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  • I'm putting my ROMs on a USB drive, so those are separate from the microSD card where RetroPie is installed. I just backed up data from my current microSD card and it comes out to be (according to du -sh) 3.1G. Assuming that I'm going to put a lot on, such as screenshots for EmulationStation to use during the selection process, and maybe even videos to use like that, too.

    With the ROMs on the USB drive, how much space can I expect RetroPie to take up at a maximum? If I start using videos for display through EmulationStation, are those stored with the ROMs or elsewhere?

    I'm at a point where I'm going to be redoing my setup and have a number of microSD cards of different sizes and I'm wondering how small I can go with one and not, in a year or two, saying, "I really should have used a bigger one."

    (My current card is 256GB - it'd be nice to replace that with somethings smaller so I can put the 256GB to other uses.)


  • I use 32gb cards for my builds with USB drives as the only things actually running from them are the OS, emulationstation and emulators. You can put all of your BIOS files and customized configs on the USB drive.

    I like to use Skraper for my gamelist data and that defaults to storing all of your medias in the roms/system/ folder.


  • It depends on what games you have or plan on having. I currently am using 8.25 GB just for games. Most of that is from my DOS games which I probably just need to clean them up of unnecessary files from GoG. But if I were put more Playstation games (or other ISOs), it'd probably fill up really fast. Right now I only have two that I ripped taking up 865 megabytes. If I had hundreds of ISOs, my 32 GB sd card wouldn't be enough. Most of my games are arcade games or early generation console game I got from software collections I own on PC. Those hardly take any space.


  • So would a 64GB card give me more than I should need for a good while?


  • @Tango I believe so, especially if you are playing mostly 16-bit era and earlier. It's the ISOs from discs that tend to get bulky.


  • @themazingness But won't those go in the ROMs folder? I have that on a separate USB drive.


  • Oh! I totally misread that (somehow I was just thinking of the typical usb drive being used to copy files to the microSD card). Yeah, you really should have no problem then. I doubt you'll fill it even 1/4th of the way if you use a 64 gb card when ROMS are on the USB drive.


  • @Tango

    If you have a pi4, you can boot directly from an usb drive.
    Just flash the latest "boot ROM version" in "raspi-config" in "boot options".
    Then you can put your retropie image on an usb-drive and later add your roms to that drive.
    Shut down, Remove you old SD and start with the usb drive only.
    Then you don't even need a SD-card anymore (that wear out).
    And you have Terrabytes, at you side, for your roms. :)


  • How do you make saves of a thumb drive, though? Can I just copy the folders from my USB drive onto my desktop or do I have to make an image of the entire drive?

  • Global Moderator

    @helloThere If you're ROM folders are on the USB drive, the saves will also be saved there, by default they're created in the ROMs folder.


  • @Folly That sounds like a good idea. Looks like, at the moment, my old card is working now. (Took about 2 minutes on a Linux system to deal with that.) So I'm going to be testing that setup and make sure it works.

    When I've got that working, I'll try it with your setup to see if I can get that to behave.

    Right now I have RetroPie on a 256GB microSD card. It'd be nice if I can move it to a 64GB card, including all my settings or just move it all to my USB drive. That'd let me use the 256GB card for something else.

    @helloThere whether I have mine on a USB or microSD card, I'm going to be setting up rsync and Samba so I'll have a volume on my backup RAID mounted on the RP system and then use rsync to backup to the RAID.

    My problem is that I did not have rsync backing up to the new system, so when this current card went bad, the data wasn't backed up. (But I'm lucky GPartED, a suggestion from @mitu, fixed it!)

  • Global Moderator

    A 32Gb card would be more than enough for RetroPie + OS, if you intend to keep your games/ROMs (plus scraped artwork) on an external USB disc.

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