Playability with AMD Brazos (E-300/350/450)

Technical Support
I have read a number of posts online that say the AMD Brazos platform chips (E-300, E-350 and E-450) cannot run Diablo 3. Unfortunately, my laptop I use when on the road has an AMD E-300 in it. While not using my desktop, I needed to have some level of functionality to play Diablo 3. So despite what others have said, all of these APU's will run Diablo 3 at a minimum of 20 FPS, albeit with basic graphic quality. The AMD C-50 and C-60 unfortunately are not viable (3-5 FPS.)

STEPS TO RUN DIABLO 3 WITH AMD E-Series chips:
1. Install the latest Catalyst drivers (currently 12.4)
2. Verify you have upgraded to 12.4 drivers. (12.3 runs slower)
3. Change the following 3D Application Settings in catalyst:
a. SMOOTHVISION HD (AA): Use application settings, Morphological
b. SMOOTHVISION HD (AF): Use application settings
c. Tesselation: AMD Optimized = true, application settings = false
d. Catalyst AI: Enabled
e. Mipmap Detail Level: Performance
f. Vertical Refresh: performance
g. AA Mode: performance
4. Upgrade to 4GB or more of DDR3 RAM, and get the fastest your laptop will support (Probably 533 MHz). 2GB from the factory just doesn't cut it. I currently have 5GB. Matching modules doesn't matter because Brazos is single-channel only.
5. Run Diablo 3 in Fullscreen Windowed mode.
6. AMD E-300 will have to run at 800x600, the E-350 and E-450 can run 1024x600
7. Turn off all graphical options in Diablo 3, or set to the lowest setting.
8. Sound channels to 16 total.

While this may seem dismal, if you're on the road and only have one of these laptops, the game can be quite playable with these settings. When you have your gaming desktop back at your disposal, you can go back to playing at 1080p and all settings maxed out.

The E-300 chip can't quite do 1024x600 (standard netbook resolution) at 20 FPS. It hovers around 14-17 FPS. It runs between 20-25 FPS at 800x600.

The E-350 and E-450 do 1024x600 @ 20-25 FPS just fine. If you want 30 FPS, switching to 800x600 is an option.

I have not explored forcing D3 to run an 800x480 mode, which would be DVD resolution.

Text is readable at 1024x600. It is readable, but crude at 800x600.

Additionally, programs such as SetFSB may help you get a little bit more out of your laptop by increasing your FSB (Brazos is 100 Mhz) or you can modify your system BIOS to increase the multiplier. Additionally, if you have the desktop variant of this platform, your vendor may have overclocking utilities available to you that ease the problem. From what I understand, an AMD Brazos chip running at 1.9 GHz and the GPU at 600 Mhz runs D3 reasonably at 720p resolutions (everything still turned off or on low.)

The graphics portion of the APU (Radeon 6310/6320) is fairly robust for an integrated solution, but the CPU side of things is really holding this platform back. Although for $250-$300 for one of these laptops, it's kind of hard to complain.

Hope this helps someone out there.
I'm actually surprised that nobody else has posted here, because those e-450s sold like gangbusters last Christmas, but good post. I noticed, though, that all but one of your graphics settings were basically defaults anyway.

In any event, I'm running an e-450 with 4gb RAM on 1024x600 and D3 runs between 19 and 22 FPS w/fraps, typically hovering around 20-21 and occasionally dipping below that. Diablo 3 is actually strange in the way that it seems to run at least relatively well at about 14-18 FPS.

I definitely agree that the CPU seems to be the main bottleneck for the APU package. It's a shame that there wasn't more of an improvement in processor speed between the E-350 and the E-450 (1.6 to 1.65ghz) or D3 would be running like a dream on those settings.

One caveat: in my experience it makes little to no difference to put the texture settings on high instead of low, but I've got 4gb RAM, so if you're running with less than 4GB, you may not want to do that. But it'll run at about 20FPS either way.

I'm actually wondering a couple of things, though: first whether or not I should upgrade to 8gb RAM. I know there's a school of thought that says "MOAR IZ BETTR!" but I don't know how much of an impact it'll have on actual performance, as the recommended amount of RAM is 2GB and, as I mentioned increasing textures doesn't make much (if any difference) at all, on performance, indicating that the returns on investment for 8gb vs. 4gb would be marginal or completely nonexistent.

