Notebookcheck

BioShock Infinite Benchmarked

Florian Glaser (translated by Markus Döpfert), 03/29/2013

A heavenly delight. BioShock is definitely a top-class shooter. No matter if the topic is the game world, handling, sound or story: This action hit leaves most of its competitors behind. We examine among other things the hardware requirements of this exceptional title. Find out if a weaker graphics card may suffice.

BioShock Infinite Logo

Description

For the original German review, see here.

"Freedom must be limitless above the clouds." These lyrics by the German artist Reinhard Mey come relatively close to the current work of Irrational Games, but are not quite correct. On the one hand BioShock Infinite is set inside the clouds rather than above, and on the other hand the freedom does not go as far as some fans would have wished for. Wait a second, inside the clouds? For everyone who has culpably ignored this action title so far: In BioShock Infinite we embody the Pinkerton agent Booker DeWitt who sets forth for the cloud city Columbia in 1912 to rescue the mysterious Elizabeth. It is no surprise to shooter experts that this job is no picnic and the path is paved with danger.

Just like in the first BioShock, the game starts in a light house. But this is the only similarity between the two games concerning atmosphere. Unlike the first BioShock, BioShock Infinite unfolds a picturesque idyll at the beginning of the game. However this misleads extremely. The "steampunk-like" cloud empire is dominated by a man named Comstock. The ubiquitous propaganda posters praise Comstock as prophet and religious leader. Attentive players will notice quickly that not everything runs smoothly behind the curtains because, just as in reality, there are some citizens who exaggerate with their faith and piousness. Differently put: Columbia is ruled by racism and fanaticism. It is no surprise that the main character soon spoils things with the citizens and heads for a confrontation.

This brings us to the main part of this action representative: the fights. In comparison to its predecessors, the developer has pepped up the gunfights significantly. Weapons, shooting sounds, and hit feedback do not have to shy away from other ego-shooters. The players who have already played parts of the BioShock series will quickly get comfortable with the underlying mechanics. Despite of diverse renaming (e.g. the magic skills, which you achieve along your way, are now called vigors instead of plasmids) nearly every familiar element is easy to find.

Irrational Games has even installed a few innovations. Articles of clothing, which are mostly well hidden in the levels, give Booker DeWitt several extras. Needless to say weapons and special capabilities are upgradable as well. Additionally, every few meters you are illuminated by a vending machine. There you can buy vital energy, salt (the mana of BioShock Infinite), and ammunition for hard cash.

Speaking of cash: Besides money, countless snacks like chocolate bars and fruit are distributed all over the magnificent surrounding (they affect the vital energy or the mana stock). For our taste though the developer has overdone it with the collectable objects again because if there is one thing missing in BioShock it is difficulty. As a halfway experienced gamer you will rarely get into trouble on the normal level of difficulty. Thanks to the vigors and the sumptuous ammunition and health supply even larger groups of enemies should not present themselves as a problem. The average AI, which often shows drop outs, does not help to increase the difficulty. Many times we could shoot ourselves thoughtlessly and without any tactics through the varied areas. In a word: The character is a little bit too powerful.

"Powerful" also fits for the atmosphere of the game. It borders to insanity what Irrational Games has delivered in this category. We have not seen such harmonious design and attention to detail in a long time (Dishonored was one of the last highlights). We have to pay the developers respect for their unbelievable effort. Nearly every screenshot could be a wonderful poster, wallpaper or picture in an art-book. The game world nearly explodes because of all those objects, be it flowers, candles, market stands, balloons or flags. Atmospherically speaking, BioShock Infinite is the new reference.

The terrific atmosphere is accentuated by a no less than superb soundtrack (20’s style). Especially in the first two hours you practically would like to dive into the screen. The wonderful melodies, which were partly interpreted by in-game choirs and orchestras, cause goose bumps. Even the voice-over suits very well.

