One of the most anticipated games of the year, Bioshock Infinite, finally released today, with the game unlocking at 3am (UAE time) on Steam. This both Nvidia and AMD were ready with their latest drivers out the door in time for Bioshock Infinite’s release. In fact, with the whole Tomb Raider debacle, Nvidia was out the door head and shoulders above AMD with their fully certified WHQL 314.22 drivers, unlike AMD who just released beta drivers. But that’s not to detract from AMD’s efforts, a stable beta still means optimized performance for Bioshock Infinite, and that’s what any PC player cares about at the end of the day.
As you can see from the details above, the Unreal Engine 3 based game doesn’t require anything close to bleeding-edge, but the recommended specs with the GTX 560 is an indicator of how high the game can scale on modern gaming PCs.
When launching the game from Steam, you’ll get the option of either playing the game or running the benchmark utility. The latter will launch Command Prompt where it’ll give you the preset graphical settings available, along with different resolutions.
Obviously each and every detail can also be tweaked in-game if you don’t want to go with the presets.
For testing Bioshock Infinite we used the in-house AMD HD 7970 (non-GHz) and Nvidia GTX 680, along with two laptops that were also in our labs for testing. And just to see how well it scales, we threw in old GTX 460 and GTX 280 from Nvidia to see how well the updated Unreal Engine 3.0 game is able to scale on 3 and 4 year old cards.
When it comes to quality, Bioshock Infinite looks great no matter what settings you choose, so much so, in fact, that beyond some shadows and barely improved textures, there’s hardly any perceptible difference in the higher quality settings.
The above image was taken at the end of the benchmark and remains static, except for the house hovering in the background. Obviously there are no particle affects in this scene, nor much in the benchmark for that matter, so that maybe something you’d want to change manually in the settings if you decide that “Very High” settings are good enough for you compared to the “Ultra” variants.
And with all the technicalities out of the way, let’s test out Bioshock Infinite
Unsurprisingly it’s the 4 year old GTX 280 that struggles the most, with the 2 year old Alienware M18X (R1) still managing to pump out decent performance with the dual GTX 460M cards, although it does fall flat at the highest settings. Looking at the quality from the images above, it’s recommend to play Bioshock Infinite on “Very High” quality settings given the shadow effects applied compared to just “High”. With that in mind the GTX 460 is barely up to scratch, with the HD 7750 lagging behind. In essence if you have an Nvidia GTX 470/ GTX 560/ GTX 660 or above (in that series) you can easily play Bioshock Infinite on “Very High” settings.
The same goes for AMD HD 6950/ HD 7850 or above; so the Recommended System Requirements hold true in that regard. For blissful gameplay of Bioshock Infinite, however, you need at least an AMD HD 7950 or Nvidia GTX 670 and above to play it with “Ultra, Diffused Depth of Field” effect enabled at very playable frame rates.