Video Perspective: AMD A10-4600M vs Core i7-3720QM on Diablo III

Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors, Mobile | June 1, 2012 - 07:52 AM |
Tagged: video, trinity, Ivy Bridge, Intel, i7-3720QM, diablo iii, APU, amd, a10-4600m

So, apparently PC gamers are big fans of Diablo III, to the tune of 3.5 million copies sold in the first 24 hours.  That means there are a lot of people out there looking for information about the performance they can expect on various harware configurations with Diablo III.  Since we happened to have the two newest mobile processors and platforms on-hand, and because many people seemed to assume that "just about anything" would be able to play D3, we decided to put it to the test.

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In our previous reviews of the AMD Trinity and Intel Ivy Bridge reference systems, the general consensus was that the CPU portion of the chip was better on Intel's side while the GPU portion was still weighted towards the AMD Trinity APU.  Both of these CPUs, the A10-4600M and the Core i7-3720QM, are the highest end mobile solutions from both AMD and Intel. 

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The specifications weren't identical, but again, for a mobile platform, this was the best we could do.  With the AMD system only having 4GB of memory compared to the Ivy Bridge system with 8GB, that is one lone "stand out" spec.  The Intel HD 4000 graphics offer a noticeable upgrade from the HD 3000 on the Sandy Bridge platform but AMD's new HD 7660G (based on Cayman) also sees performance increase. 

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We ran our tests at 1366x768 with "high" image quality settings and ran through a section of the early part of the game a few times with FRAPs to get our performance results.  We did also run some tests to an external monitor at 1920x1080 with "low" presets and AA disabled - both are reported in the video below.  Enjoy!

How consoles would have gouged Diablo 3 over $44 million

Subject: General Tech, Systems | May 29, 2012 - 02:04 PM |
Tagged: diablo iii, consoles, blizzard

Matt Ployhar of Intel has posted on their Software Blogs about how much money in royalties would be given to Microsoft, Sony, or Nintendo if Diablo 3 were published on a console platform. Activision-Blizzard along with a couple of other publishers recently pocket the difference -- but unlike the consoles it is not an actual cost so the publishers can, and many do, lower their prices to the $50 point at launch. It really shows how expensive the seemingly cheaper console platforms really are.

So who would make a device for $805 to sell it for $499 after billions in research, development, and marketing?

Sony does and they get that money back from you in good time -- subtly.

The perception of consoles being a cheaper gaming platform than the PC is just a perception. Over the lifespan of the platform you can pay less for a better experience with a somewhat larger upfront cost on the PC. You are paying a premium with the consoles to experience exclusive titles that are only exclusive because you allowed the platform to charge you to pay the publisher to make it exclusive. Imagine how that cost grows if you own multiple consoles?

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But I find good value in paying extra so that others cannot play too.

Matt Ployhar of the Intel Software Blogs does a very rough calculation of how much Blizzard would have paid Microsoft, Sony, or Nintendo had their game been on a console platform. With 6.3 million units of Diablo 3 sold in the last two weeks and a typical royalty rate of $7-10 per game sale for console platforms the platform owner would take $44-63 million away from Blizzard.

This means that you would have been paying the platform owner $44-63 million to have Diablo 3 be placed on a platform which will be unsupported probably long before you finish with your game.

Blizzard has been selling Diablo 2 since the Nintendo 64 era. Consoles are paid to be disposable, the PC is not.

Source: Intel Blog

Blizzard further delays Diablo III real-money auction house

Subject: General Tech | May 25, 2012 - 06:15 PM |
Tagged: diablo iii

Ars Technica reports that Blizzard has delayed the Diablo III auction house where users could buy and sell equipment using real money. While the delay is technically “indefinitely” as reported -- they just mean that no alternative release date has been announced.

This Diablows.

In the wake of recent security concerns Blizzard decided to further delay the ability to trade in-game items with fellow gamers for real money. The original launch of the real money auction house was set for some time this past week. Since then we have seen a delay to this upcoming Tuesday which today has also been overturned: launch date TBD.

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I wonder if I can be paid in Vespene Gas...

While Blizzard has been known to take a painstakingly long time to launch products I do not expect the delay to persist too much longer. While this delay has no definite timeframe it feels more like the company just cannot estimate development time rather than expects extensive attention is required.

In other words: it seems to be a question about how little work is required rather than how much.

Source: Ars Technica

Other than an internet connection, what hardware do you need for Diablo III?

