Why You Shouldn't Buy a MacBook With Only 256GB Storage
When Apple unveiled the first MacBook Pro with Retina display in 2012, it shipped with 256GB of flash storage at minimum. Nearly a decade later in 2020, the entry-level MacBook Pro still only includes 256GB of storage, unless you upgrade it.
Meanwhile, in 2012, the iPhone 5 shipped in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB variants. In 2020, the iPhone 11 is available in 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB flavors. So why has Apple put the MacBook on a diet? And is 256GB of space enough?
Let's examine why you shouldn't settle for just 256GB of storage when buying your next MacBook.
The Unstable Price of Storage
A lot of the time, we expect the price of technology to fall as it becomes more prevalent. But in the case of components like memory and storage, that's not always the case. Scarcity is one of the biggest drivers of price hikes in the tech space---think of how expensive video cards were during the cryptocurrency mining hype of 2017 and 2018.
Though the price of SSD storage has fallen overall during the last decade, there have been some notable price hikes too.
After prices plummeted in December 2016, some manufacturers hiked prices by high percentages at the start of the following year. Price rises can be attributed to shifts in manufacturing techniques, increasing raw material costs, demand for components in other industries, and freak weather events like the flooding in Thailand that occurred in 2011.
Has Apple been hit by the volatile price of computer memory and SSDs? Sure. But the company has much more bargaining power with manufacturers than consumers and most retailers. This is likely why we've only seen small increases in iPhone storage (like a 64GB baseline taking over from 16GB and 32GB) rather than larger leaps in base storage for MacBooks (like moving to 512GB or even 1TB).
Apple's high-end offerings (like the iMac Pro) come with a 1TB solid state drive as standard now, but these machines are extremely expensive. The iMac Pro starts at a staggering $5,000; hardly anyone needs that aside from creative professionals.
Meanwhile, an upgrade to a 1TB SSD adds $400 to the $1,299 you're already paying for a 13-inch MacBook Pro. In spite of the cost, Apple should still provide more than a measly 256GB in its flagship laptop.
Is 256GB Enough?
If you're buying any model of MacBook and plan to use it as your main machine, buy a model with more than 256GB of storage. Even if you only double the internal storage to 512GB, you'll thank yourself in a few years. Constantly juggling free space is miserable.
Generally speaking, MacBooks tend to last a long time. Apart from aging internals and a lack of some newer fancy features, you can conceivably use a MacBook for the better part of a decade before you need to replace it. It obviously won't perform as well as newer models, but your purchase will last you longer than many other tech items.
The flipside of the oft-lauded reliability of MacBooks is that you might have to live with your choice of machine for longer than you expect. If you don't have the money to upgrade the hardware, or you don't see the sense in replacing a perfectly serviceable laptop, you're going to regret opting for the smaller-capacity model.
As a main machine, your MacBook will host your Photos and iTunes libraries. This is where all your iPhone photos and videos are stored, plus any media managed or purchased through iTunes. While it's possible to store some macOS libraries remotely to save space, it's inconvenient. You'll have to rely on plugging in external drives or network drives on your local network.
If you don't pay for iCloud storage and back up your mobile devices to the cloud, you should create regular local backups instead. These backups are stored on your computer in the
folder. Depending on the size of your device, these backups could be huge. Storing them elsewhere is one solution, but it also relies on external drives.
If you use cloud storage to sync your files from other machines, those could take up a lot of space too. It's easier to have instant access to everything instead of constantly changing what you sync, but you need free space to do that.
Don't forget to make room for your apps. If you're a student who spends half your digital life in a web browser and the other half in a word processor, this might not be an issue. But if you're a photographer with an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, you'll likely want to get your money's worth by installing the apps you need. Apps like Premier Pro CC and Lightroom can take up several gigabytes each.
Finally, you'll want space for the projects you're currently working on. This could be your Lightroom library or somewhere to dump your video files while editing. If you're working with high-bitrate video or another medium that relies on fast read-write performance, you'll likely need to keep your source files on your SSD rather than an old external drive.
It's Better to Buy Big
It's always better to buy more storage than you need at the start than trying to upgrade at a later date. While you can increase your storage by replacing the drive on older models, most MacBooks from 2016 and later are not user-upgradeable.
The latest MacBook Pro models include soldered RAM, a glued-down battery, and a proprietary solid state drive which Apple does not make available outside its own channels. It's possible we'll eventually see compatible SSDs hit the gray market, but they likely won't be cheap when they do. You also need to perform the upgrade yourself.
You can currently only buy SSD upgrades for MacBook Pro models made in 2015 or earlier. While this is a great option that's cost-effective if you have a compatible machine, it has its own drawbacks.
Performing an upgrade like this yourself will invalidate your warranty and any AppleCare plans you've purchased. You could look at other methods of adding storage to your MacBook, but the latest models lack an SD card reader. This was the previous go-to method for adding a nice chunk of storage to your laptop's capacity.
Apple Bets on iCloud
macOS Sierra introduced a feature called Store in iCloud. This automatically uploads files to iCloud, then when you run low on storage, keeps only recently opened files on your system so you can access them locally. This only works if you have enough free iCloud storage space once you've enabled the feature under System Preferences > Apple ID > iCloud.
Similarly, iCloud Photos offers to store your high-resolution photos so you can optimize local space with lower-quality copies. Subscribing to Apple Music provides access to some 30 million songs, while iCloud Music Library makes them available on all your devices. However, you'll need a data connection to stream them.
The main reason most people buy more iCloud storage is to have enough space for cloud backups. This removes the strain of storing all your backup data locally. Apple's 5GB free storage allotment has not increased since it introduced the service in 2011, despite its pushing customers further toward cloud solutions.
But even if iCloud is meant to pick up the slack, we're still in dire need of more local storage.
When Smaller Is Better for MacBooks
If you already have a desktop or other primary computer, MacBook storage is much less of a concern. Not keeping personal Photos and iTunes purchases around might even boost your productivity. You can save money by opting for a smaller model, while relying on your main machine for storage-intensive tasks.
For everyone else wondering how much storage they need for their MacBook: consider how long you expect to use your machine and your storage requirements before you buy. 512GB of space is decent if you don't plan to install big apps or keep huge photo/video libraries around. If you do, get at least 1TB. Otherwise, you'll have to add more MacBook space by relying on external drives, the cloud, and network storage.
If you're low on space and can't upgrade your machine, see how to free up space on your Mac.
Check your network speed, organize your apps, and more with these five useful and free Mac tools.
Read NextAbout The Author
Ben is a Deputy Editor and the Onboarding Manager at MakeUseOf. He left his IT job to write full-time in 2016 and has never looked back. He's been covering tech tutorials, video game recommendations, and more as a professional writer for over seven years.
Subscribe to our newsletter
Join our newsletter for tech tips, reviews, free ebooks, and exclusive deals!
Click here to subscribe
Is 256GB enough for student laptop?
256GB is enough – especially for your use case – but you may find yourself wanting more. That isn’t much of an issue though – cloud storage or expandable storage can help. RAM is another issue though. Personally if you want it to last you through collage, go for 16GB.
Is 128GB enough for a laptop?
Laptops that come with SSD usually have just 128GB or 256GB of storage, which is enough for all your programs and a decent amount of data. The lack of storage may be a small hassle, but the increase in speed is worth the trade-off. If you can possibly afford it, 256GB is a lot more manageable than 128GB.
Is 256GB SSD enough for a student?
A2A: It is plenty for most purposes, including those of a typical student. Filling it up would require storing a lot of voluminous data files like videos. If you keep lots of that sort of data on you computer, you can easily use many terabytes.
Do I need 256 or 512 GB?
The price difference between a 256GB drive (assuming you can still even find a drive that small) and a 1TB drive is $30 or so. Thanks for the A2A. 256GB is workable, but 512GB is a safer bet. Storage is constantly getting cheaper, so if you can afford it you are better off with more.
How much storage do I need on my laptop 2020?
Most non-professional users will be fine with 250 to 320GBs of storage. For example, 250GB can hold more than 30,000 average size photos or songs. If you’re planning on storing movies, then you definitely want to upgrade to at least 500GB, maybe even 1TB. Granted, this is all for conventional hard drives.
What is a good storage for a laptop?
When it comes to storage capacity, 32GB will get you by if you predominantly use a cloud service or stream, although a minimum of 64GB will give you more flexibility when you’re offline. If you intend to store high-res photos and videos on your laptop, consider a drive of 256GB or more.
What is a good amount of storage for a gaming laptop?
512 GB storage
Are gaming laptops worth it 2020?
Spending $1,000 or upwards can easily get you a laptop with a decent GPU and a good CPU, too. These laptops do provide the ability to upgrade RAM, as well as storage. So, you really do not have to worry about that part, at all. Then going with a good gaming laptop is not going to be a problem.
How many games can 1tb hold?
You’ll have about 900GB left after installing all the required stuff and games average at around 35GB so ~25 full size games.
What’s the difference between a gaming laptop and a regular laptop?
Gaming laptops are basically the same as standard or business laptops only with upgraded features – but it’s these upgraded features which make all the difference. A gaming laptop means high speed, huge memory, better graphics, and fast processing power. That’s it in a nutshell.
Are gaming laptops a bad idea?
Across the board, “gaming” laptops aren’t usually a good idea. They have their benefits – portability, that performance being made portable, attractive appearances, cool features, etc., but their downsides are severe and numerous, especially when used for their intended purpose.
What are the disadvantages of gaming laptop?
The Downsides of Gaming Laptops
- 1 – Big and Heavy. Gaming laptops are also a bit heavier, bigger, and overall much bulkier than regular laptops because the gaming hardware generates a lot of heat and the laptop needs proper ventilation.
- 2 – Poor Battery Life. Another factor to keep in mind is battery life.
Should I get a gaming laptop if I don’t game?
Gaming laptops are notorious for being HUGE, HOT, and HORRIBLE ON BATTERY. If those things are a problem, don’t get a gaming laptop. You will pay less for more when you aren’t paying for a GPU you don’t need. For a web design stuff you don’t really need a GPU.
Can you use a gaming laptop for everyday use?
Generally, a gaming laptop can easily be used for as an everyday use. To do this for a gaming laptop, you should consider a few factors before going in for a buy. A gaming laptop for everyday use should have adequate RAM storage and a well-equipped graphics system in a nutshell.
Which game can run on my laptop?
Can my PC run these popular games?
- GTA V. 2015 96.
- Cyberpunk 2077. 2020 85.
- Counter Strike Global Offensive. 2012 83.
- The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. 2015 93.
- Red Dead Redemption 2. 2019 93.
- Fortnite. 2017 81.
- Metro Exodus. 2019 82.
- Call of Duty: Warzone. 2020 80.
How much does a gaming laptop cost?
If you’re looking for a gaming laptop for a ridiculously cheap price, look no further than the Acer Nitro 5 (AMD, 2020). For just under $700 the Nitro 5 offers class-leading battery life, a powerful AMD Ryzen 5-4600H processor and a comfortable keyboard.
What is the minimum requirements for a gaming laptop?
RAM: Gaming can be RAM intensive, and 8GB is what we recommend for even average productivity tasks. If you can, you should go for 16GB on a gaming PC. A laptop with a GTX 1650 or 1660 Ti usually comes with 8GB. Once you get to a GTX 2060 or higher, some will come with 16GB of RAM.
Which gaming laptop should I buy 2020?
The best gaming laptops you can buy today
- Alienware m17 R4. The best gaming laptop overall offers big power in slim, redesigned chassis.
- Dell G3 15.
- Asus ROG Zephyrus G15.
- Lenovo Legion Y545.
- Asus ROG Flow X13.
- Acer Predator Triton 500.
- Razer Blade Pro 17 (2020)
- MSI GS66 Stealth.
What is the best affordable gaming laptop?
TL; DR – These are the Best Budget Gaming Laptops:
- Dell G5 15.
- Asus TUF Gaming A15.
- Dell G5 15.
- Lenovo Legion 5i.
- Gigabyte Aorus 5.
- Asus ROG Zephyrus G15.
