Diablo III System Requirements, Hardware Upgrades, and Builds
With Diablo III’s release on the horizon, it’s no secret that majority of us are thrilled to finally become immersed in this game — but have you considered how your PC’s performance in the Burning Hells is going to pan out?
Whether you’re running a pre-built system like a Dell, HP, Acer, or MAC, or a custom-built machine that you’ve created with your own specific tastes in balls to the wall gaming hardware — it’s imperative that you re-evaluate each and every component of your PC to ensure you get the best playing experience out of Diablo III.
We’re going to review what an optimal custom build for Diablo III would look like, as well as discuss the minimum and recommended system requirements to help you make the necessary tweaks to your current PC rig. By the end of this article you should have a better understanding of what to expect from Diablo III’s overall performance with your PC, and a conception of what you could do to improve certain aspects of gameplay performance.
Diablo III Minimum System Requirements
This is the absolute nitty-gritty of what’s expected of your PC for Diablo III. If you don’t meet these specifications, then you either won’t run the game at all or you’ll encounter some serious issues in frame rates, loading times, and graphics quirks.
In general for all platforms you’ll absolutely need the following:
- 12GB of hard drive space
- 1GB RAM (1.5GB for Vista and Windows 7)
- 2GB RAM for Mac users
- DVD-ROM drive
- 1024 x 768 display
- Broadband Internet connection
PC: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 (DirectX 9.0c) Latest service packs
Mac: Mac OS X (10.6.8), 10.7.X (Latest Version)
PC: Intel Pentium D 2.8GHz, AMD AthlonTM 64 X2 4400+
Mac: Intel Core 2 Duo
PC: NVIDIA GeForce 7800GT, ATI Radeon X1950 Pro +
Mac: NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT, ATI Radeon HD 2600
Diablo III Recommended System Requirements
These specifications are what Blizzard recommends for smooth performance in all aspects of gameplay. Granted, you won’t be able to max-out your graphics settings with these specs without encountering some frame rate problems and lag hiccups. We’ll get to the primo-build requirements for anyone desiring that kind of power later.
PC: Windows Vista, Windows 7, Latest Service Packs
Mac: Mac OS X 10.7.X (Latest Version)
PC: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz, AMD AthlonTM 64 X2 5600+ 2.8GHz
Mac: Intel Core 2 Duo
PC: 2GB RAM
Mac: 2GB RAM
PC: NVIDIA GeForce 260, ATI Radeon HD 4870 or better
Mac: NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M, ATI Radeon HD 4670 or better
Souping up Diablo III’s Performance & Graphics
Sure your PC meets the recommended requirements for Diablo III, but does it give you the character textures, environment lighting, and model shading that you know is possible? For most people, the answer is no. And that’s totally okay. Not everyone needs to see every game at its most ravishing state. However there is a large portion of us out there that in fact do need all the guts and glory of Diablo III’s graphics.
Let’s talk processors. If you’re still stuck in the era of dual-core CPU’s then listen up because maxing out the graphics of Diablo III is going to require you to make the leap to a triple, or quad-core processor. Of course, before making any upgrade to a new CPU be sure that your motherboard supports what you’re upgrading to. There are plenty of triple and quad-core’s on the market today, and for extremely reasonable prices at that. We’d suggest rolling with anything 3.0GHz and above to be sure to not bottleneck your graphics card, or vice versa depending on what you’re running in your current rig.
Moving on to the muscle of any real gaming rig — the video card. As noted in the system requirements the Radeon 4800 is a good choice for a basic setup. Hell, I’ve been using the Sapphire 1GB HD 4850 for four years, and ran just about every game I threw at it with medium to high settings. But it’s 2012, and there’s been some pretty major improvements to graphics cards since 2008. Radeon is now on their HD 7000 series of video cards, and provide a serious boost in graphics performance.
But like most people, we’re on a budget here so let’s keep it affordable. 1GB graphics cards are pretty much the norm these days so going any lower in memory wouldn’t be worth whatever you’d save. Most current cards to date are GDDR5 (high performance graphics card memory), and range from 128-bit to 256-bit. This is more personal preference here, but you’ll find that the price difference between a 192-bit GDDR5 card and a 256-bit GDDR5 card isn’t too drastic. So that’s your choice — they’ll both be capable of running Diablo III on the highest possible settings all day long assuming you have a sufficient CPU to back it up. Direct X 11 is a must!
