Simming computer review
#1 30-03-2019 
I have a Lenovo W540 Workstation on the way.

500gb HGST HDD
IPS 1080p display
nVidia K2100/HD4600 graphics.
i7-4800mq processor

I'm going to evaluate it for Simming. I'll report back. Smile
Kunder, proud to be a member of LeeFish since Feb 2016.
(This post was last modified: 15-04-2019 04:03 AM by Kunder.)

#2 31-03-2019 
While I'm waiting for my rather expensive Lenovo W540 to arrive in the mail, I have this HP Compaq 6715b that I bought around six months ago for $50 USD (This INCLUDED shipping), off Ebay. However, the question is.........

Will it "Sim"?

The answer is: YES, and in a reasonably, acceptable manner.

Here are the specs it came with:

AMD Turion64 x2 TL-52 at 1.6ghz
ATI Radeon Mobility X1200, running on 128mb/VRAM
2gb PC2-6400 DDR2 SDram
160gb SATA II, Western Digital "Black", spinning at 7200rpm.
LG Philips LP15 display at 1280x800 resolution
Matshita DVD/CD +r+w optical drive.
No O/S (originally came with WinXPHome)

This laptop is vintage 2006, and arrived in surprisingly VG condition!

First thing I did, was added two more gb/PC2-5300 ram. (Yeah, I know it's mismatched, but I'll remedy this later) for $5 USD, because I wanted to install Win7 on this machine. 2gb IS NOT enough to run Win7 in a proper manner.
Next thing I did was download all the drivers for this machine. They're readily available, and quick to download.
After trimming up Win7Pro, to lighten it some, I installed TS2 on the meager, but fairly quick WD Black, HDD. It took around 10 minutes to install my NoCD version of "The Sims 2-All in One".

after starting the game with no CC, it ran "Strangetown", "RBH", and "BDC" in a very "choppy" manner. I went to the in-game, graphics adjustment utilities, turned off all the toys, and ran at 800x600. Surprisingly, "Smooth Edges" was available. To make this short, I was able to creep up the game settings to 1200x800, high sim/object detail, snow effects on, medium graphic effects, object hiding on, decorations on, snow xray on, and fade distance small. Everything else was on minimum, or off. The last thing was adjusting the "Smooth Edges". I found the best setting was to drag it to "less", and then drag one jump towards "more". Anything more than that, makes the game very laggy.

It's a little stuttery, but far from unplayable.

Runs pretty good. Not optimal, but far from unplayable.

I fixed the <Not Found in Database> issue, although it didn't seem to make any difference in gameplay.

Load times, with a 4.1gb "Downloads" folder are acceptable. An SSD would be fantastic here!

Load times from the time you click your TS2 desktop icon, to the time you arrive at the Neighborhood menu, is consistently 2 minutes exactly.
Clicking Riverblossom hills, to actually getting into the neighborhod is around 27 seconds. Not bad for an old "beater".


For the budget-minded "Simmer", who just wants to play TS2 with a reasonable degree of playability, at a total of $55 USD, this machine would be in the "Acceptable" category. so, if you blew your money on the latest hardware, and discovered you can't play TS2 on it, or can't afford a modern computer, this is one of MANY alternatives. BTW, this machine will run lots of modern software adequately also. It is a good choice for the thrifty, and a good value for the Sims 2 "Simmer". Smile

Here's one I found on Ebay.

Since the disaster of Windows 10, the prices for used computers have gone up some, as people are rediscovering Win8.1, or refuse to give up Win7.

Monitor this thread for updated info, and HAPPY SIMMING to ALL! Smile


Well, I re-did this computer with XPpro. My thought was it would play better with a lighter O/S. However, it did not. As a matter of fact, it was worse. So..... Tomorrow, I'll be pulling the Win7 image, back to the machine.
(This post was last modified: 07-04-2019 06:49 AM by Kunder.)

#3 12-04-2019 
I found another "low budget" laptop. Decided to repair it and try TS2. The laptop is a Dell Inspiron 1525


Will it "Sim"?

The answer is: Yes it will, with a caveat.

The Computer:

COST: It was free, it's a "garbage can" rescue.
Keyboard $11 USD
Charger $7 USD
2 more gb PC2-5300s DDR2-667MHz/PC2-6400 Laptop Memory $5 USD
Some cleaning up. $22 USD total.

