DirectX 10 Shootout: Nvidia vs. ATI

Benchmarks - Bioshock Test 1

Bioshock is set in the underwater city of Rapture. 2K games successfully weave a gripping FPS-story around narrow tunnels and flooded rooms. As the unwitting hero, you use either weapons or Plasmid-abilities with very beautiful visual effects. The graphics quality seems very similar under DirectX 9 and DirectX 10. One obvious exception is the way water is rendered, which has real waves in DirectX 10. If you'd like to learn more about Bioshock, take a look at our full review.

We benchmarked Bioshock without FSAA, since the standard drivers don't allow us to enable it and the in-game menu lacks AA settings. It seems we will just have to get used to the fact that games that are released both for consoles and PCs don't offer HDR-R and FSAA simultaneously (Oblivion, Bioshock).

ATI's cards have severe problems with Bioshock. The HD 2400 and HD 2600 series crash the game reproducibly. While the scene depicting your arrival in Rapture freezes repeatedly, the Plasmid intro completes without any problems. However, continue playing a little further, and the game will freeze once again. Sadly, this costs the mainstream Radeon cards several frames in the overall performance rating. According to several forums, an ATI hotfix solves several texture-related problems. The crashes remain, though. The Radeon HD 2900 XT is plagued by no such problems, running the game smoothly at the same settings using the Catalyst 7.9 driver suite.

The first benchmark scene shows the main character's arrival in Rapture. A Geforce 8600 GT allows you to play the game at full quality settings. Starting with the Radeon 2900 XT and the Geforce 8800 GTS, the game is completely smooth even at higher resolutions. Since FSAA is not supported by the game, additional video memory offers no advantage here. We saw no speed differences between 320 MB and 640 MB or 256 MB and 512 MB. The results for the Radeon HD 2400 and HD 2600 series of cards are missing here, since the game freezes immediately and then proceeds to crash. Our recommendation: Play the game in DX9 by starting it with the -dx9 switch.

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  • Anonymous
    i have and have been using an old ati x800 gt 256 mb ddr3 i can run bioshock at low res this being an old card i got no hope of a successful upgrade from ati