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Newbie- Small Diablo 3 Computer/ HTPC

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July 19, 2012 5:47:57 PM

I would like to to build a second computer as a HTPC/ Diablo 3 rig. I am looking to get a fairly steady 45-60+ FPS on D3 with all settings maxed, on 1080p. Also, I am on a pretty tight budget. Under $800, if at all possible. The real problem is I want something that isn't a pain to move around like my HAF 912 is. Something I could perhaps sling under one arm and carry without killing myself, but isn't so tiny that it is a huge pain to work in. I plan on moving this computer from house to house multiple times per week. My computer knowledge is pretty lacking, so I figured I should come here for suggestions.

Here is what I came up with in my research...

i3-2120 CPU
http://www.Newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=19-115-...

2 x 4GB Ripjaws
http://www.Newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=20-231-...

128GB SSD (I have a spare spinning drive if I need it as well)
http://www.Newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=20-148-...

Biostar micro ATX Motherboard (not sure if this will be my best bet, but it was suggested to me)
http://www.Newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=13-138-...

Mini case with 600w PSU
http://www.Newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=11-163-...

If you see anything I should rethink (motherboard?) or have any other suggestions on the build, I would appreciate it.
a b B Homebuilt system
July 19, 2012 5:53:28 PM

You're going to have to rethink either your case or your motherboard as the two are incompatible. The case will only accept a Mini-ITX board and your selected motherboard is Micro-ATX.

-Wolf sends
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July 19, 2012 6:05:41 PM

Wolfshadw said:
You're going to have to rethink either your case or your motherboard as the two are incompatible. The case will only accept a Mini-ITX board and your selected motherboard is Micro-ATX.

-Wolf sends


True enough. At the moment I haven't really made any decision on the case, so a micro ATX motherboard may very well be an option. At this point it is only in there as it was suggested by a friend. Assuming I do get the case, I will definitely keep in mind that I need to find a different motherboard.
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July 19, 2012 6:06:18 PM

Well first question I need to ask is... Are you located within an Hour of Microcenter? Because I personally just got i5-2500k + Extreme4 Mobo which would anywhere cost $340+ with tax, for $245 with tax, because of their cheap cpu's and $50 off sale with purchase of a mobo.

Next, you didnt list a gpu, what you have listed I dont see anywhere near $800 at the moment, but then again you didnt list a gpu.
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July 19, 2012 6:12:42 PM

obubdeno said:
Well first question I need to ask is... Are you located within an Hour of Microcenter? Because I personally just got i5-2500k + Extreme4 Mobo which would anywhere cost $340+ with tax, for $245 with tax, because of their cheap cpu's and $50 off sale with purchase of a mobo.

Next, you didnt list a gpu, what you have listed I dont see anywhere near $800 at the moment, but then again you didnt list a gpu.


No Microcenter anywhere close. Looked at the 2500k. Seems a bit overkill for my needs. Probably not for me when considering Newegg pricing. Right now, I am pretty set on a Gigabyte 6850oc for the GPU.
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July 19, 2012 6:16:53 PM

Alright, well I can tell you this right now, you will not be running 60fps in Diablo 3 on all maxed settings unless your running a 2500k+ or better. Blizzard games are ALWAYS Cpu intensive compared to GPU. If you wouldnt mind turning off shadows/liquid detail you would be okay. But the 2500k is not overkill because achieving good gameplay on full maxed settings in a blizzard game requires a very good processor.


(I play wow/d3 and just upgraded my system so I know)
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July 19, 2012 6:21:18 PM

obubdeno said:
Alright, well I can tell you this right now, you will not be running 60fps in Diablo 3 on all maxed settings unless your running a 2500k+ or better. Blizzard games are ALWAYS Cpu intensive compared to GPU. If you wouldnt mind turning off shadows/liquid detail you would be okay. But the 2500k is not overkill because achieving good gameplay on full maxed settings in a blizzard game requires a very good processor.


