Game Rant’s Jason Weissman reviews System Mechanic 10.5
PC gaming is alive and well with big titles such as The Witcher 2, Diablo 3, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Guild Wars 2, Rage, and Battlefield 3. Better graphics demand more powerful and efficient computers and Iolo’s System Mechanic 10.5 provides a way for gamers to ensure that their computers are in tip-top shape.Currently available for $39.95, System Mechanic offers an automated all-in-one solution to maintain your computer so that it doesn’t suffer from the inevitable slow down that seems to affect most PC machines over time. Iolo claims that its product can boost your Internet speeds, quicken the startup of Windows, restore system stability, clear out speed-bump like debris from your registry and hard drive, and most importantly, improve your gaming experience.
Typically, Windows customers would have to use a bunch of different programs to accomplish this, so we were intrigued by iolo’s one-stop shop solution. In addition, System Mechanic‘s PC TotalCare tools offer additional options for power users to streamline their setup even further.
For our testing, we used a PC with the following specifications:
- Intel Core i5-2500K @3.30 GHz
- ASUS, P8P67-M PRO Rev 3.0
- Corsair, 8GB (2 x 4GB) XMS3 PC3-10600 DDR3 1333MHz
- EVGA NVIDIA GTX 580
- Intel, 80GB 320 Series SSD, MLC
- Western Digital, 500GB WD Caviar Black
- Windows 7, 64-Bit Professional Edition
The above computer had been used moderately for gaming about 2 1/2 months prior to testing. The first time I ran System Mechanic it shockingly stated that my system’s status was poor, identifying 7 problems and 1 warning regarding the security of my PC. The warning stated that I did not have an anti-malware program installed, which was incorrect as I had Symantec Endpoint Protection running in the background. Since knowing whether I had anti-malware installed seemed rather obvious, I was willing to give System Mechanic a pass on this test and elected to turn off the anti-malware monitor.
The real meat and potatoes of System Mechanic‘s offering was the deep analysis routine, which provided solutions to each identified problem. System Mechanic explained the problems in detail by noting that: 1) my SSD had never been optimized, which could degrade its speed; 2) there were 11 repairable security vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer 9; 3) I somehow had racked up 760 registry problems in 2 1/2 months; 4) the PC had 8.5 GB of system clutter (temp files, etc.); 5) there were two unnecessary startup items potentially robbing my PC of speed by using memory; 6) my Internet configuration was not fully optimized; and 7) the registry had not been backed up.
Before allowing System Mechanic to work its mojo on my PC, I went ahead and tested the computer using Geekbench 2.2, a great benchmark program that measures processor speed and memory performance. Before System Mechanic, my PC’s Geekbench score was a rather lofty 14827. Nonetheless, System Mechanic improved that number slightly to 14832. Granted, my PC has not been in service for a lengthy period, and an older computer would likely have made more gains. Still, System Mechanic managed to wring some extra juice out of my system’s performance even if it wasn’t overwhelming.
Iolo also asserts that System Mechanic will increase the startup times of PCs that have been in service for 24 months or less by an average of 30%. While I didn’t reach those lofty heights, I did see an increase of about 12% as my PC booted in 58 seconds, which was 8 seconds less than my pre-System Mechanic benchmark. For a fairly new computer, this was pretty impressive. The Netbooster program was less so, however, as it did not result in any gains in page load times when using Internet Explorer 9.
But of course, what I really wanted to see was whether System Mechanic made an appreciable difference when it came to the frame rates in today’s demanding titles. Using FRAPS, I measured the programs effect on the following titles:
- Crysis (1600 x 1200 Default High Settings No AA)
- The Witcher 2 (1980 x 1080 High Settings, Default High Settings)
- Deus Ex: Human Revolution (1980 x 1080 Default High Settings)
- Red Orchestra 2 (1980 x 1080 Default High Settings)
My PC gaming rig produced FPS scores between 60 and 100 on all of these games prior to applying any fixes, and System Mechanic didn’t appear to have much of an impact as my post FPS scores for each title showed no significant change. Again, this may have been due to the fact that the test PC was fairly new and did not come with bloatware. Therefore, the opportunity for becoming bogged down with a lot of memory-hogging programs never happened. For some older or store-bought computers, however, it’s possible that the program could produce an appreciable effect if the bloatware had never been removed or the PC had not been regularly maintained.
Even though we didn’t see much improvement in the gaming arena on our test PC, System Mechanic is a great and simple tool to keep your PC running at optimal levels. Preventative care with routine maintenance can make a huge difference in obtaining consistent performance from your gaming PC and System Mechanic makes that process a cinch since it can be set to automatically monitor and fix problems on your machine. Additionally, System Mechanic will ensure your hardware drivers are up to date, saving you the time of tracking them down individually on your own.
For those who care about keeping their systems healthy, System Mechanic is a powerful and essential program. Sure, you could probably download a bunch of freeware programs that can provide some of System Mechanic‘s functionality, but its integrated solution is hard to beat for convenience and ease of use. Especially if you own multiple PCs, as System Mechanic’s license allows you install the program on all of your household devices.
If you would like to give System Mechanic a try yourself, you can download a 30-day trial version at www.iolo.com/downloads.
System Mechanic is currently available for $39.95 and is compatible with Windows XP/Vista/7 computers. You can find more information at iolo.com.