Is a 256GB SSD enough for a laptop? We will answer that question in this detailed guide and discuss why you should choose an SSD over a conventional hard drive, if you need any other storage, your need for performance, whether a 256GB SSD is better than a 1TB hard drive and a lot more.
Maybe you are considering swapping out your existing laptop hard drive for an SSD and want to know what size is best? Or you may be looking to purchase a new laptop and want to know if a 256GB SSD will be enough for your needs. We have the answers to all of your questions here.
- Why choose an SSD over a hard drive?
- Will this be your only drive for storage?
- How much do you care about performance?
- Is a 256GB SSD better than a 1TB hard drive?
- Do you take a lot of photos or videos?
- Is 256GB SSD enough for gaming?
- Is 256GB SSD enough for programming?
- How long will a 256GB SSD last?
- Does SSD size affect performance?
- Does more SSD mean faster?
Why choose an SSD over a hard drive?
The hard disk drive (HDD) has been around for many years, and until recently, most laptops used them for internal storage. HDDs are less expensive than SSDs (solid state drives), and they are available in larger capacities.
One of the major advantages of an SSD is that it has no moving parts. HDDs have platters that spin and a moving arm used for data storage and retrieval. In general, HDDs are far more likely to fail than SSDs because they have moving parts.
An SSD will usually outperform an HDD in most areas apart from price and storage capacity. Although SSDs are coming down in price due to more and more units being sold, you will still have to pay quite a bit more for them. You can get HDDs with very large capacities these days at a reasonable price. There are SSDs with over 1TB of storage, but these are very expensive.
SSD’s are around 100 times faster than HDDs. When you have an SSD on your laptop, your operating system and your applications will run faster. Conventional HDDs require more power to run than an SSD will so you can preserve battery life. An SSD is silent in operation, whereas an HDD will make a noise due to the spinning platters and read/write heads.
You can get an SSD in different sizes, typically 2.5 inches, 1.8 inches, and 1 inch. This means that there will be more space on your laptop. Laptop HDDs are 2.5 inches, and that is it. SSDs hardly generate any heat as there are no moving parts, while an HDD has several moving parts and generates quite a lot of heat.
Will this be your only drive for storage?
When you assess whether a 256GB SSD will be enough for your laptop, you need to think about your storage requirements. What a lot of laptop users are doing these days—using an SSD for their operating system and applications and then using a larger external HDD drive for file storage. Some people are using cloud storage for their files too.
You can purchase a large laptop HDD and then connect this to your laptop via USB for additional storage. With the USB 3.0 and USB-C standards, data transfer is a lot faster than it used to be. The cost of doing this should be quite a bit less than investing in a large capacity SSD.
How much do you care about performance?
There is no doubt that an SSD will outperform an HDD. If the performance of your laptop is important for you, then an SSD is the best way to go. This is especially important for your operating system such as Windows 10 and applications that require a lot of system resources such as games and video editing suites.
If you just use your laptop for general business using applications such as word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations, you will probably be fine with a conventional HDD. Using a browser to surf the Internet is also very easy with an HDD, and you do not need the speed of an SSD here.
But if you want to play games and use resource-hungry applications, you will be better off with an SSD. You will notice a significant difference in performance just with your operating system when you use an SSD for your primary storage.
Is a 256GB SSD better than a 1TB hard drive?
The answer to this question is “Yes” if you prefer performance over storage space. A 1TB HDD has four times the storage capacity of a 256GB SSD, so if you need a lot of storage space, you will probably be best to go for the 1TB HDD.
Your laptop will run a lot faster with a 256GB SSD than it will with a 1TB HDD. If you are happy to use external storage solutions for your files, such as an external HDD or cloud storage, it makes sense to go for the 256GB SSD for superior performance.
Reliability is an important issue as well. A 256GB SSD stores data using flash memory and will usually last significantly longer than a 1TB HDD which uses platters and read/write heads to store data. If your HDD fails on your laptop, you run the risk of losing your important files if you have not backed them up. It can be a real pain recovering from an HDD failure.
Do you take a lot of photos or videos?
In order to determine if you need a lot of storage space with your laptop, think about the number of photographs you take with your camera or phone and the amount of video you shoot. Photos can take up a lot of storage space, and videos certainly will.
If you only have a 256GB SSD on your laptop and take a lot of photographs and shoot lots of videos, you will run out of storage capacity very fast unless you have an external storage solution.
Is 256GB SSD enough for gaming?
The answer to whether a 256GB SSD is enough for gaming depends on the type of games and how many games you intend to play. A lot of modern games require at least 50GB of storage space.
When you only have around 200GB available (taking into account Windows and your applications), it doesn’t take a genius to work out that you will not be able to add many more games. If you only have a 256GB SSD, you will probably have to decide to remove one of your games to accommodate a new one.
We recommend that you go for at least a 512GB SSD on your laptop if you are a serious gamer. A 1TB SSD is even better. The truth is that you can never have enough storage capacity if you like to play different games on your laptop.
Is 256GB SSD enough for programming?
In most cases, a 256GB SSD will be enough for programming with your laptop. When you are creating applications using a programming language, the speed of your storage drive is an important factor.
Often with an HDD, you will need to wait a bit of time for files to load when you are programming. You don’t want to waste your time, so we would always recommend an SSD if you are a programmer or want to learn programming.
How long will a 256GB SSD last?
Some people believe that because an SSD has no moving part that it will last forever. This is not the case. The average industry lifespan for an SSD is around ten years, considerably longer than for an HDD. Studies have shown that computer users need to replace an SSD around 25% less than they would an HDD. In practice, it is probably more than 25%.
The major issue with SSDs is that when they do fail, recovering data from them can be a real challenge. If some of the flash memory fails, then this can prevent an SSD from storing new data. It is essential that you backup your critical files elsewhere when you have an SSD in your laptop (we recommend that you do this with an HDD as well).
You would be extremely unlucky if an SSD did not last quite a bit longer than an HDD. Take good care of your laptop as it is possible for SSD chips to break, and then you can lose everything. Yes, SSDs are more expensive than HDDs, but if you are going to keep your laptop for a while, you may have to replace an HDD, so the cost will even itself out.
Does SSD size affect performance?
As you fill up your SSD with files, it will slow it down. With a larger capacity SSD, it will take a lot longer to fill it up than a smaller capacity SSD. While the size of an SSD does not affect the performance just by itself, a larger SSD will take a long time to fill up, so it should provide optimum performance for a more extended period of time.
Does more SSD mean faster?
In general, a larger capacity SSD will be faster than a smaller capacity SSD. As we said above, an SSD will slow down the more storage space that you use. This is not a hard and fast rule as some bigger SSDs have slower speeds for writing than smaller SSDs. Compare the specifications before making a decision.
Your laptop will be a lot faster if you use a 256GB SSD rather than an HDD. If you are a general user, you will probably find that 256GB is adequate storage space. But if you know that you will need more storage space, either go for a larger SSD or use external storage such as an external HDD or cloud storage for your files.