How much gaming PC storage do I really need in 2022?

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With digital storefronts such as Steam, Origin, Epic, GOG Galaxy, and Ubisoft Connect taking up the vast majority of PC gamers’ hard drives, how much storage space do you really need on a gaming PC in 2022?

It’s common these days for most gaming PCs to come with a 1TB SSD as standard, either NVMe or SATA, which is whatever your bootOS ( where Windows is stored) takes up some of that capacity. Now, if you’re planning on building a gaming PC yourself from the ground up, being smart with the amount of storage on a budget system is a great way to keep those costs down. Fortunately, it’s now easier than ever, with more options available to you, both for SSDs of all kinds and standard hard drives.

With optical drives largely phased out during the 2010s on the PC gaming platform, the present (and indeed the future) is all about digital distribution. That’s why we’re looking at what you can do with a 500GB drive as well as a 1TB drive in different configurations for a budget-minded gaming setup. Keep in mind that these models won’t necessarily be the best SSDs for gaming, but for those looking for wallet-friendly models, they should definitely do the trick.

Is 500 GB of storage enough for a gaming PC?

Taking into account your operating system installation, Windows 10 normally takes around 20 GB depending on your SSD version, you have around 480 GB of total capacity left to play. The size of an average triple-A game in 2022 has been estimated to be between 25 and 60 GB, which is consistent with lists of titles such as Dying Light 2: Stay Human and Elden Ring, both of which have a total install size of 60 GB.

For two games, this represents about 120 GB of usable space (about 25%) occupied. From this example, we can assume that you will have room for six to seven games of similar size, depending on their position in this average scale. From there, we can assume that 500GB is indeed enough to store a few big games at a time, although that doesn’t take into account other extra media and files.

Of course, if you’re buying a gaming PC to indulge in more casual gaming experiences or Esports games that typically contain smaller file sizes (such as Valorent, CS:GO, and Dota II), your system space total will extend much further. . That’s to say nothing of the indie scene, whose titles can be as small as a few hundred megabits for a few gigs.

Should I go for a 500 GB HDD or SSD?

The biggest measure of savings here is going to come down to storage type, as standard HDDs generally run cheaper, and therefore much slower, then faster SATA and M.2 SSDs. As a general rule, we recommend running your games on an SSD as this will result in faster loading of titles and better overall performance.

Fortunately, SSDs aren’t nearly as expensive as they once were. We’ve rounded up the three best, cheapest options on the market for you below.

Best Budget 500GB Storage Drives

Seagate BarraCuda

(Image credit: Seagate)

Seagate BarraCuda 500 GB

The best budget 500GB hard drive

Features

Sequential Read/Write: 210 MB/s

Reasons to buy

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Standard 3.5 inch SATA size

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2 year warranty

+

32 MB cache

Reasons to avoid

Slower standard hard drive speeds

If you’re on a tight budget and less concerned about Windows boot speed and gaming performance, then the Seagate BarraCuda 500GB might be just what you’re looking for priced at just $39.99. While this model is unlikely to blow anyone away with its performance, as it’s limited by the proven 7200 rpm spinning disc technology of yesteryear, you can’t really go wrong with its reliability for the money. . With data transfer rates of up to 140MB/s and a five-year limited warranty, it’s a solid choice for those looking to save a few bucks.

Crucial MX500

(Image credit: Crucial)

Crucial MX500 500GB

The best budget 500GB SSD

Features

Sequential Read/Write Speeds: 560MB/s / 510MB/s

Reasons to buy

+

Uses 3D NAND technology

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256-bit hardware encryption

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5 year warranty

Reasons to avoid

Capped at 560 MB/s sequential

While the Crucial MX500 is unlikely to wow anyone with its sequential performance versus an NVMe drive, priced at just $59.99, this 500GB model is more than enough for a gaming PC setup at small budget. Sequential performance here is solid overall, at around 560MB/s, which is still good enough for many games in 2022. As a 2.5-inch SATA, the Crucial MX500 can easily be squeezed into any relevant space inside your case, and be ready to launch both your operating system and the titles you want to run.

