The question of how much storage you need on your laptop is one that everyone needs to consider before buying a new laptop. Storage capacity may not seem like a big deal, but it’s pretty important. Laptops are convenient, but they come at a cost. Knowing up front exactly what they’ll be able to store will save both time and money later down the line.
“How much storage do I need on my laptop?” It depends on your purpose of buying a laptop and how you are going to use it. For different users, the answer is different. Nowadays, the most used storage on the laptop is 256 GB SSD. If you have a look at the top 5 laptops (Apple MacBook Air, Microsoft Surface Laptop 4, Dell XPS 15 (2020), HP Spectre x360 (2021), Dell XPS 13) of 2021, you will find that each laptop contains at least 256 GB SSD.
After the top 7 or 8, you may find laptops with 128 GB of storage.
But do not decide which one you should buy just looking at the popularity. Remember, what you should consider before buying is
• The Purpose of Usage
I have seen many people who don’t have clear ideas on HDD, SDD, NVMe, eMMC, and their usage. So let’s start with the basics!
Different Types of Laptop Storage
The laptop requires Non-volatile storage. For an unlimited time, storage stores your apps, operating system, and files. That’s where data can be saved even when the laptop is turned off and not in use. Laptops must write and read data from storage systems. Therefore the storage system’s speed influences how quickly your system can load, boot up and retrieve the data you’ve saved.
Hard Disk Drive (HDD): A HDD is a piece of hardware that holds all of your digital files. Digital material on a hard disk includes the operating system, documents, music, photos, videos, programs, etc.
Solid State Drive (SSD): This is a new generation of laptops or computers storage devices. SSDs use flash memory, which is substantially faster than a mechanical hard drive. SDDs use less electricity, extend laptops’ battery life, and do not make bad noises because they have no moving parts.
Embedded Multimedia Card (eMMC): It is a package that includes both and flash memory on the same silicon die.
Non-volatile Memory Express (NVMe): This is a novel storage access and transport protocol for flash and next-generation solid-state drives (SSDs) that provides the best throughput and reaction times for all sorts of commercial operations.
How Much Storage Do I Really Need On My Laptop?
Storage Capacity Needed for Conventional Office or Business Work:
Conventional office or business work includes using Google Workspace, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Excel, Spike, Front, etc. You do not need a lot of storage for this. 128 GB SSD is enough storage for you. But if you want to store pictures, music, and documents, then go for 256 GB SSD. Choosing 256 GB SSD for this purpose is considered best.
If you are on a tight budget and thinking about purchasing an HDD, then you may consider buying a 500GB to 1TB HDD. But it is never a good idea to buy HDD for primary storage when you can buy faster storage than that. Even you don’t have a flexible budget; it is recommended to buy an SSD because the price of a 128GB SSD is much lower than a 1TB HDD.
Here you can see, the price of Seagate BarraCuda 4TB Internal Hard Drive HDD is $85, and Lexar NS100 128GB SSD is $21.59.
Storage Capacity Needed for a Professional Photographer:
Being a professional photographer, you will need to store both raw and edited photos. Not only that, but you also need to keep various editing software. You might be using Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom classic, DxOPhotoLab, etc., for this purpose. Considering these facts, you will need internal storage of at least 512 GB SSD. Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom classic need at least 2GB to 4GB. It is even better to use an external hard drive for storing your photographs. In that case, HDD is more popular.
Usually, non-professional users will be satisfied with a storage of 256 to 320GB. A 250GB hard drive, for example, can store more than 30,000 photographs of average size.
Storage Capacity Needed for A Graphics Designer:
For doing graphics word, you will need larger disk space. It will help you to store software, files and run them quickly. There are various types of words that a graphics designer does such as:
Branding Design: This includes designing color palettes, Logos, typography, and image collections that represent the personality of a company.
Animation & Motion Graphic Design: This type includes animated logos, GIFs, Trailers, Presentations, Promotional videos, Video games, Banners, etc.
