Notebookcheck

Diablo III Benchmarked

Florian Glaser (translated by Martina Osztovits), 05/19/2012

Welcome to Hell! After years of waiting it is finally available: Legendary developer Blizzard Entertainment has at last launched Diablo III, the long-awaited successor to one of the most popular action role-playing games of all time. We dug into the dark fantasy world and ran Diablo III on several notebook graphics cards. Can your notebook system make it through Hell alive?

Working For Notebookcheck

Are you a loyal reader of notebookcheck? Are you a techie who knows how to write? Then join our Team!

Especially wanted:
News Editor, Review Editor
(Smartphones) - Details here

Diablo III

The launch of Blizzard's latest action RPG clickfest was not optimal to say the least. Overloaded servers, error messages, connection loss, broken achievements.. those who pre-ordered or stood in line to purchase the game likely went through a Hell of their own as Blizzard scrambled to hotfix the game-breaking issues.

Still, user madness has calmed a bit now that Blizzard's servers have had a few days to settle down. Of course, this hasn't stopped us from benchmarking the game with a wide range of mobile GPUs - both discrete and integrated. Blizzard titles have historically relied more on creative artwork than beefy hardware to express their games and, in this article, we find out exactly how wide of a range of mobile GPUs Diablo III can reliably support. Let's begin!

Graphics

technologically old, but high artistic level
technologically old, but high artistic level

Assuming that you have logged in, you'll be greeted to a dark yet welcoming atmosphere reminiscent to its predecessor over 10 years ago. It's not a graphics horsepower to be sure, but its distinct feel and tone both highlight the dystopian setting perfectly.

What really makes the atmosphere pop aren't the number of polygons but rather the fine attention to details, impressive lighting and the encompassing art style. Unlike the graininess of Diablo II, Diablo III appears to be a mix of watercolor and comics with a pale but more colorful range. Blizzard could have easily made the game feel look like a WoW-clone with a top-down perspective, but have genuinely found an agreeable balance to perfectly capture the Hellish setting that is so unique to the Diablo Universe.

Benchmark

Our benchmark scene takes place in the old but familiar grounds of New Tristram as seen in the video below. The tested scene is as follows:

We directly teleport to the village market square from "The Old Ruins" where we then immediately activate FRAPS. We command our hero to follow a winding upward path and along the street. After hitting some bushes right outside of town, we turn and run back the same path to the start location of the test. The duration of the recorded scene is approximately 30 seconds long.

Settings

We utilized four different graphical settings to test each of our mobile GPUs. Our lowest settings, which should be suitable for office or entry-level notebooks, ran the game at only 1024x768 pixel resolution with everything either on Low or Off. The more standard setting of 1366x768 pixel resolution is more ideal for cheap, all-round notebooks. Multimedia or gaming notebooks will be able to play at 1080p on High or Ultra details right from the get go.

As usual, we deactivated VSync during our benchmarking tests.

Low Setting: 1024 x 768, Low / Off
Low Setting: 1024 x 768, Low / Off
Medium Setting: 1366 x 768, Medium / Low
Medium Setting: 1366 x 768, Medium / Low
High Setting: 1366 x 768, High, Anti-Aliasing on
High Setting: 1366 x 768, High, Anti-Aliasing on
Ultra Setting: 1920 x 1080, High, Anti-Aliasing on
Ultra Setting: 1920 x 1080, High, Anti-Aliasing on

It's practically a given that a Blizzard game can run on low-end hardware, but what really surprised us is the texture quality difference between the lowest and highest settings -- or should we say, the lack thereof. Unlike many other games, changing the graphics settings will actually not reduce or improve in-game textures by a significant amount. Unless if you are concentrated on looking for minute differences (which you probably shouldn't be doing considering the hordes of Evil trying to kill you), you will hardly recognize the texture quality discrepancies during the heat of battle.

Instead, altering the graphics settings will have a more profound effect on shadows and antialasing. In a game where lighting is key, the loss or reduction in shadow quality can quickly deteriorate the engaging atmosphere Diablo III has to offer. Jaggies can become apparent as well, which is especially unfortunate on characters and NPCs as they will consequently sport slanted edges and appear too polygonal for our tastes. In general though, Diablo III never looks bad regardless of the settings and has definitely surprised us in terms of visual fidelity on lower-end settings.

Low Setting
Low Setting
Medium Setting
Medium Setting
High / Ultra Setting
High / Ultra Setting
Low Setting
Low Setting
Medium Setting
Medium Setting
High / Ultra Setting
High / Ultra Setting

Results

If case if you haven't figured out the good news yet, your trip back to Hell isn't going to require luxury notebook hardware. If you have reserved settings and resolution demands, Diablo III can be played even on Intel's last generation HD Graphics 3000 in low details.

However, we still recommend using a discrete GPU to experience the Blizzard title at its fullest. A graphics card on par with the entry-mainstream GeForce GT 630M will be able to play on medium to high details without a problem. A typical upper mid-range mobile GPU like the GeForce GT 640M can run the game at maximum settings.