Here are the specs:

This laptop is vintage 2008, and in cosmetically TERRIBLE shape! Beat up, scuffed up, but FUNCTIONAL.

Intel Core 2 Duo T8100 / 2.13 GHz
Mobile Intel GM965 Express on-board graphics
4gb PC2-5300s RAM
160gb SATA II Toshiba Hard disk, spinning at 5400rpm
LG Philips LP15 display at 1280x800 resolution
Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium Edition

First thing I did, was added two more gb/PC2-5300 ram, new keyboard, and charger. I then loaded Win7 Home Premium, because it's more "Wi-Fi friendly" than Vista.
Downloaded the drivers from Dell's website and installed them. So far, so good. Machine isn't what I consider "snappy", but it is adequate.
after starting the game with no CC, it ran "Strangetown" pretty choppy, and "Smooth edges" wasn't available, even after fixing the Video Cards.sgr. This could've been fixed, but as someone wanted to buy it for $70 USD that night, I didn't have time to fix it. However, it ran Sims "ok", with all settings on low, or off, with only "Object/Sims Details on high". After that, it was playable at 1200x800. Still "jittery", but if you're desperate to play TS2, it's "doable". I've seen "The Sims 2" YouTube video's posted, that were far worse for "jitter". A 160gb SSD would REALLY help here!! Despite the 5400rpm Hard drive, load times were in the "acceptable" range.


While not as good as the HP Compaq 6715b I previously tested, it WILL "Sim", and for a total cost of $22 USD to repair, and just a little time, if you're desperate, it'll work, and the price is certainly right.

This machine will still run lots of modern software adequately. It is a "fair" choice for the thrifty, and due to the VERY low cost, a pretty good value for the desperate, Sims 2 "Simmer" Big Grin

Here is a "ready to go" 1525 on Ebay for $44 USD.
(This post was last modified: 13-04-2019 12:02 AM by Kunder.)

#4 15-04-2019 
Here is a portable, graphics workstation. The Lenovo ThinkPad W540! This has been a machine I've wanted for a while,


Will it "Sim"?

The answer is: Why YES! YES it will, indeed! (In my best, Jim Cary impersonation)

The Computer:

COST: $370 USD
2 Samsung EVO 860 (NIB), 512gb SSD's. $120 USD
16gb DDR3 12800 sodimm RAM. $53 USD
PCI Express with two, USB 3.0 ports. $13 USD

Total: $183 USD.

Upgrades+Computer $553 USD.

Was it worth it? Oh... You BET'cha! This computer, in THIS configuration was around $5500 USD, when new!

Here are the current specs:

This laptop is only three years old. One of the last ones off the line. It arrived in VERY good condition. 1 USB 2.0 port didn't work, Hence the PCI Express card.

Intel i7-4800 Quad Core that is CURRENTLY running at 3.7Ghz
nVidia Quadro K2100m graphics with 2gb GDDR5 Vram.
Intel HD4600 on-board graphics, running on 1gb RAM (Shared)
32gb PC3 12800 RAM
Dual Samsung EVO 860 SSD's (Drives, C, and D)
15", 1920x1080 IPS display
4 USB 3.0 ports, 1 USB 2.0 port
The NICE 3 button trackpad transplant
Backlit keyboard

After installing all the upgrades, Windows, and all the drivers, and all the "adjustments", I backed it up with Macrium Reflect. It took THREE MINUTES to do a complete backup!

I installed "The Sims 2". Opened up the nVidia control panel, and selected The Sims 2, to run on the High Performance nVidia Graphics accelerator.
Loaded the nVidia-TEXTURES file, and without tweaking the Video Cards.sgr, fired up the game..... OMG! Sims2 loaded in around 15seconds!
I had all resolutions available, smooth edges was available. I exited out, fixed the <Video card not found in database>, then re-entered the game. AGAIN, around 15 seconds.

Just for kicks, I maxed out all the toys, resolution, EVERYTHING on high! SMOOOOTH as BUTTER!!! I couldn't believe it!
nVidia K2100m graphics are fantastic!. Not supposed to be a great "gaming" chipset, however, I can run, The Long Dark, Crysis 3, CoD Modern Warfare, CoD World at War, with ALL the graphics toys on ULTRA!

