Bioshock Infinite Performance Analysis

Bioshock Infinite is brilliant. In fact, if you’ve yet to grab the latest masterpiece to fly from the brain of Ken Levine and onto our monitors, go read our Bioshock Infinite review that will tell you just how marvellous it is, before rushing off to your game shop of choice to buy a copy. Of course, if you’ve recently bought an AMD graphics card, the chances are you’re sat on a copy already, courtesy of its Never Settle game bundle.

Bioshock Infinite Performance Analysis Bioshock Infinite Performance
Click to enlarge – Using Unreal Engine 3, Bioshock Infinite looks fantastic, with plenty of PC-specific detail improvements
However, aside from being an early contender for game of the year, Bioshock Infinite is also a great looking and surprisingly tough to run game, at least on its maxed out settings. Despite running on the Unreal Engine 3 – so popular with this generation’s console developers – Bioshock Infinite boasts support for anti-aliasing, depth of field, dynamic shadows high resolution textures and DirectX 11 post-processing effects. The result is a fantastic looking and demanding title based on one of the most popular game engines around; ideal benchmark territory.

Happily, those lovely chaps at 2K and Irrational Games have even seen fit to bundle a benchmark into the game as well, running a quick time demo of two demanding sections right at the start of the game. First though, lets have a glance at the visuals on offer.

Bioshock Infinite Performance Analysis Bioshock Infinite Performance Bioshock Infinite Performance Analysis Bioshock Infinite Performance Bioshock Infinite Performance Analysis Bioshock Infinite Performance Bioshock Infinite Performance Analysis Bioshock Infinite Performance
Click to enlarge – Bioshock’s Ultra, High, Medium and Very Low detail presets allow it to scale to almost any hardware

Bioshock Infinite Detail Comparison

Bioshock Infinite’s Ultra detail setting demonstrates the game at its best, with smoothed and detailed dynamic shadows, anti-aliasing, high resolution textures and the full array of lighting options, from light shafts to ambient occlusion. Dropping the detail down, results in small but tangible drops in all settings, but at its high pre-set the game still looks very good. Anti-aliasing is still enabled, leading us to believe it’s likely an FXAA post-process injector rather than true anti-aliasing, but shadows are cruder. Unlike Crysis 3, Bioshock Infinite’s art-style isn’t hurt too much by reduced details and even at the medium preset the game looks very good, with light shafts and anti-aliasing still enabled. it’s not until the low and very low presets that things really drop off alarmingly though, as AA, dynamic shadows, post-processing and light shafts are all disabled.

Bioshock Infinite Performance Analysis Bioshock Infinite Performance Bioshock Infinite Performance Analysis Bioshock Infinite Performance
Click to enlarge – Other than the application of anti-aliasing Elizabeth looks much the same at Ultra (left) and Very low (right) detail
While the world around the player decreases in detail, we found that critical characters such as Elizabeth retain a high model and texture detail even at the game’s lowest settings. Compare the two shots below and beyond the impact of anti-aliasing smoothing edges, she’s otherwise the same.

Bioshock Infinite Performance Analysis Bioshock Infinite Performance Bioshock Infinite Performance Analysis Bioshock Infinite Performance
Click to enlarge – World textures are very much effected by dropping detail settings however, as these ugly surfboards demonstrate
However, world textures and detail do differ dramatically. Compare the ultra-detail screen shot of surfboards on the left to the low-detail and you’ll immediately appreciate that extra detail setting. However, it’s clear then that this is no lazy console-port, but a game which carries plenty of extra PC finery.

How We Tested

As of our Nvidia GTX Titan review, we’ve updated our GPU test rig. It’s now equipped with the multi-GPU powerhouse that is the Asus Maximus V Extreme, allowing us to run up to 4-card SLI and CrossFire with 8x PCI-E 3.0 lanes per card.

We’ve also updated the CPU to an Intel Core i5 3570K running at 4.2GHz to raise the CPU headroom, and paired it with 8GB of 2,400MHz Corsair Dominator DDR3.

The chassis has also been uprated to NZXT’s Switch 810, a case big enough to house even a pair of Asus’ Ares 2 graphics cards. Powering that many graphics cards has also required a replacement power supply with the Lepa G1600 1600W PSU offering more wattage and 8-pin PCI-E power connectors that we’d ever need.

