with a second graphics card.

Next Page: Welcome to Rapture Performance

Last Updated on September 9, 2007


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