How Much Storage Do I Need On My Laptop? – Things To Know

storage do i need on my laptop

How much storage do I need on my laptop? Storage capacity is one of the most critical specifications we must consider when choosing our new professional laptop. If we buy a model with a very tight capacity, we may have problems after a few weeks of use, and expanding said capacity is not always a good option.

More and more business laptops, especially lighter and more compact models like Microsoft’s Surface series, come with a storage drive soldered to the board, which means we can’t change it. I know what you are thinking. They are expandable internally but externally. That is, I can use microSD cards or external hard drives. Yes, that’s true, but the performance of these will not be at the level of an internal SSD drive.

Even if we can change the internal storage unit, this represents an expense that we do not want to incur shortly after investing money in a new professional laptop.

For this reason, it is important to choose a model with sufficient storage capacity to cover our needs for a reasonable time.

So far, so good, but where is the limit? What storage capacity do I need? Of course, the answer will depend on your own needs. If you are going to work with office automation and small files, a model with 128 GB of storage capacity may be more than enough, especially if you make regular backups and free up space.

However, I believe that right now, the idea is to look for models with at least 256 GB, even in basic use scenarios, since they will give us enough margin to enjoy the equipment for years without having to update or change anything. 

Do you still have doubts? Don’t worry. This blog aims to provide readers with information to help them make decisions. Remember that you should choose a laptop with SSDs, as they make a huge difference in performance, consumption, and user experience.

Last updated on 2022-05-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Types of Laptop Storage

The following information has been given in a specific, detailed, and informative way to help you understand the different data storage methods used on laptops.

1. SSD

Though solid-state drives are a newer technology, they have seen rapid innovation and growth. Each year has seen a steady increase in capacity. Solid-state drives (SSDs) use non-volatile memory to store data and are increasingly being used in place of traditional hard disk drives in personal computers.

Solid-state drives use the same basic technology as USB flash drives and are often considered large, high-capacity USB drives. In a solid-state drive, NAND technology is used to store memory in the form of non-volatile flash memory.

The structure of the storage drivers, called float gate transistors, consists of a charged area or channel beneath each gate that stores data. The transistors are arranged in a grid pattern and stored in blocks. Each block has its row of columns called pages.

The solid-state drive’s controller is responsible for many functions, including keeping track of data location.

Advantages

Solid-state drives (SSDs) generally load games and apps faster than traditional hard disk drives (HDDs), particularly useful for gaming. Solid-state drives are lighter in weight, durable, and better at handling movement and drops than HDDs. Solid-state drives use less power and produce less heat than hard disks. They also tend to be more reliable.

Disadvantage

SSDs are newer technology and, as such, are more expensive than HDDs. Although they are recovering, it may be more difficult to find very large capacity solid-state drives. HDDs can be up to 2.5 times larger.

SSD Formats

Although some formats have practically disappeared (such as the obsolete mSATA), and there are two main formats that you can find in stores, below we are going to list in which format you can find SSDs:

  • 2.5-inch: It is the first format in which they appeared on the market, and as its name indicates, it has a 2.5-inch form factor just like a laptop or external hard drives because they were designed precisely to fit where a 2.5-inch hard drive used to work. Generally, you will find them with a SATA interface, but those with a SAS interface and even some business models, SCSI.
  • M.2: The M.2 format is currently the most used by modern SSDs, and it is a format that is followed by size, the most common being M.2 2280. Generally, its interface is PCI-Express, which can be 3.0 or 4.0, but there are also SSDs in M.2 format with a SATA 3 interface.
  • mSATA: currently in disuse, this format was used mainly in NUC-type mini PCs, and as its name suggests, the interface was SATA, but the format was similar to an M.2 2230 but wider.

2. HDD

Hard drives have been around for a long time and have a reliable storage capacity and durability track record. Hard drives have been available for more than 50 years, steadily increasing storage capacity and decreasing physical size. HDDs rely on spinning platters or disks to read and write data.

Hard disk drives contain electromagnetically sensitive platters, an actuator arm with a head for reading data from and writing data to each platter, and a motor that rotates the platters and moves the arms across them. Another input/output controller and firmware coordinate the actions of the hardware, which communicates with the rest of the system.

Data is stored on hard drives in tracks and sectors. Each location on the drive has an address, or numeric label, identifying it. The Sector and Track numbers are used to identify data locations. As long as a complete address is provided, the correct sector will have valid data written to it. A program called an algorithm processes the data before it is written to a file. Because the firmware checks for errors, it is doubtful that it will lose data. 

Hard drive speeds are expressed in rotations per minute (RPM) or revolutions per minute. Disks usually spin at a default speed of 4200 RPM for consumer computers. Still, various computer hard drives are available that spin between 4200 and 7200 RPM, which correlates with the drive’s reading/write rates. A hard drive’s read/write speeds increase when the disk’s rotational speed is set above the default setting.