Our benchmarks remain the same mix of custom in-game time demos and manually-played sections, using FRAPS to record the average and minimum frame rates. We strive to not only record real-world performance you will actually see, but also present the results in a manner that is easy to digest. We test at 1,920 x 1,080 (1080p), 2,560 x 1,600 and 5,760 x 1,080.

Bioshock Infinite Performance Analysis Test Setup
Test System

  • Intel Core i5 3570K (operating at 4.2GHz – 42 x 100MHz)
  • Asus Maximus V Extreme motherboard
  • 2 x 4GB Corsair 2,400MHz DDR3 memory
  • Lepa G1600 1600W PSU
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
  • Samsung SSD 830 256GB SSD

AMD graphics cards

  • AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB GHz Edition (1,000-1,050MHz, 6GHz memory) (Catalyst 13.3 beta)
  • AMD Radeon HD 7950 3GB with Boost (875MHz-925MHz GPU, 5GHz memory) (Catalyst 13.3 beta)
  • AMD Radeon HD 7870 2GB (1,000MHz GPU, 4.8GHz memory) (Catalyst 13.3 beta)
  • AMD Radeon HD 7850 2GB (860MHz GPU, 4.8GHz memory) (Catalyst 13.3 beta)
  • AMD Radeon HD 7790 1GB (1,000MHz GPU, 6GHz memory) (Launch Driver)
  • AMD Radeon HD 7770 1GB (1,000MHz GPU, 4.5GHz memory) (Catalyst 13.3 beta)
  • AMD Radeon HD 7750 1GB (825MHz GPU, 4.5GHz memory) (Catalyst 13.3 beta)

Nvidia graphics cards

  • Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan 6GB (836Mhz, boosting to 876MHz, 6GHz memory) (GeForce 314.22)
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 690 4GB (915MHz, boosting to 1,084MHz, 6GHz memory) (GeForce 314.22)
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 2GB (1,006MHz, boosting to 1,110MHz, 6GHz memory) (GeForce 314.22)
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 670 2GB (915MHz, boosting to 1,084MHz, 6GHz memory) (GeForce 314.22)
    Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 2GB (980MHz GPU boosting to 1,033MHz, 6GHz memory) (GeForce 314.22)
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB (980MHz GPU boosting to 1,033MHz, 6GHz memory) (GeForce 314.22)
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti 1GB (925MHz GPU, 5.4GHz memory) (GeForce 314.22)
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 1GB (1,058 MHz GPU, 5GHz memory) (GeForce 314.22)

Bioshock Infinite Detail Preset Performance

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From our Bioshock Infinite review :

“Your character Booker’s trip to Columbia is in the interest of retrieving a girl, Elizabeth, from captivity. It’s imperative that you find her so that you can clear a pile of debts, but it’s increasingly clear as your time in Columbia continues that this isn’t a simple hero’s tale. Elizabeth has the power to control “tears in reality” that are popping up all over the city.”

“It’s an adult, thoughtful and compelling work that shames many (if not most) other attempts in the medium. Bioshock Infinite is an incredibly good video game. It might be one of the best.

We use the handy in-built benchmarking tool to run a timedemo from two sections near the start of the game. However, we’ve found the game-generated results to be unreliable, so use FRAPS to record the frame rate over a 40 second sequence of gameplay during the second test. The results taken are an average of three repeated tests.

Bioshock Infinite Detail Settings

GTX 680 2GB, 1,920 x 1,080

  • Ultra Detail w. DOF
  • Ultra Detail
  • Very High Detail
  • High Detail
  • Medium Detail
  • Low Detail
  • Very Low Detail
    • 66

    • 77

    • 77

    • 94

    • 87

    • 109

    • 110

    • 137

    • 120

    • 149

    • 147

    • 192

    • 206

    • 273

0

50

100

150

200

250

300

Frames Per Second

  • Minimum
  • Average

Bioshock Infinite Detail Settings

Radeon HD 7970 3GB GHz Edition, 1,920 x 1,080

  • Ultra Detail w. DOF
  • Ultra Detail
  • Very High Detail
  • High Detail
  • Medium Detail
  • Low Detail
  • Very Low Detail
    • 64

    • 75

    • 81

    • 100

    • 97

    • 109

    • 113

    • 135

    • 127

    • 153

    • 155

    • 193

    • 229

    • 294

0

50

100

150

200

250

300

Frames Per Second

  • Minimum
  • Average

With Ultra detail and depth of field enabled, the GTX 680 2GB and HD 7970 3GB GHz Edition are almost cynically matched, with the GTX 680’s minimum frame rate of 66fps just 2fps higher than that of the Radeon. At reduced detail settings the AMD architecture looks to have the edge though. At Very high detail, despite an identical average frame rate of 109fps, the 7970’s minimum frame rate of 97fps is 10 fps higher than that of the GeForce.

