Diablo III Performance Tested, Benchmarked

By on May 18, 2012, 2:47 AM

After 11 years in the making and more setbacks than we care to count, Blizzard has finally unleashed a third installment to its cult classic dungeon crawler. Having waited over a decade, the arrival of Diablo III was a bittersweet moment for eager fans. In what must've felt like a cruel joke, missteps in Blizzard's execution prevented many users from accessing content throughout last Tuesday.

Diablo III requires a constant connection to Battle.net and its servers were simply overwhelmed. That isn't entirely shocking when you consider the fact that over two million copies were pre-ordered. Launch day hiccups are almost inevitable when you have that many gamers storming your gates. Fortunately, Blizzard implemented various tweaks and its servers are running smoothly as of late Wednesday.

While we disagree with making single player components online-only, there isn't much mere mortals like us can do about it. What we can do, however, is beat the hell out of Diablo III with today's finest hardware. Blizzard has somewhat of a reputation for making highly scalable titles that run on virtually any gaming rigs, so that's largely what we expect from the developer's latest offering...

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User Comments: 33

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Marnomancer Marnomancer said:

No matter what the performance, the recent debacle is making people take a 50-50 approach towards Diablo.

50%

It's a legend! Buy it!

50%

Is this what I was waiting for?! WTF!

Arris Arris said:

It's pretty much more of the same old Diablo so far for me. Thing that's annoying me is that WoW and other mmorpgs have conditioned me into ignoring the quest chat/text, so I'm having to learn not to skip them as I don't really want to miss the story. That being said I did play from 7 to 11 in co-op and never noticed where time went. Reasonably enjoyable but the weird two main ability mouse button setup is so restrictive after playing WoW. Will at least play through once with one character/class.

psycros psycros said:

<p>It's pretty much more of the same old Diablo so far for me. Thing that's annoying me is that WoW and other mmorpgs have conditioned me into ignoring the quest chat/text, so I'm having to learn not to skip them as I don't really want to miss the story. That being said I did play from 7 to 11 in co-op and never noticed where time went. Reasonably enjoyable but the weird two main ability mouse button setup is so restrictive after playing WoW. Will at least play through once with one character/class.</p>

Why would you skip the quest text in one game and not in another? Because you've already leveled so many characters in WoW? Will you skip it in Diablo as well once you've played through one time? Also not sure why anyone would expect an arcade game to have more options or depth than an MMO. People seem to have been expecting Diablo 3 to be something more than Diablo II, even though SC2 showed that Blizzard isn't about pushing the envelope on anything. In truth, they've never been all that innovative. Their code is extremely solid but their hardly the cutting edge of game design.

Arris Arris said:

Why would you skip the quest text in one game and not in another? Because you've already leveled so many characters in WoW?

Pretty much, even with new quests you can guarantee they will be "Help me gather 10 things from there and kill 20 things".

I know the Diablo voiced story and lore from books you pickup in game will be superior to this but it's habitual and not a fault of the game.

Also not sure why anyone would expect an arcade game to have more options or depth than an MMO.

Maybe because it's still within the RPG genre, and generally offerings which have single player content/storylines often offer more involving content(although SW:TOR might be an exception from the little I played of it) than that which is bolted onto WoW for instant. Less generic pointless quests that side track from the story than MMOs have to provide.

People seem to have been expecting Diablo 3 to be something more than Diablo II, even though SC2 showed that Blizzard isn't about pushing the envelope on anything. In truth, they've never been all that innovative. Their code is extremely solid but their hardly the cutting edge of game design.

Indeed, people are assuming that it's been in development since Diablo2 and will be disappointed by the lack of innovation in the 12 year span. When in fact we don't know how much (or little) development time was involved.

yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I would like to see some benchmarks for Diablo 3 on the Mac. The game is out on both PC and Mac and runs differently when bootcamped and when run natively in OSX. There are differing stories about performance between different models and graphics cards - a much more interesting story really than how stressed out (or not) your PC is going to get.

Benchmarks for the HD4000 on low settings would be nice too. I am sure some people will want to get a laptop sooner than later or an Ive bridge ultrabook - how about showing whether these can play Diablo 3?

Article seems a bit rushed in comparison to the thorough job that could have been done.

Staff
Steve Steve said:

Yeah you are never going to see me testing a game on a Mac so let's move on.

So we tested 29 graphics configurations, 14 different processors across half a dozen platforms as well as CPU scaling results for Intel and AMD processors and that seemed rushed to you.

Interesting take on the article, just for your information we only test games using the maximum in-game graphics and for a game that is not that demanding we saw no reason to change this.

If the demand is there we could publish a Diablo III article that focuses on low-quality visuals, kind of like a mobile gaming version.

Guest said:

The HD6670 that have used is GDDR3 or GDDR5?

Sorry for my english is not good. :)

Guest said:

Yes please do. There are also people that are using mid range setups, you know...

yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Yeah you are never going to see me testing a game on a Mac so let's move on.