(I play wow/d3 and just upgraded my system so I know)


I suggest taking a look at benchmarks bro




As for the OP, I would suggest looking at the 7750 for an add in card, it performs near the level of a 6770.

ITX board: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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July 19, 2012 6:32:41 PM

I just wanted to add to this discussion. Especially @mouse's graph.

Not too sure where those tests were done in D3, however my computer (specs in sig), plays D3 at about 60FPS and can slow down to even less FPS in Inferno mode with lots of enemies shooting spells at you and running around (I can get over 100FPS without VSYNC depending on location and enemies).

However most of the time you should see what that graph shows, however once you get into the meat of things, there might be some slow downs.

Everything maxed out at 1080P. Just a FYI for the OP.
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July 19, 2012 6:39:00 PM

Yes, mouse you cant take those benchmarks into real world play. Chain is correct. With my old processor everything turned up yay 90fps in wow. Problem is wow benchmarks flying through the air in unpopulated areas with no intense graphical things occuring. So when it coems time to actually raid/pvp/be around other people you will be getting no where near that fps. Benchmarks aren't everything especially in blizzard games.
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Best solution

a b B Homebuilt system
July 19, 2012 6:45:47 PM

I think it's best to leave overclocking for another system. Here's what I got

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3450 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor ($149.99 @ Microcenter)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-B75M-D3V Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($70.56 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($43.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Mushkin Callisto Deluxe 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($94.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: HIS Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card ($254.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Fractal Design Core 1000 MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($39.99 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Corsair 430W ATX12V Power Supply ($26.98 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($17.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $699.48
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-07-19 14:45 EDT-0400)
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July 19, 2012 6:47:43 PM

So, a 6850oc and the i3 should get me decent performance in D3, just maybe with a few options turned down. If I get the cash, go for a 2500k and maybe a slightly better video card. I think I get the basic idea here. Any thoughts on motherboard/case?
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July 19, 2012 6:51:02 PM

FinneousPJ said:
I think it's best to leave overclocking for another system. Here's what I got

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3450 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor ($149.99 @ Microcenter)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-B75M-D3V Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($70.56 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($43.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Mushkin Callisto Deluxe 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($94.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: HIS Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card ($254.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Fractal Design Core 1000 MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($39.99 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Corsair 430W ATX12V Power Supply ($26.98 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($17.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $699.48
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-07-19 14:45 EDT-0400)


Excellent! Going to have to wait to look this over until I get home, but I really appreciate the build. Any thought on if cheaping out on a slighly less expensive video card will hurt my D3 gaming very much?
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July 19, 2012 6:58:40 PM

6850 + i5-2500k would be ideal. Try and find a few extra bucks for that 2500k.
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July 19, 2012 7:04:28 PM

Hmmm, true I would have liked them to do a bit more extensive d3 benchmark. But I really doubt you NEED a i5 to get 60fps maxed, though as I have never played it I guess I gotta go with more reliable sources such as yourselves :) 

Oh and +1 to the build by finneous

Side note: whats up with the cpu scaling? http://www.techspot.com/review/532-diablo-3-performance... Their review has a 3.3 phenom 2 x2 beating a 3.1 athlon 2 x4. Does the game only use 2 cores or something?
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July 19, 2012 7:11:10 PM

obubdeno said:
Alright, well I can tell you this right now, you will not be running 60fps in Diablo 3 on all maxed settings unless your running a 2500k+ or better. Blizzard games are ALWAYS Cpu intensive compared to GPU. If you wouldnt mind turning off shadows/liquid detail you would be okay. But the 2500k is not overkill because achieving good gameplay on full maxed settings in a blizzard game requires a very good processor.