The last thing we want to touch base on is memory. Most rigs come with 4GB these days, but not everyone is up to par. The good news is Diablo III won’t require much more than 4GB of RAM with max settings. RAM is extremely affordable, so if you’re lacking in that department, pick up another couple gigs for next to nothing.
The Perfect Custom PC for Diablo III
Building a custom PC is always fun, and even more rewarding when it’s for a particular purpose — in this case Diablo III. As mentioned before, Diablo III isn’t a tremendously resource-demanding game at high settings like Battlefield 3 for instance so if you’re planning on building a new PC specifically for Diablo III, don’t go too overboard. This segment demonstrates a simple build that I recently did to ensure that my hardware was up to snuff for Diablo III. Yes, there’s better hardware options out there, but expect to fork out the mulah for it.
I’m pretty loyal to ASUS when it comes to motherboards, and this is a popular model across the board in terms of stability, overclocking, and compatibility.
- AM3 Phenom II / Athlon II / Sempron 100 Series AMD 140W CPU Support
- 2600MHz Hyper Transport (5200 MT/s)
- North Bridge Chipset: AMD 890FX
- South Bridge Chipset: AMD SB850
- Dual Channel (4×240pin) DDR3 2000(O.C.)/1600/1333/1066 (up 16GB)
- 6 x SATA 6Gb/s
- 2 x USB 3.0
- Turbo Unlocker – On Demand Real Time CPU Boost
- Core Unlocker – Unleash True Core Performance Intelligently
- Turbo Key II – Switch on the Potential, Turn up the Performance
- TurboV EVO – The Ultimate O.C. Processor
- CrossFireX Support – Flexible Multi-GPU solutions
- PCI Express 2.0 x16
- Core Clock: 951MHz (vs. NV Ref. 900 Mhz)
- Shader Clock: 1903 Mhz (vs. NV Ref. 1800 Mhz)
- 192 Processor Cores
- Memory Clock: 4356 Mhz (v.s. NV Ref. 4100 Mhz)
- 1GB, 192-bit, GDDR5
- Direct X 11, OpenGL 4.1
- Max Resoution: 2560 x 1600
- SLI Ready
- Socket AM3
- 3.6GHz Deneb Quad-core
- Hyper Transports: 4000MHz
- L2 Cache: 4 x 512KB
- L3 Cache: 6MB
- 64-bit support
- ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91
- Max Power: 750W
- 140mm silent double ball-bearing fan
- Input Voltage: 100 – 240 V
- 80 PLUS SILVER Certified
It may sound odd, but this was one of the most exciting pieces of this build. I’ve built many PC’s in my day, and have never seen a computer case this user-friendly and intelligently designed. It’s a little higher on the price scale for a case, but I’m telling you — it’s worth every penny.
I decided to roll with the white model because I thought it gave it a “Tyrael Theme” to the whole build. The black looks great too, though, don’t get me wrong.
- Twin 200mm cooling fans with white LEDs for excellent cooling
- Side panel with cutout for window AND mesh with room for four 120mm fans — both included
- Eight expansion slots provides you flexibility for multiple graphics card solutions
- Unique cable routing holes guarantees you a clean and clutter-free installation
- Integrated fan controller, for up to four fans
- Tool-free optical drive installation
- CPU backplate cutout makes upgrading your CPU heatsink easy
- 2.5″ and 3.5″ hard drive compatibility for up to 6 drives
- Speed: DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
- Capacity: 8GB
- Voltage: 1.5V
- Dual-Channel Kit
What Diablo III means to you, and your PC
Regardless if you upgrade your PC for Diablo III or not, it all boils down to what you want out of your gameplay experience. While much of the information provided in this article is a general guideline of things that can be done to improve your performance in Diablo III, they aren’t all necessary.
If you want to witness what Blizzard’s development team has been slaving over for the past couple years to its full potential, then you now have that perspective of what needs to be done. The time is upon us, fellow champions. Let us prepare appropriately.