Is 1TB SSD enough?

1TB! That sounds like a whole lot, and indeed, it is a whole lot – if you went back ten years ago when the best laptops had to make do with 500GB of storage. Today, 1TB is the new 256GB, but I guess the important question is, is 1TB storage enough?

The verdict – is a 1TB SSD enough?

Yes, a 1TB SSD is enough storage space for most people, including everyone who does a fair bit of gaming, programming, photo or video editing, and even hardcore stuff like 3D modelling. With 10TB storage chips taking over the market, 1TB might seem like a small number, but for the everyday PC user, it still is enough storage to handle everyday PC needs.

Breaking it down

A 1TB SSD is enough because it sits just nicely between the almost enough (512GB) and the totally enough (2TB) SSD categories. With a 1TB SSD, you have enough storage to cover your needs as an average PC user.

How much space is in a 1TB SSD

A 1TB SSD hosts a total of 1,048,576 in actual storage bytes. This means it will conveniently hold 270,000 pictures, 250 videos, and 500 app installations. Assuming you create five photos per day, plus another five videos per day and then go on to download three apps daily, with a 1TB SSD on board, you can go on with this data creation schedule for up to a year uninterrupted.

Efficient data pruning – deleting old, unused files – can further extend this cycle indefinitely. I’ve been using a 1TB PC for quite a while now, and while I do have an extra 2TB MicroSD card (for photography), 1TB has been enough to satisfy my data storage needs.

Note that I do photography as a hobby. Professional photographers will obviously need more storage than that, usually in the form of an external HDD. So all things together, 1TB on a PC/laptop is also enough for people with large data needs if they pair it up with a massive external storage device.

SSDs store data better too!

What’s the difference between a 1TB SSD and a 1TB HDD? It’s not the storage capacity; both will store equal volumes of data, it’s the way they store this data. HDDs are older-gen storage devices. While they were the absolute pinnacle of storage tech at one point, today, we consider them chunky, slow and not so durable.

An SSD, on the other hand, is faster, smaller and more durable! Actual lab tests show that SSDs can reach read/write speeds of 2200MBs compared to the measly 550MBs read/write speeds of HDDs. The read/write speed of a storage device is a measure of how fast it can receive/store data and how fast it can transmit stored data to other PC components.

Is 1TB storage enough for gaming

A 1TB SSD is more than enough for the gaming needs of the average gamer. Most games will take between 30 – 50GB of data on your storage device after installation (apart from game install files). For every gamer who has less than 50 active installs on their PCs at any point, a 1TB SSD should be enough to handle their gaming needs.

How many games can a 1TB SSD hold?

Going with the estimate of popular games taking up between 30 – 50GB of storage, a 1TB SSD can hold at least 15 games at once. This is a conservative estimate. I’ve factored in the space requirements for your PC’s operating system and other necessary additional files. In the real world, provided you’re not hosting the game install files (which are usually huge and better off on an external storage device), you’re going to get more than 15 games installed on a 1TB SSD. For context, I once had a 512GB SSD PC, and there were 17 games installed on it at one point.

Why SSDs for gaming

Why should you bother buying a 1TB SSD for gaming when you could easily get a 1TB HDD at a lower price? It’s all down to what I said earlier. SSDs are faster and better. When performance is important, as would be if you planned on using your setup for gaming, programming, video/photo editing and any other performance-related task really, you need a fast and performance-oriented storage device.

In real-world use, an SSD will improve your gaming experience by:

  • Reducing load times
  • Reducing install times
  • Reducing game lag.

Check out my guide to buying an SSD for more details on how SSDs markedly improve gaming performance.

So you’re saying any SSD I get should bump up my gaming performance?

In the grand scheme of things, a fast storage module only does so much to improve the gaming experience. As my science dudes will say, it’s not the ‘rate-limiting factor’. A better CPU, GPU and RAM all contribute way more to improving your gaming experience, and SSDs are just a small slice of the cake.

That said, a great SSD will deffo improve your gaming experience, all things equal. It’s also important to understand that SSDs differ in their performance characteristics – some are better than others.

The gold standard, for now, are NVME SSDs which support insane read/write speeds. SATA SSDs, the other type you’ll see commonly, are also good – definitely better than HDDs – but not better than NVME tech.

To understand more about the performance tiers of SSDs, check out my SSD guide here.

1TB vs 2TB

As I always say, with SSDs, more is better. So if you’ve got the option to choose between a 1TB and 2TB SSD, I’d recommend picking the 2TB SSD if you can afford it. With a 2TB SSD, you get more storage to store more files and data on your PC.

I should, however, add that sometime a better strategy would be to opt for a 1TB SSD and shore that up with a bigger 3 – 4TB HDD. The price difference between the 1TB and 2TB SSD should be enough to cover the costs of a 2TB/3TB SSD.

You can load up operating files, game installs, and performance-intensive app installs on the SSD for the better boost in performance it offers and then use the HDD for normal conventional data storage. It’s kind of like eating your cake and having it, at least to an extent.

To conclude

1TB is more than enough if you’re just the average joe looking to run some performance intensive apps or games on your PC. Down the line, you might need to add up storage if you’re a hoarder like me, but in most cases and especially if you prune your data periodically, 1TB should serve all your storage needs conveniently.

Even if you eventually need to expand your storage, you can always buy a cheaper storage device like an HDD, just for storage purposes. It’s what I do; I currently have a 3TB HDD and 512GB SSD, and suffice it to say that it’s been smooth sailing so far.