Most Windows PCs with hard drives come with at least 500GB of storage. But if you want the advantages of a solid state drive (including speed, durability, and smaller size), you’ll also pay a higher price per gigabyte, which is why a lot of laptops come with just 128GB or 256GB of solid state storage.

And then there are entry-level computers with eMMC flash storage. Some have as little as 32GB. That’s enough space for the Windows 10 operating system and a few applications. But it doesn’t leave a lot of room for photos, videos, or other data.

How much storage you need probably depends on what you use a computer for. But one thing seems certain: you’re not going to be playing the upcoming Windows edition of Final Fantasy XV on a computer with entry-level hardware. According to recently-release specifications, this game alone requires between 100GB and 155GB of storage space.

To be fair, you only need 155GB if you plan to play at 4K HDR resolution. You’ll also need an NVIDIA GeForce FTX Ti or equivalent graphics card and at least 16GB of RAM, so it’s not like it’s just the limited storage that’s holding you back from playing this game on a $200 (or less) Lenovo IdeaPad 120S laptop.

But even the minimum specifications ask for 100GB of storage (and 8GB of RAM, an Intel Core i5-2500 or AMD FX-6100 or higher CPU and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760, GTX 1050, or AMD Radeon R9 280 graphics).

The point is that as 4K displays become more common, the size of games and other apps with visually detailed graphics are likely to grow in size… but Final Fantasy XV may be a bit of an extreme example, as even the non-4K version is one of the larger games in the world.

Don’t plan to play these sorts of games? No problem. Plenty of Chromebooks ship with as little as 16GB of storage, which is plenty if the main thing you use a computer for is surfing the web and running web apps.

But I have noted that nearly any time I write about a computer with 32GB of storage, no matter how small and cheap, someone will eventually complain it doesn’t even have enough storage to download and install Windows updates (which is typically only true these days if you’re using most of the available free space).

So I’m wondering. How much disk space is enough for you? And how little is too little?

I understand that this will vary widely from person to person, so while I’m including a few options in this poll, feel free to weigh in with more details in the comments.


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10 replies on “How much storage space do you need on a PC? (At least 155GB if you want to play Final Fantaxy XV in 4K)”

  1. Speaking from experience, I can say that a Windows 10 system with only 32GB of storage and no extra programs cannot install Windows updates.

    I have a newer Dell laptop with only 32GB of storage running Windows 10. I use it as if it were a Chromebook, i.e. just a browsing machine. It has an unusually nice keyboard, so I like typing on it. Even with no other programs installed and no pictures or video saved to storage, I cannot install Windows updates.

    The Windows cleanup tool doesn’t free up enough space to make it work. It’s supposed to remove old Windows installation files, which it does for the most part, but it’s still not enough to allow for installing new updates. So what I have to do with each update is completely wipe the machine and reinstall Windows, otherwise I can’t get updates. Since I don’t store anything internally, it’s not a big deal from a data perspective, but it is extremely time consuming.

    I wouldn’t just dismiss claims that updates don’t work on 32GB machines. It’s a real problem even for users who don’t install extra programs or store data internally. Over time Windows is getting more and more bloated, so I expect that it will continue to be an issue.

  2. For me, I’m thinking a minimum of 512 GB for an SSD. I could probably get away with 256 GB for my wife who’s a lighter user. Then supplement additional storage as needed on my home network, cloud, or an external drive.

    I’d like to see 1 TB drives become cheaper and more common, but I think we have a little while on that yet.

  3. My trusty Lenovo Yoga 3-14 is the typical notebook with its 256 GB SSD, which quickly got filled to capacity and prompted me to upgrade it with a 525 GB drive (would have gone for a 1 TB drive, but those were prohibitively expensive up until just recently).

    Case in point, I wouldn’t need to upgrade if I didn’t have some games installed, it’s rather amazing how 2-3 games will eat up 80-100 GB each quickly these days (World of Warcraft, for example, eats up 97 GB on my drive nowadays).

  4. I only use 128 GB SSDs on my laptops as I do not keep a ton of stuff on them. My desktop also has a 120 GB SSD, but it is augmented by 4 TB of hard disk space. OS(es) and programs go on the SSD and files go on the hard drive. Back ups are multiple hard drives stored in multiple locations. Sorry, no “cloud” storage here.

  5. 720p is good enough for me for video games and movies. Yes, I wear glasses and also sit further away as screen size increases.

  6. 256gb if you rarely playing. The rest of the files are in a much better place on the NAS for easy sharing.
    If you are a gamer 1tb.

  7. I presently have a 512GB SSD and 1TB HDD on my desktop. I do everything I want on it, including gaming. But that’s not minimum to me. I have an older laptop as a tertiary device which has a 110GB SSD I put in it years ago. It more than does what I ask of that machine. I am looking at Chromebooks at present for a combination replacement for my tablet and that laptop. All I would do on it is media consumption, web browsing and email for when I am out and about. For that machine my absolute minimum would be 64GB.

  8. I find 128GB to be good enough for a simple workstation. If you are working with large files, chances are you have a 2-4TB HDD installed next to the SSD anyways or you are working from a NAS. If you have 16GB + of RAM you might need a 256GB thou, the pagefile and if you enable the hiberfile will take up ~24-32GB.

  9. That actually depends on what you will be doing with the computer and how much mobility matters to you. I personally have an M700 tiny with a 128gb ssd and a 2 tb hdd that is my go to device when I need heavy lifting (photoshop etc) but also GPD WIN with its built in emmc for retro games and minor document editing.

  10. Not a new problem although in desktop it’s more about SSD size. It is what drove popular SSD capacities towards 512GB and above in the last few years – OS, some apps, a few games and you got no space left.

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