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infamousjbe

Game Boosters?

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In my quest to get my low end laptop to run SC4 as best as I can (blood from a stone)...

 

was wondering if any other mayor use a game booster app, and what are your opinions?

 

Seems there are quite a few of them around the net offered up free. Free is cool, but makes me nervous.

 

Any feedback would be appreciated.

 

 

To add to the this, I find that "Ready Boost" with a thumb drive over 4gbs actually helps out quite a bit. My rig was really starting to chug along with SC4, but with the ready boost stick in the usb port, she's running much better at the moment. Though I know it's only a temporary band-aid for now till I can get something with a bit more ummph to it.

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Naturally using a thumb drive will help.  If you only use it for Plugins and other things that change infrequently (city files don't belong there) it will act like an SSD.  Be aware, however, that a thumb drive will not take the read/write beating that an SSD or HDD can handle.  Keep good backups.  Best way to handle the region files is to make the regions folder on the thumb drive a short-cut to the real regions folder on a more tolerant device.

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If you only use it for Plugins and other things that change infrequently (city files don't belong there) it will act like an SSD. 

I actually have my plugins folder saved on the main drive at the moment. But what you're saying is that I should use another thumb drive to store my plugins folder (doc/sc4/plugins) on instead?

 

When I use the (32gb) drive for the ready boost (4gb max) it becomes dedicated and I'm no long able to use it to store anything on. It's purely for the virtual RAM aspect. 

 

 

 

 

 

Be aware, however, that a thumb drive will not take the read/write beating that an SSD or HDD can handle

Luckily, 4gb sticks are a dime a dozen these days so not to worried about the longevity of the drive. I'll just replace it when this one craps out. 

 

And I make sure to have several back-ups on various drives of my zip/plugin(archive&active)/region&cities. I've felt the sting of a lost/corrupted cities. No bueno!

 

 

Any insight to the Booster programs?

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I don't have any feel for "so called" boosters.  The best thing you can do is put your heavily read files on a thumb drive and set up a short-cut pointing to the directory.  I've done this sort of thing with my external HDD and it works fine.  The game can't tell where its stuff is coming from and the file system is nothing but cooperative.

 

Possible structure for a thumb drive it it is big enough:

 

From C:\Program Files ...\Simcity 4\Apps replace the SimCity 4.exe with a short-cut pointing to it.  Place it on the thumb drive.  OR:

From C:\Program Files ...\Maxis replace the entire folder \SimCity 4 by creating a short-cut to it.  Place the folder and files on the thumb drive.  This will help a lot with loading the program.

 

At the same time using the same thumb drive move your Plugins folder there, and put a shortcut to this folder in C:\<you>\Documents\SimCity4 to be the Plugins folder.

 

Nothing says a short-cut can't be to a folder, and if the folder has the expected name (Plugins.lnk) the file system will act as if the thumb drive was part of the C: drive.

 

You can use multiple thumb drives if they appear to be part of NTFS.  Most do.

 

P.S. I just checked my one and only 8GB thumb drive, and my system thinks it is NTFS.

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I don't see how shifting anything to a USB stick could be significantly faster than 5400rpm disk with appropriate caching, which any low end laptop should have.  USB isn't faster than SATA (unless we are talking about USB3, but I doubt we are).  Check your HD and make sure it isn't el-cheapo less than 5400rpm....

 

Also, make sure you've defragged the HD recently.

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Well, not everyone has a newer machine.  I find that my USB2 connected HDDs work well, however with a thumb drive you do avoid the delay because there is no rotational latency.  As for disk buffering (or caching if you prefer), even if the disk controller has enormous buffering, since we are doing a serial load, only a current defrag will save much time.

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I'm not concerned about the HDD drive speed, or using an external to run SC4, that's not in question here.  

 

But what about Game Booster programs that you can install that shut down unnecessary programs running in the back ground? Still no one has chimed in with any info about that particular part of my question. I posted in the OP a link to one of the Game Boosters available out there to better understand what programs I was asking about.

 

 

As far as the Ready Boost (Virtual Memory) USB drive, it's been helping with SC4 substantially. I even put in a second stick to see if it would further increase the speed. It did in some aspects, but then I felt it lagging in other areas of the game play. Probably because of having to switch between system RAM and two different sticks of 4gb VM memory.

