As far as graphics quality settings go, there are six settings that you can adjust in Diablo III. These options include texture quality, shadow quality, physics, clutter density, anti-aliasing, and a low-FX option.
We tried out the settings with everything set to low and everything set to high (with the exception of shadows) and didn’t find too many differences in game play. The most obvious difference was shadows and in some scenes we noticed that ground debris was not present. If you roll your mouse over the photo below, you can see the difference between low and high image quality settings. Check out the shadows under the characters to see the main difference.
We also noticed that debris and objects in the game were missing on low image quality settings. You really do miss out on parts of Diablo III with low image quality settings!
We left the game at the default settings (shown in the screen shot earlier) as that is likely how most will play Diablo III and used FRAPS to record the games performance. Diablo III does not have an in-game benchmark and there is no benchmarking tool available, so we used FRAPS to record performance. We ran FRAPS for three minutes and ran from Overlook Road past New Tristram to Old Tristram Road and then finally to The Old Ruins. We then used the portal in The Old Ruins to return to New Tristram so we could go back to where we started. We did this three times at screen resolutions of 1920×1080 and 1280×720 and then averaged the results. We found this to be the best way to get reliable and repeatable performance for our benchmark results.
We were able to feel a difference when gaming at 1920×1080 and after looking at the benchmark results we figured out why. The AMD A10-4600M APU with Radeon HD 7660G graphics averaged 26.2 FPS versus the 17.7 FPS that we were able to get with the Intel Core i7-3020XM Processor and Intel HD Graphics 4000. This shows that we were getting 48% more Frames Per Second (FPS) with the AMD notebook! At 1280×720 we found the AMD notebook was 40% faster although both platforms were able to run the game smoothly at this smaller screen resolution.
If you want to play Diablo III on a laptop and want the best graphics performance possible without a discrete graphics card, the AMD Trinity APU is your best bet. AMD has been leading when it comes integrated graphics performance for many years and nothing has changed with the latest launch of processors. Now stop reading and get back to playing Diablo III!