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A defragging tip for Mac Steam gamers System
Mac OS X users have not needed the ability to defragment their hard drives. Most defragging is done in the background by the OS. There is one caveat: OS X does not defragment files larger than 20 MB. Quite often, many game files are easily larger than 20 MB. Fragmentation of game files will negatively impact performance of games, particularly FPS games.

Valve has included a defragmenter in the Steam client. Each game installed can be selected and right clicked to bring up the properties box. Once in the Properties box, select the Local Files tab and click Defragment Cache Files to begin defragmenting the game.

The author's blog has some screenshots of the process.

[crarko adds: I haven't tested this one. Here and here are some good discussions on the 'Hot-File-Adaptive-Clustering' method Apple uses in HFS+, and its effectiveness. On the whole it's been quite good. The 20 MB file size limit mentioned is one of the limitations, along with the number of extents used. I don't know if you still need to be wary of defragging a FileVault home folder, but I'd err on the side of caution and make sure I had a known good backup before trying it.]
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A defragging tip for Mac Steam gamers
Authored by: Kalak on Sep 28, '10 08:44:34AM

This is a feature that is on the PC Steam version, so it's a standard Steam feature.

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Kalak
I am, and always will be, an Idiot.



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A defragging tip for Mac Steam gamers
Authored by: BMarsh on Sep 28, '10 11:15:23AM

While the app bundle may be larger than 20 MB, many elements within the bundle may be less than 20 MB, so the automatic defragmentation would likely still get much of it.



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20MB. what?
Authored by: xoxota on Sep 29, '10 07:30:39AM

So, all this time I've been naively assuming that Snow Leopard had my back, vis-a-vis the automagical defragmentation of my hard drive. Now you're telling me it won't defrag files larger than 20MB?

I don't know about you, but that's about 90% of the files on my hard drive.

So I googled "How to defrag your mac hard drive". And got "about 621,000 results", all telling me that I don't need to do this, since Mac OSX will do it on it's own!

Seriously. How do I defrag my drive?



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20MB. what?
Authored by: asmeurer on Sep 29, '10 08:22:52AM

Maybe it's 90% of the space, but I kind of doubt it's 90% of the files.



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20MB. what?
Authored by: tokai on Sep 30, '10 02:26:29PM

You can buy the 3rd-party application iDefrag for a few bucks. It does its job well; at least for me.

The real problem with fragmentation isn't so much fragmented files as the files being cluttered all over the disk; causing lots of seeking back and forth on the drive. For that reason I regularly defragment and optimize my drive; else the hard disk in my Mac mini gets too noisy and annoying (you can hear it in a silent room when it seeks extremely on a frequent base).

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http://tokai.binaryriot.org/



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A defragging tip for Mac Steam gamers
Authored by: dethbunny on Sep 30, '10 08:04:43AM

This isn't really doing what you're inferring. With most (older) Steam games, they were distributed as monolithic GCF files. The GCFs are containers for all the actual game files. Since we're Mac users here, it's probably easiest to relate them to sparse disk images. As such, it is possible for the contents of that GCF to become fragmented as updates are released. The Steam defrag resolves this, but if the GCF itself is split up, you need a secondary tool to resolve that.

Most newer games use NCF files, which leave the game data outside of GCFs and thus entirely subject to operating-system-level defrag.Thus, depending on the game, the Steam defrag either does a half-job or nothing at all.



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A defragging tip for Mac Steam gamers
Authored by: Jyoti on Jul 18, '13 04:03:23AM

Defragmentation is the way to defrag Mac and improve it's performance. However Mac OS X has the ability to defrag files of upto 20 MB file size but, for large file you need to use any third party tool like iDefrag, Stellar Drive Defrag, Drive Genius etc..



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