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captivatedlady

Things that make me go WTH!

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Ok first with all maxis patches/updates and mods 805MB, was more but have weeded out a considerable amount. However loading SC4 i have a program that shows me use of cpu and mem mem is barely being used and cpu is super low sometimes topping out at 3-4%. That is in loading the game with all extra(unneeded processes) shut off or disabled. So it usually takes 20-30 minutes just to load the game, is there any way possible to speed this up beyond emptying my plugin folder? I have same problem on both computers ones a intel base the other is Amd base.

Secondly, I have no traffic not even with things like bus stops and police stations with automata. If I go to Data View Traffic I can 'see' where traffic is going although in city view I dont have any traffic even at closest view. Thats only a problem with the Dell (Intel base).

Thirdly, on both systems I have to use save game then switch to region w/o save. If i switch to region w/save or exit game w/save it automatically CTD's every time. Fixable?

Ok Stats SC4 Deluxe (cd's) both laptops

Dell Inspiron 1545 Intel Pentium Dual CPU T3400 2.16 GHz 2.17 GHz 3 gb ram Vista Home Premium 32 bit

Acer Aspire 5100 AMD Turion 64 X2 (cant remember GHz'z offhand) 2 gb ram Windows 7 home premium 32bit

of course being laptops besides adding memory cant do much else such as video cards so the dell uses Intel GMA 43 integrated and acer uses ATI X1100 integrated.

Also have the game using one core as listed elsewhere in Simtropolis.

Ok this was long-winded but I do have tendency to overtalk (even when typing) :D

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Long loading times are sometimes the result of having a very fragmented disk drive. Have you run the disk maintenance programs lately? You should first run Disk Cleanup, then Disk Defragmenter. These should be run at least once a week because this game creates multiple file fragments very quickly and very easily under NTFS.

If you haven't run these at all, start up disk cleanup before retiring, make sure your power supply is plugged in, and go to bed. It should be finished by morning. The same applies to initial runs of disk defragmenter. Watching either of these run is similar to watching paint dry. You should make sure the net is off when you run these. No other apps should be running when these are running.

You have lots of RAM on both machines. If in doubt about memory space, you can increase the size of your swap files (virtual memory). This should not be necessary.

SC4 has a tendency when actually running to max out your CPU, since it only runs one core and the simulation is intense. This can cause laptops to overhead and either slow down or shut down completely.

Your plugins folder should contain files with extensions of .sc4lot, .sc4desc, .sc4model, .dat, and .dll only. The rest are junk as far as the game is concerned, and while it skips them, if they are present, the headers have to be read to determine whether they belong to the game. You should remove any non-game files from your plugins.

The only other reason for slow loading I can think of is that your machines may be loaded with viruses and other malware. Have you run a scan on them lately?

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Besides the wise words of nonny moose I can only add, that you should use sc4detpacker. It can be found here. What it does: it packs all the relevant files into just a few .dat files. This makes the game read the files much faster. You can find more info in the read-me :)

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Be very careful with datpacker. Do not pack the NAM, nor any of its dependent components. Make sure you are able to back out (so a backup before you use it.)

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Looking at your hardware, I can make what is probably an accurate assumption.

Your Hard Drives are connected through incredibly slow mSATA ports.

mSATA is incredibly slow, It's basically just SATA through a smaller port.

The only way to improve the loading times is to minimise the amount of data that needs to be loaded by the game. DAT Packing your plugins will have a small improvement, but it'll ultimately be futile, you'll still be spending ages waiting.

This affects basically all laptops on the market at the moment unless it has an SSD (In which case it'll probably use Desktop-Spec SATA3 on the SSD and mSATA on any platter drives), since it's cheaper to keep using the same Hard Drive interfaces that they have since 2005.

If you were playing on a desktop, I'd suggest that you get a PCI Express SATA 3 expander (They're not that expensive any more) and a faster HDD, but it's not possible to do that on a laptop.

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  • Original Poster
  • Ok thanks for answers, as for disk maintenance, I run the enhanced version of CCleaner, Glary Utilities, Eusing cleaner and registry and Auslogics disk defrag, after I Dat Pack then i do the optimize feature of Auslogic Defrag. When game is actually playing then i get respectable numbers on cpu and mem usage. High 80's low 90's on cpu and mem rates are in-line to what the integrated graphics can handle. I was mostly hoping that someone had the Holy Grail of fast loading speeds :rofl: again thanx

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    While I'm no expert, I believe most of your problems, especially the lack of automata, are due to integrated graphics instead of a dedicated graphics card with graphics memory. SC4 was not designed to be played on laptops even though many of todays systems handle the game somewhat successfully. It has not been so long ago that that the game would not even load on any laptop that I ever knew of.

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    Jim14409 is quite correct. When this game was written, laptops weighed about 15 pounds and were not much on CPU nor disk space to say nothing of fast graphics cards. All the handsprings of the last decade or so to shrink computers into tiny slim cases while keeping desktop performance is the reason you pay through the nose for a laptop these days.

    One of the newer, modern laptops will beat the daylights out of this three year old desktop with no trouble at all. However, I am very unlikely to either upgrade this desktop or buy a laptop in the near future.

    What forces me to upgrade is when my O/S can no longer be upgraded and I need something that is in the newer version. The last time, the graphics chip set went out of support. At the moment the chip manufacturer no longer supports my chip set (AMD RS780) but the Linux X-windows default driver does. Seems AMD wants everyone to buy new gear, but I won't until forced.