- Dell G3 15 Gaming Laptop.
- Acer Predator Helios 300.
Which laptop is best and cheap?
Best Budget Laptops (2021)
|Best Budget Laptops||Prices|
|Lenovo Ideapad S145 (81W800SAIN) Laptop (Core i3 10th Gen/4 GB/1 TB/Windows 10)||Rs. 30,990|
|Asus X543MA-GQ1015T Laptop (Celeron Dual Core/4 GB/1 TB/Windows 10)||Rs. 21,990|
|HP 15s-du1044tu (18N71PA) Laptop (Celeron Dual Core/4 GB/1 TB/Windows 10)||Rs. 26,482|
- Religious channels on directv now
- 680 the fan salaries
- Natural gas vented heater
- In da club lyrics
- R name for boy hindu
5 Questions to help you answer this question:
For SSD recommendations, click here to visit the Best SSDs (Solid State Drives) For Your Money article.
To briefly put things into context
Hardware Evolution: Solid State Drives (SSDs) are now the default option on nearly all new computers!
We’re at an wonderful point in computer history where the computer industry has upgraded storage solution for computers by now using Solid State Drives (SSDs) instead of mechanical hard disk drives (HDDs) on nearly all new computers.
On the left, an older 2.5″ Solid State Drive, with its 10 memory chips visible at the bottom. On the right, a mechanical hard drive, with its rotating platter visible at the top.
Why choose a SSD over a hard drive?
Compared to hard drives, a SSD offers lower latency, faster read/writes, and supports more IOPS (input output operations per second). How much higher is the performance?
Enough to offer you a better computer experience because it responds to your inputs much more quickly. Your PC feels more responsive, programs launch far more quickly, the Operating System starts in seconds and resumes from sleep nearly instantaneously.
See theSSD FAQ for more details on SSDs.
They also offer lower power consumption (longer battery life), less noise, no vibration, smaller physical size (smaller computers), higher reliability and higher resistance to shocks.
Simply put, I cannot see any reason nowadays to get a computer with a hard drive, other than a lower cost for an higher capacity. That lower cost comes at the price of all the benefits that I just listed.
The two main issues with SSDs:
1. Smaller available storage capacities:
As of 2020, common consumer SSD storage capacities are: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB and 2TB.
4TB is available on a few stand-alone SSD models, while 8TB SSD storage capacities can be found in high-end computers, such as the Apple Mac Pro.
There are also 8TB stand alone SSDs available for the server/enterprises market and we might see some consumer models sooner than later.
While this is more than what was available 5 years ago and is catching up to hard drives in laptops, which have storage capacities of 500GB, 1 or 2TB, it is still no match for desktop hard drives, which are available in storage capacities up to 16TB.
In an ideal world, you’d get a computer with a 2 or 4 or even 8TB SSD drive. That brings us to the second problem.
2. Higher price per GB:
The Crucial BX500 is one of the SSDs with the lowest price per GB.
1TB SSD: 0.10$/GB
1TB SSDs start at $100, or $0.10 per GB. The price per GB goes up with smaller capacities such as 250GB or 500GB though, due to the way SSDs are manufactured.
See The Best SSDs For Your Money article for SSDs that I recommend and their prices.
2TB Hard Drive: $0.025/GB
A 2TB hard drive can be found for $50 or $0.025 per GB. Roughly 4 times less than the price per GB of a SSD
See The Best Internal 2.5″ and 3.5″ Hard Drives (HDD) For Your Money article to see the hard drives that I recommend and their prices.
SSDs are still more expensive, so that’s why you’ll find computers with SSDs with lower capacities such as 128GB, 256GB and 512GB in order to lower the cost of the computer, considering the cost of the SSD.
I mean, the cost of $100+ 1TB, $200+ 2TB, $400+ 4TB or $800+ 8TB SSD will definitely increase the total price of that computer that you want and will be too much if all you want is an inexpensive laptop!
That’s also why in some computers, you’ll find a combo of a smaller capacity SSD and higher capacity hard drive: You get the best of both world, high performance and high storage capacity at a reasonable cost.
Which brings us to the main question:
‘How much storage capacity do I need for my SSD so that I pay only as much as I need to?’
1. Will this be your only drive for storage?
If it is, you’ll definitely need more storage space than if you have other drives to store your data on. Especially in a laptop or mobile computer, where upgrading your SSD is either impossible (soldered on) or time-consuming (cloning the time, swapping drives, etc.).
2. Do you mind clearing out files that you don’t need?
If you like to use your PC without worrying about doing clean-ups to clear some space on your drive, get a SSD with a larger capacity then. If you don’t mind taking time to clean up your drive now and then, you might be able to get by with a smaller, less expensive SSD.
3. Are your storage needs going to increase over the years?
(The answer here is yes, most likely)
You can keep using your SSD for 5-10+ years! Your storage needs will likely increase in that span of time, seeing as files are getting larger: Programs and games require more space to be installed, video and photo quality have increasing and so have files size.
As the years go by, program and game sizes are likely to increase.
Simply put, your storage needs will likely increase over time.
Do yourself a favor and think about getting a drive that’s large enough to store your data for as long as you plan on using that drive. It’s wiser to spend a bit more now on a single drive than to spend more by buying a smaller drive now and another in the future when you need more storage space.
4. How much do you care about performance?
SSD with too small of a storage capacity + additional storage from other disk(s) or online storage:
While you could use a small SSD with an additional internal hard drive, an external drive, a NAS or online storage (cloud) to answer your storage needs, it’s not the best solution for performance.
All of these solutions will offer significantly lower performance, with lower throughput and higher latency, compared to your SSD. This is fine for long-term storage of files you don’t use often, like photos, videos and music. This will impact performance severely for files required by a program to run or files that you’re working on, in a way that’s unacceptable in my opinion.
Is that acceptable to you? If time is money, if you edit photos, work on videos (especially 1080p, 4K and higher resolutions), work with heavy files or demanding programs or if you have no patience for computers like I do, having all your files on a high-performance SSD storage drive is ideal for consistent, high-performance all the time.
Want high-performance for everything that you do? Get a SSD with a larger capacity instead of a smaller SSD with another lower performance drive.
