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Old 24th Aug 2014, 7:20 AM DefaultWould love some help with choosing new computer for TS3 #1
abel1980
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I recently purchased The Sims 3 starter pack, containing the Base Game, Late Night and High End Loft Stuff to try if my computer would run it. I had checked the requirements, but obviously misunderstood the connection between EPs and patches. I assumed my patch level would correspond to Late Night, which has patch 1.17.60 noted on chart. However the launcher automatically updated the game to 1.67.2.024002 when I installed the game.

According to the recommended green stats, my CPU doesn't make the cut for any patches past 1.27. My stats:

CPU: AMD Phenom(tm) II X4 945 Processor, MMX, 3DNow (4 CPUs), ~3.0GHz
RAM: 4 GB
GPU: AMD Radeon HD 6670

The game does run really well. I monitored the GPU usage and temperature and the load goes up to 100% with a temperature max at about 73 degrees after a few hours of play. That might be related to my failure to get any fps limiter to work so far. The fps rates reported by the cheat are between 70 and 100. I don't know how hot my CPU runs.

So my question is if it is advisable to run the game fully patched and how much of a difference would adding more EPs make?

ETA: I think I would like to retire this computer soon and get a new one. I would be grateful for any helpful suggestions. I added a new post with more details.
Last edited by abel1980 : 5th Dec 2014 at 10:49 AM.
Old 24th Aug 2014, 10:57 AM #2
ajaxsirius
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I think the official word is No. But from experience I can tell you that more expansion packs tend to demand more from your PC. Note that it's the expansion packs, and not the patch level that increases the toll. You can patch the base game without installing any expansion packs.

73C is still okay for your GPU. Once you hit 80C+ then you should start monitoring more closely. At 90C you should start cutting back.

I would check your GPU fans and case fans for dust anyway and clear them out. It may help lower your temps.

You can use a free program called CoreTemp to monitor your CPU temperatures. SpeedFan is another.

EDIT: Apparently I was wrong, beware patches!
Last edited by ajaxsirius : 29th Aug 2014 at 5:58 AM.
Old 25th Aug 2014, 1:06 AM #3
abel1980
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Thanks, ajaxsirius. I did clean out the dust and the highest temperature was 65 degrees now. I still can't find any way to limit fps without bypassing the launcher, which isn't possible for the newer games.

But if the temperature is okay, I'll just keep playing without any fps limiter. And I might just wait until the EPs are on sale and just try one at a time.
Old 27th Aug 2014, 2:49 AM #4
jer9_1
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It depends on the Patch number.
According to the guide for IGPs:
"For TS3, uninstalling EPs doesn't help much. The thing which increases strain on a computer playing TS3 is patches, rather than EPs, so you may want to consider reinstalling and not fully patching your game. However, remember that, apart from meaning that you won't get any of the bugfixes included with the patches, this also means that you can't install any EPs which need a newer patch version than the one you decide to stay on, and you won't be able to use any mods or custom lots which are made for later patch versions. This is really only useful as an interim measure, to keep your computer going while you save up to upgrade. The exception to this rule is Pets, which causes lots of graphical problems with weak computers. If you're having graphical problems and you have Pets, it is strongly recommended that you uninstall Pets."
Old 28th Aug 2014, 11:50 AM #5
abel1980
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What is an IGP?

I changed the settings a bit and my graphics card now shows a highest load in the mid 90% range. The temperature doesn't seem to exceed 70 degree. The fps rate still can reach a 100 sometime, if I look at pretty empty parts of the world.

My graphics card does have a yes for all the EPs up to and including University Life, which has 1.50.56 noted as the patch level. And a maybe for the two latest EPs and the corresponding patches. My CPU looks to be recommended only for patch levels below 1.27, which is listed with Pets.

However I think my version of the base game comes pre patched to a 1.42. So I can't install with a lower patch level than that. But I guess reinstalling and not applying additonal patches might be an option.

Is there anything beside temperature, I could monitor to see if my computer is being destroyed by playing the game?
Old 28th Aug 2014, 1:17 PM #6
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IGP is integrated graphics processor, the kind which is used in most laptops and in cheap desktops, which is either just a chip on the motherboard or (more common now) the CPU handling graphics processing.

That info is correct but dated - for the most part, patches have been just as bad as EPs in terms of increasing strain. It's kinda difficult to assess whether an EP on its own also increases strain, because you can never install an EP without also installing its patch. However, some of the EPs do cause significant increases in resource use: Seasons is a great example because of weather, and other EPs have included features which are hard work, like Bridgeport in LN and strays/wildlife in Pets.

As far as I know the basegame never comes with patches pre-installed... but I've no experience of the compilation packs, so you may indeed be stuck there.

Temperature is really the only thing, because heat is what destroys components. You could try benchmarking your computer every six months or so to see if the performance decreases more than would be expected, maybe?

