At this point in time you might already have Diablo III on pre-order, or you might be wondering what type of PC it would take to play the game that we’ve all been waiting 12 years for. Believe it or not, it doesn’t take a lot of money to build a PC that’s Diablo III worthy.
Recently I had this question come in through an e-mail:
“Hello Brandon, My name is Dave (changed). I have been searching the internet endlessly to find out one simple question. I ran into your “build A Gaming PC” article through Google and figured that you might be the guy to ask. I bought an EVGA-Nvidia GeForce GT 520 pcie 2.0 For Diablo 3. I Was wondering if you could tell me if that Graphics card could run that game on low settings maybe?”
As I feel it might help you with your build I thought I’d post my response:
Thanks for checking out my articles Chris. I’m planning on getting addicted to Diablo 3 here very shortly as well!
The minimum system requirements for Diablo 3 are:
NVIDIA® GeForce® 7800 GT or ATI Radeon™ X1950 Pro or better
and 1 GB RAM (XP), 1.5 GB (Vista/7)
and Intel Pentium® D 2.8 GHz or AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 4400+
Recommended system requirements are:
NVIDIA® GeForce® 260 or ATI Radeon™ HD 4870 or better with 2GB of ram.
This is a comparison of NVIDIA GPU that should help you. You’re not going to get as much performance out of the 520 as you would out of the 260 for the recommended system requirements so my guess it that on low settings you can probably play. Blizzard made the game so that MOST people could play.
Here’s a site to backup my statement as well:
“Low Nvidia GeForce GT 520″
This reader’s question and my answer got me thinking that I should write something about this because the reader probably spent way too much on a GT 520 card that simply doesn’t give as much performance as other cards in it’s price range. If that’s true, then what would be the best Diablo III ready build that would play the game on high settings for the least amount of money and still have a PC that is up-to-date and worth building? I’m going to give you the build I came up with and then I’d love to hear what you came up with. Keep in mind that the parts need to be readily available, and semi up-to-date.
Graphics Card for Budget Diablo III Build
For my graphics card comparison I went straight to Video Card Benchmarks to establish which of the graphics cards on the list of high performance supported cards would give me the best bang for my buck. I decided that the Radeon HD 6770, GeForce GTX 260, or Radeon HD 4870 would be a good choice and that realistically most people would want to spend a little more for a lot better card and get something like the GTX 460 or Radeon HD 6850. That being said my ultimate decision for this particular build was the XFX ATI Radeon HD6770 which after rebate is around 89.99.
Budget Processor for Diablo III Build
If you can find something like the Intel Pentium D 2.8 GHz or the AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 4400+ on sale for cheap and want to use it that’s great; however, you’d be a lot better off in the long-run with something readily available like the Sandy Bridge i3-2100 or the AMD Phenom II X4 965. Both of which you can get for around $100.
Yes, you could choose a micro ATX motherboard that would be cheaper in the $50 range, but assuming that you go with a full one, then you should go with something like this if you choose the Phenom II X4 965: Asus Socket AM3+ AMD 970 (M5A97) and something like this for your 1155 pin Sandy Bridge processor: Gigabyte GA-Z68A-D3H-B3 ($90 after rebate). Since Ivy Bridge motherboards are also backwards compatible you could also consider something like this Z77 chipset motherboard: Gigabyte Z77 GA-Z77-DS3H and then have forwards compatibility with Ivy Bridge and PCIe 3.0 if you ever wanted to upgrade.
Yes, 2GB of ram is the minimum to play this game; however, it’s cheap and if you don’t go with 4-8GB you’ll most likely regret it later on. I also recommend that you purchase all the Ram you plan to use for any particular build together so you can take advantage of the speed advantage that comes with multi-channel memory kits. Here’s a fantastic deal on 4GB of ram for around $20: Corsair XMS3 4 GB.
Yes there are cheaper hard drives, but for reliability and functionality I’m recommending the Western Digital Caviar Blue 500 GB which is around $75. You can go double the space for around $20 more.
This build doesn’t have the budget to get a Blu-ray drive and any more I question my own need for a DVD drive. If you get one, then go with something cheap and reliable like the Asus DRW-24B1ST.
This build isn’t going to use a ton of power. If you’re wondering how much you need, then use something like Thermaltake’s PSU calculator to help you out. I’m also going to assume that you’re not going to overclock. I went ahead and ran the calculation for this build and it was at around 266 watts. I generally go 100-150 watts higher than that just to be safe and always purchase an 80 PLUS certified PSU. I’ve had problems with cheap PSU in the past so, in my opinion, that’s the last place you want to skimp. You’ll be fine with something like the Antec EarthWatts EA-380D, but if it were me I’d want to make a little room for future upgrades and go with something super reliable and efficient like the Corsair Builder Series CX CMPSU-500CXV2.
You aren’t going to need a lot of cooling with this particular build. Your stock CPU fan will work fine and again assuming you aren’t going to overclock, then go with a gaming case that’s under or around $40 like the Cooler Master Cooler Master Elite 430 which has plenty of room and comes with a Front 120mm blue LED fan and a Rear 120mm fan. Additional fans may be added to the top, side, and bottom.
Ok, so there’s my Diablo III ready build that you should be able to get from $480-530 depending on what components you ultimately decide upon.