How Much SSD do I Need?

by Paul | Last Updated: July 29, 2021

Selecting a befitting Storage Capacity Size. The capacity of anything has and will always determine its utilisation. When it comes to computers, this is no different as a lot users have so many things they will love to store on their PC. These include movies, music, and other files. Bearing this in mind, this article aims at making the selection process of a befitting storage size easy.

How much SSD do I need?

Your storage size should match the purpose of purchase. If you are a student or a businessperson who does not play games or design and you already have an online storage you plan to maintain or an external disk drive, a size as low as 128GB is sufficient. There are other factors to consider and we will go into details.

What is an SSD?

A solid state drive is a storage disk designed with NAND technology. This design means the read/write process is done with a flash memory style which is faster than the moving part mechanism used in the hard disk drive (HDD). The SSD is not new, it can be traced to as far back as the 70s, but its size, capacity, and price was not practical for individuals up until mid-2000s.

The non-moving feature of this disk means it does not fragment i.e., store copies of data in various parts of the disk. So, defragmenting to optimise drives is non-existent, instead all you have to do is ensure there is sufficient disk space so it can function efficiently.

Using an SSD results in a performance upgrade for computing system as it makes changes by significantly speeding up start up or boot time for your operating system. It also launches apps faster and improves your computer’s responsiveness while navigating through. For storage-intensive apps like Photoshop, you will experience a faster level of responsive and for games there will be an improvement in the launch and boot time.

Although it is sometimes considered expensive when compared to HDD and it is does not always improve every activity carried out on a PC i.e., the ones that require a specific graphic processing unit (GPU) and central processing unit (CPU) features, it is still an upgrade that is worth considering. There are other aspects of an SSD to consider before you make a purchase.

Available SSD Sizes

Just like the HDD, SSD has various size but the commercially available size of both are not the same. While the HDD has 16TB easily available, the SSD has the 2TB as the most popular and the 4TB as a possible purchase that is not common.

Are there bigger sizes of the SSD? Of course, they are but they are too expensive and would be more likely to offered to a company for sale rather than an individual. How expensive? The cost of an 8TB HDD is sometimes cheaper than a 2TB or 1TB SSD. Let us look at the capacity of the 5 most popular SSD storage capacity sizes.

The 128GB SSD is not the smallest SSD but it is the smallest you can put or have in a PC as an internal disk for your system to function properly. It really is for simple things like an operating system, very few files (especially word document) and if you are okay with playing a light game i.e., requires 20GB of storage, you can add it, this is not optimal though.

The 256GB SSD is good but not good enough for heavy gaming files (one heavy game will comfortably run efficiently here), design or too much file load. It is ideal for a business PC. The 500GB is good for games and designing within reason of course as you should not overload your PC. The 1TB and 2TB are great and offer you the opportunity to accommodate more files without compromising the speed of your system at a cost.

Type of SSD Drive

You cannot just take an SSD and shove it into your computing system, you need a platform to place it in, this is what SSD drives are. There are a few with the most popular ones being 2.5-inch and the m.2 drive, each has its selling point.

For the 2.5-inch drive, it makes it easy for HDD users to easily swap to SSD as any of the storage disks can utilise it. The m.2 is a smaller size drive that can either be single sided (found in ultrabooks) or double sided. It can be five times faster than the 2.5-inch.

The 2.5” usually runs on SATA, and it is sometimes designed to include PCIe and NVMe. The m.2 at its basic form runs on the NAND technology, the most popular ones have PCIe added on and sometimes NVMe, this design makes it the fastest drive (currently).

SSD Interface

In the previous paragraph we mentioned SATA, PCIe, NVMe, all these are called interfaces i.e., how your storage card or disk interacts with your computing system. SATA is currently in its 3rd version, so it is referred to as SATA III. Although it is an upgrade of its predecessors, it has nothing on the other two.

PCIe is a faster option and has different “lanes”, this refers to its speed and it is usually written like “X number” e.g. X4. The higher the number, the faster the PCIe. NVMe is nonvolatile and it is very fast, it provides speed that the other two cannot even “touch”.

Internal or External SSD?

As we have explained the need for an SSD and how you should select one that suits you. There is one more thing to consider, how will you use the SSD? Will it be as an internal or external disk? SSD is great as any option but the decision of external or internal use can determine size.

The purpose of an external disk most time is to store data offline, this means purchasing a 128GB SSD for external purpose might provide little or no value, the minimum should be 500GB. For internal purposes, we have already explained what the 5 popular sizes can offer you.