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

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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.

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".

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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 1080 Ti (Desktop)
215
 2NVIDIA Titan X Pascal
219.2
208.4
186.7
165.7
 6NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Desktop)
360
319
2992
182.52
 7*AMD Radeon RX Vega 64
303.752
281.552
256.252
167.552
 8NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop)
324.33
284.53
273.73
166.710
 9NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti (Desktop)
132
 13NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Desktop)
154.52
 14NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q
272.3
243.6
232
163.352
 15NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
234.5510
204.7510
197.2512
134.126
 17NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti
160
 18NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
244.22
191.952
188.43
125.756
 22AMD Radeon R9 Nano
132
 23NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980
286.4
241.7
225
116.352
 24AMD Radeon RX 580 (Desktop)
265.1
212.9
202.5
116.1
 25NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop)
272.92
242.652
226.73
116.65
 27AMD Radeon R9 390X
283.8
246
228.3
112.4
 29NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Desktop)
253.9
217.6
205.1
113.5
 31AMD Radeon RX 480 (Desktop)
335
286
257
110
 32NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop)
197.811
176.0512
159.519
100.738
Pos      Model                                     BioShock Infinite
lowmed.highultra
 36NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti
289.9
237.9
218.6
116.4
 38*AMD Radeon RX Vega M GH
302.7
239.3
209.2
81.4
 40NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970
264.9
234.4
219.2
112.82
 41NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q
209
193.3
169.82
97.854
 45AMD Radeon RX 470 (Desktop)
182.8
93.2
 57NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M
209.42
1913
177.616
90.217
 59*AMD Radeon RX Vega M GL / 870
202.7
60
60
51.7
 60AMD Radeon R9 280X
253.3
211.7
182.6
76.3
 61AMD Radeon R9 380
287.5
219.2
191.9
80.8
 62NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960
279.2
208.9
185.4
75.8
 63NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook)
222.211
188.513
165.814
72.816
 65NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Desktop)
208
79
 66NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
174.954
150.25
149.0514
71.7514
 69NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680
199.92
159.152
144.552
55.83
 70AMD Radeon HD 7970
199.2
170.1
150.9
64.3
 74AMD Radeon R9 M295X
175.6
148.4
142
65.4
 77NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Desktop)
71.6
 78NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook)
206.513
160.214
149.119
63.623
 82AMD Radeon R7 370
269.79
172.39
149.47
55.96
 84NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M
2103
1663
1525
65.65
Pos      Model                                     BioShock Infinite
lowmed.highultra
 85NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950
269.7
184.3
164
63.2
 88NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti
200.7
168.8
151.3
62.9
 89NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760
269.5
186.8
164.8
65.3
 90NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M
217.7
167.9
149.052
46.65
 93AMD Radeon RX 460 (Desktop)
55.3
 96NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M
190.75
148.17
132.27
53.37
 98NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M
188.654
146.954
1315
52.25
 99AMD Radeon R9 M290X
164.6
140
124.7
46.8
 100AMD Radeon HD 8970M
192.452
144.852
129.72
43.73
 105AMD Radeon RX 460 (Laptop)
96
