Can you run games off of an external hard drive?

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#1 Posted by Crypt_mx (4221 posts) -

Ok so my friend wants to get into pc gaming but his dad doesnt want him taking up space on his pc.

He doesnt know much about computers so he doesnt want to add a hard drive.

Main question, would it be possible to install games (like WoW, Starcraft, and games on Steam) to an external hard drive and run them off of there?

The specific external hard drive he has is an ADATA NHo3 Nobility Series.

#2 Posted by Inconsistancy (8094 posts) -

Yes, but it will most likely be slow, low power = low spin speed with = low data rate, high seek time. Other than that, an external hdd is just a hdd with a plastic shell around it.

"doesn't know 'much'" The real difference between adding an external hdd and an internal is, well it's not external. You don't need to know anything 'bout a computer to figure it out, just an IQ above 6.

#3 Posted by Crypt_mx (4221 posts) -

Yes, but it will most likely be slow, low power = low spin speed with = low data rate, high seek time. Other than that, an external hdd is just a hdd with a plastic shell around it.

"doesn't know 'much'" The real difference between adding an external hdd and an internal is, well it's not external. You don't need to know anything 'bout a computer to figure it out, just an IQ above 6.

Inconsistancy

How slow are we talking here? Would it depend on the external hard drive? Hows that one he has chosen, any other recommendations?

#4 Posted by Inconsistancy (8094 posts) -

Can't figure out how it preforms in realistic tests, says it has a 140mb/s xfer rate, which can't possibly be it's sustained. But there doesn't seem to be any way to see the stats of it's actual hdd... besides size.

Downloading a benchmark to cross check results vs mine.

Seems to benchmark quite a bit higher than mine... guess it's faster, sure would like to know what the hdd's like in there, wonder if it's noisy, to be faster than an internal..

#5 Posted by FelipeInside (26337 posts) -

Ok so my friend wants to get into pc gaming but his dad doesnt want him taking up space on his pc.

He doesnt know much about computers so he doesnt want to add a hard drive.

Main question, would it be possible to install games (like WoW, Starcraft, and games on Steam) to an external hard drive and run them off of there?

The specific external hard drive he has is an ADATA NHo3 Nobility Series.

Crypt_mx
Like Inconsistancy said it will really hurt you're framerate. Tell him best way is to upgrade his HDD or add another one...
#6 Posted by Inconsistancy (8094 posts) -

I never said it'll hurt your frame rate, the only way that'll happen is if the data is being streamed then rendered, not loaded... it's just load times that is effectd. FPS is allmost 100% your cpu, ram and video card. The HDD's activity is 0% outside of loading, or the rare instance of streaming, such as in mmo's where it streams to load characters that are comming into range.

#7 Posted by hamelkarl (207 posts) -

There's probably space in the computer to put another HDD? What makes it really much slower is the USB interface. Most of the External HDD have connector to provides power, so this ain't much the problem in most of the case. An external HDD is just a normal HDD into a case after all.

USB 3.0 : Up to 5GBits/s

USB 2.0 : Up to 480Mbits/s

eSATA : Up to 3GBits/s

SATA 2,6 : Up to 3GBits/s

SATA 3.0 : Up to 6GBits/s

The interface is the thing you should be carefull here.

#8 Posted by Gamerz1569 (2087 posts) -

You can however as state it may be slow and not to mention some games may not run if you install the games on a different computer and play it on another computer as well, though easily fixable through adding it to the registry.

#9 Posted by Adam_the_Nerd (4403 posts) -
Basic games like WoW and Starcraft run just fine off a flash drive, which would run about as fast as most modern external hard drive. Once you start getting into graphically intensive games or games with large maps/play areas, then that's when an internal hard drive would really come in handy.
#10 Posted by FelipeInside (26337 posts) -

I never said it'll hurt your frame rate, the only way that'll happen is if the data is being streamed then rendered, not loaded... it's just load times that is effectd. FPS is allmost 100% your cpu, ram and video card. The HDD's activity is 0% outside of loading, or the rare instance of streaming, such as in mmo's where it streams to load characters that are comming into range.

Inconsistancy
Some games load from the HDD as you play...therefore sometimes lowering your framerate a bit...I've seen it happen mostly in big RPGs... (loading inventory, landscape etc) That's what I meant..
#11 Posted by hamelkarl (207 posts) -

As long he use a fast External HDD, with a good interface and powered it will run as fast as any good Internal HDD.

