How Much SSD Do I Need for Gaming

How Much SSD Do I Need for Gaming? 4 Factors To Consider


SSDs enhance gaming by reducing load times and ensuring smooth performance. The required SSD size varies based on game types, additional software, and budget. AAA games demand more space, while eSports and indie games often need less. Different SSD types exist, with NVMe SSDs being faster than SATA. Casual gamers might opt for mid-sized SATA SSDs, but enthusiasts and professionals should consider larger NVMe SSDs.

Key Points:

  • SSDs minimize interruptions like lags or extended loading screens and facilitate quicker saving and loading of in-game progress.
  • There’s a distinction between SATA SSDs and NVMe PCIe SSDs in terms of performance and price. NVMe drives, being faster, are preferred for main game installations.
  • SSDs, with no moving parts, retrieve data faster, resulting in quicker game starts and level transitions.
  • While SSDs become more affordable, gamers must balance their budget to ensure no compromise on vital components like GPUs.
SATA SSD3603/3376215613_2e3935a816_b
Source: Flickr

Gaming is a thrilling escape for many. But imagine diving into an intense game, only to be pulled out by slow load times or annoying stutters. The main problem? Usually, it’s outdated storage or just not having enough of it. As games today become more detailed and bigger in size, the storage we use needs to keep up. 

SSDs, or Solid State Drives, are the answer to this. They’re faster and more reliable than the old hard drives. But with so many options out there, how do you find the right SSD for your gaming setup? This guide is here to help. In simple terms, I’ll walk you through what to look for, ensuring your next gaming session is smooth and interruption-free.

Why Gamers Need SSDs?

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Gamers need SSD (Solid State Drive) because they significantly reduce game load times, ensure smooth in-game performance, and elevate the overall gaming experience by minimizing lags and hitches.

  • Reduces the Game Load Time: Traditional HDDs read data sequentially, which can cause delays in loading game assets. In contrast, Solid State Drives (SSDs) can retrieve data much faster due to the absence of moving parts. This rapid data access translates to shorter load times when starting a game or transitioning between levels.
  • Ensures Smooth In-Game Performance: Games often require rapid access to vast amounts of data, especially in open-world titles where environments are dense and detailed. An SSD can handle these frequent and large data requests with greater efficiency than HDDs. As a result, gamers experience fewer stutters, frame drops, or asset pop-ins, ensuring a smoother and more immersive experience.
  • Elevates the Overall Gaming Experience: No one enjoys interruptions or prolonged waits, especially in intense gaming moments. The use of an SSD minimizes potential disruptions like lags or extended loading screens. It also aids in faster saving and loading of in-game progress, ensuring that players can jump right back into the action without unnecessary delays.

4 Crucial Factors That Determine the Amount of SSD You Need for Gaming

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For gaming, the amount of SSD needed is determined by factors including game installation sizes, which vary between AAA, eSports, and Indie titles; the number of games one installs; additional software and files like the OS, game launchers, and non-gaming tasks; and budget considerations, balancing the cost of SSDs with other PC components.

1. How Much Space Do Games Take?

Ever wondered how much space your favorite game eats up on your device? Whether it’s a high-end gaming PC, a console, or even a mobile device, the space a game demands can vary. As graphics get sharper, sounds become crisper, and gameplay mechanics evolve, games naturally need more room. But how much exactly? Let’s break it down.

AAA games are the gaming world’s equivalent of Hollywood blockbusters, characterized by their lavish budgets, cutting-edge graphics, and immersive gameplay. A standout example is “Red Dead Redemption 2,” which alone demands a hefty 150GB of storage.

In contrast, eSports titles, tailored for online competitive play, have varying storage needs. Games like “CS:GO” might require around 25GB, but titles like “League of Legends” are more conservative, though these figures can change with updates.

On the other hand, indie games, often the brainchild of smaller teams or individual developers, shine with unique mechanics and artistry. Their storage requirements are typically modest, with games like “Stardew Valley” needing just 1GB, but there are exceptions, such as “Hollow Knight,” which occupies around 9GB.

2. Number of Games Installed

The digital footprint of a gamer often mirrors their gaming preferences and habits. The storage space a gamer needs is closely tied to the number of games they’ve chosen to install. Some gamers are minimalists, keeping a tight collection of their all-time favorites, ensuring quick access whenever the mood strikes. On the other end of the spectrum, there are the gaming enthusiasts who boast vast libraries, a trend further fueled by platforms like Steam, which tempts gamers with vast digital collections, sales, and bundles.

It’s not uncommon for modern AAA titles to demand over 100GB of storage each. So, if you’re someone with a penchant for these high-end games, having 10 of them would mean your storage needs exceed 1TB. And this doesn’t even account for future game purchases, updates, or downloadable content (DLCs) that can further inflate storage requirements.

3. Beyond Games: Additional Software and File Storage

Beyond the games themselves, other software and files also affect storage needs. Essential software like the operating system (e.g., Windows 10 or macOS) occupies a considerable portion of storage. Game launchers like Steam or Epic Games, while necessary for playing, also take up space not just for the launcher application but also for game metadata, updates, and more.

Additionally, if the computer used for gaming also serves other purposes, such as video editing or graphic design, then the storage requirement increases. Video projects can be large, sometimes hundreds of gigabytes, and professional software suites like those from Adobe can also be sizeable.

4. Budget Considerations

Crafting the perfect gaming setup is akin to piecing together a puzzle. Every component, from the GPU to the storage, plays a pivotal role, and budgeting for this setup requires a strategic allocation of funds. Pouring a lion’s share of your budget into storage might mean compromising on other critical components, like the GPU, which is the heart and soul of gaming performance. However, there’s a silver lining for gamers on a budget.