SAMSUNG 980

(Photo credit: Samsung)

Samsung 980 500GB Solid State Drive

Best budget 512GB NVMe SSD

Features

Sequential Read/Write Speeds: 3500 / 3000 MB/s

Reasons to buy

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Aggressive pricing

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Sequential speeds of 3,500 MB/s

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Backwards compatible with Gen 4 M.2 slots

Reasons to avoid

Replaced by Gen 4.0 980 Pro

Although it may be limited to Gen 3.0 speeds, the Samsung 980 SSD remains one of the most popular NVMe drives for its impressive overall performance. You can expect the pinnacle of what’s possible from the previous generation here, up to 3500/3000MB/s read and write respectively, which is considerably faster than what a SATA can deliver . Priced at $75, though frequently on sale, the Samsung 980 SSD is an ideal choice for anyone who wants blazing fast Windows boot times, snappy load times, and respectable file transfer rates in 2022. that it lacks that of a Gen 4 drive, much more PC gamers will have access to their motherboard’s Gen 3 M.2 ports, especially when that drive is priced similar to many slower SATAs for the same price.

What about cheap 1TB PC storage space options?

We generally consider 1TB to be the sweet spot for any gaming PC setup, and doubling your amount of storage really isn’t too expensive. This is the usual standard size that pre-built machines come with, which can be enough for many games and files at the same time. Really, you give yourself that extra leeway for bigger future titles, as well as immediate access to more of your backlog and programs.

Best Budget 1TB Storage Drives

WD Blue 1TB

(Image credit: Western Digital)

WD Blue 1TB WD10EZEX

The best budget 1TB hard drive

Features

Sequential Read/Write Speeds: 150 MB/s

Reasons to buy

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64 MB cache

+

Low energy consumption

+

Reliable character

Reasons to avoid

Slower standard hard drive speeds

With its aggressive asking price of just $39.99, the WD Blue 1TB hard drive is a hard-to-beat value proposition for anyone after a reliable storage drive with respectable speeds. It’s also one of the cheapest hard drives from a reliable manufacturer. This 3.5-inch standard SATA hard drive spins at the fastest speed available, 7200 RPM, and with its 64MB cache, it’s far from the slowest data hard drive you can squeeze in. in your gaming PC. Keep in mind that, of course, sequential performance won’t be exceptional. However, when it comes to the price per gigabyte here, around 4 cents each, you can’t really argue with that.

Sandisk SSD Plus 1TB

(Image credit: Sandisk)

SanDisk SSD Plus 1TB

The Best Budget 1TB SATA SSD

Features

Sequential Read/Write Speeds: 535MB/s / 450MB/s

Reasons to buy

+

Shock resistant

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High write endurance

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3 year warranty

Reasons to avoid

Slightly slower than some other 1TB SATA

The SanDisk SSD Plus 1TB remains a popular choice in many gaming PCs to this day for its reliable nature and competitive price. For $79.99, you get significantly faster sequential performance than a standard HDD, and this unit promises around 535MB/s for faster in-game boot and load times. Additionally, and perhaps the best-known feature of SanDisk’s wear-resistant 3.5-inch SATA line, is 1500G shock and vibration resistance, which means there’s a risk of many minimal mechanical failure here too.

Sabrent Q Rocket

(Image credit: Sabrent)

Sabrent Rocket Q 1TB

The best budget 1TB NVMe SSD

Features

Sequential Read/Write Speeds: 3200 / 2000 MB/s

Reasons to buy

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3D QLC NAND Flash architecture

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High-end PCIe Gen 3.0 performance

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Integrated heat sink solution

Reasons to avoid

Surpassed by Gen 4.0 drives

The 1TB Sabrent Rocket Q may not be aiming as high as the company’s coveted Gen 4.0 drives, but this wallet-friendly previous-gen model certainly has enough to be considered the best-performing NVMe SSD in the world. 2022. With up to 3,200 MB/s sequential throughputs, you’re looking at the high end of what’s possible with Gen 3.0 architecture, which is far more common on budget motherboards than 4X4. If you’re willing to take advantage of these ports, you’ll see performance more than triple what a typical SATA can do, meaning your PC and games will always go through with space to spare.


Expand your storage options with the best external hard drivesand speed up your installation in other ways with the best processor for gamingand best ram for gaming.


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