Shame but I can understand why given the different configurations and possibilities involved. Fair enough.

So we tested 29 graphics configurations, 14 different processors across half a dozen platforms as well as CPU scaling results for Intel and AMD processors and that seemed rushed to you. Interesting take on the article, just for your information we only test games using the maximum in-game graphics and for a game that is not that demanding we saw no reason to change this

When you tested Starcraft 2 you did it with 21 different graphics cards at medium/high and ultra settings with 3 different resolutions and with 12 different processors. Thats around 200 different results in the Starcraft 2 benches compared to about 100 for Diablo 3. It's your own damn fault, you set the bar too high!

If the demand is there we could publish a Diablo III article that focuses on low-quality visuals, kind of like a mobile gaming version.

Fair enough. Ultrabooks, tablets, Ivy Bridge, HD4000. Loads of people will want to play portable Diablo3 if its possible in Windows 8 on a HD4000 in the next couple of years. You don't buy a game like Diablo3 to play on a tablet and expect to play it at high frames on high quality but it would be really sweet to see the results for lower settings (and maybe some lower resolutions).

treetops treetops said:

I dont like how they copy pasted a wow heroic boss fight for the final fight.

Arris Arris said:

<p>I dont like how they copy pasted a wow heroic boss fight for the final fight.</p>

Does it feature not standing in the fire?

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I think it would actually make sense to see how the HD 4000 and the AMD APUs perform at lower settings, given the target audience for this particular game. I have many friends who are playing D3 on laptops and low end graphics cards.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Interesting how StarCraft II utilizes the CPU a lot more than Diablo 3. I mean it uses the same game engine, right? Why would it make a difference?

And when is Blizzard finally going to grow up beyond DX 9??

Guest said:

And thank you very much for testing overclock scaling with both AMD and Intel. That was awesome.

Guest said:

Steve has done a wonderful job of covering all relevant GPU's on the discrete market, but I agree with some of the comments above, a single test at a modest resolution to see how AMD APU's and Intel's HD integrated graphics fare in Diablo 3 would seal the deal as the ultimate guide to Diablo's performance.

PinothyJ said:

<p>Interesting how StarCraft II utilizes the CPU a lot more than Diablo 3. I mean it uses the same game engine, right? Why would it make a difference?</p>

<p><br /></p>

<p>And when is Blizzard finally going to grow up beyond DX 9??</p>

In their defence, DX11 is not really something that would benefit this genre of game...

treetops treetops said:

SPOILER

Does it feature not standing in the fire?

, the shadow mode is a rip just sayin.

I am going to take a shot in the dark and say the many units in sc2, yours and your allies is what makes sc2 cpu intensive compared to d3. Yes the graphics are archaic. Fear not there are alternative hack and slashes as many of you know. Coming soon path of exile, torch light 2 and another one I cant remember.

Guest said:

Long time fan of techspot here, but the CPU benchmarks are a really BAD measure of the game. In large battles, which happen all the time in this game, nothing AMD has can run the game smoothly, diablo appears to require at least a decent sandy bridge to maintain 60 fps in large fights. It appears to be because of the physics.

I guarantee if you guys were to look at the minimum fps in large fights with different CPUs you would see an AMD, even overclocked is will have dramatic fps drops when things start flying in large battles. A easy way to test is the part where the templar breaks the barrier before and after jondar, amd processors drop down as far as 20 fps and the ivy bridge processors ive tested with it dont even drop fps.

Not sure if its CPU or GPU? Here this, I ran my brother's new gtx 670 with an unlocked and overclocked amd 960t cpu and it still lagged the same as with my 6950. He used my 6950 and maintained a smooth 60 fps with his 3770k intel ivy bridge. Clearly AMD processors either need more optimization from blizzard or they cannot handle the physics diablo requires. Its also noticeable to the eyes, with both computers next to eachother its easy to tell which one has the AMD and which one has the new intel because of the huge drop in fps.

Guest said:

fwiw, I've logged 8 hours act I and act ii including boss - I'm using a 16GB i5-2500k, not OC and HD3000 GPU. I chose medium graphics at 1920 (Diablo III defaulted all to low).

I have not experienced any graphics issues at all - I am no expert, and not picky, so take with a grain of salt, but there you have it. ( I have experienced a game playing at 11fps and it is horrible. DIII's -internal- framerate-display shows me at 25, dropping to 21 in act I end battle)

hope this helps..

Guest said:

To be honest and given the title, I expected some more low spec hardware in here. Most of its fairly high end imo (even if its not to you, comparatively to most consumers that don't upgrade every year or less).

Playing the game on my laptop (i7, 6gb ram, 1gb 330GM) sees much lesser results. Be good if blizzard implemented a netbook mode like torchlight did.

After playing the beta, I wasn't wow'd enough by the game, even though I've been hyping it up for the past several months.

Still good overview, I tried not to look at the screenies in the event that I do play it.

Guest said:

With my bros machine Ive found that the amd 1090t with a 590gtx is alright with 1920x1080 120fps when there upto 8 monsters on screen. when it gets hectic (15-20 monsters. more exciting parts of the game) it nose dives to 15-25fps.

