ComputingLaptopsStorageStorage: Guides

How Much Storage Do I Need?

how much storage do i need

Whenever you think of buying a laptop/PC, one of the first things that comes to mind is storage. Making the right call will not only be beneficial in the long run but may also help you save some money on upgrades later.

Our guide below will get you up to speed with everything that you should be aware of before you purchase a hard drive for your computer.

How Much Storage Do You Need On Your Laptop/PC?

SSD or HDD – Which to Choose?

Choosing between a Solid State Drive and a Hard Disk Drive is the first step in determining your storage requirement. You need to take into account the pros and cons of both the hard drives before you can make the right decision.


  • The Operating System has an average of 10-13 seconds of Boot-Time.
  • It is 3 times faster than an HDD.
  • There’s no noise since there are no moving parts.
  • It is protected from magnetic effects.
  • It has a writing speed of 200-500 MB/s.
  • It is more Costly than HDD ((Around $0.20/GB).


  • The Operating System has an average of 30-40 seconds of Boot-Time.
  • You can hear it operate due to moving parts.
  • There’s a chance of data erasure by magnets.
  • It has a writing speed of 50-120 MB/s.
  • It is more economical than SSD (Around $0.03/GB).

Whichever option you go with depends upon your budget and requirement. If your budget is somewhat tight and you need something for storing documents, pictures, and lightweight games, then go for an HDD.

However, if you have some flexibility in your budget and you want to run demanding games and software on your PC, then SSD is the best available option.

Light Usage

Documents and Files

If your use of computer centers around storing documents in software like Word or Excel, then you won’t be needing a lot of space.

Most of the documents with raw data take only a few kilobytes of your storage and if you add pictures and videos into them, they’ll still just be a few megabytes in size (usually less than 10 MB).

Since HDD and SSDs come in gigabytes, you wouldn’t have a problem as far as storing the documents is concerned.


The size of an MP3 file varies depending upon the length of the song. However, an average MP3 file is approximately 5 MB.

Considering this, you can store a whopping 200 songs in just 1 GB of space.

Picture and Images

Pictures and Images, too, deal in KBs or a few MBs. Taken together, hundreds of pictures may amount to only a gigabyte or two, nothing that poses a storage threat to your HDD/SSD.


If your computer usage pertains to any of the above, then, strictly speaking, it comes under the tier of light usage and, HDD of 250 to 500 GB should work just fine for you.

Medium Usage


If you’re a passionate photographer who likes to take high-quality pictures, then you should consider upgrading your storage.

A high-quality photo can be upwards of 50 MB. Keeping in mind that you take more than one picture of an item for perfection, do the math and you’ll find that the size of a folder containing at least 50 of your photographs is in GBs.

Higher Quality Music

A better alternative to .mp3 format is the .flac format. However, this difference in quality comes at a price: a .flac file is about 3 to 4 times larger than a .mp3.

So, if you intend to download a handful of music albums in .flac format, then be ready to give up a decent chunk of your storage.

Movies and TV Shows (in SD)

Movies and TV Shows that come in SD variant (resolutions from 240p to 480p) can also be your area of interest.

On average, a two-hour movie or two one-hour episodes of a TV Show can take up around 1.5 GB of your space. This means that if you possess say, 256 GB HDD, you’ll be able to store about 130 movies or 260 one-hour episodes on it.

Lightweight Games

If you’re into gaming a bit, then you’re probably aware that games can take up some hefty space.
However, if you’re not interested in big blockbuster game franchises out there, then it’s likely that whichever game you go for has a relatively small size.

This means that you can have a bunch of such games within your PC without having to worry too much about the hard drive space.


If you need a hard drive for any of the aforementioned reasons, then a 500-1000 GB HDD is your best bet.

Heavy Usage

Larger Games

Most modern AAA games these days easily exceed the 50 GB mark.

If you’re an avid gamer with a deep interest in modern multiplayer RPGs or intense action games, you should consider upgrading your storage capacity!

HD Movies and TV Shows

Unlike the SD variant, HD movies and TV shows can quickly run your storage dry.

While a two-hour movie or two one-hour episodes of a TV show in SD takes roughly 1.5 GB of your space, they take around 6 to 8 GB in their HD variant.

This means that if you have a 256 GB drive solely for movies and TV shows, you will only be able to store about thirty-one movies or sixty-two hour-long episodes before the storage space runs out.

Heavy Software

Graphic Designing Software like Photoshop and After Effects and Programming Software like Visual Studio can take quite a bit of your storage space.

So, if your niche requires you to have such software, then aim for no less than a 500+ GB hard drive.

Author’s Recommendation

For either HD movies and shows, bulky software, or high-end games, a 1 TB SSD can get the job done.
But if you’re looking to compile some serious collection of games, movies, or software, then you should go with no less than 2 Terabytes of space.


All in all, the amount of storage you need depends on your requirement. In any case, if your storage space becomes scarce, consider using an external hard drive for files that you do not access on a regular basis.

About author

A finance major with a passion for all things tech, Uneeb loves to write about everything from hardware to games (his favorite genre being FPS). When not writing, he can be seen in his natural habitat reading, studying investments, or watching Formula 1.
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