If you don’t mind the performance hit for files located on another drive, you can save some space on your SSD by moving Windows libraries (Documents, Music, Pictures and Videos) default location to another drive.
One of our forums members, mwhals, posted a great tutorial on how to do so on the Hardware Revolution forums, many years. While the forums are no longer active, that tutorial is still good.
5. Do you mind searching and waiting to find where your files are? Do you remember where your files are?
If you have your files on several drives, you have to remember where they are if you need them for any reason. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like wasting time searching for files. My computer should work for me, not the other way around!
A good classification system will alleviate this issue, but it’s still more simple to have only a single drive to search through than to search through multiple drives.
Having a single SSD with enough storage capacity will make your life easier when searching for files: One disk to search through and higher performance, so you’ll find your files more quickly too!
1. Performance scales up with higher storage capacity with the same model:
A 1TB SSD offers higher performance than its 500GB variant. The difference in performance between the 250GB and 500GB models is larger than the difference in performance between the 500GB and 1TB models, even more so than the difference in performance between the 1TB and 2TB models.
So if you want even higher performance, you’ll be better served by an higher capacity SSD.
2. Do you want to lose performance?
Of course not, right? To keep your SSD running at its peak performance, I recommend leaving at least 10% of its capacity unused. This will leave enough space for your drive to write/read data sequentially when possible, instead of having to write/read in various locations, which greatly reduces performance.
3. Your OS, games and your programs will take some space
The operating system (Windows or Mac OS) require 30GB+ for a base install with updates. A full complement of apps can take 40-100GB. Many programs that you’ll install can easily take 20GB to 80GB in total. Some games require 50GB or even more!
4. GB vs GiB
An example of a 256GB SSD with 238GiB available.
Hard drives and SSDs are sold with a storage capacity measured in GB. Windows will show your SSD capacity in GiB, a slightly different unit of measure.
GB (Gigabyte) and GiB (Gibibyte) are two different digital data storage scales defined by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).
GiB is base 2, GB is base 10.
- GiB = 2 to the 30th power (1,073,741,824) bytes (base 2)
- GB = 10 to the 9th power (1,000,000,000) bytes (base 10)
Simply put 1GB = 0.931323 GiB
– A 128GB SSD will have 119GiB available under Windows.
– 256GB = 238GiB
– 512GB = 477GiB
– 1024GB = 954GiB
These are rough estimates, actual numbers may vary.
- 30/32GB: AVOID! Too small for Windows 10 with updates
- 60/64GB: Install the OS and a few lightweight programs. Badly limited locally, you’ll have to rely on streaming, online storage and/or another drive.
- 120/128GB: Install the OS and a few programs or games. Very limited locally, you’ll must like will have to rely on streaming, online storage and/or another drive.
- 250/256GB: Install the OS and some programs/games. Limited storage locally, online storage or another drive for additional storage is usually a must.
- 500/512GB: Install the OS, programs, some games. Not ideal if you have a lot of media, especially in high resolution. Most Gamers will want a 2nd drive.
- 1TB: Install many programs, games. Another drive for additional storage is necessary if you have a lot of heavy files and/or games.
- 2TB: A good option if your SSD is your only drive and have many programs, games and or heavy files. Another drive for additional storage may be necessary if you have a lot of heavy files and/or games.
- 4TB: Pretty much a worry free solution for anyone outside of people who have a lot of large files to store, such as Creative Pros
The Intel 660p, which brought lower prices to higher performance PCIe NVMe M.2 drives.
My storage capacity recommendations:
In reality, everyone has different needs. Someone who only browse the web and watch Netflix doesn’t need as much storage as a gamer or a pro who does video editing.
That said, here are some general guidelines:
– 128GB is okay if all you do is browse the Web, watch Netflix, listen to Spotify. In other words, pretty much everything is streamed online, so that doesn’t require much local storage capacity.
– 256GB would be fine for the average student but not for a gamer, unless you are fine with using a hard drive as a secondary drive to store your games.
– 512GB is a better choice, you won’t have to worry nearly as much about running out of space, nor worry as much about requiring a secondary drive and you’ll get higher performance. The minimum that I’d recommend for gamers who want a decent amount of games installed on their SSD, but it’s still a good idea to have a hard drive as a secondary drive to store more games, perhaps older ones that don’t take as long to load. Good starting point for a Creative Pro, but again, with a secondary drive, for long-term storage.
– 1TB is good. Enough for most gamers, decent amount of space for photographers, still won’t last you that long if you do video editing, 3D though. Again, Creative Pros will want a secondary drive for additional storage.
– 2TB is great and should satisfy the vast majority of gamers. Enough for most photographers, a better choice for video editing, 3D etc. Creative Pros may want a secondary drive for additional storage.
– 4TB is a lot of storage for the average user. Probably overkill unless you are a Creative Pro, use your computer for work, have a large collection of lossless music, videos, high resolution photos, etc.
‘OK, I know how much storage capacity I need for my SSD!’
Do you have any recommendations for which SSD to buy?
Of course. Click here to see our article on The Best SSDs For Your Money!
I use a laptop as my main computer for work on Hardware Revolution and for my photography projects.
My laptop has 256GB of SSD storage and it is complemented by a 4TB external hard drive.
On that 256GB SSD, 238GiB can put to use.
– Windows uses 25.1GiB.
– Programs use 17.9GiB.
– The Users folders (music, photos, downloads) use 120GiB.
– Other files take about 47.6GiB
The SSD in my laptop has 27.4GiB of free space left, slightly more than 10%. I try to keep at least 25GB free for optimal performance.
I’m almost out of space that I want to use.
I’m limited on space, but I’m a bit due for a clean-up and it’s just enough for me to work with comfortably.
You see, a lot of the storage space that I use is for photos that I post-process in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, with my 24MP digital camera RAW files that take 25MB each. 40 pictures take 1GB, 400 pictures take 10GB. So it adds up very quickly.