Don't forget, too, that you should be using lots of mods and so on to make the game more efficient - NRaas Overwatch, routing fixes for EA worlds, FPS limiter, etc. If you're still concerned about overheating, then follow the same advice as applies to people playing on crappy computers: keep it clean and well ventilated (those under-desk cubbies are awful places to store a tower), turn down your graphics options, and play for shorter sessions.

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Old 28th Aug 2014, 6:10 PM #7
abel1980
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When I installed my game, there was already a patch level indicated in the launcher, before it updated the game. It's the starter pack, pictured here: http://sims3.crinrict.com/en/2014/0...e-versions.html

It states the basegame in this pack is prepatched to 1.42.130. It's also sadly not possible to bypass the launcher in any way, because origin is blocking it. And it doesn't seem to be possible to get the Radeon drivers to apply any kind of fps limit. Every third party software I found requires me to bypass the launcher.

If heat imposes the biggest strain, I might actually be better off with my lower specs computer, as my card doesn't really get any hotter than 70 degrees, even if working at full load. A better card without any fps limiter in place might produce much more heat?

I already have overwatch installed and I plan to put the world routing fixes in place, but I wanted to add any possible EPs before doing that. My concern was mostly about not being able to use an fps limiter. The game plays well and no excessive heat seems to be generated.

The explanation about patch levels and EPs was very helpful. I might add Ambitions and Generations. Seasons would probably push it too much, even though I miss the weather a lot.

I am still a bit confused about the CPU requiremnts. The System Requirements just mention the line recommended, does anyone know how that translates to these benchmark numbers: http://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html? Because there are some older Core i5 CPU ranked lower than mine and the recommendations just mention Core i5 or higher for the later patches, but for AMD it's at least an AMD FX, which are all ranked higher than mine.

If I install additonal EPs and more store content, would adding another 4 GB RAM be helpful?
Last edited by abel1980 : 29th Aug 2014 at 12:35 AM.
Old 29th Aug 2014, 6:09 AM #8
ajaxsirius
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Adding 4GB more RAM will help the game run more smoothly but probably won't help with your heat issue. The best way to deal with heat problems is to address the airflow in your case.

If I were you I wouldn't necessarily go play on a lower specs computer yet. I have a pretty powerful computer and hit 140fps+ and never had any heat issues. Just make sure there's no dust in the vents or lodged in the heatsinks. You can use a can of compressed air (which you can buy at an office store like Staples) to push the dust out. Then make sure you have atleast one fan pulling fresh air into your case and one pushing the hot air out the back. Two in & Two out is what I have.

As for translating requirements into CPU ranking? Nope sorry, not that simple. And anyway, the cpubenchmark.net rankings are more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules...
Old 29th Aug 2014, 9:37 AM #9
abel1980
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I was actually referring to the computer I am currently using with "my lower specs computer", I don't have another one. But it's good to know that hitting higher frame levels doesn't have to cause heat issues. That means I could play the game on a better system sometime in the future, even without the option to use an fps limiter. But I will research that some more if and when I am buying some other computer, because from what I understand the nvidia drivers might be able to apply an fps limit without using third party software and the need to bypass the launcher.

I will find out where I can buy some compressed air, as I couldn't get all the dust out without it. The highest temperature reading I got after cleaning the fan without compressed air was 68C. I will also see if I can improve the airflow, but I am not sure if the temperature is that much of an issue. I checked some reviews and something in the mid 60C doesn't seem to be a completely unreasonable load temperature for my card.

As I can't get the patch level down to a recommended level for my CPU anyway, I will just continue to play on the system I have and see what kind of performance I get with some more early EPs and start saving for a new system down the road. It would be possible to reuse the memory in a new system wouldn't it? I currently have a single 4GB DDR 3 RAM module. I thought about getting a matching one and reusing the 2x4GB in another system later. Or is DDR 3 RAM a bad choice for a future system?
Old 29th Aug 2014, 10:14 AM #10
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We'll be switching to DDR4 in about two or three years. If you're thinking about buying DDR3 though, now is the time. Manufacturers will stop making DDR3 and make DDR4. DDR4 will drop in price and DDR3 will become more scarce, causing the price to rise.

If you're using a 32-bit OS there's no point in buying more RAM, but if you're using a 64-bit OS I don't think it would be a bad idea to buy another 4GB DDR3 stick now. As long as it matches the speed of the DDR3 stick you already have I think you'll be fine.
Old 29th Aug 2014, 12:44 PM #11
abel1980
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I have the 64-bit Win7 professional version. And another one of the 4GB DDR 3 Corsair stick of the one I am using now would currently cost me about 40€. So I guess I'll get that and use my system as long as it'll work.

I'll definitely check back in here, when I need a new system. Thanks everyone for the help.
Old 5th Dec 2014, 10:47 AM #12
abel1980
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Hi,
I hope it's okay to add to my old thread instead of starting a new one. I edited the title. My computer is actually still working pretty well, but I think I might be able to try and build a new one. And I purchased all but the last two EPs for TS3 during the Black Friday sale. I haven't installed all of them yet, but I would love to play them.

