External drive for games?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Drask, Aug 12, 2012.

  1. Drask macrumors regular

    Feb 3, 2012
    Hello there, I'm thinking of getting a 1 terabyte USB 3.0 external for games, music, movies etc, but, is there any performance loss when playing games this way? I was thinking of moving the whole steam app to it.

    Which one would you recommend? How much is the difference between 5400 and 7200? I ask because I'm not sure if the bottleneck here would be the USB or the RPM.

    This is for the retina 2.3/16/256 under bootcamp.
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    It's pretty much the same as every other platter-based hard drive.
  3. mjn298 macrumors regular

    Oct 25, 2011
    Palisades, Washington, DC
    It will work fine w/ USB 3.0 but you might run into some dependency issues
  4. Drask thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 3, 2012
    Mind yourself explaining? And do you think would make a difference a 5400 to a 7200? Not sure if the USB 3.0 would bottleneck first.
  5. mjn298 macrumors regular

    Oct 25, 2011
    Palisades, Washington, DC
    ya a lot of games have DRM stuff now that often will need to be on the system drive so there could be a problem if the system and game install are in different places

    there could be some direct x issues (maybe)

    basically the game engine expecting something to be somewhere but it isn't there

    this isn't necessarily going to happen, i'm just thinking of potential problems

    USB 3.0 read speed on an rMBP was benchmarked at like 250mbs (But this was just for copying a file) which is faster than the read speed of 5400 or 7200

    i dunno

    it's not something i'd do

    but it should generally work and i know of people doing it successfully
  6. ninja2000 macrumors 6502

    Dec 16, 2010
    You will not get any DRM or dependency issues as long as you install the game on the laptop and choose the external directory as the install directory. That way the game will be installed on your external just as it would be on your C drive. If this was not the case how would people have coped with more than one disk drive in a PC?

    Also you will have no problem running games from usb3 but the load time will obviously be slightly slower.
    I am using a usb3 caddy with SSD in it for my games on my retina. Works perfectly.

    If you are bootcamping make sure you get the usb3 driver from intels website as the bootcamp drivers only work at usb2 speed in windows!

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