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?

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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

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
 44AMD Radeon R9 290X
260
 49NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M SLI
251.2
284.8
226
 50AMD Radeon HD 7970M Crossfire
242.7
237.5
194.2
 51NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M
184
 58NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
316.9
284.7
269.2
225
 61NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680
216
200
200
188
 62AMD Radeon HD 7970
213
190.8
188.9
191.4
 75NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M
193
125
117
84
 78NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti
312.8
250.8
246.1
217.7
 80NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M
232.1
199.8
206.3
186.12
 86AMD Radeon HD 7870
277.6
228.9
226.2
163.4
 87NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M
281.6
245.4
154.2
 89NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M
178
116
103
75
 91AMD Radeon HD 8970M
244.8
206.5
182.7
115.8
 95NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M SLI
264.5
240.7
236.8
173.4
 97NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M
186.5
168.5
184.752
157.254
 99AMD FirePro M6100
327
218
176
124
 100AMD Radeon HD 7970M
243.1
210.6
128.2
94.13
 105NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
292.8
224
201.9
121.3
Pos      Model                                     Diablo III
lowmed.highultra
 107NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670MX SLI
340.8
284.2
261.1
170.9
 113NVIDIA GeForce MX150 (Laptop GT 1030)
143
123
120.2
81.2
 115NVIDIA Quadro K5000M
3172
232
209
131.52
 116NVIDIA Quadro K4100M
153
119
103
65
 119NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770M
224.2
200.1
196
141.3
 121NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M
307.922
221.672
189.12
105.242
 127NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675MX
194.6
176
109.9
 128NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M SLI
182.7
179.6
136
 130NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
278.2
205.7
165.6
102.9
 133NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M
149
103
91
61
 139AMD Radeon HD 6870
280
227
201
127
 140NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470
241
174
110
80
 142NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M
216.4
204.82
180.62
111.73
 146NVIDIA Quadro K4000M
247
183
158
83
 149ATI Radeon HD 5850
248.3
181.6
121.2
91.4
 150NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675M
212.2
161.4
102.3
73.91
 151NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580M
191.2
156.9
99.7
70.9
 152AMD Radeon HD 6990M
210.2
145
97.1
73
 156AMD Radeon HD 7770
212.9
155.1
129.6
86.3
 157NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M SLI
241.4
197
178.4
106.7
Pos      Model                                     Diablo III
lowmed.highultra
 164NVIDIA Quadro K3100M
227
96
 166AMD Radeon R9 M370X
190.3
106.6
98.4
69.2
 167NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670MX
236.3
165.4
144
89.5
 169NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760M
168
152
94
 171NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670M
185
133
833
593
 175AMD Radeon HD 6970M
193.4
132.1
89.4
64.6
 177AMD Radeon HD 8870M
132.9
96.2
85.4
54.2
 179NVIDIA Quadro K3000M
178.52
1342
115.52
72.52
 181AMD FirePro M6000
172
121
93
69
 182AMD FirePro M5100
195
134
105
67
 183NVIDIA Quadro K2100M
169.52
1242
1002
60.52
 190NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M
179.7
99.9
109.73
673
 192AMD Radeon HD 8850M
111.6
77.152
67.42
43.752
 194AMD Radeon R9 M265X
95.1
81.42
50.92
 197AMD Radeon HD 8790M
97
70
61
37
 198AMD FirePro W4170M
147
89
76
52
 204NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M
145.42
113.22
102.62
66.62
 207NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
125.6
86.62
75.12
46.152
 208NVIDIA Quadro K1100M
108
74
78
42
 209NVIDIA GeForce 940M
155.4
106.2
89.1
53.8
Pos      Model                                     Diablo III
lowmed.highultra
 219NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M
164.37
1057
869
58.19
 220NVIDIA Quadro K620M
72
57
59
42
 221NVIDIA GeForce 840M
62.052
36.052
31.452
17.72
 223NVIDIA GeForce GT 745M
156.262
111.472
94.962
58.942
 225NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560M
172.3
99.9
61.3
44.2
 226*AMD Radeon R7 (Bristol Ridge)
70
54.6
45.5
41.3
 227AMD Radeon R7 512 Cores (Kaveri Desktop)
40.5
 228Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200
133.8
86.2
75
46
 230NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M
94.73
723
67.43
46.22
 231NVIDIA GeForce 930M
138.4
93.1
73.3
44.9
 233*Intel Iris Graphics 550
132.7
106.7
96.1
61.5
 234NVIDIA GeForce 830M
115.12
72.952
58.82
37.82
 235*NVIDIA GeForce 920MX
122.8
79.3
64.7
39.1
 238Intel Iris Graphics 540
57
 240NVIDIA Quadro K2000M
138.552
89.22
76.82
44.32
 241NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450
192
125
112
66
 243NVIDIA GeForce GT 735M
104.5
71.652
62.952
38.2
 247AMD FirePro M4000
135.952
87.152
68.852
46.72
 254AMD Radeon R7 M260X
101.9
68
57.5
37.5
 256AMD Radeon HD 8550G + HD 8750M Dual Graphics
102.7
70.4
56.9
Pos      Model                                     Diablo III
lowmed.highultra
 257NVIDIA GeForce GT 730M
132.163
91.363
83.484
49.413
 258NVIDIA GeForce GT 645M
139.7
91.82
81.252
49.8
 260AMD FirePro M4100
96
21
 261AMD Radeon HD 8750M
83.24
57.74
49.44
30.83
 263AMD Radeon R7 M270
94.5
62.1
51
31.4
 264AMD Radeon R7 M265
84.732
55.172
46.752
29.532
 268NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M
1193
75.54
67.14
42.72
 269AMD Radeon R7 (Kaveri)
59.8
42.2
36.6
 270AMD Radeon R8 M365DX
64.5
48.7
45.2
30.2
 271*AMD Radeon R7 M460
92.2
60.5
50.7
29.9
 272AMD Radeon HD 7730M
51
44
27
 274AMD Radeon R7 M360
70
52.5
41.4
29.8
 276*AMD Radeon R7 (Carrizo)
51.1
38.8
32.3
20.2
 278AMD Radeon HD 8690M
70.3
50.6
40.1
29.1
 279AMD Radeon R8 M445DX
73.9
55.4
45
27.9
 280AMD Radeon R7 M440
58.7
52
45.7
27.8
 286AMD Radeon R7 M340
92
67.4
54.4
33.5
 287NVIDIA GeForce 920M
110.752
70.952
57.52
36.652
 288AMD Radeon R6 M340DX
68.8
42.1
32.7
20.9
 289Intel HD Graphics 630
77.3
54.6
46.3
27.7
Pos      Model                                     Diablo III
lowmed.highultra
 291Intel HD Graphics 530
106.7
71.7
60
35.3
 294AMD Radeon R7 M260
86.7
61.2
48.9
29.2
 295AMD Radeon R5 (Bristol Ridge)
50.7
36.6
32.9
23.6
 296AMD Radeon R5 (Stoney Ridge)
59.6
41.8
33.6
 297*Intel UHD Graphics 620
40
27.4
 298*Intel HD Graphics 620
105.9
72.2
47.052
33.22
 299AMD Radeon R6 (Carrizo)
49.8
35.1
32.2
23.5