If someone's running D3 on an E450 with 8GB RAM, I'd love to know what sort of FPS they're getting with that set-up.

Also, if someone has figured out how to overclock Brazos, I'd really like to know. I know people have managed it with the desktop versions of this processor, but I've never seen it done with a laptop version. (I'm running a Pavilion G7) These processors are so low voltage, it takes a lot to burn them out, and i've got a feeling that a small jump from 1.65 to 1.82GHz or from 1.6 to 1.8 for the e-350 would make a HUGE difference in this instance.

SetFSB is actually completely useless, as the 100mhz thing is locked and you can't really mess with any of the other multipliers. AMD Overdrive is similiarly useless for overclocking, although it will allow you to underclock.

Have fun, guys!
06/04/2012 02:02 PMPosted by Enkidu
your graphics settings were basically defaults anyway.


Depends on your system settings. These are the settings you should be using.

06/04/2012 02:02 PMPosted by Enkidu
in my experience it makes little to no difference to put the texture settings on high instead of low, but I've got 4gb RAM, so if you're running with less than 4GB, you may not want to do that. But it'll run at about 20FPS either way.


At these resolutions it is virtually pointless to increase texture detail. You won't see the full benefits.

I'm actually wondering a couple of things, though: first whether or not I should upgrade to 8gb RAM. I know there's a school of thought that says "MOAR IZ BETTR!" but I don't know how much of an impact it'll have on actual performance, as the recommended amount of RAM is 2GB and, as I mentioned increasing textures doesn't make much (if any difference) at all, on performance, indicating that the returns on investment for 8gb vs. 4gb would be marginal or completely nonexistent.

If someone's running D3 on an E450 with 8GB RAM, I'd love to know what sort of FPS they're getting with that set-up.


Brazos only has a single-channel DDR3 controller. If you check your RAM usage during play, Diablo 3 probably isn't making full use of your RAM anyway. That's why 4GB is sufficient and why I upgraded to 5GB instead of 8GB. (Added a single 4GB module rather than two.)

06/04/2012 02:02 PMPosted by Enkidu
Also, if someone has figured out how to overclock Brazos, I'd really like to know.


Fastest route is a BIOS unlock. Head over to the bios-mods forum and make a request for your specific laptop model, or follow their tutorials and make the modifications on your own.

06/04/2012 02:02 PMPosted by Enkidu
SetFSB is actually completely useless, as the 100mhz thing is locked and you can't really mess with any of the other multipliers. AMD Overdrive is similiarly useless for overclocking, although it will allow you to underclock.


SetFSB is actually quite useful as long as it supports your specific clock generator. The HP/Compaq laptops with Brazos chips use a clock generator that is currently not supported, so your results may be hit or miss depending on what your manufacturer used.
AWESOME.

Alright guys... I've been tinkering and I think I've hit the holy grail on these platform settings.

First, open D3Prefs in your Diablo 3 folder, and make the following changes:

DisplayModeWindowMode "2" (this is the fullscreen windowed mode Eulantier alluded to earlier)

DisplayModeWinWidth "1280"
DisplayModeWinHeight "720"
DisplayModeUIOptWidth "1280"
DisplayModeUIOptHeight "720"
DisplayModeWidth "1280"
DisplayModeHeight "720"

Not really sure that the above even matters, but just do it.

LowFX "1"

HardwareClass: 1


Now close out and save the changes.

What you're doing is forcing the game into running fullscreen windowed mode. The game runs significantly better in these settings for whatever reason. But the problem is that the full-screen windowed mode is dependent upon whatever settings you're running your desktop on.

In other words, I run windows at 1600x900 resolution, and when I run Diablo 3 in fullscreen windowed mode, it automatically increases the resolution to 1600x900 because the game needs to upscale the resolution to fit my desktop resolution. But when you check in the game options it won't necessarily tell you the real resolution it's really running in.

So here's the trick:

Before you run Diablo 3 you need to MANUALLY adjust the resolution of your monitor. Just right-click, go into properties and set your screen resolution to 1280x720 or whatever you want.