As I process my pictures, I delete the pictures that I have no use for. When I’m done processing the pictures, I move them to my USB 3.0 external 4TB hard drive for long-term storage. I’m backlogged in my photoshoots, so I have a lot of pictures on my computer right now waiting to be processed or transferred to the external drive, hence why I’m a bit tight on space at the moment.
I use Netflix with a Chromecast on my living room HDTV and Spotify for music.
I also have a movies/TV show collection on the external hard drive. Local music is on a 128GB SD card that I leave plugged in my laptop. In both cases, I rarely need to access them, with Netflix and Spotify doing the job just fine most of the time. Besides, I just don’t have the space on my SSD to store them all locally.
This is a fine solution for me. My laptop came with 256GB of SSD storage. For a long time, I considered swapping out the two 128GB SSDs for higher capacity models, but in the end, the combo of a 256GB SSD with an external hard drive did the job just fine and I had a hard time justifying spending money on an aging laptop. Might as well save up to buy a 8 core laptop down the road.
Nowadays, I could get a laptop with a 512GB or 1TB SSD for that price that I paid for my laptop 4 years ago. I would enjoy 512GB or 1TB of storage, it would let have more pictures, my full collection of music and some movies/TV shows.
1TB would be great; I wouldn’t have to worry about running out of space for a long time, I would have all my pictures for current projects, music and videos on a single drive and wouldn’t need to transfer files on a regular basis, other than to archive/backup older photo projects.
Had I known back then when I know now, I would have saved for a bit longer and would have gotten the 512GB model instead.
That’s why I say, you’re better off spending a little more now, than to save a bit in the short term, but be stuck spending more in the future to have enough storage for your needs.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this article and that it provided valuable information to you. If you have a question, please leave a comment below this article and I’ll get back to you.
How to Choose the Best Laptop SSD or Hard Drive
Whether you're buying a laptop at the store or configuring one to order online, you need the best possible storage drive. Getting a speedy Solid-State Drive (SSD) rather than a creaky mechanical hard drive will make your entire computer much faster, but can you afford it and will it have enough space for all of your files? And, even if you choose an SSD, not all of them are equally speedy.
Before you buy a laptop, it's a good idea to consider the following questions about storage.
SSD or hard drive?
Getting an SSD is more important for overall performance than getting a faster processor, because even a slow SSD is three to four times faster than the speediest mechanical hard drive.
If you were to rip open a hard drive (don't do it, because you'll break it), you'd see a small metal arm that stretches out onto a round rotating platter. And just like an old-fashioned record player, the arm reads data (in lieu of sounds) off the spinning media. Whether your hard drive spins at 5,400 rotations per minute (rpm) or 7,200 rpm, it's inherently limited in comparison with an SSD, which is a series of Flash memory chips that move data around inside the silicon. Even if you regularly defragment your hard drive in Windows 10, you won't reap the speed benefits of an SSD.
The added performance of an SSD affects the things that matter most: launching apps, opening files, switching between tasks and booting. On a Dell Inspiron 15 5000, it took 31.9 seconds to open Microsoft Word on the hard drive but just 1.8 seconds with an SSD. On the same laptop, the Chrome browser launched in 14 seconds and Excel in 19.9 seconds with the regular hard drive, and only 1.1 and 1.8 seconds, respectively, with an SSD.
However, there's no doubt that laptops that come with SSDs are more expensive. The least expensive laptops we've seen with an SSD cost between $550 and $600, but many cost closer to $1,000, with relatively small 256GB drives. Meanwhile, you can get a perfectly functional laptop with a hard drive for under $400.
If you configure a laptop to order on a site like Lenovo.com or Dell.com, you can expect to pay as much as $270 to step up from a 500GB hard drive to a 250GB SSD. However, when you're buying a drive by itself for an aftermarket upgrade, you'll pay around $100 for a mainstream 250GB SSD. However, you can sometimes find one for as little as $70 on sale.
Bottom Line: Buy a laptop with an SSD if you can possibly afford one.
How much local storage do you really need?
The smallest common SSD size is just 128GB, which is about 25 percent of the capacity of the 500GB hard drives you find on many budget laptops. You can easily fit Windows 10 (20GB), Office 365 (3GB), Chrome (under 500MB installed) and even Photoshop (3.1GB) on such a drive, but the minute you start working with files or even running Windows updates, the drive will fill up quickly. It's also important to note that, if your SSD is more than 75 percent full, performance may suffer.
Some gaming laptops solve this expensive dilemma by coming with both an SSD for key applications and a hard drive for data. Most consumer and business notebooks don't have room for multiple storage drives, but 1TB external USB hard drives cost under $60.
Bottom Line: Get at least a 256GB SSD, 512GB if you do more storage-heavy work.
SSD types: SATA or PCIe NVMe?
Typical mainstream hard drives use the same SATA (aka SATA 3) interface as mechanical hard drives, but that connection is limited to about 550 megabytes per second, which is still four or five times more bandwidth than a hard drive uses. However, some more expensive laptops use drives based on the PCIe-NVMe standard, which is sometimes listed as just NVMe or PCIe but is the same thing.
The fastest PCIe-NVMe SSDs on the market can theoretically read and write at four or five times the speed of a SATA unit, but most PCIe-NVMe drives we test are 1.5 to three times quicker than an equivalent SATA drive. Where a typical SATA SSD might return a rate of 150 to 175 MBps on the LAPTOP File Transfer Test, which involves reading and writing 4.97GB of files at the same time, a normal PCIe-NVMe SSD will get between 250 and 500 MBps. Some high-end gaming systems have dual PCIe-NVMe SSDs that work together in what's called a RAID array, and those can get rates of over 1,000 MBps on our test.
MORE: Why You Should Buy a Laptop With an SSD
Unfortunately, not all PCIe-NVMe SSDs are created equal. For example, the ThinkPad Yoga 370 that we tested had a 256GB Toshiba PCIe SSD that managed only 145.7 MBps on our test, less than most SATA-based systems. As a consumer, your best bet is to check benchmark reviews like ours to see how the drive in your potential laptop performed.
When buying a laptop, you usually don't get a choice between SATA and PCIe SSD configurations with the same capacity, though PCIe drives do cost more and come in more expensive laptops. The Dell XPS 13 base model comes with a 128GB SATA SSD, and the company charges $100 to move up to a 256GB PCIe SSD (there's no 256GB SATA option).
