Do you know how much SSD storage space you'll need for your PC or laptop? Choose the right SSD size for your needs, from operating systems and software to video editing, gaming, and general storage. We will discuss what size SSD you need for your boot drive, scratch disk, games, photographs, and other purposes. Learn how to leave room for expansion and when to add a supplementary HDD.
Solid-state drives (SSDs) are storage devices that use flash memory to store data. They are faster, more reliable, and more energy-efficient than traditional hard disk drives (HDDs) and have no moving parts. However, they are also more expensive per gigabyte (GB) storage capacity. When choosing an SSD, the required volume is one of the most important considerations.
Here are some tips on determining the right SSD size for your needs:
Table Of Contents
1. Consider your primary usage
Here lies one of the biggest motivations for acquiring an SSD drive and its capacity. The most crucial factor in determining SSD size is your primary computer usage. Let us dive deep and examine the different types of SSDs in terms of storage and how much one needs for what purpose.
- 128GB: essential apps - It is generally advised for users to skip this storage capacity because it is the bare minimum storage, just enough to handle the operating system and some essential apps. It quickly fills up when you try to store some videos or pictures, and it causes the machine to be generally slower.
- 250GB: operating system or entertainment and backups- This should be the minimum required storage capacity. A 250GB internal SSD is only sufficient if you just use it to install the operating system or for backups and a little more entertainment. In this situation, you pick quickness over a lot of storage. Because your SSD doesn't have any moving parts, your computer and files boot up more quickly.
- 500GB: entertainment, business use, and simple gaming - A 500GB SSD is required for entertainment, business, and easy gaming. You can save up to 50 Full HD movies on a 500GB SSD. You'll always have a well-stocked media library to choose from. Furthermore, 500GB of storage is appropriate for corporate use. Even the most extensive files become quick because of the difference in speed compared to an HDD, for example, when working on data analysis with numerous tabs and graphs. Do you want to unwind? Keep your more miniature games on the SSD, such as GTA V, and always return to enjoy seamless gaming.
- 1TB: business use, gaming, and photography - With this large storage capacity, you don't have to delete files anytime soon. The large volume prevents you from making difficult decisions in case of a whole drive. If you often work with large files, take many photos and videos, or like to game, you must choose a dream with this kind of storage. With this, you combine an SSD's speed with an HDD's capacity. As a result, you can store large games like Red Dead Redemption 2 of 150GB and keep enough room for other things, too.
- 2TB or more: professional gaming and image editing - Most average users have no need to go beyond even 500GB SSD. This class is usually for highly skilled users or tech enthusiasts who will opt to invest in such massive storage. This kind of people often choose an internal SSD with 2TB for the most demanding jobs. With this amount of storage capacity, you don't have to ever delete anything for storage reasons. For example, when you edit films in 4k. The ample storage gives you enough room for your graphic design programs and the backups of all your projects. A 2TB internal SSD is also a good solution for the mass storage of games.
- 4TB: Intensive gaming and file storage - This is the most premium personal computer storage option among the SSD family. There will need to be more than enough media files and graphics-intensive titles to fill this much storage.
2. Account for the operating system and programs
A typical Windows 10 installation takes around 20GB, while productivity suites like Microsoft Office can take up to 15 GB. Different operating systems require varying amounts of storage space for installation and updates. Moreover, newer versions of software applications often have increased storage demands. Therefore, any programs or software you need should align with the total SSD space. Leave at least 50-100GB for the Operating and apps.
|Operating System||Version||Minimum Disk Space||Recommended Disk Space||RAM||Other Parameters|
|Windows||Windows 11||64GB||128GB||4GB||UEFI mode, TPM 2.0|
|Windows||Windows 10||32GB||64GB||2GB||MBR or UEFI mode|
|Windows||Windows 8/8.1||16GB||20GB||2GB||MBR or UEFI mode|
|Windows||Windows 7||16GB||20GB||1GB||MBR mode|
|Linux||Ubuntu 22.04||8GB||25GB||2GB||Internet connection for updates|
|Linux||Ubuntu 20.04||4GB||25GB||1GB||Internet connection for updates|
|Linux||Debian 11||2GB||10GB||512MB||Supports multiple architectures|
|Linux||CentOS 8||5GB||10GB||1GB||Based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux|
3. Is there enough room for growth?
Getting more space than you need to start with is always a good move. Storage needs often grow over time with continued usage, and you want to avoid migrating to a new SSD later on due to a lack of sufficient storage. Leaving storage space of at least 25-50% free space on the drive is recommended.
