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Master Zen

Faster PC, Slower SC4

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Hi there, I just upgraded my PC from 512 MB of RAM to 1 GB anxiously expecting SC4 to be blazing fast. However, to my dismay, SC4 now actually runs slower, quite considreably so whenever I am moving around the map. This is all the more surprising since I am using an Athlon64 3000 with an overclocked Sapphire X800 GTO2. This rig can play FEAR or Doom3 on 1280x1024 with nary a flaw and yet moving around the map you can practically count the frames because its so choppy. Last year I was using an old P4 2.4 with a grappy antiquated graphics card and the game ran FASTER than now. Can anybody enlighten me on what could be the problem? Thanks -MZ

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Do you run another programs while SC4 is running?

How often do you defragment your hard drive?

I don't think upgrading from 512 Mb to 1 Gb would help a lot - simply because more memory isn't necessarily means faster gameplay. I have 2 Gb of RAM on my system and it still does choppy when I scroll maps around. SC4 is more CPU intensive than most FPS games (FPS games are geared toward graphic horsepower).

But if you notice, the loading time is faster with 1 Gb of memory and you get to quit SC4 way faster than before.

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maybe its that games tend to run faster on intels? i am a huge supporter of AMD and i know that speeds mean a lot, but i have also heard that intels are much better than AMDs. Just my thoughts, probably all wrong 3.gif

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Are you using any mods or a more substantial number of plugins than before? I agree that the fact your system runs the game much slower is particularly odd. Going from 512 MB to 1 GB was quite noticeable for me, in that the number of plug ins didn't weigh it down as much. One thing that I noticed in terms of performance was when my Geforce FX 5500 was found to have a problem and I had to toss in my old ti4600. Moving around the city became slower and while zooming in/out rendering was naturally slower too. A silly question I know, but you didn't buy any conflicting/ non compatible RAM types did you? Bad memory I think would just cause crashing. Since they're both 512 try one stick then the other. If one is significantly better, or they behave differently you might have an idea on how to tackle the issue.

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I have an Athlon 64 3000, the clock speed is 2.0ghz which is 0.4 less than the pentium, so you may have upgraded, but the only advantage of the Athlon 64 is the 64 bit technology (thats if you have programs that use this!!!) I noticed a speed difference only becasue I upgraded from an Athlon xp1.7 to the 64. A pentium upgrade in this case would have been better.

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I think we have to address O/S maintenance and tuning here. An additional 512MB probably would not make much difference unless you took some other steps:

  1. Virtual lmemory should be set to 3072 minimum and 4096 maximum
  2. Regular defragmentation runs should be done weekly at least. An automatic defragmentatioin program such as Diskkeeper is better still.
  3. Regular disk cleanup

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I formatted my PC about two weeks before upgrading my RAM. Likewise the difference in speed was noticeable when adding memory, NOT when I switched from a Pentium4 to an Athlon64. The difference in clock speeds between A64 and P4's is irrelevant to the speed of a cpu-intensive game because AMD chip speeds are not as dependant on clock speeds as Intel chips. My A64 3000 clocked at 1.8 will always trounce my old P4 2.4 despite being 0.6 GHz "slower", and you can check out every benchmark in the world for proof. Oh yeah, I'm not using any plugins. It's a clean SC4 install.

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Originally posted by: Master Zen

I formatted my PC about two weeks before upgrading my RAM. Likewise the difference in speed was noticeable when adding memory, NOT when I switched from a Pentium4 to an Athlon64.

The difference in clock speeds between A64 and P4's is irrelevant to the speed of a cpu-intensive game because AMD chip speeds are not as dependant on clock speeds as Intel chips. My A64 3000 clocked at 1.8 will always trounce my old P4 2.4 despite being 0.6 GHz "slower", and you can check out every benchmark in the world for proof.

Oh yeah, I'm not using any plugins. It's a clean SC4 install.quote>

OK, but did you verify or do what I asked you to do?