I know there are quite a few threads about getting a computer that will run everything well. I also still play TS2 and might want to try some other games, but I think TS3 with most EPs is currently the most demanding anything I want to run.

As this computer is still working fine, I could maybe scavenge it for parts, but I think the only component worth keeping is the harddrive. I have a monitor, keyboard, speakers and mouse already and I want to keep using Windows 7. So I don't need any of these parts. I got a new power supply when I purchased my graphics card a while ago, but I doubt it's powerful enough to use in a new build. I haven't upgraded the RAM yet, so I still have only one 4GB stick. I don't know if getting a new kit or adding another one of those would be better.

I have also never build a computer myself, but I have upgraded mine and I have people I could ask for help. So I would like to try and build my own. If possible I would like to spend 800€ or less. I am in Germany and used this site to get my last GPU and PSU for upgrading. I have also heard good things about this one to buy parts.

I am however rather lost on which parts work well together. If anybody has any suggestions, I would be very grateful.

If possible I'd like to add an HDD and have four memory slots on my mainboard. I definitely need a new case as well and I am never sure, if those come with enough fans or if I should add any.
Old 6th Dec 2014, 3:35 PM #13
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Can you take a picture of the sticker on the side of your PSU and tell me what GPU you're using? Do you still have your Windows 7 license key? How old is your hard drive?
Old 7th Dec 2014, 10:36 AM #14
abel1980
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Here is a picture of the box my PSU came in:

The hard to read part at the top says: AC Input 100-140 VAC, 9-4.5 A, 50/60 Hz. I hope the picture gets resized automatically.

Here is a link to the product page for the PSU.
And here is one for the 1024MB Sapphire Radeon HD 6670 Aktiv PCIe 2.1 x16 (Lite Retail) I am currently using as my GPU.

I bought the GPU and PSU a little later. The rest of the computer including the hard drive, I bought pretty much exactly two years ago. The hard drive is a 2000GB Seagate one with 7200 rpm.

And I do still have the license key for Windows 7.
Last edited by abel1980 : 7th Dec 2014 at 10:46 AM.
Old 7th Dec 2014, 1:40 PM #15
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Can you post the rest of your system specs? Click the start button, then "Run..." then type "dxdiag" in the window that opens.The DirectX Diagnostic Tool window should open. It may check online for info. Click the "Save All Information..." button located in the bottom right corner.

It will prompt you to save the information to a text file. Save the file somewhere easy to find, like your desktop. Then post the info here.

How is performance on your current computer? Are you unhappy with it? Do you know what kind of motherboard you're using? Do you have the motherboard model number?

Your current GPU is weak, but the PSU is still okay. If your motherboard is using a decent processor, and DDR3, then you should be able to upgrade for relatively cheap. Just need one more 4GB stick of DDR3 and a new GPU. Something like a GTX 750 Ti or a GTX 760.
Old 8th Dec 2014, 1:12 PM #16
abel1980
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The performance is okay-ish, I guess. Loading times are managable for TS3, but quite long for TS2 actually, because I have so much cc for that game. Although the TS3 loading times have gotten pretty long already as well and I haven't yet installed all the EPs. I play on mid to high settings and sometimes loading the sims takes a bit and they show as some sort of blob for a moment until the details are loaded. That looks a bit scary.

My motherboard is an ASUS M5A78L-MLX V 2 and it's using this processor: AMD Phenom(tm) II X4 945 Processor, MMX, 3DNow (4 CPUs), ~3.0GHz.

The dxdiag report should be under the button.

Old 8th Dec 2014, 3:33 PM #17
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Yeah okay so your CPU isn't quite up to modern standards but its good enough. Honestly I would just keep it as is for the moment. Buy 4GB more of DDR3 (make sure it's the same speed as your current stick, preferrably same model number), and a GTX 750 Ti or a GTX 760. If you still have money left over in your budget, look into getting a SSD about 250GB - 256GB. I use a Samsung 840 EVO 250GB and I'm quite happy with it. I hear good things about the Crucial MX100 series too.

If you get the SSD you would have to reinstall Windows and The Sims 2 & 3 onto the new SSD. Then use your old HDD as a secondary drive where you keep everything else: programs that don't take a long time to load, pictures, movies, music etc.
Old 8th Dec 2014, 3:55 PM #18
abel1980
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You're probably right. I was a bit afraid to install the rest of the EPs, but I guess a better GPU and more RAM would enhance performance quite a bit and it wouldn't be terribly expensive. I didn't think my PSU would have enough power for a GTX 760, but if that might be okay, I will look into that one. And that's sounds like a good size for an SSD, if I look at everything that should be installed on it. I have partitioned my hard drive and have everything that should be left on the HDD on another partition already. Everything which would need to be on the SSD is currently using 156GB.

Thank you very much for your help and for probably saving me some money. I guess this system could probably stay usable for a bit longer.
Old 9th Dec 2014, 4:32 AM #19
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No problem. If you do open up your case and install new parts, take the opportunity to clear out some of the dust in your computer. Buy a can of compressed air and target the heatsinks and fans with short bursts.
 


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