Is 256GB SSD Enough for you?

by Paul | Last Updated: July 22, 2021

Evaluating the Capacity of Your Storage Drive. Devices are fun to use and we keep adding features, files, and applications until we get the message that everyone hates “not enough space”. This is usually the case with smaller mobile devices like phones or tablets but personal computers like laptops and desktops are not exempted.

Is 256GB SSD enough?

256GB SSD storage is sufficient to your operating system smoothly and other “normal” use. Normal here means basic like office software a few files and some application data. There are also things to consider, for instance, is it an internal drive or an external drive? Is that your only storage? What is the size of your total files? Let’s address these questions and more.

What is an SSD?

A solid-state drive (SSD) is an upgrade from a hard disk drive (HDD). Upgrade here refers to a better option and is not created to replace the HDDs. What makes SSDs fascinating is that it is built with a technology called NAND, this makes it use a flash memory without spinning or moving to read/write data.

The moving part mechanism of the HDD makes it susceptible to data loss when there is shock, magnetic fields, and an accidental loss. This mechanism also causes the disk to be fragmented and users need to defragment it to optimize the given drive.

The SSD gives a better over performance owing to various small changes it makes in the system, these changes include faster boot time, faster launch time, fast shut downtime, faster game load, faster file transfer, and so on.

It has two main form factors and three main interfaces. For the form factor, the SSD can either be used via the 2.5” drive or the m.2 drive. For the interface, it can be SATA III, PCIe or NVME, sometimes it runs on all three.

Types of SSD Interface

2.5” SSD drive

It is designed to accommodate both HDD and SSD (not at the same time though). It makes it easy for a user to swap out HDD for SSD easily. This is good but this drive runs a SATA III interface and does not maximize the power of an SSD. If you have a 2.5” SATA III PCIe NVMe, that is amazing, and you will get amazing performance.

M.2 SSD drive:

This is designed solely for SSDs, and this makes it perform better than the 2.5” as it maximises the SSD performance. Asides being faster, this does not have a SATA interface rather it has a PCIe and sometimes has a NVMe in addition making it faster.

SATA III SSD:

Serial Advanced Technology Attachment, an interface for drives to interact with your computer, this is the third version hence the name.

PCIe SSD:

Peripheral Component Interconnect Express, another interface that has different means of connecting referred to as “lane”, the higher the lane the faster the connectivity.

NVMe SSD:

Non-Volatile Memory Express, this is faster than the PCIe and can give it at least boost that can be quantified as at least 4 times.

What does the 256GB capacity offer?

The smallest SSD size that is seen as optimal for basic computer use is 128GB, so what can the 256GB offer? It is twice the 128 so that means twice the fun. With this you can run at least 3 operating systems without issues, use simple applications i.e., applications that do not require a lot of space and thoroughly enjoy premium performance. Like the HDD, SSDs can be used as either an internal or an external drive so let’s go into that.  

256GB as an Internal Drive

If you are an avid gamer (games that require a lot of space), you are a designer or video creator (4K and other high quality content), this storage capacity is not for you, if you are currently using it, you will have to upgrade it soon.

Now that we have gotten that out of the way, 256GB as an internal storage can accommodate everything, we have cited in the previous subtitle but you must not have so many files on it because it will affect its performance. There are other storage options to complement the 256GB for people with a lot of files.

The first is to use a cloud storage service, this is good but not great for people who very large file size so they can opt for a NAS. Then people with a large file size that is not large enough for NAS and don’t what to use a paid service just buy an external HDD.

256GB as an External Drive

It is not common practice for people that use SSD internally to use it as an external storage option. It is very possible, but it is not popular because SSDs are expensive. Most people who use an SSD as an external drive use HDD internally. So how can using this hardware externally complement HDD?

First, you can store a few games there so that it can run smoothly on your PC, a few for gamers may not exceed 5. This style is better for people who want to play new games but just few so it will not be satisfactory for avid gamers.

Second, it is great for file transfer because of its read/write speed. SSDs will serve you better when you load, launch, or run apps, programs, or software with them.

As a Cache

256GB is a lot of space to use as a cache for a computer system but it is good for a Network Attached Storage (NAS) as that requires a lot of space.

Other Considerations

While a huge portion of this article focused on using SSD for computer systems, it does not mean that is its only use. SSDs can be used for gaming consoles but not this size, for a gaming console you need at least 500GB SSD to run games well.

Related Question

What should be my budget for a 256GB SSD?

For an internal one with SATA interface between $30 – $50. For an internal one with PCIe NVMe between $60- $80. For an external one between $49 -$70. All these prices do not include shipping fees.