Since 2K didn’t include a benchmark script or utility in BIOSHOCK I used FRAPS version 2.9.1 to capture the frame rates for 120 seconds at two different scenes that I personally selected from the game. If you don’t know anything about Bioshock, let me set the scene for you. After your plane crashes into icy uncharted waters, you discover a rusted bathysphere and descend into Rapture, a city hidden beneath the sea. Constructed as an idealistic society for a hand picked group of scientists, artists and industrialists, the idealism is no more. Now the city is littered with corpses, wildly powerful guardians roam the corridors as little girls loot the dead, and genetically mutated citizens ambush you at every turn and you get to kill them.
The first scene that I selected was right at the beginning of the game after the introduction cinematic. This scene places you as a plane crash survivor bobbing up and down in the water with realistic looking water, fire and smoke.
The very first scene in Bioshock will bring your computer to your knees as our overclocked Intel Core 2 Quad QX6700 and factory clocked XFX GeForce 8800 Ultra was getting just 30FPS on NVIDIA Forware Releae 158.18 and 162.22 drivers. The latest Forceware 163.44 Beta drivers nearly doubles the frame rate over the other drivers and comes in averaging 58.075 after several FRAPS benchmarks were averaged together!
The second part of the game that I wanted to benchmark was about an hour further along into the game in the ‘funeral home’ as I like to call it. The lighting, smoke, water, sparks and colorful walls were pretty intense here, so I fired up FRAPS to see what this scene was like.
After running circles for three sets of two minutes on each driver we came up a bit dizzy, but the results were able to show impressive driver improvement over the months before BIOSHOCK was released. The Forceware 163.44 Beta drivers are clearly in the lead and while they didn’t double the performance level versus the Forceware 158.18 drivers they came close. Just by updating the video card drivers we were able to pick up 34 frames per second, which is a 69.4% performance improvement!