Then load up the game and BAM! 20-35FPS in beautiful, sharp 1280x720. The text is completely readable. The game almost never dips below 19fps. And that's with the textures on high. Heck, I was even running shadows on low with few problems. (Although, admittedly when the action got heavy I did lag out a bit)

If you're a real performance nut, you could even set your monitor resolution below 1080x720 to 1080x600 and I suspect you'd get even better performance. (Although I haven't investigated this-- I'm completely content with these settings)

The weird thing is, when I check the options, it says that the game is running in fullscreen windowed mode at 800x600. But the resolution is clearly MUCH sharper than that and it's obvious that I'm running at 1280x720.

So there it is, folks. Not only will Brazos run Diablo 3, it'll actually run the game respectably at 1280x720 averaging somewhere in the high 20s fps with textures on high. I'm so thrilled I got this figured out!

It's strange that Blizzard actually set the default settings for this hardware so high that so many people thought the game was completely unrunnable. It's actually beautiful on these settings and all it took was a bit of tinkering. It looks like I completely underestimated this platform and this solution may help a lot of other people fix some of their performance issues, so I'm going to link back to this topic here in a second.
Your settings are the exact settings I posted (lowest with fullscreen windowed.) There is no difference, so to prevent any confusion to future readers, read the original instructions. There is no need to manually change the configuration file and make it harder for people.


The weird thing is, when I check the options, it says that the game is running in fullscreen windowed mode at 800x600. But the resolution is clearly MUCH sharper than that and it's obvious that I'm running at 1280x720.


The fullscreen windowed instructions were self explanatory. If you want to run in a specific resolution, the desktop must be changed to run it. If your desktop is 1280x720 and you run Diablo in Fullscreen Windowed, then Diablo will be 1280x720. If your desktop is 1024x600, then Diablo is 1024x600. Notice the "resolution" you see in Diablo is grayed out - that was your fullscreen last resolution and does not apply to fullscreen windowed.

It should also be noted that unless you are running at your LCD monitor's native resolution the game will have a fuzzy look to it. So a 1366x768 panel will look fuzzy at both 1280x720 and 1024x600 resolutions. Might as well get more performance out of 1024x600.

The E-450 has the ability to automatically overclock the GPU to 600 MHz under high load conditions. The E-300 and E-350 do not have this feature, so you may be able to tinker higher resolutions with that chip.

Also remember that standard netbook resolution (1024x600) is optimal for multiplayer and intense combat situations. Sitting around in New Tristam at 720p might get you 20+ FPS, but venturing out will severely hamper performance.

Once again, follow the original instructions. E-450 owners by nature can get a little more than the E-350 due to the GPU's increased clock speed, so E-300 and E-350 users should keep this in mind.
Ugh.

Agreed. Sorry... I got over-enthusiastic when I ventured out of New Tristram and got 35 fps+ which rarely dipped below 25 or so. Then the large mobs came.

You're right, large mobs completely kill fps performance. As does environmental destruction, so destroying large quantities of barrels for loot kills performance. Got to go report this. Bleh.
Just bought 8Gb of Ram for my x120E with the E350 APU in it. 50 bucks after shipping and taxes was hard to turn down. I am only running 3Gb at the moment.

I will be formatting the machine for a clean install and tyrin this out. the ability to play D3 anywhere will be nice.

Thank you for the write up.
I have a Lenovo B575 E-450 i use for travel it plays Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2 shockingly well for such a budget machine. I will be updating it from 4 to either 6 ot 8 GB DDR3 in the near future i doubt it will impact diablo 3 however seeing as how it is not a 32 bit client. It May however help with WoW's 64 bit client since it can allocate more memory. Just to play devils advocate however i will report back with FPS changes (if any) in SC2,D3 and or 3dmark score differences from stock to upgrade.
After much testing just having upgraded it to 8 GB DDR3 the gaming gain is...very tiny +2-3 FPS on average from base and +75 points on 3DMARK05 made the machine much snappier however gaming performance saw exceptionally little gain.
@ghostshaman can i ask what your settings are for running SC2 on that laptop? i have the same laptop and even with massive adjustments to the settings SC2 always plays at ~ 17fps or lower....
Old post i know...but your response was old too heh..if you are still reading this i get 25-30 in normal situations in Big battles Slowdown brings it to 15-20 settings all on low as possible.
Must say, I'm impressed with the E-450's performance.

Able to play D3, SC2 and WoW at decent frame rates! Less bummed that my desktop K.O.'d now :)
I've got the E-450 and I can barely play at all, I'm going to try tweaking catalyst settings as suggested and see if that helps. I hope so, I hope I don't have to put off playing until I upgrade machines

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