Note: Regardless of the computer you might experiences stuttering. The frame rate depends on game mode and number of opponents and our test scenario is not very demanding.

Benchmark table Diablo III
Benchmark table Diablo III

Test Systems

Many thanks to Schenker notebooks, who kindly provided us with the following laptops:

  • XMG P501 (Core i7-2630QM, GeForce GTX 560M, GTX 580M, Radeon HD 6970M & HD 6990M, 8 GB RAM)
  • XMG A501 (Core i7-2630QM, HD Graphics 3000 & GeForce GT 555M, 8 GB RAM)
  • Xesia M501 (Core i7-2630QM, GeForce GT 630M, 4 GB RAM)
Von links nach rechts: Schenker XMG A501, Xesia M501 & XMG P501
Von links nach rechts: Schenker XMG A501, Xesia M501 & XMG P501
Discussion

Please find a list with further Diablo III benchmarks below.

Show Restrictions
Pos      Model                                     Diablo III
 Diablo III (2012)
low
1024x768
Low / off
med.
1366x768
Medium / low
high
1366x768
High
on AA
ultra
1920x1080
High
on AA
 18AMD Radeon R9 290X
260
 23NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M SLI
251.2
284.8
226
 24AMD Radeon HD 7970M Crossfire
242.7
237.5
194.2
 30NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
316.9
284.7
269.2
225
 33NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680
216
200
200
188
 34AMD Radeon HD 7970
213
190.8
188.9
191.4
 45NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M
193
125
117
84
 48NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti
312.8
250.8
246.1
217.7
 50NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M
232.1
199.8
206.3
186.12
 53AMD Radeon HD 7870
277.6
228.9
226.2
163.4
 54NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M
281.6
245.4
154.2
 56NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M
178
116
103
75
 58AMD Radeon HD 8970M
244.8
206.5
182.7
115.8
 62NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M SLI
264.5
240.7
236.8
173.4
 63NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M
186.5
168.5
184.752
157.254
 65AMD FirePro M6100
327
218
176
124
 66AMD Radeon HD 7970M
243.1
210.6
128.2
94.13
 69NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670MX SLI
340.8
284.2
261.1
170.9
 72NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
292.8
224
201.9
121.3
Pos      Model                                     Diablo III
lowmed.highultra
 74NVIDIA Quadro K5000M
3172
232
209
131.52
 75NVIDIA Quadro K4100M
153
119
103
65
 76NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770M
224.2
200.1
196
141.3
 77NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M
307.922
221.672
189.12
105.242
 83NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675MX
194.6
176
109.9
 84NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M SLI
182.7
179.6
136
 85NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
278.2
205.7
165.6
102.9
 86NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M
149
103
91
61
 91AMD Radeon HD 6870
280
227
201
127
 92NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470
241
174
110
80
 94NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M
216.4
204.82
180.62
111.73
 98NVIDIA Quadro K4000M
247
183
158
83
 101ATI Radeon HD 5850
248.3
181.6
121.2
91.4
 102NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675M
212.2
161.4
102.3
73.91
 103NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580M
191.2
156.9
99.7
70.9
 104AMD Radeon HD 6990M
210.2
145
97.1
73
 110AMD Radeon HD 7770
212.9
155.1
129.6
86.3
 111NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M SLI
241.4
197
178.4
106.7
 118NVIDIA Quadro K3100M
227
96
 120AMD Radeon R9 M370X
190.3
106.6
98.4
69.2
Pos      Model                                     Diablo III
lowmed.highultra
 121NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670MX
236.3
165.4
144
89.5
 123NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760M
168
152
94
 125NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670M
185
133
833
593
 126*NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
125.6
103
83.4
50.6
 129AMD Radeon HD 6970M
193.4
132.1
89.4
64.6
 131AMD Radeon HD 8870M
132.9
96.2
85.4
54.2
 133NVIDIA Quadro K3000M
178.52
1342
115.52
72.52
 135AMD FirePro M6000
172
121
93
69
 136AMD FirePro M5100
195
134
105
67
 137NVIDIA Quadro K2100M
169.52
1242
1002
60.52
 144NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M