Marketing Graphic Design: This includes designing banners, Posters and billboards, email marketing templates, flyers and Postcards, Ads of magazines and newspapers, Brochures, Displays of trade shows, Email marketing templates, graphics, ads and banners of social media, Banner and retargeting ads, etc.
User Interface Graphic Design: Design of webpages and apps, Theme design of various websites or software and game interfaces, etc.
Illustration for Graphic Design: Designing T-shirts, book covers, picture books or comic books, Infographics, etc.
Packaging Graphic Design: Most things need to be packaged in some way to safeguard them and prepare them for storage.
Publication Graphic Design: This includes the graphic design of Magazines, Books, Catalogs, Newsletters, Directories, etc.
Environmental Graphic Design: Signage, building outside displays, navigation systems, r museum exhibitions, and exterior design components like fountains and sculptures are all examples of exterior design elements, etc.
The Most Used Software For Graphics Designing Is (2021):
• Affinity Designer
• Xara Designer Pro X.
• Gravit Designer
You will need at least a 500 GB SSD for doing graphics work smoothly using this software. In case you can afford more, go for 1TB SSD.
Storage Capacity Needed for Students:
From junior to high-level school students, it is recommended that you use 256 GB or 128 GB SSD. For your academic works or for emailing and browsing, you won’t need more space than that.
Students with engineering backgrounds or anyone who need to work with rendering and simulation software need more storage than a regular student.
For 3D rendering, the software that people mostly use are:
• Autodesk Arnold.
• 3ds Max Design.
• Cinema 4D.
To work on any software without any problem, you will need 512GB SSD (minimum storage) to 1TB SSD(recommended). While buying storage, you need to observe the speed.
Students tend to use AnyLogic, MATLAB, Simulink, SimScale, Solidworks, Simul8, Arena, etc. software for simulation purposes. To install any MathWorks software, you will need approximately 22GB of space. So it is recommended to use 512GB SSD.
Storage Capacity Needed for Gamers:
If you’re a gaming aficionado who regularly plays AAA games, 256GB SSDs are a horrible pick. Instead, opt for a 512 GB or 1TB drive space. Trust me! They are not a huge space for gamers. It is very common for a gaming laptop to have 1TB drive space. Some gaming laptops even have more than 1TB of space.
In case you might be asking yourself, why 512GB when there are still some AAA games that take 25GB only. Well, the size of PC games is increasing. It’s even possible to come across those that are 50 GB or 100 GB in size. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, for example, will require at least 230GB. That’s almost half the capacity of a 500GB SSD.
Again, heavy games like 70GB World of Warcraft, 70GB World of Warcraft, 70GB World of Warcraft, 100GB Grand Theft Auto V, and 150GB Final Fantasy XV take a lot of disk space. In my own experience, I find it very frustrating when I have to delete old large files, movies, and games to make place for new games.
And it is just not about the storage. A higher capacity SSD loads your game fastly and makes less noise.
So, for optimum performance, most gamers would choose a 512 GB or 1 TB SSD.
Storage Capacity Needed for Casual Laptop Users:
We don’t use the laptop only for our academics or work purposes, but for entertainment. We listen to music, watch movies, and keep our photos of vacations on the laptop. For this purpose, 128GB to 256GB storage is sufficient for a regular user.
Which One to Go for – SSD or HDD?
SSDs are an excellent upgrade for anyone who wants to experience fast speed. They use flash chips that offer less wear and tear, plus they’re more efficient with energy consumption than mechanical hard drives.
HDDs are noisy, slow, and can be risky. They are cheaper than the SSDs.
Advantages of SSDs over HDDs
• SSDs are faster – SSDs are the go-to for people who want their laptops as fast and responsive as possible.
• SSDs are not Noisy – SSDs are the silent type of drive with no moving parts. They don’t make any noise, which means you can use them in a quiet environment without worrying about bothering others
• Longer Battery Life – An SSD will give your laptop longer battery life than an HDD. An SSD uses significantly less power, which results in lower usage and shorter charging times for the laptop.
