Running Diablo 3 on a Low End Computer and Stuttering Fix and Nvidia FPS Drops Fix

Here is a complied list of tips & solutions for those of us trying to play D3 on low-end systems by Dave. If you have your own tips or advice on how to improve performance in Diablo 3 on low end PCs, please post a comment below the article. Thank you for your contributions.

Diablo 3 Stuttering Fix: I noticed when switching to Windowed (Fullscreen) mode in the video options (instead of just regular Full Screen), most of the stuttering I experienced in Diablo 3 went away, and the game still runs full screen. The only drawback is once you alt tab, sometimes the game stays in front of other open programs. So try it, and see if it helps you. My settings that work well for me with no stuttering: (My PC is an intel dual core 3ghz, Radeon 6870, 8g ram.)

Display: Windowed (Fullscreen)
Resolution: 1920x1080 (16:9 Widescreen)
Lock Cursor checked
Letterbox unchecked
Vercial Sync checked
Max Foreground FPS: 120
Max Background FPS: 61
Texture Quality: High
Shadow Quality: Medium (Smooth)
Physics: High
Clutter Density: High
Anti-Aliasing: checked
Low FX: unchecked

Tips on Reducing Diablo 3 FPS drops on Nvidia Cards

Thanks to HighCounselor for submitting these tips on how to reduce random FPS drops in Diablo 3 when using an Nvidia card:

I've been struggling with this game since I got it,fps drops,stutter,rubberbanding etc.
Naturaly,it drove me nuts so I had to find a fix. The stutter is caused by hard drive read times so the ONLY fix is to get an SSD or run the game from a USB thumb,I found reducing audio quality helps too.

Regarding the FPS drops when my FPS goes from 60 to 14 in big fights,I found a couple of things to do the trick:

  • turning off damage numbers - this has the most impact
  • setting adaptive mode vsync in nvidia cp
  • setting shadow quality to any value but it MUST NOT BE SMOOTH
  • turning off clutter
  • setting physics to low
  • enabling triple buffering in nvidia cp (if vsync on)
  • Hope this helps!

Now for some tips on how to get Diablo 3 running well on a low-end computer:

First off, let me outline just how low-end I mean.
  • Pentium 4 2.40 GHz
  • 1.5 GB SD RAM
  • GeForce 7800
  • Windows 7 (32 bit)
  • Those are my own PC specs.
My question was: Does anyone know of a way to alter D3 locally to the point of it looking really bad, but it doesn't render certain aspects? i.e. turning off particle physics, perhaps even rag-doll physics.
My responses from the community were quite kind and helpful to me, therefore I make this post in the hope others like me may benefit from them as well.
I had already altered my D3Prefs.txt as such:
  • DisableTrilinearFiltering "1"
  • HardwareClass "1"
  • (Changing your Hardwareclass to "1" essentially defines your video card as not technically being supported by D3, yet it will work anyway. Making this change improves the performance you will have from your "unsupported" card.)
  • Thanks to user Parnass for asking clarification on this change to your D3prefs.txt file.
Which I recommend others in our situation do as well.
(The D3Prefs.txt file can be found in your /Users/(insert username)/My Documents/Diablo III folder.) (FYI: This pertains to Win7 users such as myself, but I'm sure XP users can find it just as easily.)
  • Of course, before the rest of this post let's have all of you in this situation be sure to dial down ALL your in-game video settings. Including 800x600 resolution in windowed mode and all the rest as low as they can be. (Thanks to HelixDnB for reminding me to add the windowed part.)
  • User pacman404 was in a similar situation to me and recommended an application called Gamebooster. I checked it out, researched it, and found it to be legit and okay to download onto my system. I now also recommend it.(A few people in the comments asked if Gamebooster was truly legit, as you can see from the replies they received, in addition to my own endorsement. It is indeed quite legitimate. However there are only 27 days remaining for it to be a FREE download from iobit's website as of June 6th.)
It basically turns EVERYTHING off in the background when you "Boost+Start" a game, and does wonders for performance. I've personally used it and fully endorse it.
  • User divinewind also had a great recommendation. Quoting him "in D3Prefs, the "mipbias x" changes the way that textures are handled, "0" is normal textures, and as you increase the number the textures become more and more blurry. Try playing around with this value.
Just a starters tip, try to stay below 1.0 because anything more than that will reduce the whole game to a hazy blur."
  • User lolsv also had a suggestion: Quoting him "Maybe stop playing D3 for a bit and save some $ to get a new PC?" Less than helpful for those of us with a very limited budget, but I thanked him all the same. (I may or may not have included "Fuck the police" in my thanks.)
I hope this post helps those of us wishing very much to play Diablo III on lower-end computers. Thank you for your time, and reading all this very carefully composed post. Best wishes to you all.
  • Special thanks to Finkster for getting me on the correct Reddit path.
New additions, as promised, from those kind enough to reply in the thread below.
  • User specularr reported people having a big performance increase, not just for us low-enders, by installing D3 on a flashdisk or SSD. He also suggested for us low-enders on getting a fast 16GB flashdisk. Apparently 8GB is too small for D3.
  • His link for benchmarking information is also very helpful. Many thanks to him/her.
  • User Duskin1757 made a most excellent reply to specularr's. I shall quote him for I am not as smart as him.
  • "There is a post on the official forums on copying your MPQ folder to a flash drive HERE, and the OP said it's only able to be done with a USB key large enough to fit the entire MPQ folder. I found a way to do it using smaller USB drives (I only had two 4GB sticks available.) I'm pretty sure there aren't any instructions on the process I used, so if anyone is interested in instructions, I can write up a detailed one for people who don't really understand computers.
  • If you think you can figure it out yourself and you are comfortable with command-line, here's a quick rundown of the process:
  • Format flash drives as NTFS. Copy Individual MPQ file to USB stick or sticks. Command prompt as admin:
  • mklink "C:\Program Files\Diablo III\Data_D3\PC\MPQs.mpq" "D:.mpq\"
  • Arguments for mklink: /h is used for hardlinks, and does not work across drives, so don't use it. /j is used for directory junction, which you can use for the folders I didn't copy over listed below. /d is for a directory, but shouldn't be used because Diablo 3 will not be able to see the subdirectories.
  • replace*.mpq with name of MPQ you copied over. Repeat process for each individual file.
  • Here's a breakdown of how I sorted my MPQs based on using two 4GB sticks:
  • Stick 1 E: basewin-Win.mpq, ClientData.mpq, enUS_Text.mpq, HLSLShaders.mpq, Sound.mpq
  • Stick 2 G: CoreData.mpq, enUS_Audio.mpq, Texture.mpq
  • Files I didn't make a copy of: enUS_Cutscene.mpq (I didn't have the space)
  • Folders I didn't copy: base, Cache, enUS, Win (these folders contain what looks like update files)
  • EDIT: my specs: Pentium 4 3.0, 1GB RAM, Radeon HD4850. I get a solid 30+ fps on all low settings playing solo, with very little stuttering. Multiplayer drops fps significantly depending on number of players and area of game.
  • EDIT2: I'm also using a 4GB flash drive for readyboost, which I highly recommend. It seems in my experience that the 2 biggest limiting factors in using a computer with my low specs is the lack of a dual core processor and a slow harddrive. I don't know about the graphics card though, since I am using a decent one."