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How Much Storage Do I Need for Gaming?

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You’re seated in your ergonomic chair, Dorito dust on your lips. You have your headset on, in the middle of an intense Call of Duty: Modern Warfare mission. You’re in the game. 

And then, just like that, the game crashes. Is there anything more frustrating? This often happens if your computer has low storage, and if you fail to increase it, these experiences will keep creeping up on you. You may find yourself asking, “How much storage do I need for gaming so I can play without issues?”

How Much Storage Do I Need for Gaming?

If you intend to play games on your laptop or computer, one of the most essential features you need to factor in is how much storage space such a computer comes with. Remember, you’re bound to store much more than just the games you want to play. Multimedia files like music, movies, and videos may take up a lot of space too.

Four storage devices stacked on top of each other

Installing other software on your computer will also take up some space of its own, leaving much less storage for your games. Many games tend to have a specific limit of available storage space, beneath which they cannot run. For example, to be able to run many standard AAA games, you need a computer with at least 100 GB of free storage space. 

What Storage Options Do I Have?

When you’re trying to choose a storage drive to use for your gaming, it may be challenging to decide between solid-state drives (SSDs) and hard disk drives (HDDs). Although both of these store data, the technology they use is different.

Hard Disk Drives

Many gamers are content with using hard disk drives (HDDs) for gaming. What is most important is that the drive you choose is fast enough to handle the game’s graphics. It should also have enough space to store the games you want to play. If you get a drive whose storage space is too small, you’ll have to buy an upgrade or keep deleting games when you want to play new ones. 

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Pros of HDDs 

  • They are very affordable compared to SSDs. It’s quite common to find an SSD with the same capacity as an HDD cost twice as much. If you’re gaming under a budget, a gaming laptop armed with an HDD will be more affordable than one with an SSD. 
  • They are very available in the market. External and internal hard disk drives of different storage spaces can be found all over the internet. This is mostly because of how affordable they are.

Cons of HDDs

  • Because of how they operate mechanically, HDDs have a slower read-write rate than SSDs. This implies that computers equipped with HDDs take much longer to boot than those with SSDs.
  • HDDs have a rotating disk and a magnetic head. These two components make a lot of noise when the drive is in use. This sound may distract you and interrupt your gaming. 

Solid State Drives

A SanDisk Solid State Drive for gaming devices

These are new-generation solid-state storage devices that make use of integrated circuit technology to store data. They typically function as a computer’s secondary storage and use flash memory. Gamers are slowly embracing SSDs and are using them alongside their HDDs. Some have even shifted from HDDs altogether.

Pros of SSDs

  • One of the main advantages of using an SSD is its speed. Solid-state drives can be as much as 20 to 100 times faster than generic hard disk drives. This results in faster booting and loading, and in quicker file transfers. 
  • SSDs don’t have any movable parts. This implies that rattling or dropping it and other physical blows won’t result in the loss of data. This sets them a step ahead of HDDs, which are bound to get damaged rather easily. 

Cons of SSDs

  • A huge disadvantage of using SSDs is that they tend to have a shorter life span than HDDs. This is because solid-state drives have a set write cycle. This means that you can only erase data from and save new data onto your SSD for a finite number of times. This isn’t the case with the HDDs. 
  • SSDs are rather expensive. Compared to hard disk drives, SSDs cost much more, making them inaccessible for gamers operating under a budget. 
  • Solid-state Drives make it quite hard to recover data. This is often because of the encrypted controllers that most of these drives have. If this controller fails, it’s almost impossible to recover lost data.
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Recommendations for Gamers

Many gamers would advise you to avoid SSDs with less than 512 GB storage capacity. If you have a 1 TB hard disk drive to reinforce this, your storage needs will be more than taken care of. Anything more may be unnecessary unless you also do some heavy video editing in your free time.

Man holding a portable SSD for gaming

If you can, you should buy a solid-state drive instead of a hard disk drive. This is because applications and relevant elements of your operating system run smoother and faster on SSDs than on HDDs. Choosing an SSD will ensure you have incredibly fast loading times, and this will significantly optimize your gaming experience They will also last longer and be more reliable over time.

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How Much Storage Do Standard Games Typically Need?

Different game sizes tend to have different storage requirements. Modern AAA games take up at least 25 GB of storage. It’s even possible to find some that may be as big as 50 GB or 100 GB. Because of this, you need a gaming laptop or computer with enough storage space to run these games optimally. 

Like its memory, a gaming laptop’s storage capacity can be upgraded, or at least reinforced. The following are the most common disk sizes for gaming laptops and computers.

500 GB of Storage Space

This is perfect for a novice or someone that’s just dipping their toes into the world of gaming. It may also work quite well for a casual gamer or a player with a small budget. Such a player has a smaller stream library and doesn’t play too many games at a time.

However, as you progress, and as you begin filling your laptop up with more and more games, you’ll need to upgrade your 500 GB storage. If your library gets too full, you may have to delete a few folders and games to create space. 

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1 TB of Storage Space

This is an incredibly popular disk drive size in the gaming world. 1 TB is a lot of space, and you can save a considerably huge number of games to such a disk. An added advantage is that 1 TB hard drives are quite affordable nowadays.

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With this much space at your disposal, you’ll likely get too free-range about how you use your space. You’re likely to add many more games onto your PC, and if you’re unwilling to delete them, you may have to get more space.

2 TB of Storage Space

Person holding a hard disk drive storage for gaming

Many seasoned and intense gamers prefer this disk size since it provides enough space to store their games, multimedia files and screen recordings of different gaming sessions. 2 TB worth of storage is a whole lot- considering that standard AAA games take up as little as 25 GB. It will, therefore, take you quite a while to fill such a drive up.

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However, you should try and minimize your downloads and recorded videos as these take up an incredible amount of space. If you have multimedia files you must store, it may be worthwhile to take advantage of cloud services.

3 TB of Storage Space (or More)

Such storage options are the higher-end hard disk drives in the market right now. Few dedicated gamers have computers with as much disk space. You’re rather unlikely to come across anything larger than this- at least not in the gaming world.

These 3 TB disks are perfect for die-hard gaming enthusiasts who invest a lot of money in new games and find pleasure in expanding their game collection. Such discs are also a perfect option if you have no plans of upgrading your PC anytime soon.

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Conclusion

As a gamer, take into account how much space you have on your drive, along with how much time you’re spending sitting in front of the computer at a given time. This will dictate how many more games you can add, and whether or not you need to get rid of old files. 

Investing in new games is not going to be that much fun if your storage isn’t optimized. If you can afford to spend this much on different games, doesn’t it make sense to have enough storage that will make it easier to download more games and enjoy the experience?

A lover of MacBook Air and the Dell XPS line of laptops, Liam has been researching and writing as a guest blogger for numerous websites for over 10 years. Now, he blogs about tech trends, PCs, laptops, gadgets, and other emerging gadgets on FancyAppliance.com.