Subject: General Tech | May 23, 2012 - 11:50 AM |
Tagged: gaming, diablo iii, blizzard

TechSpot wanted to see what effect your graphics card has on your experience while slaughtering mobs of baddies in Diablo III.  First they removed any chance of a CPU bottleneck by building a test bed using an i7-3960X and then they gathered over two dozen GPUs to test with, ranging from a Radeon HD 6450 to a GTX 680 and almost everything in between.  At lower resolutions all but the slowest seven cards and Intel's HD4000 were able to give 60fps or more but at 2560x1600 only half of the cards they tested could make 60fps or better.  It is interesting to see that the GTX680 and HD7970 offer the same performance at the upper end of the resolutions they tested but you should expect that to change as drivers mature.

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"While we disagree with making single player components online-only, there isn't much mere mortals like us can do about it. What we can do, however, is beat the hell out of Diablo III with today's finest hardware. Blizzard has somewhat of a reputation for making highly scalable titles that run on virtually any gaming rigs, so that's largely what we expect from the developer's latest offering..."

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Source: TechSpot

Take a break from Diablo 3 to look behind the scenes

Subject: General Tech | May 16, 2012 - 09:04 AM |
Tagged: gaming, diablo iii

Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN was given the chance to sit down with the senior world designer and the lead technical artist of Diablo 3.  One of the topics of discussion will be near and dear to those who played the previous games in the series, co-op multiplayer, which really defined the game for those who tried it.  Somehow button mashing in tandem was much more enjoyable than the already great single player experience and the development team spent a good deal of effort bringing that experience to Diablo 3.  They also talk about the difficulties of including enough lore to keep players who want some depth to the story of the game but ensuring that those players who don't care for a back story don't feel it is getting in the way of their game.  At no time were rainbows or unicorns discussed.

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"Diablo III is now a thing that you’re capable of owning and (hopefully) playing. Just before the launch, when those network problems were yet to freeze Hell over, I sat down with senior world designer Leonard Boyarsky and lead technical artist Julian Love to keep them company as queues formed in the streets outside. Along the way, I discovered that having an ex-Troika chap on your game means that ‘lore’ is a very important word indeed, that the distant roguelike heritage hasn’t been forgotten and that technological progression doesn’t necessarily alter design principles."

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Diablo III Beta Benchmarks

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | May 7, 2012 - 12:26 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, diablo iii

Tom’s Hardware took a look at the recent beta of Diablo III and published benchmarks of its performance across multiple profiles. They have found that, for minimum quality settings, a GeForce GT 440 or Radeon 6670 will be very smooth at lower resolutions and even handle 1080p. Maximum quality settings do not lower framerate by all that much even with antialiasing enabled.

Blizzard works on their own personal time zone centered on their offices. It seems quite nebulous to most but apparently 12 years somehow signifies the end of a release cycle. The last couple of years have seen a flurry of releases for the company with two of their three major franchises seeing update twelve year after their last installment.

The latter of those two franchises is Diablo and Diablo III is set to launch in just over a week. If you wonder how your machine will handle the game, and you missed the open beta a little over a week ago, Tom’s Hardware did not miss it and has put it up against several of their test systems.

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Not quite a demonic presence on your hardware…

Oddly enough, raising your specifications from minimum to high with antialiasing will only drop your framerate by approximately 20-21% at 1920x1080 resolutions. It is possible that when the full game is released that the highest quality settings could have features enabled which increases that difference slightly.

The other possibility is that the game quality settings are quite CPU-bound. Unfortunately Tom’s Hardware did not test various CPUs between low and highest to see how they scale.

If that is not the case, however, the addition of quality settings seems more about allowing the user to personalize their experience rather than supporting lesser hardware. This could be one of the rare occasions where a mild overclock has a functional use.

For those wishing to see how the game will work on mobile parts, you will likely need to wait just a little longer. The benchmark focuses on desktop components. If your PC has a minimum of a GT440 or a Radeon 6670 then you should not be concerned in the slightest about Diablo III even if you output to a 1080p TV or monitor.

Also, if you are running AMD cards -- be sure to check out our recent article about what to do with  the 12.4 drivers. Diablo III likes some cards on it, but not others. How about your's?

Diablo III is scheduled to be released May 15th.

Ready for Diablo III? Not with Catalyst 12.4 you're not.

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | May 6, 2012 - 09:58 AM |
Tagged: radeon, diablo iii, catalyst 12.4, catalyst, amd

A recent forum entry from a Diablo III official agent informed gamers that if you were planning on playing Diablo III on the May 15th launch date, you had better not be using the Catalyst 12.4 drivers that were just released on April 25th.

