Porkchop Express, the person behind the misteraddons.com website and awesome input latency list has just posted another important MiSTer-related analysis: How fast games load via different storage methods. WiFi is (obviously) the slowest, followed by MicroSD, USB and ethernet via a NAS. One of the most important points Pork makes in his analysis is that USB-based storage solutions will all be similar in speed. That means unlike use in a PC, using a 2.5″ 5200RPM HDD vs an NVMe drive won’t give you any performance boost, however it will take a lot longer to copy files from your PC onto it when you load your ROMs. Unless you need a ton of storage, I’d say just stick with MicroSD for now and look into a NAS-based solution in the future.
MiSTer IO Data Shootout https://misteraddons.com/blogs/news/mister-data-io-speed-shootout
Controller Latency Database: https://rpubs.com/misteraddons/inputlatency
MiSTer Shop: https://misteraddons.com/collections/all
As a note, the WiFi analysis was in the context of loading games over a network. If you use USB or MicroSD storage and just use wifi for updates, that’s a perfectly good solution. I’ve been using this one, that’s WiFi + Bluetooth: https://amzn.to/3eH1097
Pork’s post comes at an extremely interesting time; With more CDROM-based cores becoming available, people are looking to switch to cheaper and easier to manage storage solutions. Coincidentally, a NAS-based project is due to be released soon that will tackle that exact issue, in a way that makes things easier for everyone. I truly think that’ll be a game-changer, so unless you already have IT server knowledge, maybe hold off a few weeks and wait to see the project that comes next – Pork’s data supports our testing that it’s worth looking into…
— PorkshopExpress: aluminum cases inbound! (@MisterAddons) December 27, 2021