Bottom Line: An NVMe-PCIe SSD is a nice-to-have if you can afford it.
What about eMMC storage (aka eMMC memory)?
Some of the cheapest laptops on the market (think under $300) come with a form of solid-state storage called eMMC (Embedded MultiMedia Card) memory, usually in 32 or 64GB capacities.
While SSDs have powerful controller chips and fast NAND Flash memory, eMMC drives are made to be cheap and use similar components to an SD card or USB stick. Read the spec sheet carefully when you buy a sub-$500 laptop, because sometimes companies will tout a laptop with eMMC as having "solid state" or "Flash" storage.
Even though it has no moving parts, eMMC memory is often slower than a hard drive. For example, the eMMC-powered HP Stream 11 copied files on our test at a rate of 50.4 MBps, while the hard drive-powered Dell Inspiron 15 had a rate of 83.4 MBps. However, eMMC memory is lighter, more durable and uses less power than a hard drive, which is why it's popular in tiny, low-cost notebooks and Chromebooks.
Bottom Line: eMMC memory is slow and lives in cheap laptops only. It's not an SSD.
What is an M.2 SSD and do I need one? What about a 2.5-inch SSD?
Sometimes laptop manufacturers will label the SSD in a system as being either M.2 or 2.5-inch. These designations refer to the physical size, shape and connector on the drive, not to its performance. So, unless you plan to upgrade your laptop in the future, you shouldn't care what design the SSD is.
A 2.5-inch SSD, the most common type, is the same size and shape as a mechanical hard drive, allowing it to pop into the same drive bays, which is convenient for manufacturers and home upgraders. However, since SSDs use chips instead of magnetic platters, they can take up a lot less space than a hard drive. M.2 SSDs are thin memory sticks that look a lot like RAM DIMMs and pop into slots on the motherboard.
A laptop with an M.2 SSD may use the SATA interface or the faster PCIe-NVMe interface. If a manufacturer labels a drive as M.2 256GB SSD, and doesn't mention PCIe, assume that it is SATA, which would make it the same speed as a 2.5-inch SSD. Whatever type you get, you can upgrade an M.2 SSD as long as you can safely open up the laptop and access the slot.
Bottom Line: Don't worry about your drive's form factor.
Should I upgrade my storage later?
Laptop makers almost always charge more for moving from a hard drive to an SSD or small SSD to big SSD than it would cost to buy your own drive on the aftermarket. For example, you could upgrade to a 512GB SSD for under $150 by buying your own, when it cost $250 to $400 to custom configure it. However, not every laptop is upgradable, so you could void your warranty, and, if you don't know what you're doing, damage your computer.
MORE: How to Upgrade Your Laptop's Hard Drive to an SSD
However, if you're a fairly tech-savvy person, you may want to consider how upgradable a laptop's storage is before you buy it. You can find out whether a notebook can be upgraded and the type of SSD it takes (M.2 or 2.5-inch, SATA or NVMe-PCIe) by visiting Crucial's Advisor tool.
Bottom Line: Doing your own upgrades can save money but be aware of the risks.
If your budget allows, you should buy a laptop with at least a 256GB SSD in lieu of a mechanical hard drive. An NVMe-PCIe SSD usually offers a nice performance boost over a regular, SATA drive, but only if it's available in a system you can afford.
Credit: Shutterstock, Laptop Mag
Vs laptop 256gb 512gb
When buying a laptop, one of the most important decisions you have to make is figuring out how much internal storage you need. Depending on the amount, it can drive up the price of the laptop considerably. For instance, Apple’s latest MacBook Air can be configured with either 256GB or 512GB of internal storage, and if you get the higher-end model that’s going to cost you an extra $200 — that’s a lot. Microsoft’s Surface Laptops, meanwhile, come in 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB varieties. How much do you really need? There is no perfect answer, of course. But there are some handy rules of thumb and wrinkles to know about.
3 External Hard Drives to Upgrade Your Storage
Western Digital My Passport (1TB)
This is an affordable portable hard drive connects to your laptop via USB-C. It comes in Mac or PC models, so make sure to buy the right own. It's available in silver or blue, as well in a number of capacities that range from 1TB to 5TB.
SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD (1TB)
$139.99 (44% off)
The SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD is a rugged portable hard drive that has a USB-C connection and is compatible with both Windows and Mac computers. There are storage options ranging from 250GB to 4TB.
LaCie Rugged USB-C (2TB)
LaCie's line of Rugged hard drives are shock- and water-resistant and come in different models with various connections and storage capacities — so get the one that works for you. This model connects via USB and is compatible with both Mac or PC.
The most important thing to know is that the amount of usable storage space a laptop actually has is much less than what is advertised, for two reasons. First, your operating system is taking up space. The latest version of macOS, (High Sierra), for example, takes up a little more than 8GB, while the latest version of Windows 10 takes up about 15GB.
Second, because user-facing specs deal in normal base-10 numbers instead of the less intuitive base-2 numbers computers actually use, hard drives are just always smaller than they are rated to be. According to Lifewire, for each gigabyte that you think your hard drive has, it has about 70.3 megabytes less of disk space.
Using a disk size calculator, and subtracting an extra 20GB for operating system to be on the safe side, you’ll find that “128GB” is more like 99GB, “256GB” is more like 218GB, and “512GB” is more like 456GB.
With that in mind, we generally recommend upgrading to 256GB to give yourself a little breathing room, though 512 is probably overkill for normal use cases.
Some manufactures are already specing out their offerings with that reality in mind. Apple’s new MacBook Air and a 13-inch MacBook Pro, both of which start with a base SSD storage of 256GB (and can be configured upwards), while the previous-generations both started with half that amount. And Apple didn’t increase their prices, either, so you’re essentially buying a new laptop and getting double the storage at no extra charge.
For a better idea of your actual, personal usage, a good place to start is to check how much storage of your current laptop you are using. On a Mac, click on the Apple logo in the top left corner, select “About this Mac” and select “Storage.” On a PC, click the Start button, select “File Explorer” and select “This PC.”