Scaling down the detail settings, just disabling depth of field improves the frame rate by 16 per cent, while the drop down to Very High from Ultra improves the frame rate by 19 per cent on the AMD card and 12 per cent on the Nvidia. The High and medium preset perform very similarly, with the latter improving frame rates by over 50 per cent in comparison to the Ultra preset. Finally, the Very Low preset, which disabled self-shadowing, sees frame rates skyrocket, with the Radeon some 20 per cent quicker than the GeForce. The overall difference between the Ultra w.DOF and Very low present is a huge 212 per cent on the GTX 680 and over 250 per cent on the Radeon.

Bioshock Infinite Detail Settings

GTX 680 2GB, 2,560 x 1,600

  • Ultra Detail w. DOF
  • Ultra Detail
  • Very High Detail
  • High Detail
  • Medium Detail
  • Low Detail
  • Very Low Detail
    • 37

    • 43

    • 44

    • 54

    • 51

    • 62

    • 66

    • 79

    • 72

    • 86

    • 90

    • 115

    • 132

    • 171

0

25

50

75

100

125

150

175

Frames Per Second

  • Minimum
  • Average

Bioshock Infinite Detail Settings

Radeon HD 7970 3GB GHz Edition, 2,560 x 1,600

  • Ultra Detail w. DOF
  • Ultra Detail
  • Very High Detail
  • High Detail
  • Medium Detail
  • Low Detail
  • Very Low Detail
    • 37

    • 42

    • 48

    • 58

    • 59

    • 69

    • 69

    • 79

    • 79

    • 91

    • 96

    • 116

    • 148

    • 178

0

50

100

150

200

Frames Per Second

  • Minimum
  • Average

Bioshock Infinite Performance Comparison

We’ve looked at how the performance of Bioshock Infinite scales when changing the in-game detail settings, but what about how performance varies from card to card? Check out our comprehensive comparisons below, showing 16 different graphics cards running at 1,920 x 1,080, 2,560 x 1,600 and 5,760 x 1,080.

Head to the next page for our performance analysis.

Bioshock Infinite

1,920 x 1,080, Ultra Detail w. DOF

  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 690 4GB
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan 6GB
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 2GB
  • AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB GHz Edition
  • AMD Radeon HD 7950 Boost 2GB
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 670 2GB
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 2GB
  • AMD Radeon HD 7870 2GB
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB
  • AMD Radeon HD 7850 2GB
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti 1GB
  • AMD Radeon HD 7790 1GB
  • AMAMD Radeon HD 7770 1GB
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 1GB
  • AMD Radeon HD 7750 1GB
    • 100

    • 128

    • 86

    • 106

    • 66

    • 77

    • 64

    • 74

    • 60

    • 70

    • 60

    • 70

    • 52

    • 61

    • 45

    • 54

    • 42

    • 48

    • 38

    • 45

    • 34

    • 40

    • 29

    • 34

    • 25

    • 30

    • 21

    • 25

    • 19

    • 23

    • 16

    • 19

0

25

50

75

100

125

150

Frames Per Second

  • Minimum
  • Average

Bioshock Infinite

2,560 x 1,600, Ultra Detail w. DOF

  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 690 4GB
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan 6GB
  • AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB GHz Edition
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 2GB
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 670 2GB
  • AMD Radeon HD 7950 Boost 2GB
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 2GB
  • AMD Radeon HD 7870 2GB
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB
  • AMD Radeon HD 7850 2GB
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti 1GB
  • AMD Radeon HD 7790 1GB
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 1GB
  • AMAMD Radeon HD 7770 1GB
  • AMD Radeon HD 7750 1GB
    • 64

