What Size SSD Do I Need For Gaming?

Storage space is a crucial element when it comes to gaming machinery. And since gaming is a demanding activity, to get the best experience, you need an appropriately sized Solid State Drive or SSD. But what size should you go for?

You need a minimum of 1TB SSD for gaming. This will maximize your gaming experience, allowing your gaming machine to load quickly, hold multiple games with large sizes, and easily perform archival activities.

If your preferred gaming machine is a PC and you want to enhance your experience by upgrading your storage, an SSD is the way to go. This article will discuss establishing the right SSD size for your gaming needs and other related topics. Let’s dive in.

What size SSD do I need for gaming?

Why Bigger SSDs Are Better for Gaming

Bigger SSDs are better for gaming because they deliver better performance for more games

With increasingly larger games, the need to get SSD sizing right is even more compelling. Indeed, some of the latest games feature large file sizes and complex, high-quality assets with a significant memory footprint and could take up more than 120 GB in your drive. 

The thing is, big games or those between 50-100+GB require fast load times. They pull a lot of data every so often from storage into memory and thus need a lot of bandwidth to do this effectively. This allows the games to run smoothly. 

Your gaming scale or the number of modern games you wish your system to hold also dictates the size of the SSD to go for. For instance, if your favorite games are 150 GB or higher, they require considerable storage space. With a 1TB SSD baseline, you can only store about 6 games.

Conversely, if you play games with small file sizes, such as 8GB and below, you may not even need an SSD. A 500 GB -1TB HDD would be sufficient for your gaming needs and leave ample space for your system files (about 100-200 GB).

A 500GB HDD is also appropriate for storing media files in the cloud. Besides, it is also a good option for casual or small-time gamers who only play a few games.

Let’s take a deeper look into how SSD size Impacts gaming next.

How SSD Storage Size Impacts Gaming Needs

SSDs are now almost a standard in gaming PCs and gaming consoles. Here is how SSD Size impacts your game:

Bigger SSD Sizes Will Hold More Games

With a big SSD, you don’t have to keep deleting files or gameplay highlights to make space for a new release. This is because a large SSD can hold several games at a go. 

Furthermore, you can still hold on to games you don’t play frequently without needing a secondary device to hold some of your downloads or media. This could be an external SSD or even a mechanical HDD. 

Again, having a large capacity SSD means it will take longer to fill up.

Improved Boot-Time

An SSD also improves your PC’s responsiveness. Multiple programs launching on Windows start-up can take an incredibly long time, meaning you must wait for some time before you can start using your PC.

But with a big SSD, your PC’s program start-up time becomes dramatically faster thanks to speedy data transfer. 

Also, with a larger SSD, you can install the latest programs and games without worrying about storage capacity. 

Speedy Load Times for Gamers

SSDs load data incredibly fast. Indeed, they speed up game loading time by close to 60%, thereby offering the best read/write gaming speed

With a big SSD, you’ll reduce or eliminate time spent waiting for your games to load – no more agonizing stares at the screen. And once you are up and running, you endure less lag time. Ultimately, this saves you precious time with every play session.

Additionally, saving your games to an SSD makes loading assets easier for your computer and benefits you when playing open-world games.

These games don’t have many loading screens between different areas in the game. Instead, everything’s connected, and you can travel from place to place without waiting. 

However, if your storage isn’t optimized, these areas can experience “pop-ins” and weird textures as the assets load. An enhanced SSD will help reduce those loading issues since it can pull files faster. 

Also, note that your computer’s random access memory (RAM) can impact asset loading in open-world games. Thus, you might want to add more if you’re having problems.

An SSD Should Provide an Optimized Gaming Experience

A lot is going on in the background while you play. As games load new textures, tiny but numerous read/write operations occur with megabytes of data being transferred.

These operations lead to latency, but the high bandwidth with a big SSD reduces this latency, ensuring no hitches during play. In other words, you enjoy smooth gameplay.

What Size SSD Do I Need for Gaming?

An M.2 SSD with heatsink.

So how big should you go?

As mentioned, a 1TB SSD drive is the baseline to aim for. According to PC Player Hub, such an SSD can hold up to 15 large games, which isn’t too shabby. That said, you should buy the biggest size you can afford. Why is this?

A higher-capacity SSD is much faster, meaning it delivers higher performance. It has more memory built in, which translates to:

  • Less wait time when launching a new game.
  • Less time spent waiting for scenes to load halfway through your game.
  • Less lag.
  • There is less of a need to be cautious about utilizing the space available.

Secondly, before installing any games, you’ll likely need your SSD to store many essential files, including your PC’s operating system (this takes up a significant amount of space). 