Don't forget there's stuffs installing for most of the games on the computer as well. Mostly the registry that is a pain in the butt if you wish to play on more than the same computer.

#12 Posted by exarro (79 posts) -

adding a HDD isn't too hard. just slide it into one of the HDD slots, screw it in or whatever, and plug it in to the mobo.

#13 Posted by Zlark (8 posts) -
Yes, you can defineatly play games off an external HDD. A few days back I ran out of space on my "C" drive while installing Fallout: New Vegas so I installed it on my HDD. So far I've played it for 5 hours and haven't faced any kind of issues.
#14 Posted by FelipeInside (26337 posts) -

As long he use a fast External HDD, with a good interface and powered it will run as fast as any good Internal HDD.

Don't forget there's stuffs installing for most of the games on the computer as well. Mostly the registry that is a pain in the butt if you wish to play on more than the same computer.

hamelkarl
USB will NEVER run as fast as internal HDD....
#15 Posted by DigitalExile (16049 posts) -

I use an external USB HDD and some games have stopped working. This is because I turn it on and off a lot and sometimes the Drive letter that it comes up as will not be right. Some games used to work for months (and even years, I've had it that long) before they stopped working randomly (after some other changes with my computer).

Company of Heroes, Freelancer, Far Cry and Crysis and GTAIV all run off it fine. If there's any FPS drops I've never noticed them.

In short, yes you can, but they may stop working unexpectedly for some silly reasons.

#16 Posted by FelipeInside (26337 posts) -
I don't understand how so many people can run out of space with the size and cheap prices of HDDs these days...
#17 Posted by DigitalExile (16049 posts) -

I don't understand how so many people can run out of space with the size and cheap prices of HDDs these days...FelipeInside
Don't know about you but I don't like lugging my desktop around with me ...

#18 Posted by FelipeInside (26337 posts) -

[QUOTE="FelipeInside"]I don't understand how so many people can run out of space with the size and cheap prices of HDDs these days...DigitalExile

Don't know about you but I don't like lugging my desktop around with me ...

Ahhh of course, laptop....I see. There are 500GB laptop hard drive these days, isn't there?
#19 Posted by Treflis (11823 posts) -

I got about all my games, Excluding those on steam though I could put them there aswell, on my external harddrive and I've never had any issues regarding games being slow because of it.

#20 Posted by Inconsistancy (8094 posts) -
I don't understand how so many people can run out of space with the size and cheap prices of HDDs these days...FelipeInside
Huh, I keep having to prune my 1tb hdd... sits usually at 92-95% full... I think I download too much stuffs..
#21 Posted by bonafidetk (3854 posts) -

[QUOTE="FelipeInside"]I don't understand how so many people can run out of space with the size and cheap prices of HDDs these days...Inconsistancy
Huh, I keep having to prune my 1tb hdd... sits usually at 92-95% full... I think I download too much stuffs..

buy a new one. You can get a TB drive for about £60 cant you.

#22 Posted by FelipeInside (26337 posts) -

[QUOTE="Inconsistancy"][QUOTE="FelipeInside"]I don't understand how so many people can run out of space with the size and cheap prices of HDDs these days...bonafidetk

Huh, I keep having to prune my 1tb hdd... sits usually at 92-95% full... I think I download too much stuffs..

buy a new one. You can get a TB drive for about £60 cant you.

Inconsistancy, you know that having a HDD that full is bad for Windows right? Windows requires at least 15% of the HDD empty....
#23 Posted by Inconsistancy (8094 posts) -

[QUOTE="bonafidetk"]

[QUOTE="Inconsistancy"] Huh, I keep having to prune my 1tb hdd... sits usually at 92-95% full... I think I download too much stuffs..FelipeInside

buy a new one. You can get a TB drive for about £60 cant you.

Inconsistancy, you know that having a HDD that full is bad for Windows right? Windows requires at least 15% of the HDD empty....

How so? 0% fragmentation, fast load times, no viruses. I've noticed that windwos defragger usually needed 15% pre win7, win7's was such garbage that I've always use defraggler instead.

And if I really wanted, and wasn't lazy I could free up plenty of space, but until I see a performance hit, I'm not gonna waste my time filling my old 250gb hdd

#24 Posted by FelipeInside (26337 posts) -

[QUOTE="FelipeInside"][QUOTE="bonafidetk"] buy a new one. You can get a TB drive for about £60 cant you.

