How much storage do you need on your laptop?


I often get asked ‘How much storage do I need on my laptop?’ From our experience, you will need at least 256GB of storage in your laptop.

Why do you need storage?

Have you ever asked yourself, how much storage do I need on my laptop? If you are using your laptop only for browsing the internet, checking e-mail, and doing some light office work (e.g. writing text documents like this one), then you don’t require a lot of storage space.

However, if you use your laptop to play video games or transfer large files from an external hard drive to your computer, then extra space would be helpful.

In this article, we will state when extra space is needed and when it isn’t necessary.

My personal opinion:

barely enough < 80GB

web-browsing/office work/email/light multimedia playback  > 250 GB

good – games/video editing  > 500 GB

This is also what I use with my laptop. I have a habit of using Google Docs for most documents, but it’s very rare that I edit videos or play video games on here (and when I do, they’re small). My laptop has about 300GB of space left over because I don’t store files on my computer or download things constantly.

If you are not sure how much storage you need, the general rule is to consider your current habits and try to predict future ones. Since this is subjective information, there are no general guidelines other than the facts stated above. If you need help deciding, contact our laptop experts.

Specs are often advertised as having a lot more space than they actually do. If you want to know the exact specs, there are multiple methods by which this can be done. You can use manufacturer specifications, but if you don’t feel like looking up every file, it’s also possible to look at what is already stored on your computer and what kind of files you use most often. The latter method will give you an idea of how much storage space you need leftover – that is, storage space not used by anything yet downloaded onto the computer. If you just buy whatever has enough free space for your needs, this won’t apply to you.

For instance

The Macbook Air 13″ (Mid 2012) has a 320 GB hard drive installed. If you have used up all your storage space, the cheapest way to increase it is through external hard drives. The Western Digital My Passport 1 TB External USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive , for example, costs 60 dollars and can store up to 1,000 GB of data.

If you need more than just over one terabyte of storage space on your computer, then buying an additional internal hard drive might be an option. You can put them in your computer yourself or take it to a professional – but make sure they are compatible with your computer before doing so.

For those that want to store over 1,000 GB of data on their computer, an internal hard drive could be the way to go. The Seagate 1 TB Desktop HDD SATA 6Gb/s 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive, for example, can cost as little as 50 dollars and provide almost four times the storage space than a 500 GB portable external hard drive for about twice the price.

Alternatively, you could buy two Western Digital My Passport 1 TB External USB 2.0 Portable Hard Drives for half the price of one Seagate hard drive with essentially double storage space. In this case, however, there is no guarantee that your computer will have enough ports to support both devices at the same time.

And then there is the middle road, which isn’t really a road but consists of two options to consider: purchasing one 1 TB external hard drive or two 500 GB external hard drives. In either case, you might have to juggle multiple files and folders to accommodate your preferences for storage space between devices.

It’s ultimately up to each individual user how much storage space they think their computer requires. There are also a few other variables that will determine how much storage space you need in a portable device, such as what kind of games or movies do you intend on storing. For example, if you want to watch “Lord of the Rings” from start to finish uninterrupted while sitting front of your computer with all six parts of the series in a single folder, you’re going to need to have over 15 GB of storage space available.

On the other hand, if you want enough space for a few games and a couple dozen pictures or songs to carry around with your laptop while traveling, then all you’ll ever really need is 1-2 GB of free storage space.

What are the storage types for laptops?

There are mainly 3 types of storage available for laptops

  1. SSD
  2. HDD
  3. eMMC


SSD stands for Solid State Drive. It is a more expensive option, but it can significantly boost the performance of your device. SSDs do not need time to start up and load files because they have no moving parts that slow down access times. In addition, SSDs give you faster read speeds than traditional disks even though write speeds are the same due to the nature of how data is written onto a disk.


HDD stands for Hard Disk Drive, which stores pre-written data on a magnetic disk. A traditional HDD has a disk inside the casing with a magnetic head mounted above it so that when electricity runs through it while spinning, there will be no problem writing information onto the disk. However, while from an HDD disks spin at a constant rate, SSDs have to be constantly receiving power for the ability to write. This causes the lifespan of an HDD to be significantly reduced compared to that of a SSD.


An eMMC storage device is a type of flash memory chip that can be found in digital devices such as smartphones, tablets and digital cameras. A flash disk function similar to an HDD by writing data onto magnetic disks but also differs from it significantly: there is no actual head (like an HDD) and the disks spin only when the power is turned on. This uses up less energy than traditional HDDs do while increasing lifespan at the same time, which could cause the reading speed to increase exponentially.


What are the different types of SSD drive connectors?

  1. SATA
  2. M.2
  3. NvME


Serial ATA or SATA is a computer bus interface that connects host bus adapters to mass storage devices such as hard disk drives, optical drives and solid-state drives. It has been designed to replace the older PATA (parallel ATA) standard primarily because of its speed advantage over most parallel interfaces at approximately 6Gbit/s max transfer rate . This also allows for smaller connectors than the previous 40 pin IDE or ATA cable, with most motherboards using it today utilizing an average of six SATA 3.0 cables maximum. The technology is backwards compatible with USB 2.0 but requires USB 3 ports to achieve higher speeds than included in the standard so far (up to ~10 Gbit/s).


M.2 SSDs are a new form of solid-state storage devices which have been designed to eliminate the SATA interface, instead opting for compatibility with PCIe connections. This means it can be connected directly to motherboard PCIe lanes or controller lanes, offering faster speeds than traditional 2.5″ SATA SSDs if compatible controllers are used. The initial standard allowed up to four PCI Express lanes running at 1GB/s each (~4GB/s total bandwidth), later versions allow up to 32 PCI Express 3.0 lanes running at around 20GB/s each (~64 GB/s total bandwidth).


NvME SSDs are designed to use the NvME interface, which has its roots in graphics cards.

SATA and M.2 allows for up to 6GB/s (~300MB/s). NVMe SSD, however, may be responsible for some of the observed performance gains across NVMe SSDs since it is very efficient and can reach speeds of about 6000 MB/s.

How to check storage space on your laptop?

If you need to know about how much HDD space or SSD space is free on your laptop, the simplest way is using system information tool.


For Windows 10/8 users, Hit Windows key and type Run in Start menu search box (or Cortana search box) and then type ‘msinfo32’ without quotes to open System Information window. If you are a Windows 7 user, type ‘msinfo32’ without quotes in the search box and then click System Information in the list of results.

A free software named Speccy is also available to check storage space on your laptop. It shows how much disk space is used by different folders such as Windows folder, Program Files (x86) folder, Users folder, etc.


To check free space on Macintosh computers, open Spotlight (by pressing Command+Space) and type ‘About This Mac’. Then click the Storage tab to see how much HDD/SSD space is free on your laptop.