Same moments in game on my i5 2500k 580 gtx sli no fluctuation at all in the framerate.

I think you need to show some cpu apples to apples with demanding parts of the game. (which can crop up quite often later in the game)

Guest said:

Funny, I've been running the game on AMD's FX-8120 with 16GB DDR3 1600 and a Radeon HD6850 (1GB GDDR5) and I have not had any framerate drops or issues at all on the local machine. I've found that the problems I'm having is that the major ISPs out here have such poor latency between here and the servers stateside, that on occasion, my character's animations will continue and enemies will still damage me, but my attacks won't show up for several seconds.

Guest said:

Of course his 1090t w/ 590GTX is not going to out perform your rig. He's got an older processor and if I read correctly, only a single GPU. Your SLI'd 580's will massively outperform a single 590 no matter what processor.

Guest said:

For whatever reason, some people cant see fast drops in FPS, however I think you would be able to see the difference clearly if you played on a machine that had at least a sandy bridge. Ive tested that amd cpu with a gtx 670 and saw fps drops to 20-40 fps for brief moments in very large fights, the drops only occur when several monsters are killed at once (hence the processor having issues with the physics calulated for that moment.)

Guest said:

I have 3,2GHz i7 920 and HD6970 2GB. In large fights (which happen all the time on higher difficulties) FPS drops at 2560x1600 are very noticeable.

I think this review fails to represent how demanding Diablo 3 really is. Of course it runs fine on login screen, but battle performance is what I wanted to know about :I

Guest said:

Completely agree, without stress testing what the game can offer these benchmarks mean very little, if anything at all. Im concerned people will go out and buy under-powered parts because they saw a benchmark that showed 100+ fps! My processor and gpu run the game just fine running around town, but during really big fights its extremely choppy. Unlocked and OC'd AMD 960t and Nvidia gtx 670. Runs battlefield 3 on high fine, cant handle the physics in d3 apparently. The game needs a disclaimer, and this benchmark that says "Warning: if you have an amd processor you will experience massive fps drops". Im waiting for my ivy bridge 3570 in the mail, friend has one and never dips below 60 fps ever even in the largest of fights.

dummybait said:

Well my wife is playing on a Amd AM2 x2 4800+ with a gtx260 216core, @1920x1080 and it plays decent enough for her, I notice it does get a little choppy in heavy scenes... but for a rig tha maybe costs 300 to build, it runs great all settings were maxxed out.

Johnny Utah said:

<p>Of course his 1090t w/ 590GTX is not going to out perform your rig. He's got an older processor and if I read correctly, only a single GPU. Your SLI'd 580's will massively outperform a single 590 no matter what processor.</p>

In most games, sure. However Diablo 3 does not support SLI or Crossfire and it can actually hurt performance or even hinder the game from merely running.

Guest said:

"Of course his 1090t w/ 590GTX is not going to out perform your rig. He's got an older processor and if I read correctly, only a single GPU. Your SLI'd 580's will massively outperform a single 590 no matter what processor."

You're kidding, right? 2 580s will not outperform a 590 "massively," or even at all. A 590 IS 2 580s.

Guest said:

Starcraft II only uses more cpu because it has to calculate the specs, damage, and movement for every single one of your "minions" and the same for every single one of your opposing "minions". Diablo only has you, your companion and 40ish other charecters. in starcraft the numbers can grow to hundreds vs hundres which when all those get pushed through the arithmatic half of your CPU, it can easily put more strain on the CPU.

simplified

diablo --- you and 1 friend * 40 enemies = 80 total calculations every time you and your friend hit 40 people

starcraft--- your army of 50 * enemies army of 50 = 2500 calculations each time your 50 guys hit 50 enemies once

and that isnt figuring the damage modifier calculations and defence calculations from upgrades and different attack types/damage resistances

Guest said:

Ucrazy? Diablo 3 became the fastest selling PC game of all time.

Guest said:

I wonder if I can run diablo 3 on a PC with AMD A8 3870K Quad Core Black Edition APU, since it comes with integrated graphics acceleration of the line Radeon 6000 (Radeon HD 6550D in this case) that the processor could run game without graphics problems? or I need another video card?

Guest said:

My HTPC fitted with an AMD A8-3850 with 4GB 1600MHz of RAM running with 8-8-8-24 timings can play D3 good enough (haven't done any real big fights on it, though).

But lol! Seeing comments about how much better D3 is on an Intel IB than any AMD proc is hilarious!

Just to let you know, my gaming rig houses and FX-4100 @ 4,5 GHz and a HD 6870:, and it runs just fine. Even better: D3 seems to have some Bulldozer specifick protocols - the main burden of the game runns on c1 and c3 -> so two cores in two different modules I'd guess to maybe avoid the fpu/shared cache per module bottleneck!

Or it's just coincidence, or something else. I don't care: for D3 maxed at 1920x1080 it's more than enough.

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