41.4
 106NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M
184.4
133.22
116.752
45.82
 108AMD Radeon R9 M390
213
147
130
49.5
 110AMD Radeon HD 7970M
168.1
121.2
116.6
43.7
 114NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
164.9510
129.318
117.7530
45.431
 115NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti
233.3
140
122.2
46.7
 116AMD Radeon RX 550 (Laptop)
159.413
90.693
73.53
22.353
 121AMD Radeon Pro 555
37.6
 122AMD Radeon Pro 455
230
37.8
 123NVIDIA GeForce GT 1030 (Desktop)
219.952
120.22
101.52
37.152
 124NVIDIA GeForce MX150
161.316
95.5116
80.3816
30.917
Pos      Model                                     BioShock Infinite
lowmed.highultra
 129NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770M
190.24
117.765
99.256
29.436
 132NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M
185.947
123.1510
105.9816
41.5716
 138NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675MX
177.2
111.9
98.6
36.2
 140NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
135.79
98.3514
86.414
29.614
 143AMD Radeon R9 M385X
89
79.6
75.1
32.4
 144NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M
150.86
98.66
82.89
28.49
 147AMD Radeon R9 M280X
64.3
67.9
62
26.5
 152NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470
162.3
111.5
100.9
32.8
 153NVIDIA GeForce 945M
148.5
92.9
78.7
26.4
 154NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M
152.25
90.98
77.18
23.257
 161Intel Iris Pro Graphics 580
101.3
57.9
51
14.9
 163NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675M
164.3
103.1
91.1
28.6
 169AMD Radeon HD 7770
171.6
91.8
76.7
24.7
 174NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 768MB
165
98.74
85.36
25.39
 179AMD Radeon R9 M370X
160.2
85
71.4
25.7
 180NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670MX
158.1
91.8
78.3
27.9
 182NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760M
140
82
70
20
 183AMD Radeon R9 M275
88.2
52
42.8
14.4
 184NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670M
151.1
88.3
76.1
23.1
 185NVIDIA Maxwell GPU Surface Book (940M, GDDR5)
94.2
64.8
56.5
20.8
Pos      Model                                     BioShock Infinite
lowmed.highultra
 190AMD Radeon HD 8870M
70.3
55.7
51.4
19.3
 201AMD Radeon R7 250
141.1
78.4
66.8
20.3
 202NVIDIA GeForce GT 755M
72.6
64.7
24.2
 203NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M
126.5
72.4
64
22.9
 204NVIDIA GeForce 845M
42.7
39.3
13.9
 205AMD Radeon HD 8850M
87.92
55.62
46.252
16.92
 207AMD Radeon R9 M265X
118.32
63.44
54.154
19.44
 210AMD Radeon HD 8790M
113
55
47
15.6
 217NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M
899
55.89
45.610
16.39
 221NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
96.237
54.337
44.7538
18.733
 223*AMD Radeon RX Vega 8
103.354
68.3
58.5
184
 224NVIDIA GeForce 940M
90.178
50.710
41.8410
14.48
 225NVIDIA GeForce 930MX
94.244
51.195
42.95
14.425
 228AMD Radeon R9 M375
89.2
52.9
44
16.3
 229AMD Radeon R7 M445
98.7
53.9
44.5
13.8
 231AMD Radeon R7 M370
88.23
50.23
46.73
173
 232NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M
97.632
55.932
47.992
17.452
 235NVIDIA GeForce 840M
84.820
48.6520
39.720
13.520
 237NVIDIA GeForce GT 745M
90.872
50.782
42.72
12.572
 240*AMD Radeon R7 (Bristol Ridge)
46.56
27.96
235
9.254
Pos      Model                                     BioShock Infinite
lowmed.highultra
 241AMD Radeon R7 512 Cores (Kaveri Desktop)
80.3
 242Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200
78.5
40.1
35.2
9.8
 243AMD Radeon R7 384 Cores (Kaveri Desktop)
78.4
 244NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M
68.413
3713
30.713
9.28
 245Intel Iris Plus Graphics 650
84
54.4
46.5
13.3
 246NVIDIA GeForce 930M
81.224
47.655
38.785
13.45
 247*Intel Iris Graphics 550
82.74
50.95
43.35
10.154
 248AMD Radeon 530
67.752
42.72
33.752
11.9
 249NVIDIA GeForce 830M
74.7
43.8
35.3
12.3
