Using External Storage with Your Gaming Consoles
|As the years have gone by, both computers and gaming consoles have developed going through their various evolutions. They have slowly been closing a gap where the game consoles are able to do things that originally would have been reserved only for the computer. The last generation machines added USB ports on them so you could connect peripherals including various gaming items as well as a keyboard. The consoles also started allowing players to use the internet to play games with other gamers in cooperation or competition. The newest generation of systems, Microsoft's XBox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3, have integrated means of using external storage devices, such as the NewerTech miniStack or the OWC Mercury series of drives.|
Why use external storage with your console?
While you still are unable to use an external storage device to store your game saves or Downloaded Content (DLC), there is a lot you can do with an external storage device when attached to your gaming system.
You can use an external storage device to play back your media files such as music, video files, and photos. Some games will even allow you to play your own music in game instead of listening to the game’s soundtrack.
One big advantage of using an external hard drive is to conserve the space on your console’s hard drive for your games and DLC while still allowing you access to using the media benefits the console can grant you.
Why use external storage instead of using your home computer as a media server over the network?
While both consoles do allow you to connect to an existing computer on the network and play the media found on them, it requires the computer be on when you want to do so. You would either need to leave your computer on all the time so it can be accessed when you want or you would need to go turn the computer on before you begin playing the media found on it. Most people do not leave their computers on all the time, so it may be inconvenient to start doing so for the sake of accessing your media on your game console only from time to time. For convenience, it is easier to simply attach an external drive with your media to the console. This is especially true if your computer is in one corner of the house and your gaming is setup in another corner, possibly even on different floors.
Another advantage is the amount of power being consumed to run your media files. Compared to the amount of power a full computer system consumes, an external drive has a much lower power draw.
Formatting the drive for use with your gaming console
To be able to use your external hard drive with your gaming console, it will need to be formatted with a Master Boot Record (MBR) partition mapping and formatted with MS-DOS/FAT32 for the format type. This process must be done using a Mac or PC to make sure it is formatted appropriately for use.
Formatting the Drive with a Mac
Formatting the Drive with a PC
Before starting, you will want to download the Fat32Formatter utility, which can be found here. We recommend unzipping it to the desktop to make it easy to find. Full information and instructions for using the utility can be found at the program's web site.
Below is the quick version of using the utility.
Moving to the Console
After the drive has been formatted and your files are on the drive, you can connect your external storage device to your console of choice, turn on both units and begin using your media stored on the external drive.
Accessing Media With The XBox 360
Accessing Media with the PS3