179.7
99.9
109.73
673
 146AMD Radeon HD 8850M
111.6
77.152
67.42
43.752
 148AMD Radeon R9 M265X
95.1
81.42
50.92
 151AMD Radeon HD 8790M
97
70
61
37
 152AMD FirePro W4170M
147
89
76
52
 159NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M
145.42
113.22
102.62
66.62
 161NVIDIA Quadro K1100M
108
74
78
42
 162NVIDIA GeForce 940M
155.4
106.2
89.1
53.8
 168NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M
164.37
1057
869
58.19
 169NVIDIA Quadro K620M
72
57
59
42
Pos      Model                                     Diablo III
lowmed.highultra
 170NVIDIA GeForce 840M
62.052
36.052
31.452
17.72
 172NVIDIA GeForce GT 745M
156.262
111.472
94.962
58.942
 174NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560M
172.3
99.9
61.3
44.2
 175AMD Radeon R7 512 Cores (Kaveri Desktop)
40.5
 176Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200
133.8
86.2
75
46
 177*AMD Radeon R7 (Carrizo)
51.1
38.8
32.3
20.2
 179NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M
94.73
723
67.43
46.22
 180NVIDIA GeForce 930M
138.4
93.1
73.3
44.9
 181*Intel Iris Graphics 550
132.7
106.7
96.1
61.5
 182NVIDIA GeForce 830M
115.12
72.952
58.82
37.82
 183Intel Iris Graphics 540
57
 185NVIDIA Quadro K2000M
138.552
89.22
76.82
44.32
 186NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450
192
125
112
66
 188NVIDIA GeForce GT 735M
104.5
71.652
62.952
38.2
 192AMD FirePro M4000
135.952
87.152
68.852
46.72
 199AMD Radeon R7 M260X
101.9
68
57.5
37.5
 201AMD Radeon HD 8550G + HD 8750M Dual Graphics
102.7
70.4
56.9
 202*NVIDIA GeForce 920MX
122.8
79.3
64.7
39.1
 203NVIDIA GeForce GT 730M
132.163
91.363
83.484
49.413
 205*NVIDIA GeForce GT 645M
139.7
91.82
81.252
49.8
Pos      Model                                     Diablo III
lowmed.highultra
 206AMD FirePro M4100
96
21
 207AMD Radeon HD 8750M
83.24
57.74
49.44
30.83
 209AMD Radeon R7 M270
94.5
62.1
51
31.4
 210AMD Radeon R7 M265
84.732
55.172
46.752
29.532
 214NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M
1193
75.54
67.14
42.72
 215AMD Radeon R7 (Kaveri)
59.8
42.2
36.6
 216AMD Radeon R8 M365DX
64.5
48.7
45.2
30.2
 217*AMD Radeon R7 M460
92.2
60.5
50.7
29.9
 218AMD Radeon HD 7730M
51
44
27
 220AMD Radeon R7 M360
70
52.5
41.4
29.8
 223AMD Radeon HD 8690M
70.3
50.6
40.1
29.1
 224AMD Radeon R8 M445DX
73.9
55.4
45
27.9
 225AMD Radeon R7 M440
58.7
52
45.7
27.8
 231AMD Radeon R7 M340
92
67.4
54.4
33.5
 232NVIDIA GeForce 920M
110.752
70.952
57.52
36.652
 233AMD Radeon R6 M340DX
68.8
42.1
32.7
20.9
 234Intel HD Graphics 530
106.7
71.7
60
35.3
 237AMD Radeon R7 M260
86.7
61.2
48.9
29.2
 238AMD Radeon R5 (Bristol Ridge)
50.7
36.6
32.9
23.6
 239AMD Radeon R6 (Carrizo)
49.8
35.1
32.2
23.5
Pos      Model                                     Diablo III
lowmed.highultra
 247AMD Radeon HD 8670D
115
76
62
41
 250NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M LE
98.6
65.3
57.7
42.5
 251AMD Radeon R6 (Kaveri)
54.8
37.1
31.4
20.7
 253AMD Radeon HD 8730M
78
56
51
 255NVIDIA GeForce GT 635M
98.9
65.5
57.6
 256NVIDIA GeForce GT 555M
119.4
61.2
39.1
27.7
 272AMD Radeon HD 8650G + HD 8670M Dual Graphics
78.2
49.7
38.9
 273AMD Radeon HD 8650G + HD 8570M Dual Graphics
75.9
49.9
43.6
29
 275AMD Radeon HD 8550G + HD 8670M Dual Graphics
75.7
47.7
38
 276AMD Radeon HD 8670M
52
36
29
17
 277AMD Radeon R6 M255DX
61.352
40.152
31.952
20.6
 278AMD Radeon HD 7660D
53
35
 280NVIDIA Quadro K1000M
82.52
54.52
47.52
26.52
 296AMD Radeon HD 8650G
72.452
49.052
42.22
26.1
 297AMD Radeon HD 7640G + HD 7670M Dual Graphics
963
742
67.72
45.652
 299AMD Radeon HD 7520G + HD 7670M Dual Graphics
80.8
54.6
46.2
30.4
 300AMD Radeon HD 7670M
61.1
44.6
38.2
 301NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
92.514
66.2516
4617
2312
 304AMD Radeon R5 M335
66.7
41.8
32.4
20.4
 306AMD Radeon R5 M330
70.3
44.4
35.1
Pos      Model                                     Diablo III
lowmed.highultra
 307AMD Radeon R5 M255
64.3
51.6
 309NVIDIA GeForce 820M
95
66.72
55.92
33.92
 310Intel HD Graphics 520
81.22
52.852
43.32
25.752
 311Intel Iris Graphics 6100
73.8
54.6
44.8
29.2
 312NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M
99.1
69.7
56.7
31.8
 314AMD Radeon R5 M240
52
41
33
 316AMD Radeon R5 M230
64.552
40.052
292
16.852
 320AMD Radeon HD 8450G + Radeon HD 8570M Dual Graphics