(I play wow/d3 and just upgraded my system so I know)


Yeah D3 does not care which intel i processor you buy. I am running a 2500k w/ gtx 550 ti and im getting 100 fps average with everything turned up. If you are just going for 60fps, then the i3 with at least the 550 ti would do it. 4GB of ram. D3 is heavily hard drive demanding, so if anything you should get a SSD for your OS and game installs.
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July 19, 2012 7:12:10 PM

So, the finneous build with a Gigabyte 6850oc and I should be set, even if the video card holds me back a little bit?
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July 19, 2012 7:30:16 PM

vegeta13613 said:
So, the finneous build with a Gigabyte 6850oc and I should be set, even if the video card holds me back a little bit?


a 6850 O/C a little will not hold you back at all in D3. And, to the other poster...

An SSD will not improve the actual FPS of a game at all. what it will do is load zones faster, load game up faster. But once its actually open and running, there is no difference
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July 19, 2012 7:48:53 PM

Sounds good. I think I will probably go with the finneous build with a 6850 video card. I am going to do a bit more research and see if the i3 2120 will be good enough for my needs, as there seems to be some debate on that subject.
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July 19, 2012 7:55:29 PM

obubdeno said:
a 6850 O/C a little will not hold you back at all in D3. And, to the other poster...

An SSD will not improve the actual FPS of a game at all. what it will do is load zones faster, load game up faster. But once its actually open and running, there is no difference


Do your homework and read the bnet forums. D3 is constantly accessing the hard drive, some even go as far as to install all needed files to a usb drive and play the game like that. This is a seriously stupid issue that Blizzard created because they didnt create the program to load the needed files into RAM like normal games. Its called shitty programming.

vegeta13613 said:
Sounds good. I think I will probably go with the finneous build with a 6850 video card. I am going to do a bit more research and see if the i3 2120 will be good enough for my needs, as there seems to be some debate on that subject.


My GTX 550 ti runs D3 @ 100FPS (i purposefully set the max FPS to 100 to prevent any kind of throttling). On paper the 6850 stock is better than the 550 ti, and as you can see from this chart that has already been listed, the i3/i5/i7 all perform nearly the same.

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July 19, 2012 8:09:01 PM

DarkOutlaw said:
Do your homework and read the bnet forums. D3 is constantly accessing the hard drive, some even go as far as to install all needed files to a usb drive and play the game like that. This is a seriously stupid issue that Blizzard created because they didnt create the program to load the needed files into RAM like normal games. Its called shitty programming.



My GTX 550 ti runs D3 @ 100FPS (i purposefully set the max FPS to 100 to prevent any kind of throttling). On paper the 6850 stock is better than the 550 ti, and as you can see from this chart that has already been listed, the i3/i5/i7 all perform nearly the same.

http://media.bestofmicro.com/F/P/336229/original/CPU%20cores.png


Could you find me the thread? Cause I have never heard of such a thing.

Also what is your setup and are you overclocking? Benchmarks show average of 50fps on a GTX 550 ti in d3 with everything turned up.


EDIT: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/4927102942

Maybe you should do your homework, because like stated in this thread I said... faster loading times, but FPS 0 change whats so ever.
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July 19, 2012 8:26:17 PM

I am at work I will have to access it when I get home. But if you look under tech support, one of the recommended stickies even says, posted by the bnet moderators, turn off indexing, it will speed things up. It should be one of the bottom stickies under technical support. Trust me, We have come up with some crazy crap that boosts diablo 3 performance, especially on laptops.

I'll let you find out my specs for yourself...it shouldn't be that hard...
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July 19, 2012 8:28:51 PM

DarkOutlaw said:
I am at work I will have to access it when I get home. But if you look under tech support, one of the recommended stickies even says, posted by the bnet moderators, turn off indexing, it will speed things up. It should be one of the bottom stickies under technical support. Trust me, We have come up with some crazy crap that boosts diablo 3 performance, especially on laptops. I'll let you find out my specs for yourself...it shouldn't be that hard...



