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Moving Steam to an external HDD

By ETF Soldier
Jan 13, 2013
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  1. Hey guys,
    I built my PC about October time and we wanted to make the jump to SSD but couldn't afford much so we have a 128GB SSD partitioned into 2. 1 section for the OS (Windows 7 Ultimate) and the other for Games. But I have more steam games than I can fit in this 60GB space, and wondered if transfering Steam to my external HDD would be any good. I went on the Steam support area and they showed me how to do so, but recommended against transfering it to a an external HDD due to performance issues, but I got mine fairly recently, a 500GB USB 3.0. So would I still encounter any performance issues with a USB 3.0? I've heard that it's speed is similar to a PCIe.
     
  2. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,333   +278

    You are still going to see performance issues because of IO latency. You can have a quick test with very little risk by copying one of the game folders from your Steam common folder to the external drive, rename the folder on the local drive, then make a junction link to that folder in your Steam folder. The command will be something like "mklink /J C:\PathToSteamApps\common\gamename E:\PathToCopiedContents\gamename". If things are too bad just remove the junction point and rename the folder back to the original name.

    I forgot to mention, you'll likely need an elevated permissions command prompt to run that command properly in that location.
     
    ETF Soldier likes this.
  3. ETF Soldier

    ETF Soldier TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 281   +39

    Thanks! :) You've helped me on a few things now, so yeah, I just want to say a massive thanks to you!
     
  4. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TS Evangelist Posts: 3,473   +622

    I believe it would be laggy also. A PC magazine I've read actually recommended building a Steam Box and having the steam files installed on a NAS...
     
  5. Relic

    Relic TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,392   +16

    Have you considered just putting in another HDD? This would be the simplest solution without losing performance from running off an external HDD. Most SSD users, especially those with smaller drivers, have another HDD specifically for data. Since you built your own PC I imagine you have plenty of room to put in a HDD dedicated for data and games. It'll obviously be slower than the SSD, but any important programs can be placed in that free 60GB you have.
     
  6. ETF Soldier

    ETF Soldier TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 281   +39

    Yeah I suppose, but I don't have the money (Being 16 and still in school) and my dad just had to pay off my sisters loan because she's a numpty, so the soonest I think I could get another one is July :/
     
  7. Relic

    Relic TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,392   +16

    While HDD prices are still a bit high, you could still snag yourself a decent deal for a 500GB around ~$60. If there is no way for you to make yourself a little cash to buy a drive, your next best bet is taking apart your external and installing it in your PC. I imagine it's a notebook drive (2.5) versus a standard desktop one (3.5). But that shouldn't be an issue as SSD's are 2.5 and I'm sure your case has extra brackets. Just make sure you have another SATA cable and that you take apart your external drive correctly. I haven't used a factory made external drive in a long time so I'm not sure if yours comes with some pre-installed proprietary software. If it does, you'll likely want to format the drive, so if you have anything on the drive, it'll have to be backed up somewhere else.
     
  8. ETF Soldier

    ETF Soldier TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 281   +39

    It's not that I can't scrape the money together, I get pocket money - £40 a month in fact, but I've got a lot to pay for. It's all about prioritising, I'll try and go halfsies with my Dad at some point, maybe March or April. Thanks for the advice!
     
    LNCPapa likes this.
  9. Relic

    Relic TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,392   +16

    No problem, good luck with the drive.
     


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