While you might be able to get by on 128GB, it’s probably better to be safe than sorry if you can afford it. It’s generally hard to add space into a laptop, and while you can pick up an external drive to use as backup or even day-to-day storage, it’s going to add bulk to your machine and friction to your workflow.
The reality is that 256GB of internal storage is probably going to be plenty enough for most people who don’t already have (or anticipate having) a ton of locally stored photos, video, video games, or music that can’t either be easily offloaded into the cloud, or to a backup drive. If you don’t immediately feel cramped looking at the number “256,” it’s probably spacious enough for your needs.
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io
Which MacBook Pro 13 should you buy?
The MacBook Pro 13 is the Apple machine of choice for professionals who want an extra-portable laptop that can still handle more demanding tasks. Our favorite configuration is the M1 MacBook Pro with 512GB of storage and 8GB of unified memory. That’s a decently sized SSD for the vast majority of users, and the M1 processor blows the competition (including other Macs) out of the water.
Apple currently provides four starting points, each with its own customization options. These four are essentially split down the middle: The two cheaper options start with Apple’s impressive M1 chips, while the two more expensive models paradoxically have the less powerful 10th Gen Intel-i5 chips. Apart from some concern over emulation performance, the M1 MacBooks are so much more capable than the Intel options that it’s hard to recommend any Mac Pro without an M1 in 2021.
Best overall:M1 processor, 512GB storage($1,499)
Let’s address the elephant in the room first. There really isn’t any reason to buy an Intel Mac in the 13-inch lineup. For one, the starting price is significantly higher than the M1 base model, but the M1 performs better in almost everything. It doesn’t make sense from a price-to-performance or future-proofing standpoint. The only real question is which M1 model to get. That ultimately comes down to how much storage and memory you think you need.
The $1,299 baseline 13-inch MacBook Pro has a 256GB SSD, which may be too small for long-term storage. This is especially true if you download lots of music and movies. You want a laptop that won’t fill up after several years and force you to buy external storage.
However, you can configure the storage to 2TB, but that raises the price by $800, meaning things start to get really expensive. The 4TB SSD is only available in the two higher starting points and adds a hefty $1,000 to the final price. Ouch.
The next starting point, the $1,499 configuration with 512GB of storage, should be a better fit for most MacBook users on a budget. It too has the option to upgrade the RAM (unified memory) storage, allowing you to use a more powerful machine for highly demanding tasks if necessary.
All in all, it keeps to the minimalistic ideals of the MacBook while offering the right amount of power and storage.
All about storage
It’s vital to choose the right amount of storage when you buy a MacBook Pro, as you won’t be able to manually upgrade the SSD later.
Of the four MacBook Pro 13 starting points, there are three default storage options: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB. The intel variants let users bump it up to 4TB for $1,200 — almost doubling the price of the base model.
All storage options are PCIe-based SSDs. That means reading and writing data will be significantly faster when compared to older SATA storage. Most smaller ultrabook-style laptops are moving to SSD storage because of these benefits, so it isn’t a huge surprise.
Do these storage-related decisions matter to you? To help, let’s break the question down into two different situations:
You don’t need much storage
As seen with our top pick, go with the 512GB option. You get the storage amount you need and also avoid the risk of filling up your SSD before you are ready to move on to another laptop.
While the 256GB capacity is cheaper, you also need to consider MacOS, the Mac App Store apps, desktop software, and games you plan to install. Let’s not forget all the fun stuff you want to store locally, like photos from your iPhone and iPad backups. You may find that 256GB just isn’t adequate.
Still, both may be suitable for work-focused MacBooks that don’t need to store large video or music files.
You need a lot of storage
In this case, you have two main choices: You can either bite the bullet and invest in a larger, more expensive SSD while configuring your Mac or go with a smaller capacity and buy a secondary external hard drive or SSD.
There are a few things to note about this choice, however.
First, Apple’s PCIe SSDs will be significantly faster than an external HDD. That may not be a problem if you use the HDD to store files you rarely access, but if you frequently use it, you may feel the slowdown.
Second, the M1 MacBook Pro currently only has two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports, so if you buy an external HDD, make sure you buy one that’s compatible. Even better, just buy an external SSD that supports Thunderbolt so you can take advantage of the fast 40Gbps transfer speeds.
Aside from choosing the right amount of storage, Apple provides the means to customize your MacBook Pro’s memory and processor before purchase.
As previously stated, Apple divides the four starting points in half: with the first two choices carrying Apple’s own M1 chip, and the pricier variants carrying 10th Gen Intel-i5 processors.
In terms of performance, the M1 chips absolutely trounce the Intel ones, and Apple’s optimizations for the in-house chip make for one of the smoothest experiences ever available on a Mac. However, that doesn’t mean things are perfect yet. Not all of the legacy software available on Intel Macs is available on M1 variants yet. Most notably programs like Photoshop are still in beta and not consumer ready. If that’s important to you, it would be best to hold off or invest in the Intel options for now.
These configurations also include four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports, compared to the two available on M1 MacBook Pros. This is important to consider if you use a lot of Thunderbolt accessories.
There are also compatibility issues to consider. The M1 MacBooks have limited support for external monitors compared to the Intel options, and they also don’t support GPUs. If your workflow depends on multiple monitors and graphics rendering, the Intel options are your best option for now.
In terms of everyday use, both options are going to deliver similar experiences. However, the M1 chip has the best cost to performance, and it is more than enough for the vast majority of MacBook Pro 13 users. The Intel MacBook Pros are more flexible, but the higher cost means you should probably invest in a MacBook Pro 16 anyway. We recommend saving the money and going with the M1 above.
The same rule applies to RAM. The base 8GB of unified memory is probably all the memory the average laptop user needs. Configuring the MacBook with 16GB of RAM can help when running a lot of complex programs, like AutoCAD, and getting an M1 MacBook Pro with 16GB of unified memory and 512GB of storage is still $100 cheaper than the entry-level Intel MacBook Pro. If you run programs like that, it may be worth the upgrade. However, we recommend waiting since a 16-inch MacBook Pro refresh is on the horizon.
