Data storage has become a deciding factor with every new computer purchase or upgrade. Media consumption is on the rise, and operating systems take up more space than ever. It seems that there is never enough memory.
Deciding how much storage you need can be challenging, as you must factor in future usage and how quickly your available storage space can fill up. However, understanding data storage will help you make the right decision for your next purchase, whether it’s a new computer or just a new drive.
Data Storage Usage and Size
Data storage is found in every computer. Most laptops have only one storage drive, and some high-performance or gaming laptops have two. Desktop computers can have as many drives as they have space and connectivity options, but check before buying.
Common data storage drive sizes you’ll see are 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB, while 4TB, 6TB, 8TB, and 16TB drives are also available. Storage on a computer is used in a number of ways. Consumer data storage sizes measure in gigabytes (GB) and terabytes (TB).
If the device has just one storage drive, system files will usually be stored here and can be quite large. The most common operating systems for your computer may vary in size.
Additional files, such as driver or operating system updates, can grow in size over time. Remember to account for these.
Photograph and video quality on smartphones continues to improve, with some smartphones now reaching 200 megapixels (MP) in image quality and 8K video output. Smartphones have their own storage, but you may need to back up your content.
A standard 12MP smartphone camera will produce an image of between two and three megabytes (MB) in size, while a 108-megapixel image can be as much as 10–12MB. A 200MP smartphone camera image can take up to 50MB. Professional cameras can be quite high, and increase further if you’re saving as a RAW or DNG file type.
A 30-second Full HD video clip uses approximately 50MB. However, a 30-second 4K file is around 130MB and is quickly becoming the standard size. An 8K clip of the same duration is approximately 300MB per file.
Storage space is used whenever you install a new program or application on your computer. In addition, some programs require companion packages or additional applications to run correctly, which may take up more storage than you think.
Be sure to research and keep track of the full amount of storage a program could potentially use.
So, how much data storage do you need?
Understanding how much data storage is there means understanding how you use your computer and how much media storage you’ll need.
This storage size is ideal if you use your computer for tasks that require large programs (for example, software such as Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, or Premiere Pro). If you also like to store a moderate to large amount of media on your computer, then 512GB should be a consideration.
If you use your computer for creative work that involves storing large amounts of data, then 1TB of data storage will be beneficial. It would also be ideal if you store a large number of video games. Remember, however, that along with a good amount of storage capacity, additional resources like RAM, CPU, and GPU need to be included to ensure stable performance.
For power users who plan to use their computer for very large amounts of media storage, creation, or development. These range in size from 2TB to 16TB. Choosing the right size depends entirely on the amount of media you plan to use and create.
Even though you can buy up to 16TB of data storage option, it would be completely unnecessary if it is not required for your usage. Be sure to grant permission for future use and purchase with your needs in mind.
Internal data storage options
Internal data storage is stored inside the computer. Solid State Drive (SSD) storage is now the mainstream option, providing high speeds, efficient boot times, and efficient data transfer rates. The last five years have seen a huge drop in the price of SSD storage, and you can now buy machine configurations with one to two terabytes of storage at a reasonable price point.
Traditional disk-style hard drives (HDDs) are still available, offering a much cheaper alternative to SSD options. Although physical disk drives can be less reliable and offer slower transfer speeds than their SSD counterparts, they provide great storage upgrades or secondary storage space at a price that won’t break the bank. They are also available in larger sizes, including eight and sixteen-terabyte varieties.