• Shock absorption – SSDs are more shock resistant and will not be affected if you drop your laptop accidentally. This ensures there’s no data failure, even if it happens!
The Difference Between HDD and SSD:
The main difference between both devices comes down mainly on price and speed; however, there are other details.
Price: SSD drives are more expensive than HDDs; SSDs cost about $0.20 per gigabyte, whereas HDDs cost only about $0.03 per gigabyte.
Boot-Time: An HDD can take between 30-40 seconds to boot up, whereas an SSD can boot up within 10-13 seconds; there are no moving parts to be accessed in the former device, whereas the latter requires mechanical movement.
Operation Speed: An SSD can run up to three times faster than an HDD, thanks to the lack of moving parts.
Vibration: HDDs are subject to vibration because they have spinning disks accessed by a mechanical arm. This is not the case with SSDs, which have no disks or moving bits whatsoever.
Heat Creation: HDDs run pretty hot because the constant movement of their physical parts produces considerable heat. As mentioned above, this is not the case with SSDs, which are based on flash storage memory to store data and have no moving parts.
Encryption: Both types of storage devices can use encryption technology for security purposes; however, modern HDDs use “Fdisk encryption” (FDE), while SSDs make use of “full disk encryption” (FDE).
Using a combination of HDD and SSD for storage – Is It Possible?
In the modern world of laptops, you can find a combo that combines both HDD and SSDs. This means that your device will have great speed as well as more storage space at an affordable price.
How to Check Storage or Disk Space on a Laptop?
It is straightforward. Just follow the below instruction:
1. You need to open ‘File Explorer.’ To open it, press Windows key + E on your keyboard.
2. Select This PC. Now click the right button on your mouse. Then hover on View and select Tiles. There you can see the storage capacity of your computer.
The blue portion represents spent space, while the gray portion symbolizes available space, and below that, you will find it’s mentioned how much space you have. For example, 196 GB free of 237 GB.
How to Know I Need More Storage?
1. The first thing you will notice is that when you open file explorer, you will find a red indicator instead of blue in your drives. It means that the drive is going to be full soon.
2. Your laptop is working slowly, and while opening a file or an application, it takes more time to load.
How to Increase Storage on a Laptop?
When you find that your storage has reached its maximum capacity, then you need to increase storage in the laptop. You can do it in many ways.
Here’s How You Can Increase Storage on a Laptop:
1. Purchase External Storage:
• External HDD or SSD: This method is very popular for increasing storage. Whenever a user needs more storage to keep data, he simply can buy HDD or SSD. Since SSD is more expensive, HDD storage is broadly used for this purpose. And this method is not as exhausting as upgrading your hard drive method. All you have to do is to decide how much storage space you will need, check the price, and buy it. Connect the external drive with your laptop by a USB port. Your operating system will recognize it by itself and add it as a new drive letter in Windows Explorer.
Note: Before buying your storage, check whether it is compatible with your laptop or not.
• Pendrive or Flash Drive: It is used every now and then to store small files. However, it comes with various storage capacities (4GB to 512 GB).
• Micro-SD Card: You can use a Micro-SD card to extend storage capacity if your laptop has this feature. Insert the Micro SD card into the SD card adapter’s slot. Insert the adapter card, together with the Micro SD card, into the laptop’s SD card slot.
2. Upgrade the Hard Drive:
This process is not as easy as other processes. Still, you can select this one if you don’t want to carry other storage devices with you.
• Gather anti-static wrist band and Screwdriver. We are going to do some decluttering today. Put on the anti-static band before starting the process.
• To get started, you’ll need to figure out what kind of hard disk your laptop currently has. Visit Crucial’s upgrade site, choose your Laptop Company and version, and then storage in the menu icon.
