Is 256GB SSD enough for college?

by Paul | Last Updated: August 19, 2021

When you are in college, the likelihood you have so much money to splurge is low. Therefore, budget devices are popular with most students as spending a thousand dollars or more on a gadget is not common practice. Computers with SSD offer better performance, but the price of SSDs means only smaller storage capacities are available in budget devices.

Is 256GB SSD enough for college?

Yes. Now, are you a student that uses your computing system for Microsoft office tasks and research? Then sure, it is thoroughly sufficient. The question is what happens when you want to do other CPU or GPU demanding tasks like gaming or designing? We will go into details later, let us look at the basics.

Purchasing a computing system is beyond just storage capacity, you should not just purchase it for the size of the storage capacity, the screen size and not the colour or design. Picking out a PC to suit your needs as a college student is a combination of several things: RAM, Battery life, Processor, Storage capacity, durability, display type, keyboard type and more.

Is 256GB SSD enough for college? – SSD Basics

Using a solid state drive is an experience no computer user should miss out on. These drives offer a better overall performance when compared to hard disk drives (HDDs). They are designed with NAND technology which uses flash memory to process data.

Flash memory means that it has no moving parts, a feature that makes it preferable over the HDD which has moving parts making the disk to fragment. This design also means an increase in speed, better data security as it is not prone to damage from accidental drops, shocks, vibrations and magnetic field.

We have looked at reasons why an SSD is a good option for disk storage type, but what features should your laptop have to maximise this storage device as a college student? The answers will be revealed as we look at the essentials of a college student’s PC.

Is 256GB SSD enough for college? – PC Design

College life is a mobile lifestyle and can be rugged with a probability of carrying your laptop with books. Doing this overtime will scratch the body of your computing device and sometimes your screen. To maximise your PC as a college student, let us look at a few features.

The first feature is weight, you want, no, you need a PC that is light weight. As a college student there is a very high probability that you will take this PC for lectures, to the library, the café and several other places so you do not need that weight.

Next is durability, this has two sides. First, Anti-scratch laptops are getting popular as there are several options on the market. This Anti-scratch feature makes your laptop aesthetically pleasing, all you get to do is wipe off dust that accumulates on the surface.

Beyond beauty, you need a PC that can withstand harsh conditions like spills, oil, books and other things that are in the bag that houses your PC. Look out for laptops that have gone through the MIL-STD 810G test as they are very durable.

Studying late nights or early hours of the morning is not foreign to students and that is why you should go for a backlit keyboard. Having this feature means you can work in the dark as you will not have to switch on the light, disturbing your roommate (or your eyes). Keyboard layout is totally up to you, pick one that suits your typing style.

Screen size and design is also dependent on your preference, for movie lovers, go for a wider screen with narrow or thin bezels. For resolution, you should get full HD (1920×1080), this is mandatory if your PC screen size is above 12 inches.

For the charger type, an L-shaped plug is preferrable as it is tough to damage and if you purchase a laptop with USB-C Plug, get a “clip-like” accessory and attach it to your connector, this keeps it in place to reduce the risk of damage as it does not bend.

Is 256GB SSD enough for college? – PC Specifications

In addition to SSD, other essential specifications include RAM. As a college student, 8GB is sufficient if you are not gaming heavily, designing and so on. In addition, your processor must be lit, core i9 is great but since we are talking budget, core i5 minimum (or the AMD equivalent). If you are purchasing a pre-owned PC, then don’t go for any PC less than core i7.

Dedicated graphics card is not necessary, but it will be nice to have one even if it is one with a 2GB capacity. Now to top all this, you need a laptop with a good battery life, we are talking a minimum of 10 hours. You need a PC that can accommodate all your student tasks (especially during lectures) in a day on a single charge.

Is 256GB SSD enough for college? – Gaming, Design and Media Editing (High Quality)

The simple answer is no. Video editing, designing and gaming are not the same activity but the have similar PC requirements e.g., a P.C. that is great for high-end games can be used to carry out “heavy” design tasks and high-quality video edits.

As a college student, if you want to enjoy AAA games, you will need a minimum of 500GB. If you are a design student, architect or other design courses, 1TB will serve you better. 1TB is also a good option for film students.

Is 256GB SSD enough for college? – External Drive

The previous paragraphs have been on the assumption that you want to use this SSD size in your PC’s motherboard. What if you want to use it as an external drive for your PC or gaming console? Well, it is not bad for your PC, but you need a minimum of 500GB for your gaming console.

Related Question

I am on a budget, I cannot afford a PC that has more than 256GB SSD, what can I do?

You have two options. The first is to get a PC that houses both SSD and HDD so that you can have more storage without spending the amount a 512GB SSD PC will cost. The second is to get an external HDD and use as storage. Remember, this will serve you better if your PC will not be used for “heavy tasks” as described earlier.