Irrational Games does not only indulge the gamer optically and acoustically but also historically – in the true sense of the word. Despite the rather simple main quest (find Elizabeth and care for her) BioShock offers quite a bit content wise. Those who do not simply run through are confronted with lots of US history: the period of slavery, war of independence, political and religious questions – the range is huge. Theoretically you can spend hours just with the unimportant details. The people of Columbia are set somewhere between the Ku Klux Klan and naive idealism – a rather unconventional topic for a computer game.

The architecture of the levels is also quite unusual: Via grab hooks we sometimes hook ourselves up to the rail system of Columbia and speed through the area (incl. change of rails and death-from-above option). Even though the surrounding was mainly linearly designed you often discover alternative routes which reveal new audio books, secrets or side quests. The overall impression is topped off with a thought out and smooth control.

Discussion

With the exception of the low level of difficulty we could not find any serious flaws. The ego shooter only allows itself a few minor ones:

  • Theft is rarely punished. You can basically steal everything that is not nailed down.
  • The progress is automatically saved at certain spots. A quick-save option is missing.
  • Many characters look extremely alike or are completely identical (clone enemies).
  • The title is very action-packed. A few more riddles and moments of rest would have suited the game well.
  • Most of the objects do not react to exterior influences (no physics).
  • Some textures look mushy at close-up.

Benchmark

BioShock Infinite holds an integrated benchmark which is offered directly at the beginning of the game. With a graphical plain command line (rather unsuitable for laymen) you can adjust the setting and resolution. After a short loading sequence several scenes from the beginning of the action title appear. The complete benchmark takes about 1.5 minutes (see video). At the end BioShock Infinite gives out a detailed .csv file, which you can also obtain through the personal Windows folder (C:\Users\Name\Documents\My Games\BioShock Infinite\Benchmarks). You can find the average fps at the second spot in line "Overall".

As a general rule: While the processor is barely loaded, the graphics card works up a sweat. Due to temporary performance break-downs, which also affect stronger GPUs, the refresh rate should be set above 35-40. Sad to say, BioShock Infinite is not optimized perfectly at the moment. During the game – autonomously from the used hardware – we sometimes experienced some low frame rates.

Technology

In every aspect the technology works fine. The modified Unreal Engine 3 shines amongst others with high quality reflections and light effects. The color was also carefully chosen. The unique style and high level of detail help to overlook the existing texture weaknesses. Beside the screen mode, the aspect ratio, and the resolution you can also change the graphics quality and the brightness. With the option "Lock Framerate" (Irrational Games' VSync counterpart) time lapses are eliminated if needed.

The presets Very Low, Low, Medium, High, Very High, and Ultra help to adjust BioShock to the performance of your system. Great: No restart is needed after changes. Since the title only supports DirectX 10 and DirectX 11, owners of DirectX 9 computers (Windows XP) are left outside. As our screenshots prove, the action game still looks acceptable at medium details. Only the preset Very Low really pulls the graphics quality downwards.

Very Low Settings
Very Low Settings
Medium Settings
Medium Settings
High Settings
High Settings
Ultra Settings
Ultra Settings
Very Low Settings
Very Low Settings
Medium Settings
Medium Settings
High Settings
High Settings
Ultra Settings
Ultra Settings

Results

Due to the benchmark results it is not very noticeable that BioShock Infinite belongs to AMD’s program "Gaming Evolved". On the contrary: With the brand new ForceWare 314.11, which underlies this article, Nvidia models score higher by tendency. Slower GPUs at the level of the Intel HD Graphics 4000 can handle the preset low or very low at the most (1280x720). Potent representatives of the middle class like the Radeon HD 8750M or the GeForce GT 640M run also smoothly at medium to high settings (1366x768). For very high details and a 1600x900 resolution you need a high-end model like the GeForce GTX 660M. 1920x1080 pixel and maximum graphics options demand one of the current front runners (GeForce GTX 675MX, GTX 680M, or Radeon HD 7970M). If you exclude the DirectX 11 mode, the hardware demands are not that high though.