Trust me I know what your saying and yes an SSD will *speed* things up as in speed up loading times/installation times. But it wont Improve the actual frame rate of a game.
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July 19, 2012 8:34:16 PM

obubdeno said:
Trust me I know what your saying and yes an SSD will *speed* things up as in speed up loading times/installation times. But it wont Improve the actual frame rate of a game.


Normally no, but Diablo 3 does not load the level into RAM like it should, it pulls the data for the terrain, monsters, items, etc from the hard drive. So when you come up to a new area, the game "stops" and your FPS drops to 0 until it loads whatever it needs. This causes a great deal of microshuttering in the game.
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July 19, 2012 8:41:26 PM

The Fractal 1000 case supports video cards up to 210mm in length... the Gigabyte 6850 is about 230mm... looks like I'll bee looking for a different video card.
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July 19, 2012 8:45:43 PM

Take a look at this, I cant read anything in the website other than the forum title but it might show you what I am talking about:

d2jsp
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July 19, 2012 9:00:36 PM

a 6770 wont run on max settings very well. keep lookin
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July 19, 2012 9:20:01 PM

I've got a few computers that run d3, and they all run fine at 1080p. If you've ever played diablo 3, you would know that it has its problems with stuttering (when the screen in panning) and loading assets (new spell effects, etc).

My 3 systems that run diablo 3:
C2D E6750 @3.2Ghz with 550ti
i5-2400 with 550ti
i5-2500k @4Ghz with 6870

My friend has a machine with an i5-3570k and 7870.

All of the machines experience these types of problems. It's just d3 not the hardware.

Also, there isn't much missing between low and high settings.
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July 19, 2012 9:34:10 PM

Thoughts on the 7700oc? Sounds like it's not too long for the case, but it's wide with the fan. Should work with the mobo, right.
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July 19, 2012 9:36:42 PM

lycros said:
I've got a few computers that run d3, and they all run fine at 1080p. If you've ever played diablo 3, you would know that it has its problems with stuttering (when the screen in panning) and loading assets (new spell effects, etc).

My 3 systems that run diablo 3:
C2D E6750 @3.2Ghz with 550ti
i5-2400 with 550ti
i5-2500k @4Ghz with 6870

My friend has a machine with an i5-3570k and 7870.

All of the machines experience these types of problems. It's just d3 not the hardware.

Also, there isn't much missing between low and high settings.


Have you tried using a ssd? I still have some of these issues, but they have been dramatically reduced.
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July 19, 2012 9:45:44 PM

obubdeno said:
Trust me I know what your saying and yes an SSD will *speed* things up as in speed up loading times/installation times. But it wont Improve the actual frame rate of a game.


Quote:
Diablo III has been coded to actively stream the game from your HDD as you play. This is a big no no. Wonder why the game has such brief initial loading screens and how you never have to really put up with one when you switch zones? The big 3 MPQ files are taking a toll on the HDD as you play. This wouldn't be a problem if you had nothing else going on the HDD but like many others, we have virus scanners and other applications running in the background (including of course the operating sytem itself and all the background services that come with that)


Thread 1 <- This is the underlying cause of the hard drive issues causing studdering/FPS drops
Thread 2
Thread 3
Thread 4 <- even blizzard admits FPS issues can be directly related to the hard drive

I can pull threads like these all day long, but I wont. Bottom line is if you are really a die hard D3 player, a $45 ssd will solve problems you will have. put your OS and D3 install on the ssd. If you can afford a bigger SSD it is nice to install all your games on it. Just make sure you have a HDD to store your non installed files.
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July 19, 2012 10:10:21 PM

So, just got home, jumped on the computer (instead of my cellphone) and looked over the thread. FinneousPJ's build with a few changes is what I will probably be going with. I am going to try the i3 2120, though. As for the motherboard... well, I got to thinking that if I am going to use it partially as a HTPC, I would probably want HDMI. For a motherboard, perhaps this...?

http://www.Newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=13-157-...