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While AMD still has about 9 days to respond to this issue, for a support rep from Blizzard to flat-out say that "12.4 isn't going to be supported for use in Diablo III" is indicative of a larger problem - can AMD's somewhat smaller driver team hope to keep up with NVIDIA's as we get set for another way of pretty major PC game releases? 

Quite a few users are taking up for AMD in the thread including Mortac that says:

I find this to be a very confusing answer. What are we to expect for the future? You say that Diablo III won't support 12.4, but what exactly do you mean by that? Are we to expect support for future drivers down the road, say a few weeks after release, or are you telling us that we'll never be able to update our drivers again for as long as we intend to play Diablo III? If the latter, then you guys really need to think that through again. People update their drivers for several reasons, and you cannot possibly expect everyone to swap drivers every time they play other games that might require the latest version.

How this issue will be resolved before May 15th will be of importance to quite a few PC gamers so let's hope both AMD and Blizzard can get their acts together.

Besides Blizzard's long awaited Diablo entry, PC gamers can look forward to Guild Wars 2, DiRT Showdown, Max Payne 3, a new Ghost Recon title, BF3: Close Quarters, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Far Cry 3, Borderlands 2, Bioshock Infinite and many more in the coming months.  

UPDATE 2:22pm: An AMD representative has informed us that that bug referred to by the Blizzard forum support person in fact ONLY affects Radeon HD 2000, 3000 and 4000 users.  The 12.4 Catalyst software will work fine with 5000, 6000 and the new 7000 series of graphics cards apparently.  

Also, as Robert Hallock commented in our thread below:

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Source: Battle.net

Fancy a peek at the Diablo III beta?

Subject: General Tech | April 4, 2012 - 10:34 AM |
Tagged: gaming, diablo iii

While we cannot offer you a way to get into the beta, it is possible to show off a game play movie made by Slashdot, or two.  The release of this gaming is fast approaching with just over a month to the May 15th release date ... assuming no more delays occur.  From the video we learn that the developers have made the stats autolevel so that players do not have to worry about breaking their character with poor stat choices.  Many skills will be tied to the equipment you are wearing and so will not be a permanent choice, swapping your equipment will change your skills.  Hopefully Slashdot is right when they state the developers spent a lot of time toning down the tedium and raising the level of fun.

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"It's been almost four years since Diablo 3 was announced, and its development began years earlier. Its predecessors helped define the action RPG genre, so anticipation is high among fans of the franchise. The game has undergone closed beta testing since September, and a lot has changed since then. Now that Blizzard has settled on May 15th as a release date, we thought this would be a good time to take a look at the state of the game as it currently exists. These two videos show actual gameplay of the various classes, explain the skill and rune systems, take a look at the auction house, and go over many of the other changes since the beginning of development."

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Source: Slashdot

Can't wait for Diablo III? You can get a D3 mouse to tide you over.

Subject: General Tech | March 23, 2012 - 12:37 PM |
Tagged: input, diablo iii, steelseries, gaming mouse

SteelSeries has released a Diablo III branded mouse for those who are anticipating the upcoming launch of the third instalment of the most popular click-fest on the planet.  That explains the Omron switches under the buttons which are rated for a 10 million click lifespan.  You do have to pay a little more, but if you really want to get into the spirit of Diablo III then check out the review at XSReviews.

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"Diablo III is one of the most hotly anticipated titles of 2012, so it’s no surprise that bigger peripheral makers are jumping on board with their branded products. Today I’m taking a look at the Diablo III gaming mouse. It’s sleek, has a massive sensitivity and should mean I get to spend a few days “testing” it by playing a load of games."

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Source: XSReviews

The game isn't even out but you can already grab Diablo III branded gear

Subject: General Tech | November 24, 2011 - 08:49 AM |
Tagged: steelseries, input, gaming mouse, diablo iii

When SteelSeries went about creating the Diablo 3 themed mouse, they decided not to just slap a paint job on an existing mouse, they actually added a bit to the design.  A soft coating over the top of the mouse should help cushion your fingers so you can get a few extra thousand clicks out of them for your long Diablo III sessions.  A 5700DPI sensor will see you through not only Diablo but any other game you might want and as the software supports macros you can string together a variety of commands for your avatar.  Also included in Hardware Heavens review is the Diablo III branded Siberia V2 headset; are they just a common drop or are we looking at gold items?  Read on to find out.

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"Continuing their great working relationship with Blizzard SteelSeries are back with a new set of gaming peripherals based on the upcoming Diablo 3. We have the Diablo 3 Headset and Mouse on our test bench today and have been taking them through a few dungeon runs to find out how they perform."

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