by Tibor Schiemann
Fortunately, Diablo 3 already runs well on even modest desktop and laptop PCs. However, you can still run into problems when trying to run at the highest resolutions, with all of the details set to “Maximum” and with all of the Anti-Aliasing options enabled. So, here are my recommendations when it comes to getting the maximum frames per second (FPS).
Before you get started, it’s, of course, always important to make sure that your system is fully optimized. To make sure you’re all set, I recommend reading our two recent posts on the 10 best ways to push your PC and games to the limit. By using tuning tools like TuneUp Program Deactivator and TuneUp Turbo Mode to reduce the load on your system as well as making sure your antivirus software doesn’t interfere with gameplay, among other cleaning methods, you can easily ensure maximum FPS. You may also want to install FRAPS to accurately benchmark performance improvements. Completed these initial steps? Now, let’s talk Diablo 3.
1. Tweak Diablo 3 Graphic Settings
Diablo 3 isn’t as visually breathtaking as Crysis 2 or Max Payne 3 —but it should run extremely well on current hardware. If you’re running on older hardware, there is some stuff you can and should do to get more FPS out the game. First, let’s look at what can be achieved with the in-game settings.
Texture Quality: High vs. Low?
Surprisingly, reducing the texture level through the setting only had a minor effect on overall performance. In our tests, yet again with the Alienware X51 and its GeForceGTX 555, Diablo 3′s performance went from 31 FPS (with everything else maxed out) to 33 FPS. This isn’t a lot, but lower-end machines might experience a wider gap between the two settings.
Visually, the low-resolution texture setting didn’t make a massive difference either. Only some of the icons look more pixelated, and the ground seems a bit blurrier. But, to be honest, it’s hardly noticeable.
Shadow Quality: Off, Low, Medium or High?
On the other side, the “Shadow Quality” has a direct and very visible impact on the visual quality of the game. If you turn shadows “Off”, the game quality suffers quite immensely but you will get a boost of up to 30% in FPS! On my test rig, the average frames per second (measured with FRAPS) went from 31 FPS up to 45 FPS. The other two settings give you a 5-15% boost in performance and may be a good compromise between visual quality and performance. To increase FPS on lower end systems, I suggest you use the Low or Medium settings – and the “Off” only when you have no other option!
Physics Settings: Low or High?
When you’re out and about destroying your environment, this setting determines the realism of the collisions and affects how objects move. It’s hardly noticeable, but the setting has up to a 20-25% impact on performance. I suggest turning it to “Low” if you’re experience stuttering issues before tinkering with the “Shadow Quality”.
Clutter Density: Off, Low, Medium or High?
This sets both the amount and the density of “ground clutter” including items, grass, foliage and various other objects lying on the ground. Depending on the amount of RAM and video RAM you have, you might want to reduce this—otherwise, leave it enabled. It makes the world of Diablo 3 feel alive. In my tests, I didn’t really notice a huge difference in terms of FPS when playing.
This is only a last resort option. Enabling this setting will allow Diablo 3 to run even on older Core 2 Duo machines with weak graphics and low memory. But, it will look pretty blurry and non-detailed.
2. Tweak the D3Prefs.txt
Diablo 3 offers some hidden settings that can’t be accessed through its option menu. For more advanced tweaks, there is a file called “D3Prefs.txt”, which is located in your user folder at “C:UsersYOUR_USERNAMEDocumentsDiablo III”. Be sure to make a local copy of the file, so you can go back and correct any of the settings.
Disable Trilinear Filtering
The trilinear filter smoothes out blocky pixels by interpolating between the neighboring pixels. This produces a smoother close-up view of items, walls, characters, etc. If you need more performance, set Disable Trilinear Filtering to “1″.
To increase the quality of reflections, set this entry to “1″. It may cost another FPS, but it will make reflections look slightly better.
This setting makes textures look even blurrier, but it will improve performance. If you’re experiencing problems, go back to the 0.000000 setting.
Display Mode Bit Depth “16″
The function reduces the color depth of Diablo 3 from the default “32″ to only “16″ bit. This will significantly decrease the amount of simultaneously displayed colors and the overall visuals—but you’ll get smoother gameplay.
3. Get the Latest Updates
Diablo 3′s updates are very elaborate (check out this blog post for a preview on the Diablo 3 patch 1.03). Some graphical glitches and performance issues will often-times be fixed in the most recent releases. Usually, Diablo 3 updates itself when you launch the game. If that does not work, visit Softpedia, where the latest patches are available as manual downloads. Simply extract the downloaded files, move them to your Diablo 3 folder and overwrite the files.
4. Diablo 3 Installer Stuck at “Updating Setup Files”
If you are having problems installing or updating Diablo, which a lot of users are, read on. The main problem appears to be getting stuck at the “Updating setup files” screen.
The progress bar either stays at 0%, 33% or 66%. There is a lot of misinformation as to the solution, so here are the two tips that will definitely work.
First, delete Diablo 3 Installer-related folders. To do this, hit “WINKEY”+”R” and enter “%programdata%”.
Once there, remove the “Battle.net”, “Blizzard Entertainment” and “Blizzard” folders.
Alternatively, right-click on the Diablo 3 Installer or on the game shortcut, and select “Properties”. Go to the “Compatibility” tab and select “Windows XP (SP3)” from the drop-down menu. Then, check “Run as administrator” and run the installer. You should then be all set!
What did you think of these tweaks? Were you able to notice a bit more FPS after running them? Let us know!
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