Knowing the capacity of the SSD that we need for our Gaming PC is important to know which unit to buy. We are going to see what is the capacity, approximately, that we may need for our gaming computer.
Index of contents
- Why an SSD for a Gaming PC
- What SSD capacity do I need for a Gaming PC
- Operating system
- Additional software
- SSD types
- Form factor
- 5 inch SSD
- 2 SSD
- Interface type
- Final words on SSD for PC Gaming
- Form factor
Why an SSD for a Gaming PC
Currently the two main solutions for primary storage in a gaming computer are SSDs and HDDs . The difference between these units is not only the form factor, it is also in the technologies on which they are based and that determine a series of parameters dependent on the construction technologies.
The HDD are based on rotating magnetic disks and a head reading and writing, and both elements are movable. That these types of storage units have mechanical moving parts is a problem. We are now limited by the speed of movement of these parts, which means a big drop in performance. These moving mechanical parts slow down the performance of the unit and at the same time create other inconveniences. The HDD is very delicate (a blow can break the hopelessly) are very heavy, they are very inefficient and noisy.
As an alternative , we have SSD drives , which are based on memory chips and have no moving parts . With no moving parts and relying on memory chips, read and write speeds are greatly increased. A SATA SSD , for example, is 6-8 times faster than a SATA HDD . SSDs are also more resistant to shocks, are more efficient and do not generate the slightest noise. The SSDs have something negative and that is that they can suffer temperature problems (especially in the M.2 NVMe PCIe) that generates a drop in performance.
The reason why SSDs are chosen for PC Gaming is simple: the loading times of the games are reduced . As they offer higher read and write speeds, this reduces load times. It can be seen in games, in the execution of programs and even when we start the computer and load the operating system.
What SSD capacity do I need for a Gaming PC
The most common capacity of SSDs currently range from 128GB to 4TB . A 128GB SSD could be said to be the most basic capacity for a gaming computer. Usually, SSDs with capacities of 256GB, 512GB and 1TB are chosen for a Gaming PC.
To choose an SSD drive we must take into account the following aspects:
The average user will typically opt for Windows 10 for their gaming computer, as it has more widespread gaming support. Windows 10 requires between 16-20GB of capacity for installation. We must count an additional 20-30% for the issue of drivers, updates and temporary files.
The updates for Windows 10 represent an increase in space requirements. This also happens with the drivers, which with new updates usually take up more space. Additionally we have to bear in mind that Windows 10 updates generate temporary files. These tempos are usually for “uninstalling” an update, if this update is not working properly.
If we are going to play with our computer, we will need a series of additional software. Although we use it for other tasks, such as studying or teleworking, we will also need additional applications. The Office suite, Zoom or the browsers take up extra space. Office can occupy about 5-7GB , depending on the amount of elements that we install, but software such as Zoom or the browser usually occupies a few MB.
Then we must take into account the software that we install for games. Apps like Steam, Epic Games Store, Uplay, and other game stores take up space too . Additionally we can install applications such as Discord, which also occupies a few MB.
The size of games can vary quite a bit, so it is very difficult to indicate how much free space we need to install games. We must bear in mind that Triple A games are taking up more and more space, mainly due to the better textures they use. To give you an idea, we leave you some samples:
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: at least 230GB
- Final Fantasy XV: at least 150GB
- Red Dead Redemption 2: at least 150GB
- Grand Theft Auto V: at least 100GB
- World of Warcraft: at least 70GB
- Half-Life Alyx: at least 70GB
We have to bear in mind that the games are also being updated . These updates can increase the space that the game occupies , especially if new maps are included.
We can choose to install two units. Many users go for a 128GB or 256GB SSD for the operating system and applications. They then install a high-capacity secondary HDD to install the games. The SSD will act as a kind of cache, which allows for better performance than that offered by HDDs.
Capacity is not the only factor to consider for SSDs, the form factor is another important aspect . Currently the main form factors that we find are: 2.5-inch format SSD and M.2 format SSD. But it is also that we must distinguish between two connection interfaces: SATA and PCIe.
2.5 inch SSD
These types of units are quite common and are usually the most affordable. These units offer us versatility and good performance. They are characterized by offering about 500MB / s of reading and writing, and capacities between 128GB and 4TB. This type of unit can also be used to give a second life to old laptops with 2.5-inch HDD units.
The SSD 2.5 – inch drives typically require fits of data and power cables. In portable equipment it is unified in a rigid connection system. These types of drives usually only make use of the SATA interface.
We move on to a more compact type of units that are characterized by being mounted directly on the motherboard. This type of units does not require data and power cables , since it is unified in a specific port on the motherboard. M.2 drives are becoming more and more common in laptops as they allow them to be made lighter.
M.2 drives can make use of the SATA interface and the PCIe interface. Physically the connection slot is the same, what changes is the type of pin configuration of the unit. It should be noted that M.2 SSDs have temperature issues . They tend to get quite hot under heavy load and their performance drops noticeably to protect the unit. We can install passive heatsinks to avoid this problem.
We can find both 2.5-inch and M.2 drives that make use of this SATA interface . 2.5-inch SSDs have a form factor that is quite reminiscent of debit cards. On the other hand, M.2 format drives are elongated with a variable length.
The SATA interface does not have to do with capacity, it has to do with the type of connection and the speed that it will offer us. Normally it moves between 450-550MB / s of reading and writing, and can vary between manufacturers and formats.
Much faster interface than SATA interface and only available for M.2 format drives. The M.2 units PCIe interface uses chip memory NVMe type, which are faster than the NAND Flash used in the SSD.
Thanks to the NVMe speeds and the PCIe interface type, high read and write speeds can be achieved. An NVMe PCIe 3.0 drive can deliver between 2500-3000MB / s read and write (about 6 times more than the SATA interface). NVMe PCIe 4.0 drives can deliver 5500-7000MB / s read and write (11-14 times more than SATA interface)
Note: Physically the NVMe PCIe 3.0 and NVMe PCIe 4.0 drives do not have differences, so we must pay attention to the manufacturer’s specifications.
Left: M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD | Right: M.2 SATA SSD
Final words on SSD for PC Gaming
The type of interface we use will improve performance when playing games. What really matters to us in this text is the capacity of the SSD for a gaming system. The normal thing between operating system, cache files and other software is to consume up to 100GB of space on the storage unit. Taking into account that the games occupy more and more, it is advisable to opt for an SSD of at least 512GB.
We recommend the best SSD for gaming PC
The prices of SSDs, especially those with the SATA interface, have fallen noticeably as capacities increase. If we are looking for the best possible performance, the best units are those with the PCIe interface. We must bear in mind that the latter have significant temperature problems and if we do not want a performance drop we must purchase a unit that already includes a heatsink or buy it independently.