Ok, complicated question about the new iMac, SSD + HDD, Steam, and Windows partition

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Icaras, Jul 28, 2010.

  1. Icaras macrumors 603

    Icaras

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    #1
    Ok, at least I think this is...Also, not really sure if this question belongs here, but please bear with me...

    Alright I just ordered the new 27" iMac i7, and I will be using it partially for gaming on Steam via OS X and Windows.

    Now I was wondering if this setup is possible:

    If I wanted to partition the SSD drive for Windows, would it possible to have it's game content installed on the HDD? Rather than filling up the SSD, I'd like to go this route, however my hunch tells me that this won't be possible since the HDD would be partition as a Mac OS extended journal drive and not FAT32, which Windows requires (please correct me if I'm wrong about this...)

    If this is not possible, then I guess my only alternative would be to partition Windows onto the HDD itself and just have all game content install on the same drive.

    Secondly, on the OSX side of things, if I wanted to install Steam client application onto the SSD, is there a simple way to point Steam's game content folder onto the HDD and install all my games there? I briefly researched and learned about something called "Symbolic Link".

    I'm trying to find the most streamlined and efficient setup here dealing with both SSD and HDD on the iMac and utilizing both Windows and OSX without having to have to deal with terminal input or other extra methods.

    Any advice would be appreciated, or if anyone has already begun setting up their new iMac with Steam and Windows, please do share! :)
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #2
    You can make a small NTFS partition to the HD so you can use it for Windows games. I'm not sure about the Steam for OS X but I can't see why not, especially if you installed Steam to the HD (won't really affect anything).
     
  3. Icaras thread starter macrumors 603

    Icaras

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    #3
    Hey Hell, that was fast. How'd I know you'd be here :)

    Thanks for the tip. I've only had experience partitioning one drive for Windows, but not multiple drives. Is it as easy as just going into to Bootcamp to do both partitions?

    Also, I'm not sure how Apple has set up OSX with iMacs shipping with both drives, if or not the user home folder is still located within the boot drive. And since Steam installs it's game content in the Library>Application support by default, I'm a little unsure of how installing Steam on the HDD will affect installation...
     
  4. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #4
    I would use Disk Utility for it, just install NTFS-3G so you can format drives to NTFS under OS X

    How to move Home folder

    Hmm, that's good question. This guide should help you :)
     
  5. Gregintosh macrumors 68000

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    #5
    Steam will not work that way, sorry. You will need to download all your games on the Mac side AND on the PC side individually. They are different files because games have to be compiled separately for each platform.

    Sure, a lot of the graphics and sound files are probably identical, but I don't think Steam was built from the ground up for this kind of functionality to actually make it work flawlessly like that.

    Also, not all games in your Windows folder will work with the mac (only SOME games on Steam are available on Mac, a majority are still Windows-only).

    The bright side is that Steam will not charge you extra for having 2 copies (one for Mac and one for PC), so you do not have to worry about paying more for the ability to play on either the Mac or Windows side.

    I suppose you could theoretically HOST the folder on your Windows partition, but then your Windows partition would just have 2 steam folders, the one with the Windows game files and one with the PC game files (you'd still have to download to each separately). But I think SSD will still give you better performance, so you'd miss out on that if its all HD-based. I'd host all my applications and games on the SSD, while all media (movies, music, etc.) on the HD.

    As far as symbolic links, yes, you can make a file exist in two places at once. However, this may not work between different types of partitions (Macs do not use NTFS like Windows). You'd have to do more research to know for sure.

    You could place shortcuts on your Mac side to Windows folders (and vice versa). This could help you save space on the SSD by hosting your iTunes library or your movies folder on your Windows partition.

    I did this on my wife's computer, where her movies/TV shows folder is on the Mac side (a 400GB partition), but she is able to easily watch them when she uses Windows 7 via Bootcamp (a 100GB partition) by double clicking the shortcut to the folder on the mac partition they are stored on. Windows 7 CAN see and read and I believe write to/from the Mac partition.
     
  6. Icaras thread starter macrumors 603

    Icaras

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    #6
    Thanks for the resources, and I'll check out NTFS-3G. Is that required for disk utility to create an NTSF partition? It wouldn't be able do it by itself? I'm reading from Apple that its just a driver (sorry, new to this too).
     
  7. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #7
    Yeah, it's a driver for OS X that enables read and write for NTFS and also lets you format drives to NTFS. Snow Leopard had all this in betas but Apple removed them from the final version :( However, NTFS-3G is great, does everything you need.
     
  8. Icaras thread starter macrumors 603

    Icaras

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    #8
    Yea I understand that and I'm also aware of Steamplay and how it works. I didn't mean to install a game once for both platforms. If I want Counterstrike, I know I'll download it each time for both OSes. :)

    My question was concerning installation between two drives for each respective OS; splitting up the client and the content between SSD and HDD.

    Interesting setup with your media. Yea, I imagine having the game content on the SSD would be quite fast...
     
  9. Icaras thread starter macrumors 603

    Icaras

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    #9
    Oh that blows. Perhaps in 10.7 then...So this was supposed to be natively built into OS X? What about that proposed ZFS? That's not really related is it?
     
  10. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #10
    It's still there but it's hidden though it can be enabled. NTFS-3G is likely more reliable than the native OS X support though and a lot easier. ZFS is designed for HUGE capacities but HFS+ has limit of 8EiB (about 100 000TB) so I don't think ZFS is needed, yet :D Not sure would it bring something else though, haven't really read about it that much.
     
  11. glxyjones macrumors regular

    glxyjones

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    #11
    Being new to the whole SSD show, would it be possible to install games (like SCII) onto the SSD and then point the saved game data to the HDD? I understand you want to avoid writing to the SSD as much as possible, so I would imagine the only thing to worry about with games that constantly write are the autosaves/saves, correct?
     
  12. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #12
    Game saves are pretty small in size so they don't really matter, they only eat like couple MBs at most. You shouldn't avoid it too much but simply moving the Home folder to HD will reduce the amount of writes (all downloads etc will be in home folder = HD). Just enjoy it and don't worry too much, there is hints of TRIM in OS X so that should take care of wear leveling in the future :)
     
  13. glxyjones macrumors regular

    glxyjones

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    #13
    Thanks for the info. Any idea on what, if any, performance gains you would get by installing a game such as SCII on the SSD? I would imagine load times would be faster but would that be it?
     
  14. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #14
    Not really because with my understanding, the load times are because the important stuff that is needed in that map etc are loaded to RAM which is like 10000000000000 faster. So loading times will be shorter because SSDs have faster read speeds but it shouldn't affect the gaming performance
     

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