I think we can all agree, you can never have too much storage space. But most of us don’t have unlimited budget for storage space, and we have to Make room in our computer budget for other things, like RAM, a CPU, and video card as well. So that raises the question, is 500 GB SSD enough for gaming? In this blog post, I’ll help you determine the answer.
Why this is a hard question to answer
Unfortunately, whether a 500 GB SSD is enough for gaming isn’t the most straightforward question to answer. Some games need more local storage than others, but most games will list their system requirements, including how much free disk space they need.
But for estimation purposes, we can make some assumptions. The typical AAA game in the mid 2020s ranges in size from 25 to 100 GB.
Since the operating system also needs some space, in the worst case scenario, 500 GB gives you enough room to keep four games loaded on a 500 GB SSD at a time. If you tend to play one game at a time for a long period of time until you finish it, and then move on to another game, 500 GB is likely to be plenty. But if you like to mix things up, you might find that limit to be a bit too little. That said, if the games you like tend toward 25 GB in size, you might be able to keep 15 or 16 loaded on a 500 GB SSD.
Why 500 GB is a reasonable minimum recommended size for gaming
But there is one other factor to consider besides just capacity. A 500 GB SSD will typically give better throughput than a 120 or 240 GB SSD. That means levels will load faster, and you’ll be able to save and restore your game faster. Don’t get me wrong, even the slowest SSD is much faster for these functions then any hard drive. But you will notice a difference in performance betweenin a 120 GB SSD and a 500 GB SSD.
The reason for that is because of the number of memory cells. A smaller capacity drive like a 120 or 240 GB SSD, doesn’t have enough memory cells to saturate the Data bus at all times. In 2023, a 500 GB SSD is the minimum size that has enough cells to saturate the bus. So from a performance standpoint, 500 GB represents something of a sweet spot. That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with buying a larger capacity drive if you have the budget, because the performance won’t get any worse, but at that point, you’re mostly getting increased storage for your dollar, not increase storage and performance.
All that said, 500 GB drives are pretty inexpensive right now. Demand for storage increase over the pandemic, and some memory suppliers built more capacity than they need right now. With supply outpacing demand, that causes prices to decrease. So if you haven’t looked at SSD prices in a while, you might be pleasantly surprised at the going rate for 500 GB SSDs right now.
3 thoughts on “Is a 500 GB SSD enough for gaming?”
I remember a nice post of your from a while ago about a $500 pc.
I wonder can we still have a nice one nowadays in the same budget?
Parts getting cheaper by the years but in the same time inflation make balancing it a fun game.
Thanks! Good question. I priced something at the computer store near me based on a Ryzen 5 CPU and an inexpensive Asrock motherboard, 32 GB RAM, and a 500 GB SSD and kept the price below $400. CPUs are more expensive now but SSDs and RAM are cheap, so that makes it easier to stay in that kind of budget.
I’m lucky to have someplace near me that deals in surplus machines cheaply so I frequently end up just buying a secondhand office PC these days. But it would be fun to build something again, it’s been a few years since I’ve done that.
FWIW, I got the 512GB SteamDeck and that is more than adequate for my gaming tastes but truth be told, I am not much of a AAA title gamer, I like the more simple, not-first-person-shooter titles in my more advanced age.