Fundraising complete, next renewal is August 2022. Paypal Donation Links US dollars CDN Dollars

External Drive for Playing Steam Games?

For general computer discussion & help, come here

Moderators: EvilHomer3k, Bakhtosh

Post Reply
User avatar
Holman
Posts: 25534
Joined: Sun Oct 24, 2004 8:00 pm
Location: Approximately Wissahickon

External Drive for Playing Steam Games?

Post by Holman »

Sometime back I built my own PC (first time) and everything is grand, but I'm starting to run out of SSD drive space. I have to keep uninstalling games to make room.

In the course of building the machine, the only mistake I made was in first plugging in that SSD drive. The angle was tough, and I bent and ruined one of the prongs on the motherboard-to-drive connection, but there was still another one on the motherboard, so I used that. Unfortunately, this means I now don't have a spare connection available for installing another SSD directly to the motherboard.

My storage problems would be over if I just put Steam and its games on a new drive, but that drive (due to my above-mentioned screwup) would have to be external.

My question: would running Steam-installed games from an external drive be as fast and seamless as from an internal drive? Is a USB connection good enough for that?

Second question: if so, can anyone recommend a good drive or make of drive for this purpose? (I assume SSD is faster than HDD for this.)

Thanks for any advice!
Much prefer my Nazis Nuremberged.
User avatar
Anonymous Bosch
Posts: 9050
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 6:09 pm
Location: Northern California [originally from the UK]

Re: External Drive for Playing Steam Games?

Post by Anonymous Bosch »

Any reliable external SSD ought to work adequately.

With the drive plugged in and connected, just do the following in Steam:
  1. In the menu, go to View > Settings > Downloads.
  2. On the right, click the Steam Library Folders button under Content Libraries.
  3. Click the Add Library Folder button and direct it to where you want the library saved on your external drive.
If you want top-notch performance, WD Black Game Drive SSDs are specifically designed as portable game drives (though a mobo with USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 support is necessary to harness its speeds to the fullest).
Last edited by Anonymous Bosch on Sun Apr 04, 2021 9:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." -- Daniel Webster
User avatar
hitbyambulance
Posts: 8291
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2004 3:51 am
Location: Map Ref 47.6°N 122.35°W
Contact:

Re: External Drive for Playing Steam Games?

Post by hitbyambulance »

Holman wrote: Sun Apr 04, 2021 8:25 pm but that drive (due to my above-mentioned screwup) would have to be external.
no it wouldn't. get a PCIe SATA III controller card:

https://www.newegg.com/p/pl?d=PCIe+SATA+card

rule of thumb: nearly any broken built-in mobo functionality can be replaced in PCIe
User avatar
Isgrimnur
Posts: 70300
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2006 12:29 am
Location: Chookity pok
Contact:

Re: External Drive for Playing Steam Games?

Post by Isgrimnur »

I have games running off a spinny drive in a drive mount connected by USB.
Black Lives Matter

Unrelated: "It's its own cloaca, shaped in its perfect, unique way"
User avatar
Holman
Posts: 25534
Joined: Sun Oct 24, 2004 8:00 pm
Location: Approximately Wissahickon

Re: External Drive for Playing Steam Games?

Post by Holman »

Thanks for the replies!

Anyone know any common pitfalls to avoid? ("Make sure your drive is rated at this speed" etc)
Much prefer my Nazis Nuremberged.
User avatar
Jaymon
Posts: 2339
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2008 12:51 pm

Re: External Drive for Playing Steam Games?

Post by Jaymon »

If you have a free PCIe slot, then you don't need an 'external' drive.

You can get a PICe card that will mount a Sata SSD, or a PCIe card that will mount a compatible M.2 drive.

The M.2 drive with adapter, if its in your price range and you have the slot, is blazingly fast.



Also, and this may sounds obvious, but thats how I am, check your motherboard, and see if it has mounts for an M.2 drive already.
The M2. drive, if you haven't used one, is flat, slightly larger than a stick of gum. It lays flat on a motherboard. Here is what the connection spot could look like.




Image
Bunnies like beer because its made from hops.
User avatar
hitbyambulance
Posts: 8291
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2004 3:51 am
Location: Map Ref 47.6°N 122.35°W
Contact:

Re: External Drive for Playing Steam Games?

Post by hitbyambulance »

Jaymon wrote: Mon Apr 05, 2021 11:51 am

Also, and this may sounds obvious, but thats how I am, check your motherboard, and see if it has mounts for an M.2 drive already.
i was going to suggest that, but i figured if that motherboard only has two SATA ports, it's probably old enough that it's not going to have an M.2 port
stimpy
Posts: 4844
Joined: Wed Jan 19, 2005 6:04 pm

Re: External Drive for Playing Steam Games?

Post by stimpy »

I have a couple of these laying around.
https://www.newegg.com/samsung-850-evo- ... 6820147373
Brand new. $60 shipped if you want it.
Post Reply