EDIT: This was written before Home's core client update version 1.35 on March 11, 2010. There is no longer a black screen while loading the Home application. Instead, there are Home graphics. Also, much of the downloading and verifying purchased content is done in the background while using the Navigator, which has replaced the World Map. Everything else is stored in the same place.
EDIT 2: I've added sections for Script Settings and Clubhouse Furnishings, as well as how Core client 1.4 has affected the wardrobe and furniture inventories.
There have been a lot of threads about the slow load times lately. Every time I read them, I'm amazed by how many people still think that allotting a 12GB cache size will make the "Verifying Purchased Content" screen load faster or enable them to use their wardrobe faster. I try to reply whenever I can, but it keeps coming up, so I thought I'd give this issue its own thread so more people can see it. I hope it helps a few people understand why certain things load at the speed they do, and how to choose the best cache size for the way they, personally, use Home.
PUBLIC AND PERSONAL SPACES ARE STORED IN YOUR CACHE, ON YOUR HARD DRIVE
The first thing you need to understand is that your cache stores the public and personal spaces you've visited. This includes videos and posters in public spaces, but not people. In personal spaces, it is only the empty space itself, but not the furniture in it...no matter who it belongs to. That's it. It has no affect on your wardrobe or furniture items what-so-ever, but I'll talk more about those later. When Home update 1.3 went live, it gave us a choice of allotting 3, 5, 8 or 12 GB of our hard disc drive to Home.
The benefit of having a larger cache size is that jumping from space to space will be faster, as long as it's a space you've been to recently. If you have a large cache size, you have probably noticed the plain black screen that can last several minutes between the time you click the Home icon on your XMB until the first time it prompts you to press "x." That long black abyss of a screen is the downside to having a large cache. During that screen, your PS3 is loading 12GB (or 8, 5 or 3GB) worth of every public space you've visited recently.
If you have a small cache size, the black screen will zoom by. I recently changed my cache from 12GB to 3GB and have visited several spaces since then. I timed my black loading screen while my fiance was using the microwave earlier; it took less than 40 seconds! The downside of having a smaller cache is that you will have to re-download spaces that you haven't visited recently. You'll have to press "x" to download or triangle to download in the background. I've always found that pressing "x" to download makes it go much faster than downloading in the background...and it prevents me from having to say my goodbyes twice. The progress bar for downloading a space takes about 20 seconds. After that first progress bar, there is the usual automatic progress bar that you have to sit through, regardless of your cache size.
If you want to check or change your cache size, go to:
Start menu > Settings > Personal > Change Cache Size
Basically, you can spend 5-10 minutes loading every space you've ever visited when you sign in, or you can spend an extra 20 seconds loading individual spaces. When choosing your cache size, consider how many times you use Home per day, and how many spaces you visit in that time.
You should also note that there is only 1 cache on your PS3's hard drive, regardless of how many PSN accounts you have or which regions they are for. That means if you have 4 accounts, you don't need 4 12GB caches that take up 48 GBs total, you only need 1 cache.
YOUR CLOTHING AND FURNITURE INVENTORIES ARE STORED ON HOME'S SERVERS
Every item you've won, collected or purchased is stored on Home's servers. When you load Home, there's a Verifying Purchased Content progress bar. The more stuff you've won, collected or bought from the mall, the longer it will take. Each time you access your wardrobe or place furniture, you'll have to load the thumbnails again. Unfortunately, since these are stored on Home's servers and not our hard drives, there are currently no settings that we can change to make this load faster.
With the core client update 1.4 on November 11, 2010, we gained the ability to place infrequently used items under the Storage tab...and the limitation of only being able to have 500 items in your main wardrobe or furniture at a time. In your wardrobe, the 500 item limit applies to male and female items combined. So, if you use clothing for one gender and not the other, you can maximize your main wardrobe slots by storing clothing items for the gender you don't use. If you have more than 500 items, in your furniture or wardrobe, new items may automatically get sent to Storage. When you click on the Storage tab, you will see your items divided into the same categories that you would see in your main wardrobe.
Other features added were: new items being displayed at the top of each category with a New icon, the ability to mark items as Favorite and float them to the top of each category, and the ability to sort items within a category by Newest, Oldest, etc.
(At the time of this edit, the Storage option introduced with core client update 1.4 is still a little buggy. Some items may get sent to storage even if you don't have 500 items. Also, sometimes items that you've previously sent to storage find a way of repeatedly sneaking back into your main wardrobe, marked as New items. Hopefully this gets fixed soon!)
CLUBHOUSE FURNISHINGS ARE STORED ON HOME'S SERVERS
Unlike your personal spaces, the furniture layout is stored on Home's servers. This allows any club member to access a clubhouse at any time, without the club owner needing to be there.
PERSONAL SPACE FURNISHINGS ARE STORED IN YOUR SAVED DATA UTILITY, ON YOUR HARD DRIVE
In your XMB, under the Games section, there is a Saved Data Utility folder. You'll see a file named after every personal space you own. These files contain the layout of the furniture within your personal spaces. If you delete one of your personal space files for any reason, you will still own that space, but your furniture will be gone. It's a good idea to back up these files onto a USB drive once in a while, especially when you do a major redecoration in your personal space.
Also, When you put images from your hard drive into a picture frame in your personal space, Home does not automatically store it for you. That is why we don't have picture frames in our clubhouses. Every time you load that space, it takes the picture from your hard drive. If you delete the picture, it will no longer show up in your picture frame.
SETTINGS AND AVATARS ARE STORED IN YOUR SAVED DATA UTILITY, ON YOUR HARD DRIVE
There is also a Settings file in the Saved Data Utility folder. This file contains the 9 (total) male and/or female saved avatar slots, your control settings, text color, etc. You should definitely back this up regularly, and especially every time you adjust your avatar's face.
GAME PROGRESS IN-HOME IS STORED IN YOUR SAVE DATA UTILITY, ON YOUR HARD DRIVE
In your Save Data Utility folder, there is a file called Script Settings. It stores progress you've made towards unlocking rewards, but haven't unlocked yet. This includes stuff like Sodium Credits, Pickories, Konami Points, Hudson dolphy races and stats, etc. Once you unlock a reward, it is then stored on Homes servers instead, like every other clothing and furniture item. This is also important to back up regularly, in case any unforseen bug, freeze or YLOD causes you to lose your progress, points, credits, pickories, etc.
Public space downloading does slow down Home's start up. I've deleted Home before, downloaded every space and it takes 1 minute to start up. Then delete it and have no spaces downloaded and it loads up quick at the start up.
Yup! I used to have a 12GB cache and the black loading screen took forevvvvver. On the first day of Irem, I got booted with an F13 error that prevented me from getting the free kimono. On the advice of other members here, I deleted and reinstalled the Home icon on the XMB. It worked in helping me get the kimono, but I also noticed that The black screen time was almost instant after that, even though I had to download individual spaces. After about a few days it got noticably slower again, so I decided to change my cache to 3GB. So far, it's still super-fast!
Thanks for this thread. BTW it's 9 male or female save spots total, not 9 male and 9 female save spots. Also, don't you think that even all the spaces added together don't add up to 3gb? Each one is about 25mb. I don't see how it could use up 6gb or 9gb. I have it set to 12 but I wonder why.Message Edited by djepic112 on 01-26-2010 05:11 PM
Oops! Good catch, I'll fix that.