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Perhaps SC4 is not recognizing the newer Radeon card and setting up the game properly.  There's something on the EA support site that might be worth looking at... if you want to go ahead and look for it (as I'd better go now).


In regads to which is faster: AMD or Intel -- you just have to look at benchmarks of the specific program you are running to see which one performs better.  It should be noted that the AMD processors are faster in most FPS games.  Whether this is true for SC4, as well, I don't know.  Also, the new processors from Intel look like they will be faster than AMD in FPS games.

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One thing that you should check is that the new RAM is the same as the old RAM. I upgraded recently from 1 to 2Gb and forgot to check that I was buying the same speed RAM. My old RAM was PC2700, the new was PC3200. I went back to the shop three days later, and three unexplained crashes later, bought another PC3200 stick, whacked it in, gave my son (who has PC2700) the old stick, and hey presto, no problems 9.gif

Hope that helps.

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I have about 600 MB in plugins, including the NAM.

Do plugins cause the game play to slow down or just the initial loading of the game.

I've got 2 GHz, 1 GB RAM, RADEON 9600 Saphire, and the game still runs like *****. I even tried setting it to HIGH PRIORITY and it even made it choppier. Once my game gets going and I have more buildings, the choppiness takes away from my enjoyment.

I've erased the game. I can't take it anymore. The game is old. It's not cutting edge techonology. Yet it takes the latest and greatest to run it at full settings with fluidity.

Virtual lmemory should be set to 3072 minimum and 4096 maximum

How do I change my Virtual memory?

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Yes, plugins does cause gameplay to slow down. But from my experience, it's only for a little bit, mostly for loading time.

My recent upgrade from a Radeon 9600 Pro to an Nvidia GPU have shown a slight improvement in performance, but that's because SC4 was never a graphic intensive game and I get more benefit when I'm adding a second HD (I'm separating the SC4 program files and plugins into 2 hd) compared to the GPU.

I'm against you about the game being old. I think it has aged very well. SC4 was never meant to be a cutting edge game like Wing Commander back in its day or FEAR for more recent release. It is CPU, memory and HD intensive, yes. And if you watch computer hardware development, how much progress does Intel and AMD make for the past three years? Apart from the dual core fiasco, there is little progress especially if you compare it to progress in graphic cards.

All in all, I think we all feel your frustration about choppy gameplay because we experience it too. I sometimes get really bored when I have to load a highly developed cities but I suck on it because there's quite no other game that has this kind of gameplay. It needs patience, but sometimes patience can be highly rewarding.

In the meantime, all I can recommend to improve performance is defrag your HD routinely and optimize your virtual memory settings. It can be accessed from Control Panel, System, Advanced, and go to the Visual Effects, Processor scheduling, memory usage and virtual memory settings button.

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Originally posted by: GreenTreeWater

Virtual lmemory should be set to 3072 minimum and 4096 maximum

How do I change my Virtual memory?quote>

  1. Right click on My Computer and choose Properties
  2. Select the Advanced Page
  3. Under Performance click Settings
  4. Choose the Advanced Page
  5. Under Virtual Memory click Change
  6. Click the Custom Size option control
  7. Set your sizes
  8. Click Set
  9. Click OK, OK,  OK to close these pages
  10. Boot your machine.

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Thanks for all the help people.

My comment about the game being old is not a stab at simcity.  I can run Rome Total War not on full settings but near full, and I don't have as many problems as I do with Simcity 4.

I've been a Sim fan since 1991.  I recall playing the earliest version, the only sound effect was a traffic honk every once and awhile.

Believe me when I say that I've never played a game that is so CPU intensive.  When you ctrl alt del to deskstop and check out how much CPU power Simcity 4 runs on, it's 99%.  I've done the same with Rome Total War, and it's not even close.

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You are welcome.  The simulator multi-threads and runs all the time.  That's why it uses so much CPU.  With all the variables in the cities and buildings, who's surprised?

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Yes, yes. May be in 10 years, we'll have a PC that can handle SC4 smoothly. In the meantime, as long as I still can have fun even with its choppy performance, I think I can live with it. 9.gif

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