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:
- How Many Games You Wish to Have Installed at a Given Time
- The Average Size of the Games You Like
- Whether You Archive Data For Work as well
- 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.
- AAA Games
- eSports / Online Titles
- Indie Games
AAA Game Size
AAA games are the most demanding as well as the largest games you can install. These include the following:
|Resident Evil Village||45 GB|
|Battlefield 2042||49 GB|
|Elden Ring||60 GB|
|Cyberpunk 2077||70 GB|
|Grand Theft Auto 5||72 GB|
|Gears of War 4||112 GB|
|Call of Duty: Black Ops III||113 GB|
|Red Dead Redemption 2||150 GB|
|Destiny 2||165 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.
|League of Legends||22 GB|
|Dota 2||15 GB|
|Rocket League||20 GB|
|World of Tanks||70 GB|
|World of Warcraft||128 GB|
Indie Games Size
These are among the lightest games. They have an average size of only about 7-10GBs.
|Stardew Vally||500 MB|
|Disco Elysium||22 GB|
|Death's Door||5 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.
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.
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
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.
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.