How Much SSD Do I Need for Gaming?

If you are building a new gaming PC or if you are planning on buying a prebuilt rig, then it is almost certainly a must to have an SSD installed. An SSD can drastically improve your quality of life on PC and your overall gaming experience.

But of course, along with understanding what KIND of SSD to buy for your gaming build, it is equally important to ask how much SSD do I need for gaming. SSDs can get quite expensive and knowing how much to buy can help you stay within budget.

As is the case with a hard disk drive, the amount of SSD you need for gaming depends upon a few factors the most important being how many games you wish to have installed at a given time.

Generally, though, 512GB SSD is considered a bare minimum for a gaming PC and 1TB SSD is generally the average size you see on such machines.

In the following text I will talk in detail about how to plan the budget and SSD capacity for your gaming PC.

There are Few Factors That Define How Much SSD Storage You Need for Gaming

The amount of storage you need particular for your gaming PC depends upon the following four factors:

  1. How Many Games You Wish to Have Installed at a Given Time
  2. The Average Size of the Games You Like
  3. Whether You Archive Data For Work as well
  4. What Your Overall Budget is (Hot vs Cold Data)

1. How Many Games You Wish to Have Installed at a Given Time

This is a fairly typical consideration. The majority of the gamers like to have about 4-5 games installed at any given time.

If you are someone who likes to have only a single or a couple of games installed at a time, then you could get away with smaller 512 GB SSDs. 

Of course, closely related to this characteristic is the average size of the games you like:

2. The Average Size of The Games You Play

This is also an important consideration. There are typically three types of games which can be generalized into their size categories.

  1. AAA Games
  2. eSports / Online Titles
  3. Indie Games

AAA Game Size

AAA games are the most demanding as well as the largest games you can install. These include the following:

GameSize (GB)
Resident Evil Village45 GB
Battlefield 204249 GB
Elden Ring60 GB
Cyberpunk 207770 GB
Grand Theft Auto 572 GB
Gears of War 4112 GB
Call of Duty: Black Ops III113 GB
Red Dead Redemption 2150 GB
Destiny 2165 GB

eSports / Online Titles Size

eSports / online games are generally quite small and light on the storage space. However, you also have very heavy games such as World of Warcraft or World Tanks that can eat up your storage space.

GameSize (GB)
League of Legends22 GB
Dota 215 GB
Rocket League20 GB
CS:GO15 GB
Fortnite30 GB
World of Tanks70 GB
World of Warcraft128 GB

Indie Games Size

How Much SSD Do I Need for Gaming
Stray took the Indie gaming scene by storm in 2022. This only has a size of 10 GB.

These are among the lightest games. They have an average size of only about 7-10GBs.

GameSize (GB)
Stardew Vally500 MB
Hades15 GB
Stray10 GB
Terraria2.5 GB
Wildermyth2 GB
Disco Elysium22 GB
Valheim1 GB
Death's Door5 GB

So if you are an indie game lover, then even a measly 256 GB SSD would suffice.

However, on the other hand, if you are a AAA game lover, then that is another story. A typical AAA game, as per the table above, is 93 GB. 

So a 512 GB SSD and 1 TB SSD would be able to hold 3-5 and 7-9 modern AAA games respectively – if you spare 100 GB out of each for miscellaneous apps and Operating System

It is highly unlikely that you would have anymore than 5 games installed at a time (unless if you hoard), but in majority of the cases, for a pure gaming build, a 512 GB should suffice particularly if you are trying to conserve your budget.

3. Archiving and Other Work (Hot vs Cold Data)

So if you plan to use your PC for tasks other than gaming including work, then you may need a larger SSD.

This is particularly true if you are a photographer, an editor etc. who generally works with large files and multiple professional software.

It is worth mentioning here the importance of understanding the difference between Hot vs Cold Data. These are Data Center related terminologies but quite relevant in this context.

Essentially, Hot Data is the Data (apps, games etc.) that you use very often. Cold Data, on the other hand, is the data that you do not use or access more often. These can include raw files, photos, multimedia, game installation files etc. 

If you have a huge load of Cold Data, then you can consider investing in a combination of SSD and HDD. HDD, being much cheaper than SSD, can be used for archival data.

samsung 980 pro
SSDs must be used for Hot DataImage: Samsung 980 pro

SSDs, on the other hand, can be used for frequently accessed data including the games that you are currently playing and also for your operating system.

4. Your Overall Budget for the Gaming Build

Of course, the gamer in you would wish to maximize the budget for the graphics card as that is the primary component that defines the quality of your gaming.

SSDs can also help improve your gaming experience particularly with load times. SSDs can literally make transitioning from scenes to scenes seamless.

But when balancing finances between a graphics card and SSD, you would obviously want to favor the graphics card. 

If you do not have any budget constraints, then I would recommend a minimum of 1 TB SSD for gaming. However, if you are stuck in the predicament of deciding between graphics card vs storage capacity, I would recommend sticking with 512 GB SSD for HOT DATA and get an additional 1 TB HDD for Cold DATA.

Make Sure You Get the M.2 NVMe PCIe SSDs

Samsung Evo 860 SATA SSD m.2
Samsung Evo 860 is a SATA SSD. They look similar to the M.2 PCIe NVMe SSDs but it is much slower.

It is worth taking note of the fact that not ALL SSDs are the same.

If you have M.2 slots on your motherboard. These can be occupied with both SATA and NVMe PCIe SSDs.

M.2 SATA and M.2 PCIe SSDs look more or less the same but they are worlds apart in terms of performance.

M.2 PCIe NVMe SSDs can reach speeds of up to 7000 MB/s (on PCIe v4.0 motherboards). On the other hand, SATA SSDs can reach speeds of only 550 MB/s. M.2 PCIe SSDs are more expensive but worth every extra penny. 

Final Words

There is no hard and fast rule as to how much SSD you need for gaming. Some gamers, like me, would prefer to have at least 1 TB of SSD. 1 TB of SSD has enough leeway for work purposes.

For a pure gaming build on a budget, even 512 GB SSD would be quite sufficient. 

I would steer clear from 256 GB SSD unless you are an indie game lover. 

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Author:

Atif Qazi
Atif Qazi is the founder of PCGuide101 and an expert in the computer peripheral industry with over two decades of experience. He has worked as a consultant for major companies and has a deep understanding of the inner workings of computer peripherals. He has a degree in Electrical Engineering and has served as a product manager and technical consultant. He is passionate about testing and evaluating the latest products to provide readers with reliable information.

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