Benchmark-Tabelle: BioShock Infinite

Verdict

BioShock Infinite turns out to be an impressive roller-coaster ride. Every once in a while even hardboiled shooter experts will sit marveling in front of the screen to enjoy the unique atmosphere. The artistic qualities are nearly unrivaled. Those who are even remotely interested in the action genre should definitely try out this title. BioShock Infinite already ranks among the best games of the year.

Test Systems

Most of the results were taken from devices provided by the company Schenker Notebooks (mysn.de):

  • XMG P502 (Core i7-3610QM, GeForce GTX 660M, GTX 670M, GTX 675M(X), GTX 680M, Radeon HD 7970M & HD Graphics 4000)
  • XMG A502 (Core i5-3360M, GeForce GT 650M)
  • Xesia M501 (Core i7-2630QM, GeForce GT 630M & HD Graphics 3000)
  • Each with 8 GB DDR3-RAM (2x 4096 MB @ 1600 MHz), 160 GB SSD (Intel 320 Series)  & Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit

GPU drivers: Nvidia 314.22, AMD 13.3 Beta 3 & Intel 9.17.10.2932.

From left to right: Schenker XMG A502, Xesia M501 & XMG P502
From left to right: Schenker XMG A502, Xesia M501 & XMG P502

Overview

Show Restrictions
Pos      Model                                     BioShock Infinite
 BioShock Infinite (2013)
low
1280x720
Very Low Preset
med.
1366x768
Medium Preset
high
1366x768
High Preset
ultra
1920x1080
Ultra Preset, DX11 (DDOF)
 1NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M SLI
278.3
251.8
226.33
149.33
 2NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980
286.4
241.7
225
113.5
 3NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M SLI
290.2
273.1
220.32
131.052
 4NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti
289.9
237.9
218.6
116.4
 5NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970
264.9
234.4
219.2
107.6
 6NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M SLI
222.6
198.1
181.4
104
 7NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M SLI
233.5
208.5
94.5
 9NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M SLI
165.3
93.1
 10AMD Radeon R9 M290X Crossfire
173.4
152.6
145.5
85
 11AMD Radeon HD 8970M Crossfire
166.82
156.42
86.92
 14NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M
229.7
195.62
185.87
917
 15AMD Radeon R9 280X
253.3
211.7
182.6
76.3
 16NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960
279.2
208.9
185.4
75.8
 17NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
218.552
162.93
150.256
72.256
 18NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M SLI
223.4
185
162.6
61.8
 19NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680
195
168
153
64.72
 20AMD Radeon HD 7970
199.2
170.1
150.9
64.3
 22AMD Radeon R9 M295X
175.6
148.4
142
65.4
 25NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M
2103
1663
1525
65.65
Pos      Model                                     BioShock Infinite
lowmed.highultra
 26NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950
269.7
184.3
164
63.2
 28NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti
200.7
168.8
151.3
62.9
 29NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760
269.5
186.8
164.8
65.3
 30NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M
217.7
167.9
149.052
46.65
 31NVIDIA Quadro K5100M
157
132
49
 34NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M
193.952
147.952
132.552
532
 35NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M
188.654
146.954
1315
52.25
