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I have been wondering if it's possible to reduce the time it takes to load game files on my PC, for example, in-between levels in Half Life 2.

I have just installed an SSD, and it's already significantly faster than my other, mechanical drive, but is there any other steps I can take that will reduce it even further?

For example, I have been thinking about enabling compression on the SSD filesystem. With a fast CPU on an IO-bound system, shouldn't this speed up read times as less data needs to be accessed?

Is there anything else that would help?

  • Other software tweaks in Windows
  • Hardware settings in BIOS / firmware upgrade
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get more/faster memory –  z - Jun 27 '12 at 13:08
    
while i cant comment on other things ill jsut say that id avoid the data compression. while you will save on initial file I/O as you will need you read less, you will then have to decompress the data and write that to memory and then clear compressed stuff. almost certainly taking longer. –  TrewTzu Jun 27 '12 at 13:36
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also, should this be moved to super user? –  TrewTzu Jun 27 '12 at 13:37
    
Make sure all your drivers are up to date and you're on Windows 7 (great SSD support with TRIM baked in). Don't compress. –  Prinny Brocka Jun 28 '12 at 16:10
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2 Answers

Compressing file on SSD will make the performance worse. The possible way to improve the performance are:

  • Exit anti-virus software, close as much as possible running programs/service/task.

  • Upgrading the hardware.

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SSD alone is the biggest 'one-shot' improvement you'll get. Other than that you can try:

  • Add another SSD and set them in a RAID
  • Check the game in question is not writing files in your HDD (if your C: drive is HDD, it's possible that some temporary files and other game-related cached files are being written there)
  • More RAM. If you have less than 4GB this is a must, if you have 4GB it's still recommended. 8GB is a sweet number.
  • Check running processes (antivirus, antispyware, firewall, etc). Some security programs can make things very slow, and only have one of each (if that) running at the same time, i.e., don't have 2 antivirus running at the same time.
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RAM amounts divisible by 2? Triple-channel for the win (unless we're talking quad-channel). –  kotekzot Jun 27 '12 at 23:24
    
SSD is a big one-shot improvement, but I believe that having the game installed on a RAMdrive would be an even bigger one. Of course this is a pain to set up, and eats up a huge chunk of RAM that might be better spent on other things. –  Fambida Jun 28 '12 at 0:31
    
@Fambida yes I was going to mention RAM drive but only as a curiosity thing, just to see how fast it gets, but not as a practical solution. –  Rodolfo Jun 28 '12 at 13:09
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