I guess for video card, the 7700oc should do. Looks like it should fit the motherboard/case. Might be a bit underpowered, but I guess it will do.
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 19, 2012 10:14:50 PM

I'd like to point out an issue with the finneous build... The processor ound at Micro Center needs to be picked up at Micro Center and the OP already stated there is no Micro Center close by.
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July 19, 2012 10:24:50 PM

lycros said:
The GPU will have HDMI.


lol Good call. Never had a discrete video card, but I still should have thought of that.

Well, looks like I am going with the 7700.
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July 19, 2012 10:33:29 PM

If you need smaller, there are similar mITX boards, and you could get a mITX case.

Also, check for some of the items like the case on amazon for free shipping.
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July 19, 2012 10:41:49 PM

lycros said:
If you need smaller, there are similar mITX boards, and you could get a mITX case.

Also, check for some of the items like the case on amazon for free shipping.


I think any smaller and I might have trouble working in the case. This will essentially be my first build, so I don't want to make things too hard for myself.

Here is the plan...

Fractal Design Core 1000 Micro ATX Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Vantec Thermoflow 92mm (case only comes with one fan)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GIGABYTE GA-B75M-D3V
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GIGABYTE GV-R775OC
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PC Power and Cooling Silencer MK III 500W Modular PSU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel Core i3-2120
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mushkin Enhanced Chronos 120GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

LITE-ON Black 12X Blu-Ray Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


EDIT: Now that I am on a computer, I re-read the description for the case... looks like if I only use one harddrive slot, I can fit a card up to almost 14." I will probably still stick with the 7700.
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July 19, 2012 10:50:05 PM

Looks good!

That was the same PSU I was looking at for your build :p  and was thinking you should be getting a bluray because you mentioned this is also for HTPC.
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July 19, 2012 10:53:52 PM

My laptop handles D3 on high texture quality, with other settings set on mid to low with no problem and it's a year old. I can't imagine a mid range modern day desktop having any problems with high settings. Just for kicks here's my dxdiag:

Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU P8600 @ 2.40GHz (2 CPUs), ~2.4GHz
Memory: 4096MB RAM
Card name: ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3650
Display Memory: 2281 MB

I can run D3 at widescreen 1280x768 pretty smoothly. Along with SWTOR, WOW, Dirt 3, I'm even considering putting Skyrim on here.
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July 19, 2012 11:02:42 PM

lycros said:
I would probably get http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... over the gigabyte. It has a few more Sata 6gb/s and you could xfire down the road


Sounds good to me. Added to my Newegg wishlist. Going to start ordering tomorrow. The 7700 is smaller than the 6850 and costs less, while the two seem to perform the same, so definitely going for the 7700. Think I have a final build. Thanks for all the great input, everyone!
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 20, 2012 4:05:49 AM

vegeta13613 said:
I think any smaller and I might have trouble working in the case. This will essentially be my first build, so I don't want to make things too hard for myself.

Here is the plan...

Fractal Design Core 1000 Micro ATX Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Vantec Thermoflow 92mm (case only comes with one fan)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GIGABYTE GA-B75M-D3V
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GIGABYTE GV-R775OC
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PC Power and Cooling Silencer MK III 500W Modular PSU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel Core i3-2120
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mushkin Enhanced Chronos 120GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

LITE-ON Black 12X Blu-Ray Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


EDIT: Now that I am on a computer, I re-read the description for the case... looks like if I only use one harddrive slot, I can fit a card up to almost 14." I will probably still stick with the 7700.



Looks good, and yes, it's brilliant little case.
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July 20, 2012 12:41:46 PM

For $10 more I would get the 550 ti, especially for D3. The majority of issues I have been seeing have been in ATI/AMD builds.
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July 20, 2012 1:54:52 PM

Honestly, the 7770 is just a very weak card, you should be getting the HD6850. Much better performance for the same price after the MIR
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 20, 2012 2:20:44 PM

The HD7770 isn't a "very weak card". Overclocked it can match the 6850 and stock it's not far behind.
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