Up For Debate - What is the best size SSD to buy?

Written by Chad Norton on Sat, Nov 28, 2020 4:00 PM
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With Black Friday this week coming to a close at most retailers, many of us PC gamers are understandably looking at new hardware that we might be able to afford now thanks to some truly incredible discounts. Whether that's new graphics cards, monitors, or keyboards, buying some new tech is always on our minds.

But possibly one of the most affordable and still significant changes that PC gamers can look to upgrade is their SSD which, on top of overall prices slowly dropping, are on some great deals now thanks to Black Friday.

But unfortunately some gamers have not yet made the jump to Solid State Drives, and considering the power of the SSDs on the next-gen consoles like the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S, there has never been a better time to make that jump then now.

But what’s the best size to get and what is the best value for money option? You can get SSDs up to 4TB or even higher now but they’ll still cost you an astonishing amount, whereas lower size SSDs tend to be better deals for those on a budget.

First and foremost, one of the best uses for an SSD is to use as a boot drive where your operating system is installed, this can significantly speed up the performance of your PC while doing general tasks. This one usually doesn't have to be that big, but the more the merrier!

As for external storage, this is where you’ll want to store your games for faster loading times and less texture/object pop in. Whilst you can get a small size SSD for this job, as many have already pointed out before Call of Duty: Modern Warfare will fill up an entire 250GB external SSD by itself, leaving no room for other games. So if you want to play some of the best modern games on an SSD you may want to look at higher storage sizes.

So to help out our fellow friends in need, let’s all come together to discuss the best size SSDs to buy so we can make a better purchasing decision during Black Friday and make our PC gaming experience just a little bit better.

So what do you think? What is the best size SSD to buy for internal and external storage that will be the best value for money? What do you use your SSD for? Your Operating System? Gaming? Or both? And what should new PC gamers prioritize for their first SSD to get best performance? Their Operating System? Or for gaming? Let’s debate!

What is the best size internal SSD to buy for your system?

What is the best size external SSD to buy for gaming?

Do you use an SSD for your operating system or gaming or both?

What should new PC gamers prioritize their SSD for first?

Our favourite comments:

There is a reason if i named my second SSD 2 TB as STEAM STORAGE DISK.

spiritoetilico

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17:30 Dec-04-2020

There is a reason if i named my second SSD 2 TB as STEAM STORAGE DISK.

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00:23 Dec-05-2020

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16:09 Nov-30-2020

Go as big as you can afford. You'll eventually fill it up and add another anyway.

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00:25 Dec-01-2020

You sure???
You feel like buying an 8TB SSD (let say a Samsung QVO).
Do you have that kind of money?

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16:31 Dec-01-2020

He says go for it if you can afford it. I'd say, try to estimate how much storage you need in the next 4/5 years.

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00:45 Dec-02-2020

Fair point.

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00:46 Dec-02-2020

Sorry if it came out a bit aggressive.
Wasn't intended.

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16:32 Dec-07-2020

All good. But yeah, there's an asterisk of reasonableness involved. Such as the cost/space ratio on those large drives being significantly larger than say a 1TB/2TB drive. I wouldn't recommend going huge until they have settled into a normal market price range.


That said, if an 8TB drive were affordable(w/ reasonable p/s ratio) I would absolutely recommend that. In five years you'll be happy having a single drive vs. content spread out over 4-5 drives.

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16:34 Dec-07-2020

Asterisk 2 (I'm obviously not considering RAID setups here.)

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01:01 Dec-08-2020

Not a lot of people would use RAID with SSDs. Mainly because it really isn't necessary for speed (unless you're transferring TB of data per day).
As for the prices, things aren't looking too good on that front. There are rumors that prices might increase by 40% next year.

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16:30 Dec-01-2020

I'd argue against that, however, at some point it is true. When I bought my PC, NVME drives were way too expensive. I got myself a 250GB data 6 SSD. I'm not sure when, but I will be upgrading to a NVME drive that achieves at least 3GB read and write speeds, preferably 2TB, but I don't feel the need for it yet.

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16:37 Dec-07-2020

Right but to my point, you went with what you can afford, which is all a matter of perspective based on many different factors. If, at the time, you felt the NVME drive wasn't too expensive would you have gotten it?

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09:52 Dec-10-2020

Definitely. If price per gb was the same, I'd get the NVME drive. The r/w speeds might not be that useful considering that I don't need "scratch disks performance", but the fact that the form factor is small and there's no need for a SATA and power cable makes it just more convenient when building the desktop. It also allows me to expand sata storage (however this is quite overkill since I have 4 or 6 sata ports on my mobo)

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22:29 Nov-29-2020

For main drive for OS I personally only buy M.2 SSD's that have MLC Nand for reliability and longevity. 240-500GB is plenty.


