Originally Posted by Obsi
I went around turning off some of these machines to try and reduce the lag. Where I was unable to locate a lever/torch that powered an engine, I have removed the engine and placed it in a chest next to where it was.
The question is if this is always a good idea. It kind of depends on how a base is set up. If you have a quarry or a harvester or something that is running and producing a high amount of items then sure, it's a good idea to turn it off.
But in other cases it might hurt more than it helps.
For example we don't know how much processing power an idling redstone engine really does use. Turning it off MIGHT improve the server performance somewhat, but what if this particular engine was hooked up to pump overflow items from a chest into a void pipe? By stopping the engine the chest might start overflowing instead as there might always be the occasional passive block generation (from a cactus farm for example) that flows into the chest. Similarly if you have a setup with recyclers eating up excess items, if you stop those the items might start overflowing instead.
Personally I think (and I have nothing more than my own observations to back this up with) that this is how different things affect the server, from least to most:
1. Running but idle engines (like pumping from an empty chest).
2. Active machines (macerators, ovens)
3. Machines (macerators, generators, batboxes, engines) turning on and off, redstone switching state
4. Machines that affect the world (fillers, quarries, harvesters), cattle, growing trees, moving pistons
5. Piping systems and dropped items.
And with piping systems I don't mean the pipes themselves, but items flowing through them as I have a gnawing suspicion each item constantly syncs its position with the server. The occasional item flowing through is not a big deal, but when you have constant movement of oodles of items it WILL slow down.
It should also be reasonably easy to reduce the effect pipes have on the server by always trying to pump stacks of items instead of one by one, and also by using gold pipes to speed up the items so they spend as short time as possible in the pipe. And of course to have the pipes as short as possible (although this is not always that easy). Having teleport pipes would also help.