Irrational Games' latest BioShock title uses a modified Unreal engine to deliver some truly stunning vistas. To test it, I ran around the "Raffle Square" area for 60 seconds, heading toward a large crowd before doubling back and roaming around empty streets.
Testing was conducted at 1080p using the game's built-in "Very High" detail preset. As we saw during our in-depth look at BioShock Infinite performance, the "Very High" preset can be hard to tell apart from the "Ultra" preset, but it's much less taxing on sub-$150 graphics cards like these.
Right away, we can see that the Radeon R7 260X performs very similarly to the Radeon HD 7790. The two cards' lines on the plot almost overlap.
The GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost 1GB is a little quicker than the R7 260X and 7790, but it seems to produce more uneven frame times—including a 70-ms spike a third of the way through the run. The 2GB version of the same card is somewhat better-behaved.
The R7 260X and 7790 have nearly identical frame rates and 99th-percentile frame times, as well. The GTX 650 Ti Boost 1GB churns out a higher frame rate, but because of those latency spikes we saw in the plots, its 99th-percentile frame time is lower.
Funnily enough, the Radeon HD 7850 1GB appears to be the best performer here. This card was supposed to disappear from store shelves months ago—AMD told us so in no uncertain terms—but it's still widely available, and prices range as low as $144.99 before a $20 mail-in rebate—right in the same ballpark as the R7 260X.
Our last set of graphs confirms what we saw in the frame-by-frame plots: the Nvidia cards have less even frame delivery than the Radeons overall in BioShock Infinite. To be fair, though, the differences aren't very big. The worst offender, Nvidia's GTX 650 Ti 2GB, spends only 55 ms working on high-latency frames over 33.3 ms.
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