Diablo III Performance, Benchmarked

With the much-anticipated release of Diablo III right around the corner, we wanted to explore this incredible game's performance on 12 different graphics configurations and a few CPUs. Does your PC have what it takes to run Diablo III well?

Blizzard’s tremendous success as a game developer rests on a trio of intellectual properties: Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo. While the Warcraft universe has been mined consistently for years, and Starcraft recently got its well-deserved sequel, the last Diablo expansion was released over 10 years ago. Diablo II: Lord Of Destruction hit store shelves back in 2001.

As with the company’s other titles, the game has maintained a sizable player base for more than a decade. Last year I was surprised to find my 17-year-old son playing Diablo II online. His friends discovered it and the game spread like a virus among them, swallowing up embarrassingly large chunks of their lives, just as it had my own. It seems that time, low resolutions, and antiquated visuals do not stand in the way of sublime game play.

Fortunately, the sequel is almost here, free of those cumbersome limitations. Blizzard finally got around to making Diablo III, a game slated for release this month on May 15th, 2012.

When I first fired up Diablo III, I was a little skeptical. I’m a seasoned gamer now with refined expectations, and a lot of the things I played ten years ago are no longer interesting. I was worried that an isometric-view RPG click-fest might not appeal to me as much as it used to, and at first I found the game a little boring. But as I leveled up and gained access to greater and greater powers, I didn’t even notice as the hours melted away. It turns out that the quest for better items, abilities, and gold from freshly-generated random dungeons never gets old.


Diablo III is so reminiscent of the original, in fact, that it feels as though I picked up right where I left off. Of course, almost everything is changed and improved: there are new classes to play, character dialogue is more plentiful and meaningful, item crafting has been added (much more robust than the limited runeword system used in Diablo II), and the graphics are fantastic. But, at its core, this is fundamentally the same Diablo we knew and loved. I think that’s a good thing.

Speaking of the graphics, while Warcraft and Starcraft share a cartoonish, larger-than-life art style, Diablo stands apart with a gritty and realistic feel. Like the originals, the isometric view remains locked in place, and zooming in with the mouse wheel is not an option (although the 'z' key can be pressed for a close-up camera view).

It seems a foregone conclusion that Diablo 3 will be a giant commercial success. The question is, can your hardware handle it? Let’s find out.

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  • Formata
    Oh yes... The epic armageddon of all click-fest's is upon us! In 6 months time I'll bench 100kg with my index finger.
    35
  • Murissokah
    So the CPU won't keep us from enjoying the game... nor the GPU... only the calendar then.
    29
  • trace_87
    "Like the originals, the isometric view remains locked in place, and zooming in is not an option."

    Push Z
    24
  • Other Comments
  • dodger_nzl
    Nice to see my GF460 should play it at max settings.
    12
  • Formata
    Oh yes... The epic armageddon of all click-fest's is upon us! In 6 months time I'll bench 100kg with my index finger.
    35
  • Murissokah
    So the CPU won't keep us from enjoying the game... nor the GPU... only the calendar then.
    29
  • sharpiedpanda
    The calendar and your finger stamina :p
    22
  • JoeMomma
    i'm luvin it!
    -4
  • trace_87
    "Like the originals, the isometric view remains locked in place, and zooming in is not an option."

    Push Z
    24
  • cinergy
    HD7870 is on par with GTX580! Now I understand why he didn't even take HD7970 into test. That would have been too embarrassing for nvidia.
    -20
  • borden5
    Note that amd 12.4 artifacts doesn't only apply for Diablo 3 alone I got artifact in any game with my 3650 so I have to revert to 12.3
    11
  • Anonymous
    so can anyone recommend a good laptop that can play this no lag for under 800?
    6
  • Darkerson
    I had a lot of fun with it in the beta. I still cant say Im going to be a fan of the RMT Auction House, but other then that, its a fun game. Between this and Guild Wars 2, Im gonna have a very unproductive summer :D
    6
  • Zero_
    I would have liked to see a HD7750 in there, as that would be the easiest upgrade for someone who wanted a cheap card with low power draw. It's a bit hard to predict where it'll end up because the HD6850/HD6770 anomaly.
    13
  • geotek
    Were any large fights present in the FPS recording? Because of the computers ive tested ive noticed computers with slower CPUs, especially dual cores, would get quite choppy during large fights and all the ragdolls flying everywhere. This problem seemed to either vanish or greatly diminish when physics were changed from high to low. Perhaps the physics are handled by the cpu? If so, this means the cpu testing results may not be a good measure of real world use of the game.
    17
  • rantoc
    cinergyHD7870 is on par with GTX580! Now I understand why he didn't even take HD7970 into test. That would have been too embarrassing for nvidia.


    Hardly, Nvidia is the only party that provides extra gfx quality via ambient occlusion for this title and with all thoose monster cards available today i rather use that extra power to get better quality than let it go wasted. So even if i dont get 500+ fps in 2560x1600 with 2x680 sli i do get ambient occlusion as well as insanly good AA making the title look nice. I play the game to enjoy it, not benchmark it!
    8
  • Anonymous
    I still use a 9600GT, anyone have any idea how it would work with that?
    5
  • whysobluepandabear
    "At 1080p, the Radeon HD 6540 might be considered playable,"

    Don't you mean the 6450?
    16
  • blazorthon
    gnookergiI still use a 9600GT, anyone have any idea how it would work with that?


    Not well, if it works at all (which I doubt).
    -10
  • blazorthon
    courtlandbso can anyone recommend a good laptop that can play this no lag for under 800?


    A laptop with an A6 or A8 and a 7470 in CF or something similar should do it very well. I know that HP sells those for under $650 and depending on whether or not it's on sale, even cheaper. You could probably get something similar even cheaper elsewhere (HP isn't known for being the cheapest, not even among other OEMs).
    3
  • trace_87
    This article will need another go once the game comes out. You have to have something a bit more taxing than this.
    7
  • Gman450
    I've got a GTS450. Maybe I should be looking somewhere between the HD 6670 and GTX 550Ti..
    5
  • Gman450
    gnookergiI still use a 9600GT, anyone have any idea how it would work with that?

    Well you can perhaps look somewhere around the GT440 or the HD 6670 but don't expect the same FPS.
    4