Lastly, a 1 TB SSD will not serve your needs if your library consists of large AAA titles – It will only hold 10 games, forcing you to upgrade to a 2 TB drive.

If budget is a constraint, get an entry-level SSD to start with. A 500GB SSD will enable you to store the games you play most often and have a decent operating system speed. 

But you will need to review this sooner or later as new releases are increasingly coming in larger sizes. They also feature higher-resolution textures, videos, and immersive environments. 

Eventually, 1TB SSD will soon be the minimum drive size for these large game installs. 

Not to worry. A larger drive will give you more bang for your buck since it will have a longer lifespan. You will also save yourself a drive upgrade for at least a few years. 

Is a Large HDD Better for Gaming Needs?

HDDs or conventional Hard Drives are another storage solution that can be used for gaming. This is particularly so if you don’t mind the longer loading times.

Nevertheless, you’ll still want to choose a high-capacity HDD drive, such as 1TB, so it doesn’t fill up quickly. Allowing open/free space will also boost your device’s performance. 

Should you get an HDD instead of an SSD, then?

HDDs are more affordable than SSDs, costing less per gigabyte. However, compared to SSDs, HHDs – including large ones – are no match for the former’s performance.

SSDs are not only more reliable, but they also deliver superior random read/write speeds. Reliability means you have no cause to worry about your game suddenly locking as you prepare to trounce a level. 

Quick Note: Read/write speed is when a given drive takes to access/retrieve stored data and save information. It’s an important factor in gaming because the faster the read/write speeds a storage drive posts, the quicker it will load games, save them, and the more seamless scene transitions become. You can use this rate to judge the performance of a storage device, e.g., HDD versus SDD.

HDDs contain mechanical moving parts that slow down load time during play. You see, HDDs store data in spinning magnetic media.

They rely on a read/write head and arm to access the data, which works like a record player. Momentary hitches occasion the resulting delays as these moving components work to retrieve data/assets from storage. The moving components could also break down.

On the other hand, SSDs contain integrated circuits and store data in flash-based memory. With zero moving elements, the result is lower access times, speedier game launches, fast loading for levels, and a smoother gaming experience.

As you can see, choosing the right type of drive for your gaming machine has an unmistakable impact on your gaming performance.

Too much latency and you suffer lag, which may affect your gameplay. For instance, how quickly or how accurately you make your moves. You may sometimes even receive landscapes with less detail than your opponent. 

Today’s games are extremely exacting, and gamers need powerful computers and high-performance SSDs to keep up.

Therefore, go for an appropriately sized SSD to avoid having to endure waiting time with every gaming session or a below-par experience. While it will cost you way more, the value you get is incredible and worth the expense. 

In any case, game developers are now building games optimized for SSDs whose superior technology supports faster launch times and offers gamers an enhanced gaming experience. Many gamers are tapping into this by upgrading their gaming PCs or investing in new ones with inbuilt SSDs.

Here are a few more upsides of SSDs over HDDs. SSDs are:

  • Quieter.
  • More durable.
  • More energy-efficient – some models sport thermal control solutions designed to monitor and maintain the device at optimal temperatures. This guarantees uninterrupted gameplay as there are no performance drops occasioned by overheating.

Of note is that installing games in an SSD will not offer you more frames per second (FPS) than if they were stored on an HDD.

The in-game performance is similar for both drives. To enhance your framerate during gaming, consider turning down the resolution or lowering the graphics. 

Large Storage Capacity SSDs: Are They Faster?

Gamers seeking to maximize their performance might wonder whether having a larger SSD would impact their speed during play. The answer is no. A larger SSD is not faster. However, the drive’s capacity does affect its performance. 

The thing is, an SSD slows down the more it fills up with data. In other words, your games will run faster when you leave some of the storage space open.

That’s why a 2TB SSD drive will perform better than a 500GB one. So, for optimal performance, you want to maintain your SSD at 70% capacity.  

How to Choose the BEST Drive (NVMe SSD)

SSDs come in several varieties, including SATA, PCIe, M.2, and NVMe. The best SSD offers the biggest capacity and the fastest speed, especially if cost is not a deterrent.

Your best bet is to go for Non-volatile memory express (NVMe) SSDs. They are smaller, suffer low latency during gameplay, and perform faster than SATA.

Also, if you have the funds, go for a much larger SSD than you might need. The upside is you will always have enough storage.

In addition, you won’t slow down your screen load time as you continue to save more games to your drive. Having more wriggle room in your SSD is far better than cutting it too close.

The bottom line is larger SSDs perform much better than those with less storage – even when they’re of the same model. Hence, a larger SSD will always be the favored option to improve your gaming performance. And the best part? Their prices continue to drop.