 36AMD Radeon R9 M290X
164.6
140
124.7
46.8
 37AMD Radeon HD 8970M
180.1
139.4
123.3
40.552
 41NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M
184.4
133.22
116.752
45.82
 42NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M SLI
205.4
156.7
1392
53.62
 44AMD FirePro M6100
230
112
94
34
 45AMD Radeon HD 7970M
168.1
121.2
116.6
43.7
 46NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti
233.3
140
122.2
46.7
 50NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
166.714
128.65
115.77
44.87
 52NVIDIA Quadro K4100M
178
115
101
37
 53NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770M
190.24
117.765
99.256
29.436
 54NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M
185.947
123.1510
105.9816
41.5716
 57NVIDIA GeForce GT 755M SLI
124.8
113.8
45.3
 60NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675MX
177.2
111.9
98.6
36.2
Pos      Model                                     BioShock Infinite
lowmed.highultra
 61NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M SLI
104.1
94.2
38.9
 62NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
134.4
99.93
86.13
29.63
 63NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M
150.86
98.66
82.89
28.49
 64AMD Radeon R9 M280X
64.3
67.9
62
26.5
 68NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470
162.3
111.5
100.9
32.8
 69NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M
152.25
90.98
77.18
23.257
 75NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675M
164.3
103.1
91.1
28.6
 80AMD Radeon HD 7770
171.6
91.8
76.7
24.7
 85NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 768MB
165
98.74
85.36
25.39
 88NVIDIA Quadro K3100M
158.052
96.9
84.8
26.852
 89AMD Radeon R9 M370X
160.2
85
71.4
25.7
 90NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670MX
158.1
91.8
78.3
27.9
 92NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760M
140
82
70
20
 93AMD Radeon R9 M275
88.2
52
42.8
14.4
 94NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670M
151.1
88.3
76.1
23.1
 98AMD Radeon HD 8870M
70.3
55.7
51.4
19.3
 103AMD FirePro M5100
80
73
62
21
 104NVIDIA Quadro K2100M
106
60
51
14
 109AMD Radeon R7 250
141.1
78.4
66.8
20.3
 110NVIDIA GeForce GT 755M
72.6
64.7
24.2
Pos      Model                                     BioShock Infinite
lowmed.highultra
 111NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M
126.5
72.4
64
22.9
 112NVIDIA GeForce 845M
42.7
39.3
13.9
 113AMD Radeon HD 8850M
87.92
55.62
46.252
16.92
 114AMD Radeon R9 M265X
118.32
63.44
54.154
19.44
 116AMD Radeon HD 8790M
113
55
47
15.6
 117AMD FirePro W4170M
108
56
49
17
 122NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M
899
55.89
45.610
16.39
 124NVIDIA Quadro K1100M
87.4
44.5
42.4
15.4
 125NVIDIA GeForce 940M
91.982
50.23
43.393
13.73
 126NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M
97.632
55.932
47.992
17.452
 127NVIDIA Quadro K620M
73
52
42
15
 128NVIDIA GeForce 840M
84.820
48.6520
39.720
13.520
 131NVIDIA GeForce GT 745M
90.872
50.782
42.72
12.572
 134AMD Radeon R7 512 Cores (Kaveri Desktop)
80.3
 135Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200
78.5
40.1
35.2
9.8
 137AMD Radeon R7 384 Cores (Kaveri Desktop)
78.4
 138NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M
68.413
3713
30.713
9.28
 139NVIDIA GeForce 930M
79.2
47.52
38.252
13.12
 140NVIDIA GeForce 830M
74.7
43.8
35.3
12.3
 141NVIDIA Quadro K2000M
84.8
46.7
39.8
10.9
