How Much Storage Do I Need On My Laptop?

When buying a new laptop, there are many factors to consider. You want the best price-to-quality ratio, the laptop size that fits your needs, and the best storage capacity for your individual needs.

However, if you don’t have a rough estimate of how much storage space would be sufficient, you may feel stuck trying to decide between different laptop models.

In this guide, we will discuss the importance of laptop storage when buying a new laptop device and the most optimal choices for internal storage.

How do you determine how much storage you need on your laptop?

Regarding storage requirements, a few factors could help you make an informed decision when purchasing a brand-new laptop.

1. Check the storage of your current laptop

In case you have a laptop you’re currently using, you already know if you were satisfied with the storage space provided or if you constantly needed more storage space.

That being said, you can quickly check the storage capacity of your current laptop and use it as a starting point when deciding on a new laptop model.

If you have a Windows laptop, click the Start button, then go to Settings. Select System and then Storage to see the storage capacity of your current laptop device.

As for a Mac laptop, click on the Apple logo in the screen’s top left corner. Click on About this Mac, then choose Storage to see the internal storage of your laptop.

2. The primary purpose of the laptop

When shopping for a new laptop, you want to consider the primary purpose.

For instance, if you’re a passionate gamer, you will want to invest in a high-quality gaming laptop that has the hard drive space demanding games require from a laptop.

The best laptop for someone who loves to collect memories in the form of photos and videos would be a laptop with a significant data storage capacity, especially if they’re not thinking of purchasing an external hard drive.

People who use their laptops for basic tasks such as web browsing and binge-watching their favorite shows shouldn’t care too much about the disk space.

Now, let’s talk numbers so you can better understand what you should be looking for.

A gamer or a person who needs a quality laptop for their work will search for a device offering up to 1TB of internal storage space.

If you belong in the “basic tasks and occasional movie download” category, you can benefit from 128-256GB of storage space on your laptop.

However, you should remember that certain downloads can be pretty large. An entire TV show could take up to 20GB of disk space, so you certainly want to consider this when choosing a laptop.

Also, note that popular programs you might want to install, such as Photoshop, can take up about 1GB of storage space, whereas Office programs such as Microsoft Word take up approximately 2GB.

It is also essential to factor in the program files, which can be rather large.

3. The use of secondary storage

When shopping for a new laptop, one of the most critical questions is whether you will invest in an external storage device or some online cloud storage service.

Many people have privacy concerns when it comes to online cloud storage services, so they prefer to invest in an external hard drive, which is an excellent way to upgrade your laptop’s storage space.

An external hard drive can also take the load off the laptop system and transfer most large files, such as videos, TV shows, and movies, to the external drive.

External hard drives usually offer between 1TB to 12TB of storage, and the prices vary depending on the storage amount.

On the other hand, cloud services are available online, making them the more convenient option as you can access them from any device, anytime.

You can also allow them to back up your files automatically, so you don’t have to transfer or upload them.

The most popular cloud-based storage options include OneDrive, Google Drive, and iCloud, depending on whether you have a Microsoft, Google, or iCloud account.

Regarding these online storage services, you can choose between monthly or annual fees, but remember that yearly deals usually come with a discount. 

4. SSD vs. HDD

There is hardly a modern laptop nowadays that features HDD instead of SSD storage. SSD stands for Solid State Drive and has been known as the more reliable, faster alternative implemented since 2012.

An HDD (Hard Disk Drive) seems to be the past of computer storage, as it is rarely used in a modern laptop. However, many people choose it as a secondary storage option to upgrade the overall storage and take the load off their laptop system.

In case you’re torn between the two, there are a couple of important advantages of SSD over HDD.

The SSD storage offers faster performance, both when it comes to saving and accessing a specific file. 

A laptop featuring an SSD also offers battery life superior to HDD, as it generally uses less power and isn’t too hard on the battery.

Another advantage of SSD over HDD is that it doesn’t make much noise – or better yet, it hardly makes any noise.

An HDD, on the other hand, is something you won’t be able to ignore, as it produces a loud grinding or thudding sound in your laptop.

Finally, an SSD is shock resistant and much more resilient than the other option. You shouldn’t worry too much if you drop a laptop equipped with an SSD, as it shouldn’t cause data failure – contrary to HDD, which will probably delete all your valuable data.

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