A quick word on Retina
A glance at these four starting points will show they are all “Retina” MacBooks with a 2,560 x 1,600-pixel resolution. “Retina” is Apple’s branding for its newest generation of computer screens, but it doesn’t represent a fixed resolution or pixel count.
So what is it?
Simply put, “Retina” indicates that the pixels are too small for you to see from a reasonable viewing distance. For the MacBook Pro 13, Apple says that means a resolution of 2,560 x 1,600 at 227 pixels per inch (ppi).
For other devices, that changes. The MacBook Pro 16, for example, has a resolution of 3072 x 1920 at 226ppi. The iPhone 11 Pro Max has a 2,688 x 1,242 resolution at 456ppi.
To get to these numbers, Apple estimates how far away from the screen an average user will be. We tend to hold our phones a lot closer to our faces than our computers, so the MacBook Pro 13 has fewer pixels than the iPhone 11 Pro Max.
Whether you’re talking about the MacBook or iPhone, though, any Retina label indicates an incredibly crisp display—something we noted in our review.
In today’s market, the best deal for the level of features and quality is the M1 MacBook Pro. Their performance is currently unrivaled, they have plenty of upgrade options, and the switch to Apple Silicon future-proofs your device.
The Intel MacBook Pros are in a tougher spot. You can get better functionality, features, and compatibility in the 16-inch MacBook Pro. But even that isn’t the best model compared to some of the other fantastic releases we’ve come to expect from Apple. Needless to say, we’re looking forward to seeing what else Apple has for us this coming year.
You will also like:
- Dollar general app
- Zillow manila philippines
- Sierra designs hammock instructions
- John deere investors
- Virtual reality samsung note 8
- Math grade 4 practice test
- Samsung s20 clock widget
- Best meme sources
- Chalk paint starter kit
- Hyrule temple theme
- Tapatio vegan
Is 512 SSD Faster Than 256 SSD?
Can a laptop have both SSD and HDD?
Get a laptop with two hard drive bays: If your laptop can take two internal hard drives, it can take one hard drive and one SSD.
Such laptops exist, but they’re not very portable.
Buy a hybrid drive: These use both flash and a hard disk, but don’t let you use them as separate partitions..
Which is better 512gb SSD or 1tb HDD 256gb SSD?
When you look at how you use your laptop, you will find that most of the time, you will use the SSD for everything … and only dump media on the HDD … In this given exapmle, you would be best to use a 512GB SSD (495 usable). … 256GB SSD is a good size for a main drive alone!
Is 512gb SSD storage enough?
512GB SSD is more than sufficient if you intend to run and process only the operating system through it. A solid-state drive is highly beneficial in data processing and provides exceptional data read and write speed performance.
Is 256 SSD enough for college?
SSD’s are much more expensive than regular hard drives. … For SSD size, 128GB is usually enough. But now that 256GB is getting more affordable, gauge how much storage space you’ll take up and consider storing large files like movies and such on flash drives or external hard drives.
How much can you store on 256gb SSD?
Storage Space Laptops that come with SSD usually have just 128GB or 256GB of storage, which is enough for all your programs and a decent amount of data. However, users who have lots of demanding games or huge media collections will want to store some files in the cloud or add an external hard drive.
Do I need 256 or 512 SSD?
How much local storage do you really need? … Most consumer and business notebooks don’t have room for multiple storage drives, but 1TB external USB hard drives cost under $60. Bottom Line: Get at least a 256GB SSD, 512GB if you do more storage-heavy work.
Is 256 SSD good enough?
Of course, it is better to have 256GB than 128GB, and larger SSDs perform better. But you don’t actually need 256GB to run “most modern computer programs”. You would only need that much space for processing large files, such as re-encoding videos. In most cases, it’s better to have more memory.
How big of a SSD do I need for Windows 10?
Windows 10 needs a minimum of 16 GB of storage to run, but this is an absolute minimum, and at such a low capacity, it will literally not have even enough room for updates to install (Windows tablet owners with 16 GB eMMC’s often get frustrated with this).
Is a 256gb SSD better than a 1tb hard drive?
Of course, SSDs mean that most people have to make do with much less storage space. … A 1TB hard drive stores eight times as much as a 128GB SSD, and four times as much as a 256GB SSD. The bigger question is how much you really need.
Which SSD is best for laptop?
Best SSD: Samsung 970 Evo Plus. Pushing Samsung further. … Best gaming SSD: WD Black SN750 NVMe SSD. Kiss those loading screens goodbye. … Best NVMe SSD: Samsung 970 Pro. King of the hill. … Best M. … Best SATA 3 SSD: Samsung 860 Pro. … Best U. … Best budget SSD: Samsung 860 Evo. … Best SSD boot drive: Intel 760p Series SSD.
Should I get 256gb or 512gb MacBook Pro?
If you’re buying any model of MacBook and plan to use it as your main machine, buy a model with more than 256GB of storage. Even if you only double the internal storage to 512GB, you’ll thank yourself in a few years. Constantly juggling free space is miserable. Generally speaking, MacBooks tend to last a long time.
What is the difference between 256gb SSD and 512gb SSD?
On average, the 512GB Samsung SSD is going to be more than twice as fast for read and write times compared to the 256GB Toshiba drive. … For some context, it is common to find a 512GB SSD to be faster than a 256GB version.
Is 256gb SSD enough for a laptop 2020?
The reality is that 256GB of internal storage is probably going to be plenty enough for most people who don’t already have (or anticipate having) a ton of locally stored photos, video, video games, or music that can’t either be easily offloaded into the cloud, or to a backup drive.
Is 512gb SSD enough for college?
Well SSDs are much faster than regular hard drives, so that’s a plus right there. Regardless, for papers and stuff 512gb should be just fine. However, in the event you need more storage, you can just buy an external hard drive.
Is 512gb SSD better than 1tb HDD?
In the rare case you can’t live without 1TB space, 512GB SSD is far better. The bottleneck of modern computers is HDD. CPU & RAM are pretty fast but HDD can’t keep up with them, so SSD is the optimum pair. 512GB is a good amount of space unlike 256GB.