Over recent years, SSD prices have seen a steady decline, making it feasible to get larger storage capacities without breaking the bank. But, as with all things, moderation is key. It’s crucial to find that sweet spot where you meet your immediate storage needs without overshadowing the budget for other essential components. After all, a well-rounded gaming experience hinges on harmony between all the parts, not just one.

How Many Types of SSDs Are There and What is Their Relevance to Gaming?

SATA and NVMe PCIe SSDs differ in performance and price, with NVMe drives offering faster speeds, making them popular for main game installations. SSDs come in various form factors, including 2.5-inch, M.2, and AIC, with M.2 being commonly chosen for gaming PCs and laptops.


In the world of gaming, speed is everything. And when it comes to storage, the debate often boils down to SATA SSDs versus NVMe PCIe SSDs. But what’s the difference?

SATA SSDs – The Reliable Veterans

  • Originated from the SATA interface, primarily built for HDDs.
  • Offers steady speeds, capping at around 550MB/s.
  • A trusted choice for many due to their consistent performance over the years.

NVMe PCIe SSDs – The Speed Demons

  • Leverages the faster PCIe interface.
  • Top-tier drives can zoom with speeds reaching up to 5000MB/s or more.
  • Generally pricier than SATA SSDs, but the speed boost justifies the cost for many.

Gamers, especially those looking to minimize load times, might opt for NVMe drives for their primary game installations. The faster read and write speeds can enhance the overall gaming experience by reducing in-game stutters and faster asset loading.

Exploring SSD Form Factors for Gamers

  1. The Classic 2.5-inch SSDs: These are the same size as standard laptop HDDs. They connect via SATA and are prevalent due to their compatibility with most desktops and laptops.
  2. The Sleek M.2 SSDs: These are slim, stick-like drives that connect directly to the motherboard. They can utilize either SATA or PCIe interfaces, but NVMe drives, which are more performant, are typically M.2 form factor. Their compact size and high speeds make them popular for gaming PCs and modern gaming laptops.
  3. The Power-Packed Add-in Cards (AIC): These are PCIe cards containing one or more SSDs. They slot directly into the PCIe slots on a motherboard, providing very high speeds. While they offer excellent performance, they might not be as common in standard gaming setups due to their cost and the fact that M.2 slots are now prevalent on most motherboards.

Recommendations for Different Types of Gamers

Casual gamers may find a mid-sized SATA SSD sufficient, while enthusiast gamers should consider larger NVMe SSDs for multiple AAA titles. Professional gamers and streamers, balancing gaming and content creation, benefit most from high-capacity, high-speed NVMe drives.

Casual Gamers – Dipping Their Toes in the Gaming Waters

Casual gamers are those who enjoy the occasional gaming session or gravitate towards less demanding titles. They might not be battling in high-end graphics-intensive games every day, but they still value a smooth experience. An SSD ranging from 250GB to 500GB is typically ample for their collection.

Given that they might not need lightning-fast speeds for their choice of games, a SATA SSD, which provides reliable performance without burning a hole in the pocket, fits the bill. It’s all about getting the best value for their specific needs.

Enthusiast Gamers – Immersed in the Gaming Universe

For enthusiasts, gaming is more than a hobby; it’s a passion. They’re the ones exploring vast open worlds, engaging in intense multiplayer battles, and experiencing story-driven AAA titles. With their expansive game libraries, storage needs skyrocket. An SSD of 1TB or even more becomes almost a necessity.

And because they’re dealing with games that have rich graphics and intricate details, the speed of NVMe SSDs, known for their blazing-fast read/write capabilities, becomes a game-changer. It’s not just about storage; it’s about ensuring every game runs as the developers intended.

Professional Gamers/Streamers – Juggling Gaming with Content Creation

The pros wear multiple hats. They’re not just gaming; they’re sharing their experiences, streaming epic battles, and creating content for their fans. This dual role of playing and content creation means their storage needs are twofold. An SSD of 2TB or more becomes essential to accommodate game files, recorded content, editing software, and more.

And when you’re live-streaming or recording, the last thing you want is a lag or stutter. That’s where the unparalleled speeds of NVMe SSDs come into play. For professionals, it’s not just about playing the game; it’s about delivering a flawless experience to their audience.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is it worth upgrading to an NVMe SSD from a SATA SSD for gaming?

    Upgrading to an NVMe SSD from a SATA SSD for gaming can offer faster load times and smoother in-game asset streaming. However, the overall gameplay experience, like frame rates, won’t significantly change. For most gamers, the difference might not justify the cost, but if you prioritize reduced load times, it’s a worthwhile investment.

  2. How long will an SSD last with regular gaming?

    An SSD’s lifespan depends on its write cycles, but with regular gaming, most modern SSDs should last several years. Intensive read operations, like loading games, have minimal impact on SSD lifespan. However, if frequently installing and uninstalling large games, the wear can accumulate faster. Still, for an average gamer, an SSD should last at least 5-7 years or even longer before showing signs of wear.

Striking the Right Storage Balance: Tailoring SSD Size to Your Gaming Needs

Choosing the right SSD size for gaming is a balance between storage needs, performance desires, and budget constraints. As games continue to grow in size and complexity, investing in ample and faster SSD storage becomes increasingly crucial.

By understanding your gaming habits, whether you’re a casual player or a hardcore enthusiast, you can make an informed decision that ensures a seamless gaming experience now and in the future.

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