Advantage

Hard disk drives (HDDs) offer proven technology and greater storage capacity for a lower price than solid-state drives (SSDs) of equivalent size. Unlike SSDs, HDDs are currently available with larger storage space than their SSD counterparts.

Disadvantage

The disadvantages of an HDD result from the mechanical parts used to read and write the data since finding and retrieving the data physically takes more time than doing it electronically. Mechanical parts can skip or fail because they are handled more tightly or come loose. This is a concern on laptops but not so much on desktops. Hard disk drives are rugged, but they use more power than solid-state drives.

3. eMMC

eMMC, which stands for “multimedia media card,” is a type of SD card (Secure Digital) used to hold digital multimedia files such as photos and music. It contains a flash memory chip and an MMC interface controller. Its simple structure allows its size not to be large since it is smaller than a stamp.

The eMMC memory uses a type of BGA (Ball Grid Array) socket, which means that it is soldered to the motherboard of the equipment, as is the case with laptop processors or SoCs in smartphones. This almost makes it impossible to extend the memory. The same thing happens with certain laptops that have soldered RAM.

An eMMC is similar in design and function to flash drives, SD cards, and SSDs. As its name indicates, an eMMC contains NAND SLC or MLC flash memory that connects with the motherboard of a host device at a high rate of speed. The integrated controller manages the data transfer between the CPU and memory, freeing the processor to process program instructions.

Pros and Cons

We have reached the point where we must analyze this storage in portable devices, highlighting its strengths and weaknesses. So there they go.

Pros

  • Perfect for low-cost portable devices
  • Very low power consumption
  • Quiet and efficient
  • Ideal size for portable devices
  • Great transfer speed

Cons

  • Limited capacity
  • Not suitable for powerful tasks
  • Bad transfer speed in old versions
  • Cannnot be expanded or replaced

4. SSHD

Solid-state hybrid drives (SSHDs) combine the traditional magnetic disks of HDDs with the flash memory of SSDs in a single drive. The idea is to offset the cost of flash memory by relying on an HDD to meet the capacity requirements.

Managing SSHDs is also less complicated than installing an HDD and an SSD in the same system. Hybrid drives monitor data as it is read from the hard drive and store the most frequently used data in the NAND flash memory cache. Data stored on the SSD will be delivered faster, meaning your most important files and applications will have SSD performance levels.

Solid-state hybrid drives use NAND flash memory to store user data while rotating disks store the operating system and software. As the drive learns your usage patterns, it uses this information to access the most frequently used data, resulting in faster boot-up times, application launches, and file loads. You won’t notice a change in speed immediately after installing an SSHD. It takes time for the drive to learn your behaviors.

How many files do you want to save?

To determine how much storage capacity is appropriate, you should determine the storage needs of your files. For example, it takes more space to store photographs, games, and movies than music and text files. 

We, therefore, recommend that you back up your files on at least 2TB of storage if you have or plan to store a large number of videos and other large files. If you want to store many text documents but occasionally store some images, 1 TB of storage will be sufficient.

How much data does it store over how many TB?

FHD MoviesHours Of VideoHigh-Resolution ImagesMusicDocuments
1TB24050020,40017,0006.5 million
2TB480100040,80034,00013 million
3TB720150061,20051,00019.5 million
4TB960200081,60068,00026 million
Note: We estimated the value because it is difficult to measure how many files storage can hold.

SSD or HDD

Today, solid-state drives are considerably more expensive than hard drives, and most laptops use the latter for storage. With an SSD, your computer boots up much faster than a conventional hard drive, and files can load up to 10 times faster. 

In addition, SSD is quieter, more durable, and can withstand shock better. However, given the limited storage capacity of many SSDs (compared to a hard drive), SSDs are not always the most cost-effective option for desktop computers or laptops. Hard drives, which are generally cheaper than SSDs but slower, remain the best choice in most cases.

Minimum and recommend storage for a different purpose

  • Basic use (office, documents, and small files): If you use your laptop mainly for word processing, email, and carrying around small files, choose at least 128 GB of storage space. If you want to store movies and other large files on your laptop, you should consider purchasing a laptop with 256 GB of storage space.
  • For high-quality photos and medium-sized files: For high-quality photos and videos, mid-range games, and those who enjoy watching 1080p HDTV shows, look for a laptop with at least 256 GB of storage. For an optimal experience, choose a machine with at least 512 GB of storage.
  • Video editing and working with large files: For laptops running graphics-intensive programs such as computer-aided design (CAD), Blender or high definition video editing software, and for gamers who need to store several large files at once, we recommend a minimum of 1TB of storage.

Conclusion

If your computer’s primary purpose is to store text files and photographs, you will probably need about one terabyte of storage space. 

If its primary purpose is to store many movies, games, and other large files, it is advisable to reserve at least two terabytes of storage space. 

In addition, if you would like to upload files from your laptop very quickly, choosing an SSD instead of an HDD will provide the necessary speed.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you find this information helpful.

For any doubts, “contact us through the comments sections, and I’ll be happy to answer any questions.

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