Hi! I recently decided to redownload all of my Sims 3 expansion and stuff packs. I own all expansion packs and 5 stuff packs. My concern was if my laptop would be able to run TS3 with all these packs at least relatively okay? It runs TS4 (all packs) and TS2 (all packs) perfectly without any issues with crashing, lagging, etc., but I'm pretty sure TS3 is more demanding than those two, so I wanted to be sure I could run it okay on my laptop.
Here's my laptop specs:
Model: MSI Modern 14
Processor: Intel Core i7-10510U CPU @ 1.80 GHz
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce MX330
Operating System: Windows 10
If there's anything else regarding specs you need to know, lemme know! But if anyone could help me determine if it's okay to download TS3 and all my owned packs, that'd be great! Thank you!
Saturday - last edited Saturday
@ColorMe2U The Nvidia MX330 is new enough that there aren't a lot of benchmarks out there yet. However, it looks like the card isn't really strong enough for Sims 3's most demanding packs. The one good benchmark I did see says that an Nvidia 1050 mobile, which is borderline for ultra graphics settings, is about twice as fast as an MX330. The problem is that even on lower settings, Pets and Seasons don't really scale down very well, as in, they'll often still crash on lower-end hardware. This is different from Sims 4, which runs okay on low settings even on very weak integrated graphics chips.
There's no reason you shouldn't be able to play with at least some of your content though. In your position, I'd be comfortable starting by installing all stuff packs and all expansions except for Pets, Seasons, Island Paradise, and Into the Future. I'd play with those and see how the game ran, plus I'd keep an eye on internal temperatures and the workload on my graphics card. GPU-Z is a good tool for this, and it's lightweight too.
I'd also manually cap my in-game framerates at 60 so my graphics card didn't overwork itself. You can do that in the built-in Nvidia Control Panel: if you play in fullscreen mode, enabling vertical sync is enough. Right-click on the desktop, select Control Panel, then Manage 3D settings, and choose TS3.exe for an Origin install, or TS3W.exe (with the W) for a disc or Steam install (green box), and enable v-sync and triple buffering (red box). Here's a screenshot:
If you do this and are satisfied with how the game runs on your preferred graphics settings, you can add one of those for demanding expansion packs and see how things go. Absolute performance in terms of framerates and the smoothness of the graphics varies a bit even between computers with the same hardware. How often the game crashes (or whether it crashes at all) can vary more—some people play fine on lower settings with few crashes, and others with the same CPU and GPU find the game almost unplayable.
It's fine to experiment a bit, adding a pack and uninstalling it or deactivating it in the launcher if your computer can't handle running it. As long as the temperatures of the processor and graphics card are stable and reasonable, you're not risking damaging your hardware by testing. The GPU in particular will throttle performance a bit over 70º C, and a lot over 80º, so that can also lead to crashes. But the danger zone in terms of actually harming your components is in the 90s.
I see, thank you for your help! If my laptop does end up being able to run one of the most demanding packs, is there any between the four that would be less strenuous, or are they all about the same?
@ColorMe2U Pets is clearly the most demanding pack; Seasons is second, also by a significant margin. IP and ITF are sort of on the same level, although IP is more graphically demanding, and ITF more CPU-intensive. Since your processor is reasonably strong, running ITF probably isn't as big an issue.
There are also steps you can take to mitigate the effects of those packs, other than ITF. For Pets, long-haired animals and horses have a larger effect than short-haired cats and dogs. Wild animals also take extra resources. So you could only play with short-haired pets, disable wild animals in the game options, and perhaps use a mod to prevent inactive families from adopting animals on their own.
For Seasons, rain, snow, and sleet are more demanding than other kinds of weather, so you could disable those in options, or else temporarily lower the graphics settings if you really want your sims to experience inclement weather.
For Island Paradise, there's less you can do, although the fog in IP definitely has an impact. But the world of IP is so broken anyway that it's not a good idea to play there unless you edit it or download a fixed version. The features of IP work fine in other worlds, as long as the water is deep enough, and the pack's content will still have a significant impact no matter what your settings are.
There are also many other steps you can take to improve performance overall independent of the packs you're running. This is a useful list:
And again, if your CPU and GPU temps get too high, all of this is moot, because the system will throttle performance to protect itself. So please make sure the laptop is properly cooling itself while you play. You can elevate it by putting books or something under the corners, use a laptop tray, or get a cooling pad.
At any rate, no matter which packs you install, keep an eye on temperatures and in-game framerates, and make an adjustment any time you notice an issue. If one of the demanding packs is too much for your laptop, just uninstall it. It's better to play smoothly with fewer packs than deal with crashing, lag, or other performance issues all the time.