For games etc. I get SATA TLC Nand SSD's as cheap as possible, usually I calculate cost/GB. Also it is easy to expand storage later on because of lot of SATA connectors


And for long term storage and torrent seedbox I stick with good old HDD's since how cheap they are

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00:27 Dec-01-2020

You've certainly put a lot of thought into that.

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21:42 Nov-29-2020

External SSD... for gaming?
Unless you have a gen 3.2 USB port, what's the point? It will be quite slow otherwise, or at least, not any faster than having a sata 6 ssd.


I have -750GB combined storage and have -100gb free. I'd say 2TB is the spot to have big programs, a couple of AAA games and many smaller games.

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10:39 Nov-29-2020

If you buy M.2 SSD’s, then I would suggest to go with Gigabyte Gen4 SSD’s with great write endurance.


500 GB - 850 TBW
1 TB - 1800 TBW
2 TB - 3600 TBW

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16:16 Nov-29-2020

The TBW really only is a concern for server owners anymore. Those higher TBW even on consumer drives mean you would have to completely rewrite the drive every day for a couple of years before you hit it which no normal consumer will ever get close to doing.

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20:23 Nov-29-2020

While your claim is true for 90% of the population, for people that move a lot of data (editors, content creators and gamers) the TBW has meaningful impact on their purchase decesion.

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20:20 Nov-29-2020

Appreciate the info.
I'll write it down for future reference.

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03:56 Nov-29-2020

Couple of years back i thought it didnt matter to install windows on my ssd. Now i know better :) Its so much of a difference :D
As for my ssd's i use a kingston ssdnow uv400 240gb for windows and 1-2 games. Have valhalla on it now, and have 90gb left.
Side ssd is a 64gb intel 520 one, for smaller games (currently lotro)

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19:33 Nov-28-2020

I'm using 0.5TB samsung EVO 970 nvme for win10+programs - it's half full
0.5TB Kingston SSDNow V300 for games where loading times are an issue.
2TB Seagate Barracuda for rest of the crap.


I think it's enough for my needs, granted I don't play newest games because I usually wait for a sale.

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18:22 Nov-28-2020

Size wise, in my opinion 1TB is best in between cost and size it gives you even if it is for both OS and gaming, 512GB is fine for more budget oriented PC, 2TB is expensive, but great for storage. Though if you will go with two SSDs, OS wise, 256-512GB is fine, if you got another 1TB SSD for gaming and stuff. I personally have 512GB OS + few smaller games SSD and 1TB big game SSD, so SSD for both.

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18:24 Nov-28-2020

And definitely we aren't there yet to prioritize games on SSD. OS on SSD offers far more benefit, since everything in OS becomes way more responsive and "smoother".Game wise we still are where only loading times benefit,so gaming wise even HDD is still doing ok.But as we move to next generation,we will likely start seeing SSD as requirement or asterisk about HDD offering worse experience at least.

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18:28 Nov-28-2020

But for now, we still are in that transition phase of next gen, which can last one to two years, so right now HDDs are "safe". Though I personally will take faster loading any day, hence why I went full SSD and only have external HDD as backup drive for long term storage. Though I have yet to upgrade to NVMe, both my SSDs are SATA SSDs. Hopefully NVMe will see more benefit in gaming with next gen.

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18:05 Nov-28-2020

I bought a super fast m.2 250gb ssd for OS and programs nothing else. I dont really see the point in storing games on SSDs yet, to be honest. My sshd boots the game fast enough, Im usually on par with my friends that are using ssds, or sometimes even faster. Anything bigger than 250GB seems like a waste of money to me.

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16:45 Nov-28-2020

Speaking as someone who's been rocking a SATA Crucial MX500 SSD (model number CT500MX500SSD) for 1 year, I offer this point of view.


The main selling point of an SSD is speed (boot time, system responsiveness, faster load & file transfer times....), I won't get into the whole SATA & Nvme debacle here.
From my experience, right after boot Windows 10 tends to hog an HDD like crazy (if you haven't disabled telemetry and the rest). If you don't want to wait 3 - 5 min to be able to use your PC or laptop (depending on how many programs you have running on startup) an SSD is for you.


If you're a person who starts their hardware and walks off to make coffee, or you don't sit in front of your machine waiting for the blasted thing to start,then you could probably manage without one (not my personal preference).


Now to the size. My advise would be to not go below a 500GB SSD. Be it for overprovisioning (should you choose to enable it), or only gaming (with the ever expanding install sizes) a 500GB SSD will give you at least enough room for 2 - 3 big games and a few smaller ones. Should you have the money, a 2TB SSD is in my opinion the sweet spot for a gamer.


