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Editor: Julio Franco

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Low Quality Performance

Hardware
- Intel Core 2 Duo E6550 (2.33GHz) LGA775
- x2 Corsair DOMINATOR Twin3X2048-1800C7DF G Module(s)
- ASUS P5K3 Deluxe (Intel P35)
- OCZ GameXStream (700 watt)
- Seagate 250GB 7200RPM (Serial ATA II)
- ASUS GeForce 8800 GTX (768MB)
- ASUS GeForce 8800 GTS (640MB)
- Inno3D GeForce 7900 GT (512MB)
- Gigabyte GeForce 8600 GTS (256MB)
- Gigabyte GeForce 8600 GT (256MB)
- ASUS Radeon HD 2900 XT (512MB)
- ASUS Radeon X1950 XT (512MB)
- ASUS Radeon X1950 Pro (256MB)
- ASUS Radeon HD 2600 XT (512MB)
- ASUS Radeon HD 2600 Pro (256MB)
Software
- Microsoft Windows XP Pro (SP2)
- Intel System Driver 8.1.1.1010
- Nvidia Forceware 162.18
- ATI Catalyst 7.8


Our first tests were using the low quality visual settings to see what kind of budget graphics cards it is possible to get away with. Most games will allow users to get away with pretty low-end hardware with all the visual settings turned down. Not Bioshock, as even at 1280x1024 the Radeon HD 2600 Pro was unable to deliver playable performance. This also rules out anything equal to or slower than the Radeon HD 2600 Pro in terms of performance.

Generally when playing first person shooters I like to have an average frame rate of at least 40-45fps, as this ensures that even during the most intense action scenes no slow down should occur. That being the case, even the GeForce 8600 GTS struggled at 1280x1024 using low quality visual settings, as did the GeForce 7900 GT. Surprisingly the Radeon X1950 Pro did rather well, managing to render 50fps at 1280x1024, while the Radeon X1950XT cranked out 60.5fps!

The GeForce 8800 GTS (640MB) was even more impressive rendering 98.8fps at 1280x1024 and 56.9fps at 1920x1200. This was again topped by the Radeon HD 2900XT which managed 120.4fps at 1280x1024 and 59.9fps at 1920x1200. Not surprisingly, the fastest graphics card tested was the GeForce 8800 GTX, which produced 135.6fps at 1280x1024 and 80.9fps at 1920x1200. The GeForce 8800 GTX is already proving to be a weapon in Bioshock.