Installing games on a SMB or iSCSI share?

May 24, 2003
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#1
Has anyone done this? I just have a 120GB SSD for my gaming machine and it's obviously not enough for any big games and I'm running out of space. I'm thinking of just buying a new hard drive like a 2-3TB drive, but then I got thinking I have all this disk space on my file server that I can maybe use.

Would having a game installed on a network drive like that be too slow? Of course it kinda negates the point of a SSD but in my case the point is mostly for the OS itself. I only turn on this machine when I game so having it boot up that much faster is actually something that matters for me. Windows is a pig these days so it takes up a good chunk of it.

Probably going to end up just buying a decent "high end" class spindle drive but was curious if anyone has ever done iSCSI or SMB for games and how it went.
 
Jan 8, 2010
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#2
Depends on the game itself and how it loads resources, and the speed of your network and if it is wireless. Haven't tried it myself except on really small single file type things.
 
May 24, 2003
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#3
Yeah it's wired. Though there are pretty good deals at NCIX on hard drives right now so think I'll just buy one and store it internally and be done. Was just an idea that poped in mind. I'd have to put in a second network card too as I would not want iSCSI riding on the main network.
 

Smoblikat

Diamond Member
Nov 19, 2011
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#4
Whats your budget? There are really good deals on 512gb M.2 SSD's and sub $10 adapters for them. I just transitioned most of my big games over to SSD recently, you can get a samsung PM951 for around $300 I think.

EDIT - To answer the actual question......ive tried streaming games off of a server. It almost never worked right, similar to me trying to play games through a RDP session. The latency is usually too high to make even SP games work well. Im sure you could get away with things like DOOM and Oregon trail......but if you were trying to play those you wouldnt need more space in the first place :p
 
May 24, 2003
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#5
I was trying to keep it below 200 but then considering all the space on my server it kinda came up as a potential idea to just use that. Ended up going with a 3TB Hitachi drive on sale for just a bit over $100 so ordered that. I noticed even 512GB SDDs are becoming affordable though, so at some point I'd probably go with something like that. The biggest attraction to using network was the fact that it's all raid storage, but it's not like I really NEED that for games.
 
Feb 25, 2011
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#6
I was trying to keep it below 200 but then considering all the space on my server it kinda came up as a potential idea to just use that. Ended up going with a 3TB Hitachi drive on sale for just a bit over $100 so ordered that. I noticed even 512GB SDDs are becoming affordable though, so at some point I'd probably go with something like that. The biggest attraction to using network was the fact that it's all raid storage, but it's not like I really NEED that for games.
Well... the network bottlenecks you there.

I actually use an iSCSI LUN on my home server for additional storage. It's slower than a directly attached HDD, but not too bad. (Latency is about the same. Sustained read/write is about 1/2 speed. Random write I/O is actually pretty good as long as the RAM cache on the server holds out).

NAS protocols like SMB are, I think, a little too overhead-ey to work well though. (I haven't tried them, but I've benchmarked them and it's a pretty big difference. iSCSI vs. NFS for database servers definitely falls in favor of iSCSI, and NFS beats CIFS and AppleShare by a pretty decent margin for random I/O.)

I actually used it for Steam at one point, and it worked, but ended up getting a 1TB SSD instead. (You can still get a Mushkin Reactor 1TB for ~$225, if you can stretch your budget a little bit that... oh, you already bought an HDD. Well, that'll work fine too.) :)
 
Oct 17, 2002
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#7
These aren't modern games you're playing, right? I would take that drive back and get an SSD unless you need all that space.
 
May 24, 2003
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#8
It's for the new Unreal Tournament (still in Alpha). I went to install it not even realizing how little space I had on my SSD and got low disk warnings so figured it's time for extra storage. That game is huge from what I understand so wanted to avoid a SSD only to end up being in the same boat sooner or later.

The other games are fairly basic like Kerbal Space Program, Terraria, Minecraft, UT3. I may move those to the HDD too as I'm kinda cutting it close with the SSD with only 20GB left. It's only a 120GB OCZ, so when (not if :p ) it dies then I might look at a more expensive larger SSD. I also need to get a higher end video card so might splurge at some point and get a large SSD at same time.
 
Oct 17, 2002
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#9
All I know is that SSD's have made a world of difference in game performance for me. I shutter at the idea of putting my stuff back on an HDD.
 

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