Share your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day.

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07:26 Nov-29-2020

SSD for OS is becoming a must i think...


I'm thinking of getting 2TBs SSD but paying 200+ euros for it seem too much... if it was 150euro or less i would already got it... for now i'm still thinking and even hoping for a price drop but everything seems to get more and more expensive these days it's actually pure insanity :/

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20:15 Nov-29-2020

For Windows 10 it pretty much is.
Linux Mint (and other variants) on the other hard can work with a lot less, and there a HDD will be sufficient for the near future.

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10:17 Nov-29-2020

HA, and when I write Windows 10 behaves like sh!t and in the long run first few minutes after boot even SSDs may become unresponsive, nobody believed me xD

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20:18 Nov-29-2020

Never doubted your claim for a second. My experiences mirrored yours to such an extent that it couldn't be a coincidence.

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13:38 Nov-30-2020

recently I'm having some fairly good experience with Windows 10 though,
trick is to strip down Windows 10 to bare bones,
after observing LTSC version, I now ended up with Windows 10 PRO 1909 - which performs almost as smooth as MacOS hackintosh on the very same hardware (my GD rig)

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00:24 Dec-01-2020

I'm glad that you have finally managed to tame the problematic beast.
Hopefully windows will finally serve you as it should have from the start.

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22:01 Dec-01-2020

Yeah, it is quite ironic how Windows 10 core was deigned to be extremely scalable and work with huge range of devices, but at some point Microsoft bloated it with all extra stuff like telemetry, OneDrive,... to the point where it is far more demanding. Using scripts and stuff to strip it down can make huge difference especially on low end devices, like with Win10 Debloater or something like that.

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01:03 Dec-02-2020

@Seth22087 I still haven't gotten around to killing all the spyware in windows 10.
I'll probably focus on getting a new/used laptop fan cause I think my current one is on life support.

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16:41 Nov-28-2020

For many years, I have been using a 500GB SSD for my OS + 1 or 2 installed games (i don't play multiple games on parallel). it is more than enough for me as I store my games library & media files in several cheap 4TB HDD's s

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16:44 Nov-28-2020

I just install a game on demand on the SSD and uninstall it when I finish, I have never utilized even half of the SSD's storage, however, as games' sizes are increasing and SSD's are getting cheaper, I see 1 TB being the standard size soon.

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16:49 Nov-28-2020

If your mobo supports M.2 check out Intel 665p SSDs. They're quite affordable and the speeds are quite acceptable.

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18:01 Nov-28-2020

Cope. Theres nothing that will kill a storage drive faster than deleting large files like games off and on like that. Especially an SSD.

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19:40 Nov-28-2020

Depending on how often it's done, the problem could be inconsequential. Most TLC SSD have a write endurance of 300 - 500 TB. Unless you delete 100+GB games on a daily basis you're unlikely to encounter a problem, and that doesn't take into account overprovisioning.

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16:38 Nov-28-2020

rocking a 240GB sandisk ultra SSD system drive, 2x 1TB gigabyte SSD's games drives and 2x 2TB WD HDDs for my movie collection

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16:37 Nov-28-2020

I have a 250GB SSD for my OS and programs, and a 1TB one for games, emulators and VMs

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16:33 Nov-28-2020

I have like 1 or 2 games on my SSD. OS is on the SSD. The rest like computer programs, games, softwares are all on my HDDs

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16:26 Nov-28-2020

Well i need 4tb and more for my games and emulators but so far theres nothing more than 4tb thats decent, so i'll save for samsung 860 evo, got samsung 1tb 970 evo m.2 nvme for the os

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16:26 Nov-28-2020

I think last year I was saying something like 500GB,
well now with prices being more reasonable, I'd say 1TB is the sweetspot, but obviously in limited systems (where connectivity options are few), something like 2TB or even 4TB may be worth it,
as of right now, I'm not really using Windows that much, but I have 500GB for system and few games I play recently (AoE III DE, Anno 1404 Gold, Cities Skylines, Forza Horizon 4, Frostpunk, Mafia DE, Red Dead Redemption 2, Witcher 2 EE, Witcher 3 GOTY, Transport Fever), still around 50GB left on the drive, and if I decide to play some other game, I'll probably delete 120Gigs of RDR2 xD

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16:11 Nov-28-2020

I use my SSD for OS + a game that i frequently play. Other games stay on the other HDDs

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16:15 Nov-28-2020

same. i have 3 games on ssd and others that i don't play that much on hdd

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16:21 Nov-28-2020

Same, if you are on a budget a 512 gb ssd might do the trick, if not then a 1tb is the best size choice and a $50 bucks 2 or 3 tb HDD :)

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