 

The thing with using a thumb drive for Virtual Memory (Ready Boost on Windows7), is no matter how large the stick is, you can only dedicate 4gb of the stick to the virtual memory.

 

Now like Nonny said, I'm sure the thumb drive is going to take a pounding by keeping it plugged in all the time now, but to be able to acquire 4gb of virtual memory for pennies on the dollar, it's not that big of an issue just picking up another one when/if the current thumb drive craps out.

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As far as shutting stuff down...that's should be pretty easy to do without any app trying to help you do it. 

 

1 - If you have any apps running, close them.

2 - If you see any icons in your tray, close them (especially bad resource ones, like Steam).    If you are using Steam to run the game...find a hard copy on eBay.  Steam should only be used for games that can't be done in any other way....SC4 doesn't fit that description.  I can't stress this enough...if you are running the game via Steam on older hardware think about not doing that.

 

Typically, everything else running behind the scenes by the O/S is required.  Sure there might be a few services you don't need in your setup, but their impact on your system is VERY marginal.  Its generally not worth the effort to figure them out.

 

And it probably doesn't matter much for SC4 anyway.  You are probably running on a dual core system with the launcher properly set to only use one core  (if you aren't, you should be).  With that truth, you have 50% (at least) of your system's power left over, idling.  That should be plenty of horsepower to deal with any ancillary app running and not impact the cycles the SC4 needs.  Really the only thing that shutting things down will do is reduce memory consumption.  If that's your angle, my 2 steps above are all you probably have to consider, and my comment about system processes still hold (they don't use much memory anyway)

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Game Boosters are bunk. No benefit whatsoever, especially if you take care and don't install crapware.

This is kind of what I was wondering.

 

Though I have heard in the past that there are legit programs that work to help games run better, but I'm sure any freeware versions come with their bag of crap behind the scenes.

 

I was hoping someone that has actual experience with one could toss in 2 cents at some time. 

 

I try not to put much crap/fluff on this laptop, but over time things here and there probably slip through the cracks.

 

 

As far as shutting stuff down...that's should be pretty easy to do without any app trying to help you do it. 

 

1 - If you have any apps running, close them.

2 - If you see any icons in your tray, close them (especially bad resource ones, like Steam).    If you are using Steam to run the game...find a hard copy on eBay.  Steam should only be used for games that can't be done in any other way....SC4 doesn't fit that description.  I can't stress this enough...if you are running the game via Steam on older hardware think about not doing that.

 

Typically, everything else running behind the scenes by the O/S is required.  Sure there might be a few services you don't need in your setup, but their impact on your system is VERY marginal.  Its generally not worth the effort to figure them out.

 

And it probably doesn't matter much for SC4 anyway.  You are probably running on a dual core system with the launcher properly set to only use one core  (if you aren't, you should be).  With that truth, you have 50% (at least) of your system's power left over, idling.  That should be plenty of horsepower to deal with any ancillary app running and not impact the cycles the SC4 needs.  Really the only thing that shutting things down will do is reduce memory consumption.  If that's your angle, my 2 steps above are all you probably have to consider, and my comment about system processes still hold (they don't use much memory anyway)

Since I'm not much of a comp tech, I wouldn't necessarily go shutting things down in the Task Manager in fear of screwing things up, unless absolutely sure which program it's connected to. But since you advise that any OSs are marginal I won't worry so much about it then.

 

I am indeed running a SC4 launcher to take care of those essentials. Plus I try to make sure to have all the "patches" available to keep the game running as best as it can.

 

 

 

Really the only thing that shutting things down will do is reduce memory consumption.  If that's your angle,

Because I'm playing SC4 on a marginal laptop, I'm trying to squeeze blood from a stone as much as I can before having to invest in an upgrade.

 

Just to add, I do have the comp scheduled for regular defrags. Plus I run scan disc on occasion, as well as empty caches etc...  as much as I can for as much as I know. I do enjoy playing SC4, but hate knowing I'm only going to get a marginal experience if I don't preempt as soon as I can.  ;)

 

 

I do appreciate the info, thanks.

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