• Whether your system employs an SSD or HDD will be displayed by Crucial (HDD). When you scroll down, you’ll see all of the possibilities. Choose your preferred drive size.
• It’s time to install your new hard disk once you’ve received it. Before you begin, you’ll need to transfer all of your data and programs to the new hard drives.
• If you have hard drive flaps on the bottom of your laptop, then the installation will be considerably easier. Simply unscrew the screws that hold the panel in place. Replace the old drive with the new one.
• If you don’t have flaps, then open the laptop case and carefully remove the screws. Then locate the old hard drive and replace that with the new one. And your work is done.
3. Cloud Storage: Cloud storage is the cheapest way to extend your storage.
It is a method of storing data over the internet rather than on your computer. To upload, alter, and share photos, music, video, documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and other media files, you’ll need an internet connection. Online storage services do not save any data on your computer’s hard drive. The biggest benefit is that you can access your files from any device using cloud storage tools.
There are many online storage providers where you can keep your data for free. For instance, Icedrive and Mega offer you to store 10GB and 20GB storage for free. Some other popular cloud storage providers are Sync, OneDrive, Google Drive, etc.
How to Add a Secondary Storage?
• Shut down your PC. Remove the casing, install the new hard drive, connect the wires, and lock the drive with screws, if necessary. Put the case away. Log in to Windows after turning on the power.
• Select Disk Management from the right-click menu in the lower-left corner of the screen. A dialog box called Disk Management will appear.
• Find your new drive, which is most likely labeled Unallocated. Disk 0 is the name given to the new drive.
• Tap and hold down or right-click in the unallocated box on the right, then select New Simple Volume. The Simple Volume Wizard appears for the first time.
• Click’ Next’. You’ll be prompted to select a volume size.
• You want to use the entire drive, so leave the numbers alone and tap or click ‘Next’.
• The wizard will prompt you to enter a drive letter. If you want to change the letter on the drive, go ahead and do it. Next can be tapped or clicked.
• The wizard wants to know if you want to use a file system other than NTFS or if you want to change the allocation unit. You don’t have it.
• Then tap or click ‘Next’, followed by Finish. Windows whirs and clunks away, and when it’s done, you’ve got a whole new drive that’s ready to use.
Note: All laptops do not have a second hard drive slot. Some laptops only feature one hard drive bay, allowing for the installation of only one hard disk. As a result, you should check the number of hard drive bays on your laptop before purchasing a second hard drive.
How To Check Your Laptop Has Secondary Storage Bay Or Not?
• Unplug the power cord from your laptop and turn it off.
• Invert the laptop so that the bottom side is facing up. The battery should then be removed.
• Locate the hard drive, then loosen the screws that hold the lid in place with a cross screwdriver.
• Remove the cover to reveal the number of hard drive bays.
Note: If your computer doesn’t have an extra hard drive bay but an optical drive bay, you can still install a second hard drive.
There is another way if you find this process complicated. Go through your laptop’s user manual and description or browse on the internet mentioning your laptop model. You will find the answer.
Is 64GB Enough For A Laptop?
64GB is enough for installing operating systems (Window 10, MacOs, Ubuntu) on the laptop. But it is not recommended to use. At least 128GB SSD is recommended.
Is 128GB Enough For A Laptop?
128GB SSD is enough space for doing casual works on a laptop, such as making a presentation on Microsoft PowerPoint, entering data on Excel spreadsheets, storing some documents, etc. But you cannot store a lot of pictures, music, videos on your laptop. Your laptop is not going to be very fast. The larger the SSD storage, the faster it performs.
Is 256 GB Enough For A Laptop?
Having a storage of 256GB SSD is a handsome amount for storing data, doing academic works, watching movies, and even sometimes for gaming.
While 256 GB will suffice for most gamers’ needs, we recommend investing in an SSD with at least 1 TB of storage. You’ll have to install and uninstall frequently if you don’t. Any capacity less than 256GB of storage will have a severe impact on your gaming experience.