Pos      Model                                     BioShock Infinite
lowmed.highultra
 144NVIDIA GeForce GT 735M
63.854
34.314
28.554
8.28
 146NVIDIA GeForce 825M
69.2
37.5
31.1
 148AMD FirePro M4000
105
56
44
13
 157AMD Radeon R7 M260X
44.9
39.3
13.5
 159AMD Radeon HD 8550G + HD 8750M Dual Graphics
66.8
40.3
33.3
 160NVIDIA GeForce GT 730M
63.552
34.42
28.72
10.4
 162*NVIDIA GeForce GT 645M
83.9
46.9
40.3
14.3
 163AMD FirePro M4100
9
 164AMD Radeon HD 8750M
59.752
35.82
30.82
10.92
 167AMD Radeon R7 M265
685
39.925
33.25
10.954
 171NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M
83.3
47.4
40.4
14.3
 172AMD Radeon R7 (Kaveri)
36.352
24.552
26.82
10.5
 173AMD Radeon R8 M365DX
58.7
42.4
37.7
13.5
 175AMD Radeon R7 M360
69.6
42.2
33
11.4
 184NVIDIA GeForce 920M
64.1
35.3
29.6
10.5
 186AMD Radeon R7 M260
54.564
34.494
26.594
8.443
 187*AMD Radeon R6 (Carrizo)
58.9
28.2
23.5
7.8
 195AMD Radeon HD 8670D
76.5
39.6
33.1
10.1
 199AMD Radeon R6 (Kaveri)
38.534
21.774
18.134
7
 217Intel HD Graphics 5600
57.6
30.3
25
7.5
Pos      Model                                     BioShock Infinite
lowmed.highultra
 218AMD Radeon HD 8570D
67.8
33.9
28
7.3
 219AMD Radeon HD 8650G + HD 8670M Dual Graphics
54.33
27.6
23.1
 220AMD Radeon HD 8650G + HD 8570M Dual Graphics
41.12
25.52
21.42
6.9
 222AMD Radeon HD 8550G + HD 8670M Dual Graphics
42.252
24.22
19.852
 223AMD Radeon HD 8670M
37.492
22.292
18.182
5.49
 224AMD Radeon R6 M255DX
46.852
312
26.42
13.1
 225AMD Radeon HD 7660D
67.73
35.24
293
8.53
 243AMD Radeon HD 8650G
46.152
26.1
22.6
 248NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
60.852
33.62
29.552
9.082
 249AMD Radeon HD 7560D
64.7
31.4
26.1
7.2
 254AMD Radeon R5 M255
58.01
34.25
27.21
 256NVIDIA GeForce 820M
56.27
31.47
26.57
8.1
 257Intel Iris Graphics 6100
44.5
28.6
23.3
7.7
 258NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M
51.954
29.44
24.54
7.4
 260AMD Radeon R5 M240
45.9
26.5
21.6
 262AMD Radeon R5 M230
34.72
22.552
18.62
6.42
 266AMD Radeon HD 8450G + Radeon HD 8570M Dual Graphics
28.2
19
 267AMD Radeon HD 8570M
28.1
14.7
12
4
 268Intel HD Graphics 6000
43.92
26.61
22.08
 269NVIDIA Quadro K610M
52.5
26.4
22.2
6
Pos      Model                                     BioShock Infinite
lowmed.highultra
 271Intel Iris Graphics 5100
363
21.53
18.43
 273*AMD Radeon HD 8610G
25.4
13.5
10.9
 276Intel HD Graphics 4600
34.9514
16.7514
13.813
6.84
 278Intel HD Graphics 5500
31.715
18.315
14.812
4.79
 279AMD Radeon R5 (Kaveri)
31
16.8
13.9
 282NVIDIA GeForce 710M
52.82
30.12
25
 283AMD Radeon HD 7660G
56
28.1
23.7
6.8
 286Intel HD Graphics 5000
34.314
20.494
15.394
7.7
 296AMD Radeon HD 7570M
47.9
23.5
19.4
 302AMD Radeon HD 8550G
52
 310AMD Radeon HD 7610M
53
25
21
6
 312AMD Radeon HD 8470D
55.14
25.78
21.9
6.2
 316Intel HD Graphics 4400
29.531
15.931
13.324
4.3415
 317NVIDIA NVS 5200M
47.7
25.3
20.6
6.2
 319AMD Radeon HD 7550M
40.7
20.4
16.6
 345Intel HD Graphics 5300
27.276
14.437
11.87
3.464
 353AMD Radeon HD 7480D
45.4
20.1
17.4
4.4
 354Intel HD Graphics 4000
26.813
12.6514
10.812
3.585
 357*AMD Radeon R4 (Kaveri)
17.6
10.7
8.9
3.3
 360AMD Radeon R5 (Beema/Carrizo-L)
30.53
16.73
14.052
6.1
Pos      Model                                     BioShock Infinite
lowmed.highultra
 361AMD Radeon R4 (Beema)
30.2
15.8
13.1
4.2
 362Intel HD Graphics 4200
24.74
134
10.92
2.8
 370AMD Radeon HD 8450G
30.63
16.12
13.4
 374AMD Radeon HD 8400
23.32
12.12
 386AMD Radeon HD 8330
24.42
12.012