 251Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640
64.62
42.652
35.92
11.62
 252NVIDIA GeForce 920MX
77.43
43.13
35.73
14.82
 253Intel Iris Graphics 540
823
463
39.654
11.34
 259NVIDIA GeForce GT 735M
63.854
34.314
28.554
8.28
 261NVIDIA GeForce 825M
69.2
37.5
31.1
 270AMD Radeon R7 M260X
44.9
39.3
13.5
 273NVIDIA GeForce GT 730M
63.552
34.42
28.72
10.4
 274NVIDIA GeForce GT 645M
83.9
46.9
40.3
14.3
 277AMD Radeon HD 8750M
59.752
35.82
30.82
10.92
 280AMD Radeon R7 M265
685
39.925
33.25
10.954
 284NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M
83.3
47.4
40.4
14.3
Pos      Model                                     BioShock Infinite
lowmed.highultra
 285AMD Radeon R7 (Carrizo)
46.93
31.83
25.43
7.852
 286AMD Radeon R7 (Kaveri)
36.352
24.552
26.82
10.5
 288*AMD Radeon R7 M460
72.652
39.852
31.952
10.42
 291AMD Radeon R7 M360
69.44
40.854
31.354
10.754
 293NVIDIA GeForce 920M
63.264
35.315
29.895
113
 297AMD Radeon R7 M440
74.152
42.42
33.152
10.52
 303AMD Radeon R7 M260
54.564
34.494
26.594
8.443
 304AMD Radeon R7 M340
76.13
43.53
34.13
11.83
 305AMD Radeon 520
47.8
28.4
23.4
7.5
 308Intel UHD Graphics 630
69.8
41.82
37.1
15
 309Intel HD Graphics 630
67.354
354
284
8.63
 311Intel HD Graphics 530
52.57
26.77
22.67
6.96
 314AMD Radeon R5 (Bristol Ridge)
63.93
36.33
31.23
10.62
 315Intel UHD Graphics 620
56.0544
30.7544
26.443
940
 316Intel HD Graphics 620
43.75110
26.35114
22.5111
7.687
 317AMD Radeon R6 (Carrizo)
42.458
24.47
207
8.552
 325AMD Radeon HD 8670D
76.5
39.6
33.1
10.1
 329AMD Radeon R6 (Kaveri)
38.534
21.774
18.134
7
 348Intel HD Graphics 5600
57.6
30.3
25
7.5
 349AMD Radeon HD 8570D
67.8
33.9
28
7.3
Pos      Model                                     BioShock Infinite
lowmed.highultra
 354AMD Radeon HD 8670M
37.492
22.292
18.182
5.49
 356AMD Radeon HD 7660D
67.73
35.24
293
8.53
 374AMD Radeon HD 8650G
46.152
26.1
22.6
 379NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
60.852
33.62
29.552
9.082
 380AMD Radeon HD 7560D
64.7
31.4
26.1
7.2
 382AMD Radeon R5 M335
44.9
25.6
21.4
7.8
 383AMD Radeon R5 M330
46.35
26.45
225
8.22
 384AMD Radeon R5 M430
41.72
25.252
21.152
8.2
 385AMD Radeon R5 M255
58.01
34.25
27.21
 387NVIDIA GeForce 910M
50.4
29.9
25.8
8.6
 388NVIDIA GeForce 820M
56.27
31.47
26.57
8.1
 390Intel HD Graphics 520
43.85100
24.698
20.194
6.466
 391Intel Iris Graphics 6100
39.552
28.32
22.82
7.452
 392NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M
51.954
29.44
24.54
7.4
 393AMD Radeon R5 (Stoney Ridge)
43.43
222
182
 395AMD Radeon R5 M240
45.9
26.5
21.6
 396*AMD Radeon R5 M320
39.7
26.9
22.9
 397AMD Radeon R5 M230
34.72
22.552
18.62
6.42
 403AMD Radeon HD 8570M
28.1
14.7
12
4
 404Intel HD Graphics 6000
43.412
26.512
22.08
Pos      Model                                     BioShock Infinite
lowmed.highultra
 407Intel Iris Graphics 5100
363
21.53
18.43
 409*AMD Radeon HD 8610G
25.4
13.5
10.9
 412Intel HD Graphics 4600
34.9514
16.7514
13.813
6.84
 414Intel HD Graphics 5500
31.423
18.4224
14.820
4.713
 416*Qualcomm Adreno 540
20.4
14.2
12.6
 421*Intel HD Graphics 615
40.49
219
19.158
67
 422*AMD Radeon R5 (Carrizo)
45.9
28.7
21.8
 423AMD Radeon R5 (Kaveri)
31
16.8
13.9
 426NVIDIA GeForce 710M
52.82
30.12
25
 427AMD Radeon HD 7660G
56
28.1
23.7
6.8
 430Intel HD Graphics 5000
34.314
20.494
15.394
7.7
 440AMD Radeon HD 7570M
47.9
23.5
19.4
 446AMD Radeon HD 8550G
52
 453AMD Radeon HD 7610M
53
25
21
6
 455AMD Radeon HD 8470D
55.14
25.78
21.9
6.2
 462Intel HD Graphics 515
37.521
20.121
16.0520
4.814
 463Intel HD Graphics 4400
29.533
15.933
13.326
4.3415
 464*Intel HD Graphics 610
30.63
16.93
14.53
 465*Intel HD Graphics 510
39
20.1
17.7
 468AMD Radeon HD 7550M
40.7
20.4
16.6
Pos      Model                                     BioShock Infinite
lowmed.highultra
 494Intel HD Graphics 5300
27.628
14.69
11.89
3.45
 496*Intel HD Graphics 505
24.911
14.110
11.59
3.13