Here are the step-by-step instructions on how to add an additional SSD drive to a computer:
- Choose an SSD drive .Determine the interface (SATA or m.2 PCIe) and storage capacity you need.
- Open the computer case. Power down the computer and unplug the power cord.
- Remove the side panel of the computer case to access the internal components.
- Mount the SSD drive. For SATA SSD, connect the data and power cables to the drive. Secure it with screws to an open drive bay.
- For m.2 PCIe SSD, locate the m.2 slot on the motherboard. Insert the drive and secure it with a screw.
- Initialize and format the drive. Turn on the computer and enter BIOS settings. Initialize the new SSD drive.
- In Windows, bring up disk management, a new drive should be visible. Initialize it and create a new volume.
- Assign a drive letter. Right click on the volume and choose “Change drive letter and path". Assign an unused letter.
- Configure the SSD. Enable TRIM if supported, disable hibernation, and adjust pagefile.
- Transfer data/programs. Use disk cloning software or simply copy/reinstall programs onto the new drive.
- Set SSD as boot drive. If desired, set the new SSD as the primary boot device in BIOS.
Follow these steps carefully and the additional SSD will be ready to use as added storage space or even as the primary boot drive. Make sure to back up important data first.
4. Consider cost
Larger SSDs come with higher price tags. Prioritize capacity for your OS, apps, and essential files first, then weigh the cost vs. benefit of the large SSDs for secondary data storage. An external HDD may be more cost-effective for media files and backups.
|SSD NAND Type||Read Speed||Write Speed||IOPS||Price (USD/GB)|
|TLC 3D NAND||560MB/s||510MB/s||95K||0.22|
|QLC 3D NAND||540MB/s||480MB/s||75K||0.15|
|MLC 3D NAND||560MB/s||530MB/s||100K||0.37|
|SLC 3D NAND||580MB/s||560MB/s||120K||0.52|
|NVMe PCIe 3D TLC||3500MB/s||3000MB/s||500K||0.37|
|NVMe PCIe 4.0 TLC||5000MB/s||4400MB/s||800K||0.45|
This table compares the price and performance of different 3D NAND chips like TLC, QLC, MLC, SLC, as well as PCIe NVMe interface chips.
TLC 3D NAND offers the best value as mainstream consumer-grade chips. SLC has the highest performance but also price. PCIe NVMe chips have significantly higher read/write speeds and IOPS compared to SATA interface.
Selecting different SSD NAND types based on actual needs and budget can achieve optimal price/performance ratio.
Q. How long will my SSD last?
SSDs are a familiar technology. They have recently become popular, so we need years of data to back up the answer. However, the average estimated lifespan of an SSD is around ten years, a step up from the five-year estimation of HDDs
Here are some common FAQs about how much SSD storage you need:
Q. How much SSD space do I need for essential use?
For light general use like web browsing, email, document writing, etc., a 128GB to 256GB SSD is usually enough. The operating system and programs will take up at most 50GB, leaving plenty of room for some files.
Q. How much SSD space do I need for gaming?
For gaming computers, a 512GB SSD is recommended at a minimum. Games can take up over 100GB per title for modern games. A 1TB or larger SSD will provide plenty of space for a healthy game library.
Q. Can I use an external SSD rather than an internal one?
External SSDs connect via USB, which is a slower interface. Internal SSDs connect via SATA for your PC's full speed. But for non-demanding uses like extra storage, external SSDs work great.
Q. Should I get one large SSD or two smaller ones?
One large SSD is preferable for simplicity. But two smaller SSDs in a RAID 0 configuration can offer enhanced speed and capacity. Consider your budget and performance needs.
SSDs have become very popular due to their reliability and speed. A 120GB -250GB SSD is a good starting point for most average users using their computers for web browsing, email, social media, and office work. Intermediate users who engage in demanding tasks like photo editing, video editing, or streaming will need a larger SSD of 500 GB or 1TB. Heavy Gamers and professionals may want a 2TB or larger capacity. It is crucial, therefore, to assess your specific needs based on your OS, software, and file storage requirements. With SSD prices declining over time, buying more capacity than you need today for greater flexibility down the road makes sense. I hope this article has helped you make an informed decision about how much SSD you need.