Ever experienced a game crash right in the middle of a crucial moment, and an error message popping up to warn you about low disk space?
Or, how about downloading a game that fails after leaving it for a few hours because your disk ran out of space? Many other similar issues will irritate any die-hard gamer, and they often cause these problems is a poor SSD.
Here, we aim to guide you on how much SSD for gaming is required for that smooth experience you’ve been longing for. And because an SSD alone is insufficient for running heavy games, we also aim to discuss other factors that can influence the overall performance of your machine before and during gameplay.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Gaming Laptop
SSD or HDD
A solid-state drive for gaming is a requirement for a laptop that’s primarily used for this purpose. SSD replaced HDD as the top choice of many gamers and business users alike because of its fast, heavy-duty performance.
This is mainly due to the design of an SSD, which allows it to have no mechanical component moving around while in use. That’s why you can find these SSDs already included in many of the more recent laptops today.
A data storage capacity of 256GB for an SSD is quite common these days. This is often sufficient for general purposes. However, the relevant needs of a gamer are different. In fact, having only 256GB for gaming can seriously hinder your experience. Many wildly popular games like FIFA 19 and Witcher 3 require more than 50GB.
If you install games like these on a laptop with a 256GB SSD, then you’ll only be able to keep 4 or 5 of them and to install a new game, you’ll have to remove previous ones. This one of the main reasons most gaming laptops come with a 1TB data storage capacity and, 512GB gaming SSDs are already available (a minimum for gamers).
Anything more might be unnecessary unless you also do some serious video editing and movie collecting. On the other hand, anything less can significantly affect your gaming experience.
It’s also important for you as a gamer to get an SSD with this data storage capacity, instead of an HDD. That’s because applications and relevant components of your operating system run faster and smoother with an SSD, as opposed to the speed and performance that an HDD can provide.
These are the top reasons why an SSD and the right amount of data storage are crucial for ensuring the best gaming experience. Now, let’s talk about other factors that should influence your decision in choosing a gaming laptop.
A strong CPU (central processing unit) can effectively complement a good SSD for gaming. An Intel Core i7 8th or 7th generation CPU is sufficient enough to run any game that’s available in the market today. This processor will still be useful for future games to be launched in the next couple of years or so.
A fast processor will also be capable of efficiently accessing and storing relevant chunks of data in the available SSD. A powerful CPU can also streamline communication processes between required components of your operating system (OS), your favorite games, and other third-party programs.
For example, laptops like the Acer Helios Predator 300 comes with the latest generation Core i7 processor, as well as a 512GB SSD, which can be expanded upon user request.
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Operating System Version
Because most gamers use Microsoft Windows, we’ll talk about this in greater detail than any other OS. Windows 10 is the latest version from Microsoft, and this occupies more disk space than Windows 7. This means Windows 10 can be unsuitable for a gamer with an SSD of just 256GB data storage capacity.
Even if Windows 7 might be sufficient for the same gaming setup, Windows 10 is still recommended for users who want to play the latest games today.
That’s because almost all game development companies and individual game developers try to keep at pace with the latest updates and versions of Microsoft Windows, which means their latest titles are likely to be integrated with support for Windows 10 at the moment since it’s the most recent version from Microsoft.
RAM (Random Access Memory)
Both CPU and SSD of your gaming laptop rely significantly on available RAM resources. That’s because these components store and retrieve data in your laptop’s RAM modules to carry out certain tasks required by your OS, firmware, games and other third-party applications.
And yes, internal and external hardware devices that are connected to your laptop also rely on available RAM resources. This can significantly affect the performance of these tools.
Heavy-duty gaming and compute-extensive tasks require at least 8GB of RAM for efficient performance and seamless communications with your hardware, software, and OS. On the other hand, 4GB RAM is sufficient for lighter general purposes or if you’re looking for a gaming laptop for under $600.
Your laptop’s video card is a crucial factor that can significantly affect your overall gaming experience. Remember, many of the latest games today are heavy on animated 3D sequences, augmented reality gameplay, and realistic colored graphics.
To render, display, and interact seamlessly with these things, your graphics adapter should be equipped with the right memory, relevant features, and compute capacity.
Your video card also regularly accesses and stores required graphical game data, text, and audio in both your laptop’s RAM modules and data storage disks. This means having an SSD can optimize the I/O (input/output) processes of your video card, games, OS, hardware, firmware, and other third-party applications.
The NVIDIA GTX 1080 video card tops the list of recent graphics adapters for gaming in the market today and thus, you’ll find most of our recommended gaming laptops under 2000 equipped with this GPU.
A cheaper yet still powerful alternative is the NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti. AMD also has formidable contenders like their Vega video card series.
To answer the question “How much SSD do I need for gaming?”. We recommend that you have at least 1TB. This is for you to have sufficient data storage capacity for Windows 10, firmware components of your internal and external devices, your favorite games, and other third-party programs that might be useful for your day-to-day activities.
And, don’t forget to consider the other factors discussed earlier, for you to get the best SSD laptop in the market today. Also, it should be in your best interest to look closer at the battery life, form factor, display quality, and screen resolution of the gaming laptops with SSD in your shortlist.