Want a serious performance boost in BioShock? Play it on DirectX 9. Sad, but true. As DirectX 9/10 hybrid games have trickled to market, we’ve been testing them to see whether the newer, Vista-only API library is worth its salt. We’ve done it with Company of Heroes, Lost Planet, and more. In every case, DirectX 9 performance was far better than that of DirectX 10.
Add another game to the pile. Using FRAPS to measure frame rates, we’ve discovered that BioShock plays much more smoothly on DirectX 9. We ran the informal test on a Vista machine with an AMD ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT graphics card, an Intel QX6700 CPU overclocked to 3.19 GHz, and 4GB of memory.
Playing through five very similar minutes of the game with FRAPS and timing the frames per second, we shot up a batch of splicers in DX10 and then in DX9, with all other settings being equal (high quality defaults at 1680×1050). In DirectX 10, FRAPS showed an average of 61.658 fps; in DirectX 9, the average was 80.300 fps.
The game looks pretty much the same in either mode. You certainly don’t notice a difference in graphical splendor when you’re running breakneck through the Rapture, dodging grenades thrown by splicers while looking for the telekinesis upgrade.
While we continue to wait for a game built upon DirectX 10 from the ground up to wow us with its performance, evidence mounts that DirectX 10 just isn’t all it’s cracked up to be compared with its predecessor.
Update: Nvidia and ATI benchmarks combined are available here. Both sets of cards get hit substantially in average fps when moving from DirectX 9 to Direct X 10.
Games, Gaming, Games Graphic, Frame Rates, BioShock, Performance, DirectX 9, DX9, DirectX 10, DX10