Technically, not a "laptop", it is a portable, graphics workstation. I can not WAIT to run AutoCAD, Photoshop, and a number of graphic arts programs I have, on it, as THIS is what this computer is actually built for.

The W540, with nVidia K2100m graphics, leaves just about EVERYTHING in the dust. I have a new HP "Green machine" with an i7 8thGen processor, and the W540, leaves it in the DIRT for over all computing!

Instead of buying a new gaming machine with all the bells, and whistles, Why not spend less than half of that on a W540/K2100m/SSD machine, AND be able to play TS2, with all the toys blazin'!

This is the BEST "Simming machine" I've ever used. Guess I'll be keeping it!

Here's one on Ebay with similar specs as mine. REMOVE Windows 10, INSTALL Windows 7 Professional! Win7 Drivers are readily available on Lenovo's website!

Add a second SSD Big Grin

You can get a Dual core W540, for around $100 USD less, but it maxes out at 16gb/RAM. However, you can upgrade the processor to Quad Core, and 32gb later!

It's WELL worth the price!!!
(This post was last modified: 22-04-2019 03:55 AM by Kunder.)

#5 22-04-2019 
The Lenovo T500 with RADEON GRAPHICS ATI mobility Radeon HD 3650.


Will it "SIM?"

The answer is.... Yes it WILL!

I came by this computer kind of by accident. Noticed it had the following hardware configuration:

Core2Duo, T9400cpu at 2.53GHz.
1680x1050 display!
No battery/Hard drive, or charger. Caddy was there.
GMA 4500m on-board graphics (NO GOOD for playing Sims).
ATI Radeon 3650 graphics! (Surprise! I wasn't expecting that! Turns out it is pretty decent for playing Sims 2).

I paid $30 US dollars, + shipping for it off Ebay.
Computer turned out to be in nearly NIB condition, and flawless!

So, $50 total for machine.

$30 for 160gb Intell Solid State Drive.

$12 for a battery.

$8 for a 65 watt charger.

$7 for a Hard drive caddy for the optical drive bay.

$13 for a 320gb 7200RPM hard drive to put in the optical bay.

Ram would've been around $30, but I had two, 4gb sticks of DDR3 PC-3 1333 (use ONLY DDR3 PC3-1333 memory, as DDR3 PC3 12800 will not work in this machine.) laying around doing nothing, so I used it in the machine.

A copy of Win7Pro.

Drivers can be downloaded from Lenovo's EOL (End Of Life) archive.

It's NEW configuration is now:
Core2Duo, T9400cpu at 2.53GHz.
8gb/RAM. PC3-1333 SODIMM
1680x1050 display.
GMA 4500m on-board graphics.
ATI Radeon 3650 graphics.
160gb Intel SSD.
320gb 7200rpm HDD.

I put this machine together and had it running in under an hour (I have an image for this particular machine, that I pulled). Loaded Sims just for kicks, and found it automatically detected the family, but not the specific video, however the game plays as it should. Nothing in the settings are greyed out. I did go and change my .sgr files so it recognized the specific video chipset, but it didn't make a difference in gameplay. Ran fine.

So, for $120, I have a nice, capable Simming machine!

IF you decide to go this route, add another $30 for ram. Get your stuff from Ebay.

I would rate the difficulty of this project at 4/10 for a beginner. Just take your time.

If you DO decide to do this, I'll help you through it.

The one thing you want to make DOUBLE sure of, is that the machine comes with RADEON graphics!
The on-board Intel, GMA4500 graphics are useless for playing Sims.

Get Macrium Reflect, to image your SSD to the mechanical drive. Not only will this protect your Simmies, it will protect your computer, should your SSD fail. You can replace it, and pull the image from the mechanical drive, to the new SSD. You can also use Win7's native imaging software. Just make sure you make a "Restore" disk. You will need an external optical drive, if you replace the one in the machine.

I highly recommend using an SSD for playing Sims2. It makes loading, and gameplay, SOOOO much smoother, and faster!

I also recommend playing at 1280x800 resolution. with medium, and some high settings to play smoothly. You'll figure that one out yourself.

I would post an Ebay link, but there isn't one ATM. This computer is pretty rare, in this configuration. I got lucky.

Good luck!
(This post was last modified: 22-04-2019 03:54 AM by Kunder.)


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