Conceptually, I understand the difference between load and sample but I want to know if essentially point sampling and load do the same thing when it comes to selecting a texture value (ignoring an out of bound situation).


Point sampling goes through the texture sampling hardware on your GPU, meaning that it obeys rules for how to handle "between texel" cases (in this case take the nearest neighbour) and may be subject to leeway in the specifications for driver-dependent or GPU-dependent behaviour. You feed it with normalised (0..1) texture coordinates, and it also respects other sampler states that may be set: mipmapping, LOD, wrap or clamp modes, etc.

Loading bypasses the sampling hardware and just loads directly from the source texture. No other sampler states will apply.

So no, they're not the same.

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