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    Jim14409 is quite correct. When this game was written, laptops weighed about 15 pounds and were not much on CPU nor disk space to say nothing of fast graphics cards. All the handsprings of the last decade or so to shrink computers into tiny slim cases while keeping desktop performance is the reason you pay through the nose for a laptop these days.

    One of the newer, modern laptops will beat the daylights out of this three year old desktop with no trouble at all. However, I am very unlikely to either upgrade this desktop or buy a laptop in the near future.

    What forces me to upgrade is when my O/S can no longer be upgraded and I need something that is in the newer version. The last time, the graphics chip set went out of support. At the moment the chip manufacturer no longer supports my chip set (AMD RS780) but the Linux X-windows default driver does. Seems AMD wants everyone to buy new gear, but I won't until forced.

    Nonny have you noticed the Dell and HP stock is falling? Seems desktop computer sales are way down. My desktop is also three years old and doing fine. A few months back I upgraded the video card and may add more memory next year, but I prefer my big bulky desktop to a laptop. I have a Toshiba laptop but it is nine years old and frankly I seldom used it for anything but word processing. Now it won't boot.

    Who knows, desktops may soon be cheap as dirt.

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  • Original Poster
  • Well it probably just the age of both laptops, they aren't the 15lb briefcase laptops but they are both 4 plus years old. The automata not appearing happened just within the past week or two. They quit updating some of the drivers two years before I got them. I did recheck that all my drivers were the latest and workin, but still no automata. Guess I will goto a pawnshop and pick-up someones old desktop for cheap. lol

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    Jim14409 is quite correct. When this game was written, laptops weighed about 15 pounds and were not much on CPU nor disk space to say nothing of fast graphics cards. All the handsprings of the last decade or so to shrink computers into tiny slim cases while keeping desktop performance is the reason you pay through the nose for a laptop these days.

    One of the newer, modern laptops will beat the daylights out of this three year old desktop with no trouble at all. However, I am very unlikely to either upgrade this desktop or buy a laptop in the near future.

    What forces me to upgrade is when my O/S can no longer be upgraded and I need something that is in the newer version. The last time, the graphics chip set went out of support. At the moment the chip manufacturer no longer supports my chip set (AMD RS780) but the Linux X-windows default driver does. Seems AMD wants everyone to buy new gear, but I won't until forced.

    Nonny have you noticed the Dell and HP stock is falling? Seems desktop computer sales are way down. My desktop is also three years old and doing fine. A few months back I upgraded the video card and may add more memory next year, but I prefer my big bulky desktop to a laptop. I have a Toshiba laptop but it is nine years old and frankly I seldom used it for anything but word processing. Now it won't boot.

    Who knows, desktops may soon be cheap as dirt.

    Generally speaking, when I need a new box of tricks, I use a local OEM supplier to the local industrial guys. I got this one naked (no operating system) for $570 three years ago including the memory upgrade. Configuration. However, I do acquire new bits and pieces over time. I have two external HDD's (backups), and an LG24" DVI monitor, Sony speakers, and a webcam. I also have a memory card reader for the cards my digital camera uses but it isn't always plugged in and a flat-bed Canon scanner that is in the same condition. I expect the scanner to die and need replacement soon. It is about 10 years old.

    The march of time being what it is, I expect to pay the same or less if I need a new box, and it will be several orders of magnitude better than this one. All the peripherals will port or its no deal.

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  • Original Poster
  • Can pick up a killer barebones desktop computer for cheap at tigerdirect but the one I looking at has an AMD 8 cores somehow I dont think shutting down 7 cores to play the game would be very easy lol. But on the plus side can drop in 16gigs of ram and a SSD and a nice graphics card or two. Then even if load times are still boggy at least it will look good. :D Hope to get enough money for Christmas to order one :lol:

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    The -CPUcount:1 option doesn't shut down the other cores. They can quite happily run something else (like all those operating system daemons that are supporting your game).

    If that machine is cheap enough, and comes with Windows 7, I'd go for it. Better yet if it comes naked and you can just port your existing operating system on to it. The whole system should run like a scared rabbit.

    Oh, and with 8 cores, 16 GB of RAM is about right at 2GB per core. What the option does is simply tell the operating system that it cannot multitask this program and to not try.

    You see, this program was written in the dark ages, and it has only a single thread. Advanced operating systems these days will dither a lot trying to multi-thread the program, and may cause a crash to desktop if you don't tell it that things are not going to go that way.

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    I'd buy a PC with an Intel i Series processor (Preferably the i5 3570K) instead of one of those AMD FX processors. The Intel chips beat the pudding out of the AMD chips in every way that's not perfectly parallelized, even though they have fewer cores and a slower clock.

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    Did you know that Intel licenced the AMD chip designs?

    No they didn't, they licensed the instruction set and a reference model. Also, AMD64 is largely derived from Intel's i386 instruction set.

    That doesn't stop Intel CPUs using the AMD offerings to mop the floor in practical application benchmarks.

    EDIT: Like this one:

    http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2012/08/inside-the-second-gaming-performance-with-todays-cpus/3/

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    Oops. You are correct. It's been a while.

    However, as far as blazing fast goes, what does that have to do with this 32-bit game? Because of the general nature of all simulations of this type you will always max out your processor no matter what hardware you are running. All that a "better" processor can do is move the knee of the graph a little further to the right.

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