NVIDIA GeForce 9800GX2 Review - Benchmarking Bioshock

Submitted by skipclarke on 11 June, 2008 - 18:14

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Bioshock is a relatively new game, having released in August of 2007. The game itself was lauded for its art direction, and its graphics execution. With the 7950GX2, Bioshock was obviously GFX limited, with a relatively flat, downward-sloping line. It didn't show any of the "dips" for the high aspect ratio resolutions, like those in Surround Gaming. Move to the 9800GX2, and you see a dramatic improvement, and you being to shift the limits from the GFX to the CPU.

With the 9800GX2, we see a dip in fps at 2400x600, the first Surround Gaming resolution. We also see the characteristic uptick at 1280x1024 (the 5:4 aspect ratio is the narrowest available). Performance wise, the 9800GX2 shines across the board. A the low end, increases of 100fps are common, often increasing performance by 1.5x to 2x. The middle resolutions bring the fps increases down to the 80-90fps range, but the 9800GX2 still pushes 110-150fps across that range. In the 4M pixel mark, we see increases to the tune of 50fps (+250%), and we cross the holy grail o 60fps.

All settings were maxed out, and the "Horizontal FOV" was unlocked, making the game Hor+. To test Bioschock, I played the game from the opening crash scene, into the bathysphere, and let the bathysphere take it's ride into Rapture. It was basically from the green loading screen, to the red loading screen. This test scenario provided a consistent gameplay experience, that was suitable for benchmarking. However, it may not be indicative of "real" gameplay.

The opening section in the water had few objects and was largely dark sky (though it did have good fire and water effects), and the bathysphere section had a fixed "viewport" for looking out into the gameworld. This last issue's effect may have been that it limited objects from being in the FOV areas covered by widescreen or Surround Gaming aspects.