Inconsistancy

Inconsistancy, you know that having a HDD that full is bad for Windows right? Windows requires at least 15% of the HDD empty....

How so? 0% fragmentation, fast load times, no viruses. I've noticed that windwos defragger usually needed 15% pre win7, win7's was such garbage that I've always use defraggler instead.

And if I really wanted, and wasn't lazy I could free up plenty of space, but until I see a performance hit, I'm not gonna waste my time filling my old 250gb hdd

Page File and various other processes. Load times and viruses have nothing to do with how full your HDD is. There is a big article on Microsoft.com that explains why it needs at least 15%, I can't seem to find it right now. Win7's Defrag I found was actually better than Vista's and XP's, but I still use AusLogic....
#25 Posted by havokmaster (4304 posts) -
At least try and use an eSATA drive.
#26 Posted by Inconsistancy (8094 posts) -
[QUOTE="Inconsistancy"]

[QUOTE="FelipeInside"] Inconsistancy, you know that having a HDD that full is bad for Windows right? Windows requires at least 15% of the HDD empty....FelipeInside

How so? 0% fragmentation, fast load times, no viruses. I've noticed that windwos defragger usually needed 15% pre win7, win7's was such garbage that I've always use defraggler instead.

And if I really wanted, and wasn't lazy I could free up plenty of space, but until I see a performance hit, I'm not gonna waste my time filling my old 250gb hdd

Page File and various other processes. Load times and viruses have nothing to do with how full your HDD is. There is a big article on Microsoft.com that explains why it needs at least 15%, I can't seem to find it right now. Win7's Defrag I found was actually better than Vista's and XP's, but I still use AusLogic....

I don't think you understand, I have had 0 stability issues on this computer for it's whole 6 month life, and all but 2 of those months the hdd has been around 90%. Clearly nothing vital for games, or videos requires an absurd 139.65 gb of free space. And like I said, if I start having performance issues (stability too..) then I'll dump ~200gb onto my slower 250gb hdd.
#27 Posted by FelipeInside (26337 posts) -

[QUOTE="FelipeInside"][QUOTE="Inconsistancy"]

How so? 0% fragmentation, fast load times, no viruses. I've noticed that windwos defragger usually needed 15% pre win7, win7's was such garbage that I've always use defraggler instead.

And if I really wanted, and wasn't lazy I could free up plenty of space, but until I see a performance hit, I'm not gonna waste my time filling my old 250gb hdd

Inconsistancy

Page File and various other processes. Load times and viruses have nothing to do with how full your HDD is. There is a big article on Microsoft.com that explains why it needs at least 15%, I can't seem to find it right now. Win7's Defrag I found was actually better than Vista's and XP's, but I still use AusLogic....

I don't think you understand, I have had 0 stability issues on this computer for it's whole 6 month life, and all but 2 of those months the hdd has been around 90%. Clearly nothing vital for games, or videos requires an absurd 139.65 gb of free space. And like I said, if I start having performance issues (stability too..) then I'll dump ~200gb onto my slower 250gb hdd.

I never said you did have stability issues, and maybe you won't for a while....

I'm just saying how Windows works and what it needs. I've seen even servers have trouble when the HDD got full.

If you choose to continue like that fine by me, I'm just giving you some info :)

#28 Posted by hamelkarl (207 posts) -
[QUOTE="hamelkarl"]

As long he use a fast External HDD, with a good interface and powered it will run as fast as any good Internal HDD.

Don't forget there's stuffs installing for most of the games on the computer as well. Mostly the registry that is a pain in the butt if you wish to play on more than the same computer.

FelipeInside
USB will NEVER run as fast as internal HDD....

Should read before commenting. I said good interface. USB is among the worst you could use. I just put some info before this post related about speed from different interfaces.
#29 Posted by FelipeInside (26337 posts) -
[QUOTE="FelipeInside"][QUOTE="hamelkarl"]

As long he use a fast External HDD, with a good interface and powered it will run as fast as any good Internal HDD.

Don't forget there's stuffs installing for most of the games on the computer as well. Mostly the registry that is a pain in the butt if you wish to play on more than the same computer.

hamelkarl
USB will NEVER run as fast as internal HDD....

Should read before commenting. I said good interface. USB is among the worst you could use. I just put some info before this post related about speed from different interfaces.

Sorry, my bad....read wrong. (read External HDD and of course my brain automatically associated USB). I read your post before about speeds, thanks for that...it was a good catchup study for my mind... :)