How to Make RUST Load Faster

RUST takes so long to load, but it doesn’t have to

It’s a question you’ll often hear and may have already asked yourself at least once, but it seems like RUST “takes forever” to load. These extended load times are the bane of players trying to log back on quickly when a teammate cries out, “We’re being raided!” All RUST players have experienced this plea and wondered if there’s any way to make RUST load faster.

On that front, there’s both good and bad news. You can take at least a few simple steps to help decrease your RUST load times. Alongside these simple steps, some noticeable and relatively expensive changes can substantially reduce your RUST load times. 

Why does RUST take so long to load?

One thing we can all agree on in RUST is that we all love that there are no more loading screens once we load in. You can march from one end of the island to another without stopping for pesky loading bars or stalling splash screens.

RUST accommodates this by having your PC load the server-specific island with a hexadecimal seed code. This seed contains all the information players must share for a server to make sense. Every hill, valley, pig, bear, and monument must be accounted for, and most importantly, the same for every player.

Since sending each player a copy of the map would take a massive transfer, they send the seed instead, and your RUST client builds that server’s island from that seed.

Games without variable maps can give the player a hard-baked version of the required information. RUST cannot. Seed development must take place on top of standard game loading features, as the client caches textures, geometry, and other server information.

How can I make RUST load faster?

There are two avenues to go down when trying to improve RUST’s load times. One route is free and easy, requiring simple and quick changes to software and settings you may not have considered. The second route involves purchasing improved hardware.

Improving RUST load times with software 

The asset load skip

When you select a server to load, you will see the red and green boxes’ loading progress at the screen’s center. By far, the most extended load feature is the “asset load.” If you press the large red X while the asset load takes place, you will be dropped back to server selection. On choosing to reconnect, the server will wrongly think you’ve run the asset load and will push you into the game without undergoing a full asset load on launch.

The drawback of doing this is that you will potentially load into RUST with graphical errors and unloaded textures that will take roughly the same time to repair as if you had waited for the asset load to finish. It does, however, get you into the game faster.

Don’t alt+tab

We know it sucks. You have a great PC that can handle alt+tabbing and browsing the net while you wait just fine. However, the RUST client has issues with doing this, and your load times will improve simply by avoiding the practice. Start your RUST client, grab a drink, snack, or whatever you need to settle in for a RUST session.

Update your graphics drivers

As Gary and the gang diligently update RUST and make changes, sometimes things change to suit new software and graphics drivers’ requirements. It may only be a marginal improvement, but updating your graphics drivers as often as possible is always worth your while. Most graphics drivers come with software that will tell you when an update is ready.

Steam client updates

While the Steam client should remain up to date automatically, it can stall and require manual updating. If you think you’ve fallen behind, look at the very top left of the steam window, press the steam drop-down menu, and select “check for steam client updates.”

Defrag and declutter your hard drive

As your hard drive continuously loads and unloads files, sometimes data bits fall out of place. That’s a terrible way of explaining what’s happening, but it makes some sense to users. The repair process for getting things back in order is to run a defrag on your PC.

Enter your Windows search bar and start typing Defrag. The defrag and optimize drives prompt should appear. Start the program, and you will see information on the state of drive fragmentation and how long it’s been since a defragging.

If the drive has undergone some fragmentation, it’s a good idea to run the analysis and optimization of each drive. Setting up a defrag schedule is not a bad idea, so your PC runs through the process once every few weeks.

Depending on the drive’s state, defragging can take some time, and it’s better done when you’re not actively using the PC, so let it go overnight if it’s got a lot to do. Or schedule for a time you won’t be on.

Increase your PC’s power plan

Most Windows PCs operate on a balanced energy plan by default, preserving energy where possible. If not, they default to a Power saver, which reduces performance wherever possible.

If you hit your Windows Key and type Power Options, you’ll open the power plan dialogue window. From here, a drop-down menu for additional plans includes ‘High Performance.’ Choosing this permanence set eliminates energy preservation methods and does nothing to mitigate energy consumption.

Note that this process is not the same as overclocking. Instead, doing this is lifting deliberate attempts to reduce your PC’s power usage. So, be ready for a slightly larger power bill.

Re-install RUST onto the best hard drive

If you know that your RUST client is loading exceedingly long, you could consider entering your Steam library and validating the RUST game files. If file validating doesn’t help, a total reinstallation of RUST may help.

Be sure to install RUST on an SSD hard drive rather than a SATA drive. This one single change can improve RUST’s loading time dramatically. SSD hard drives, especially NVMe drives, have exceptionally fast read times compared with older SATA HDD technology.

Improving RUST load times with upgraded hardware

Everything suggested so far can be done without having to open your wallet. However, for substantial gains in improving RUST’s load time, you may have to consider purchasing upgraded hardware for your rig.

Increasing System RAM

RUST’s minimum system requirements suggest 8 GB of RAM, although recommended running requires 16 GB. As RUST loads, it must also cache as much of the client’s information as possible, which is your RAM’s job.

However, increasing your RAM will have diminishing returns. Once you reach the recommended amount, RUST will not cache much faster. Some RAM timing may be slightly more favorable to your setup, but that, again, will cap out any loading gains quickly.

Be sure that you have the least amount of system processes running, along with any extraneous applications closed, to help free up system RAM and processing, for that matter.

Installing RUST on an SSD or NVMe

By far, the largest deciding factor of RUST’s load times is whether or not you install RUST on a hard or solid-state drive. SSDs have a substantially faster call time than a standard HDD. While there’s no need for an SSD speed for media or basic PC functioning, an SSD will load things incredibly fast, making it ideal for operating systems and, you guessed it, games like RUST.

Newer motherboard models, such as the Asus AM4 TUF Gaming X570-Plus, often feature an NVMe slot (or two), which is faster still than the earlier model SSDs. While NVMe load times are better than many existing SSDs, they won’t substantially affect loading RUST or similar games, as there are caps to how quickly the game caches.

So NVMe or SSD hard drives significantly improve over the traditional SATA HDD. There’s no pressing need to upgrade to NVMe from a SATA SSD.

Improving your load times in RUST is possible

So now you have a rough idea of what’s happening behind the curtains. And hopefully, a few ideas for how to improve your load times. Remember that it’s not the end of the world RUST takes a bit to load. The game is incredibly stable, and it’s due to this diligence in the loading process. If you can’t purchase a new gaming PC right now, focus on the software changes and improvements you can make and see what works for you.

Digital Ghost's avatar

About Digital Ghost

Dg is the founder and co-owner of Corrosion Hour, a niche gaming community established in 2016 focusing on the survival game RUST. He is an active and contributing member of numerous other RUST communities. As a community leader and server owner for over 15 years, he spends much of his time researching and writing guides about survival games, covering topics such as server administration, game mechanics, and community growth.

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