    • 77

    • 53

    • 61

    • 37

    • 42

    • 37

    • 43

    • 34

    • 40

    • 34

    • 40

    • 29

    • 35

    • 25

    • 30

    • 23

    • 26

    • 20

    • 25

    • 19

    • 22

    • 15

    • 18

    • 11

    • 15

    • 10

    • 13

    • 9

    • 14

    • 8

    • 10

0

10

20

30

40

50

60

70

80

Frames Per Second

  • Minimum
  • Average

Bioshock Infinite

5,760 x 1,080, Ultra Detail w. DOF

  • Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan 6GB
  • AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB GHz Edition
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 2GB
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 670 2GB
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 2GB
  • AMD Radeon HD 7870 2GB
  • AMD Radeon HD 7850 2GB
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 690 4GB
    • 32

    • 38

    • 20

    • 25

    • 14

    • 26

    • 11

    • 22

    • 11

    • 19

    • 11

    • 16

    • 11

    • 13

    • 10

    • 13

    • 9

    • 15

    • 7

    • 34

0

10

20

30

40

Frames Per Second

  • Minimum
  • Average

Bioshock Infinite Performance Analysis

Having gotten used to Unreal Engine 3 games being about as demanding as a negotiator from the neutral planet, we were perversely pleased to find that Bioshock Infinite is a tricky game to run at its best even on expensive hardware at 1,920 x 1,080. The GTX 690 4GB and GTX Titan 6GB are predictably out in front by some margin at all three resolutions, but further down the field it quickly gets very competitive.

The GTX 680 2GB just pips the HD 7970 3GB GHz Edition with its minimum frame rate of 66fps at 1,920 x 1,080, while the HD 7950 3GB and GTX 670 2GB are deadlocked with a minimum frame rate of 60fps each. The next step down is a big one for AMD though, with the HD 7870 2GB’s minimum frame rate of 42fps slower than both Nvidia’s GTX 660 Ti 2GB and GTX 660 2GB, which produce minimum frame rates of 52fps and 45fps respectively.

Nvidia’s new boy, the GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB, also topples its nemesis, the HD 7850 2GB thanks to a 3fps minimum frame rate advantage. While the lesser cards might look disappointing at the bottom of the graph, we can extrapolate our finding from the GTX 680 2GB and HD 7970 3GB at different detail settings to see that, should you drop detail settings down, even these low-end cards can produce playable frame rates. Going from Ultra to medium for example comfortably doubles the frame rate, whilst retaining visual extras such as simple self-shadowing and anti-aliasing. It’s not absolutely guaranteed that performance will scale in exactly the same way on slower hardware, but we still feel confident suggesting you’ll find playable settings on these cards.

Bioshock Infinite Performance Analysis
Click to enlarge
Upping the resolution made no difference to the running order, although this time the GTX 680 2GB and HD 7970 3GB are evenly matched with a minimum frame rate of 37fps each. Again the GTX 670 2GB and HD 7950 Boost are deadlocked too, although the HD 7870 2GB again underwhelms with slower performance than the cheaper GTX 660 2GB.

Finally at three-screen 5,760 x 1,080 the HD 7970 3GB comes good, comprehensively outpacing the GTX 680 with a minimum frame rate of 20fps; a 40 per cent advantage over the Nvidia card. Disappointingly, the GTX 690 4GB suffered from some severe driver issues here, with a pitiful minimum frame rate of just 7fps despite a healthy 34fps average. That leaves the GTX Titan to take top honours, it’s 6GB of GDDR5 seemingly mastering the ultra-high resolution to offer a 60 per cent performance lead over the HD 7970 3GB GHz Edition.

Bioshock Infinite Performance Analysis
Click to enlarge

Conclusion

At the high end at least, the GTX 680/HD 7970 and GTX 670/HD 7950 are very evenly matched in Bioshock Infinite, with both pairs of cards performing within a few frames of each other regardless of resolution; it’s only at 5,760 x 1,080 that the 7970 proves tangibly quicker. Further down the stock though, the HD 7870 2GB is disappointingly slower than both of Nvidia’s GTX 660-series cards, with the £150 GTX 660 2GB quicker than the dearer Radeon card. This is repeated with the GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB quicker than the HD 7850 2GB and GTX 650 Ti 1GB faster than the pricier HD 7790 1GB. While buying an HD 7870 might net you Bioshock for free then, a GTX 660 2GB will offer that bit more performance for less.

SOURCE:http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2013/04/23/bioshock-infinite-performance/1