Is a 500GB SSD Large Enough for Gaming?

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Is a 500GB SSD Large Enough for Gaming?

In the world of PC gaming, finding the right amount of storage is necessary for downloading a solid catalog of games. Between multiple storefronts like Steam, Epic, and GOG leading the charge with digital downloads, games are taking up more drive space than ever. This is what makes purchasing a new computer with a 500GB SSD difficult as games get larger and not smaller.

What this means is that you need to consider the importance of storage more than ever. Given this importance, start by asking if you can make do with a 500GB SSD for gaming in 2024. Is this number going to be enough? Let’s jump in and take a look at how much storage you need in a gaming PC. 

How Large Are Games Today? 

To answer the question of whether you can work with 500GB of storage, start by looking at the download size of games available today. For example, popular games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III are releasing at over 149GB of space. What this means is that with one single game download, you have used 30% of your available storage.

Alternatively, you can look at a game like Tunic, a popular Zelda-style adventure that takes up just 2GB of space. This equates to only 0.004% of your total storage allotment. 

The bottom line is that game sizes can vary wildly with newer titles getting larger and larger. A middle-ground example between the two games above, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales takes up around 75GB of storage. This means one game download is already eating up 15% of your available storage.

What’s worth knowing is that current estimates put the average AAA game download between 30 and 80 GB of storage. At this size, it only takes a few game downloads to completely use up the 500GB SSD you have available.

What About Windows Install? 

An easily overlooked aspect of PC ownership, Windows can take up 20-30GB of storage all on its own. Not to mention any other bloatware you get with a PC purchase that may need to be uninstalled. Assume you don’t install any extras, you are immediately down to between 470 and 480 GB of storage.

What makes this notable is that you haven’t even installed one game before losing 30GB of space. This should paint a pretty clear picture of how quickly storage can be used. Before you even install your first game, you already have to consider how much of your initial 500GB is missing.

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Using a 500GB SSD will help you get started with the latest AAA gaming downloads.

It’s Not Just Games 

Unless you are absolutely one of the rare few buying a gaming PC with the sole purpose of just playing games, there is a good chance you will have other apps and tools also taking up memory. Even something like downloading Google Chrome, Brave, or Firefox all take up room. When you add in other apps like Microsoft Office, photo or video editing apps, VLC, Adobe Reader, or Slack, you are again taking up more room. 

Arguably the most popular set of apps installed on a Windows PC, Microsoft Office 365 takes up around 3-4GB with just the basics included. This means Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other apps like OneNote or ToDo. When installed, Google Chrome can take up 7GB of storage all on its own. Said differently, installing Chrome and Office means you’ve already used 5% of your total storage allotment, again before games even come into the picture.

Now, with Windows, Office, and Chrome installed, you are well below 470GB of available storage. All of this points to the argument that 500GB SSD storage may not be enough.

Is a 500GB SSD Large Enough for Gaming? 

Having looked at how quickly you can use 500GB, your gaming preferences will make the difference as to whether it’s enough storage. The short answer is that If you don’t install many AAA games, you might be able to make it work. If you plan to stick to older, more compact titles storage-wise, 500GB of SSD can be enough. 

For example, if you want to play older retro games on your PC, 500GB SSD should be enough space. The small sizes of older games will allow you to store plenty of titles on your PC. The same rule would also apply to indie games as well. Stardew Valley, one of the most popular indie titles available, only requires 500MB of storage. This means you can install dozens of titles around this size before having any storage concerns. 

However, if your main goal is to play the latest and greatest AAA titles as soon as they hit the Epic or Steam stores, 500GB likely isn’t enough. If this is your use case, the better answer is that you want to likely start with a 1TB SSD as the lowest entry point for gaming. 

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If you want plenty of storage for gaming today, a 1TB SSD is the best choice for most people.

Why 1TB Should Be the Minimum for PC Gaming

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03/10/2024 04:22 pm GMT

The reality is that 500GB might be enough for gaming under some conditions, 1TB SSD is the smarter choice. However, even using a 1TB SSD will still have you somewhat limited as far as AAA game downloads. The good news is that you will have more space to download AA titles and lower, especially popular indie titles.

On top of gaming, having a 1TB SSD also gives you plenty of room to download non-gaming files and applications. If you are someone who wants to have plenty of growing room, going larger than 500GB is the smart move. 

With a 1TB SSD, you essentially have two options available to you. The first is to swap out the SSD in your gaming computer, something you can do relatively easily and quickly. Alternatively, you can use a great portable gaming drive from Western Digital that runs games when connected to a Windows PC.

Final Thoughts

In the grand scheme, most people could make a 500GB SSD work for gaming, but it wouldn’t be ideal. The biggest concern is undoubtedly AAA games, which have risen considerably in size over the last few years. If you are more focused on indie games or older titles, storage is less of a concern and 500GB will be okay. However, if you want to make sure you have enough room for the newest titles, starting with a 1TB SSD minimum is the preferred way to go.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much storage do you need for Windows 10/11?

On most PCs, you won’t find Windows 10 or 11 taking up more than 20-30GB of size.

How many AAA titles can you fit on a 500GB SSD?

Even though AAA gaming titles can vary in size, you likely won’t get more than 5-10 on a 500GB SSD. 

Will using external memory slow down game performance?

For most people, you shouldn’t notice a big performance drop using an external drive when gaming. 

Is 500GB enough to play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III?

Considering that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III takes up around 150GB of storage, you would ideally have a larger drive to start with. 

How much space does a game like Fortnite take up?

The good news is that Fortnite only takes up roughly 18GB of space before seasonal updates, so it’s on the smaller end of popular titles. 

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