Skip to content

How Big of a Hard Drive Do I Need: Understand your Storage Needs

    ✅ Fact Checked
    Updated on October 6, 2022
    John Chad, Bachelor Computer Science Degree & Computer Engineering.
    Written by
    John Chad, Bachelor Degree in Computer Science & Computer Engineering.
    Russel Collins
    Fact Checked by
    Russel Collins
    John is a certified IT & Computer Engineer with a Bachelors Degree. He has worked for a International Insurance Company in the IT department before deciding to become a full time blogger to help his readers. Holds a Bachelors Degree in Computer Science from Stanford University.

    If you are considering upgrading your computer to a big hard drive(Also known as HDD) or adding an external HDD for backup purposes, then the first thing that you need to consider is how much storage space do I really need?

    This article includes some tips about how to determine the perfect size of a hard drive that is right for you as well as explanations on why bigger isn’t always better since there’s more to HDDs than size such as price, loading & transfer speed.

    How Big of a Hard Drive Do I need?

    This will depend on what type of content you are storing on your computer. For example, if you have a lot of photos and videos on your computer it’s going to take up more space than just text documents. If this sounds like you then make sure that the size of the hard drive that you purchase matches with how much data needs to be stored.

    For gaming, 500gb to 1-2TB is generally recommended as games can be quite heavy. For video editing, at least 1 TB if you save all your videos and never delete them. For photos almost any HDD works, even 250gb ones.

    How many GB do you really need?

    Whether you’re a student, gamer, or professional photographer it’s important to know what size hard drive is right for your needs.

    To determine the perfect size of an HDD, you first need to figure out which type of storage space do you really need and then decide on the capacity that fits your budget.

    Photos / Videos

    Doing some quick math tells us that we can store about 250 pictures per GB so if you have just 100 photos you would only need 25GB worth of storage space. However, this doesn’t account for video files which take up more room than still images, when stored as video files, they average around 15-20MB per minute making them 50x larger compared to photo files at 500KB per image.


    If we’re talking about gaming needs, then some games can take up to 50GB or even 100GB of space. We suggest getting at least 500GB up to 1TB of space if your main hobby is gaming.

    Lightweight stuff

    If you don’t do any of the above and only need a little bit of space you can probably get away with low space HDD, however, in this case, we would suggest you get an SSD with 120GB of Space to capitalize on the extreme loading & transfer speeds.

    SSD vs HDD

    SSDs are the newer technology and offer lower latency – meaning they’re faster. They also don’t have any spinning disks or moving parts, which means less noise and a longer lifespan (typically).

    HDDs are older technology and are generally cheaper than SSDs. They also offer higher capacity and lower latency, which means they’re a better fit for bulk storage needs or backups.

    Are SSD Worth it?

    The answer to this question is going to depend on your needs and how much you’re willing or able to spend. SSDs are generally more expensive than HDDs, but it’s not always the case. For example, if one had a laptop with an HDD that was failing; they might want to invest in an SSD because everything will be running smoother once there isn’t fragmentation from constantly writing files over top of each other.

    SSD improves windows loading time, boot up time, and are great for gaming because they have no latency.

    If you’re working on a heavy data set like video editing or photo manipulation, an SSD would be a better option than an HDD due to its speed of processing.

    It’s important to remember that while HDDs offer greater storage capacity at a lower cost; SSDs allow for faster transfer rates when it comes to opening programs with high-demand loading times.