In the world we live in today, a computer has become quite a necessity and one of the main issue faced by some people is how much space do they need exactly in their hard drive? They’ll know however, that the computer comes with a set amount of space, such as “1TB.” Despite knowing, they’re still gonna struggle to justify just how much 1TB is. How much can a 1TB handle? Will it cater to your desire to install multiple software and download media to your heart’s content? Is it too small? Given that there’s no physical reference to just how big 1TB is, it is understandable that first time users would get confused.

How Much Hard Drive Space Do You Really Need? Internal Hard Drive
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How Much Do You Need?

Essentially, there are three use cases for hard drive usages; mainly – light, medium and heavy storage. For each kind of use, we will go into details of what kind of everyday activity results to what kind of usage.

Light Usage

Files & Documents

If your daily tasks mainly involve a lot of documents such as Word, presentation and spreadsheets, you do not need a hard drive that big. A couple of kilobytes if you are storing raw data or a few more megabytes if there are pictures in your documents. Even if your documents are averaging 10MB each, you will still be able to store 100 of them before you truly reach the Gigabyte mark. Given how external drives come these days, your feat is practically non-existent.


Back in the days where the Internet speed was capped at 1GB, people used to measure how fast it would be to download an MP3 file. While there used to be a benchmark, it isn’t an issue anymore these days with an average MP3 file around 5MB each being downloaded in mere seconds. If we take that 5MB figure, you’ll have around 200 of them within a gigabyte of hard drive space. 

And if you enjoy saving pet images off the internet, then probably a gigabyte of storage will last you about 200 – 300 images depending on the size. Although images are generally quite small in size, some do weigh more than 5MB as high quality ones.

What You Really Need

Now, no matter how many of the above you use daily – chances are that you will have tons of works and will be carrying your images and musics around with you. A hard drive on the low end of the scale should last you for years. Computers or external hard drives around 250 – 500GB should be plenty, and if that’s not enough, the world of cloud-based storage is at the tip of your hand. 

Medium Usage

How Much Hard Drive Space Do You Really Need? Downloading
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Well, technically photography falls under the “Images” category under light usage. However, this doesn’t justify for photography under medium usage which houses several elements. This is because avid photographers tend to take high-quality images – a single picture will take multiple shots and be combined together to form the right photo which makes up why the large file size of some images. With this factor alone, you should have a rough idea on how this images fare. At least 5MB a photo, you’ll have around forty high quality shots before a gigabyte is gobbled up. If you’re an itchy shutter finger, it’s probably best to invest a little more in those storage so you wouldn’t regret later.

Movies & TV Dramas (SD)

With more and more services popping up and providers allowing downloads for your favorite shows at a price, you will find your movie collection shifting towards the digital space rather than gathering dusts on the shelves. Generally, if you are downloading, you’ll have more than often two choices between SD and HD variants. For SD movies lasting about two hours or so will cost you around 1.5GB. So lets say if you are using a 250GB hard drive, you can fit about 120 movies and 240 one-hour episodes on it minus the tens of GBs taken up by OS and software.

How Much Hard Drive Space Do You Really Need? Hard Drive
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Low Performance Games

If you have a little of the gamer blood in you, you should know that games tend to take up a huge chunk of space. Thankfully, if you’re not into those blockbuster games like Halo 4 or Battlefield, you’ll probably see the those indie games weighing around 300MB to 4GB mark.

What You Really Need

If you think your daily activities include these above, you can probably make do with a 250GB. However, if you are quite an avid gamer and movie fanatic, you would probably want a bigger storage say, 500GB instead.

Heavy Usage

High Demanding Games

If Battlefield or Call Of Duty are your go to games, you should probably get the right storage to keep them. A high-end modern game can easily breach the 20GB mark these days and it is not unusual at all. If all your games are of similar types, it is best that you get a 1TB hard drive.

How Much Hard Drive Space Do You Really Need? External Hard Drive
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HD Movies & TV Shows

Unlike the SD variant, HD movies and shows are heavy-hitters. Do expect a high quality movie or show to weigh in around 4 to 8GB at least. That’s more than double the size of a standard SD movie! If you had only a 250GB for these bad boys, you will probably get around 30 of them before your hard drive succumbs. If you do keep a lot of them in the best qualities, hard drive space can become rather scarce.


It can be difficult to imagine how much space you would need for your daily activities. The option is there to always purchase an external storage drive if you are running out, but it’s generally better and more convenient to simply purchase according to your requirements. Alternatively, if you come across a computer going for an excellent price that has an abundant of storage built in, go for it – chances are you will be needing the extra space in the future.

With this guide, we hope that you’ll have a better idea as to how much storage you truly need on your current or next computer. Also check out the these external drives below: