By Martin Edwards
When buying a computer there’s an important choice to make when it comes to storage. A few
years ago, this wasn’t necessary because all computers had
hard drives. And, in a few years from now, it is likely they will all
have solid‑state drives (SSDs). But during this period of transition
it’s worth understanding why solid-state drives are generally superior, along with one reason
you may in some circumstances opt for a traditional hard drive.
Solid‑state drives are:
- Much faster
- Less likely to break with sudden movement or shock
- More energy efficient
So why would anyone not want one? SSDs are currently more expensive when comparing similar
capacities. So, computers with hard drives can typically store many times more information than
similarly priced computers with SSDs.
But how much capacity do you actually need? System software, apps and temporary files like
downloads may add up to 15–30 GB or more. On the other hand, documents and spreadsheets are
negligible in size. Taking these things into account, then, we may approximate storage based on
photos and music:
- 128 GB: 12,000 photos or 6,000 songs
- 256 GB: 30,000 photos or 15,000 songs
- 512 GB: 70,000 photos or 35,000 songs
- 1 TB: 150,000 photos or 75,000 songs
Based on 5 MB photos and 10 MB songs, with 30 GB for operating system and apps, and 25% free
for future growth.