When it comes to purchasing a new laptop, one of the crucial factors you need to consider is its storage.
Often, we believe that the higher the storage capacity, the better it can perform. But is it really true?
While it’s always helpful to have more than enough storage, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a better computer.
It all boils down to your needs and how you plan on using your laptop.
To help you out, we created this 500GB vs. 1TB laptop guide, so you can make an informed decision before purchasing a new one.
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500GB Laptop (How Much Can You Really Store?)
When it comes to laptops, 500GB storage is probably the most common storage space you can find in the market.
Many people think that this isn’t enough, given that there are many apps, photos, videos, and files they want to store on their device.
While 500GB is undoubtedly inferior to 1TB, it still can hold many things. And when we say a lot, we mean it.
If you’re not familiar, a GB is composed of 1024 MB of storage space. This means you have 536,870,912,000 bytes of data in a 500GB laptop.
If you still can’t imagine how much space it really has, with this amount of storage, you can store approximately 160,000 digital photos, 500 hours of digital videos, 250 games and apps, and a total of 8330 hours of music.
So, really, a 500GB laptop is enough if you’re a casual computer user and don’t really need much storage like gamers, editors, or designers.
1TB Laptop (Is It Overkill?)
Whenever we hear the word terabyte (TB), we immediately think of how we can actually consume all that storage space.
500GB is already a lot of space, and with double that amount, it seems like it’s impossible to fill all that storage. Well, it’s actually not.
If you’re a designer or editor who works with many files such as high-res photos and HD videos, you’ll find that it isn’t overkill to get a 1TB storage.
We will not get into math and calculate how much data you can store in a 1TB.
But if you really want to know, you can double the number of bytes we mentioned above, and that’s how much space you’ll get for every terabyte.
Even with the actual number, it is still difficult to imagine how massive this storage is, so here are some ballpark numbers to understand the space you’ll get in a 1TB laptop.
In a 1TB laptop, you can store 250 movies or around 500 hours of HD video, more than 250,000 photos taken with a 12MP camera, and approximately 6.5 million document pages stored as PDFs, presentations, and Office files.
That seems a lot, but wait till you become a designer or editor. You’ll probably think it’s just enough.
500GB Vs 1TB Laptop: Which Is Best For Most Users?
If you’re after an ample storage space, a 1TB laptop is the apparent winner.
But the amount of GB the laptop has isn’t the only thing you should be looking at when choosing a portable computer.
You also need to check what type of drive is included in the computer.
There are two types of drives available on the market now: hard disk drives (HDDs) and solid state drives.
While the type of drive doesn’t directly impact the storage space, it’s important to check them as well as it can contribute to the drive's overall performance.
But if it’s just the storage space you need, and you don’t really care much about other factors affecting the storage performance of the laptop, it’s best to choose a 1TB laptop.
One of the most important things you need to look at when choosing laptop storage is its performance.
Unfortunately, many people overlook this factor and just pick whichever storage space is larger.
But what they don’t know is that the read and write speed has an impact on the overall performance of the computer. So, don’t make the same mistake.
When it comes to speed, this is where the type of drive comes in. Historically, laptops come with HDDs.
However, many manufacturers and users found that it takes for the drive to read and write files, making the laptop slower.
That’s why a new breed of computer drive was introduced recently in the form of SSD.
SSDs are generally faster and have lower latency than HDDs, making them the number one choice of users when it comes to storage.
This means that if you're looking for a faster read and write speed, don’t just look at the number of GB the laptop has to offer.
Instead, look for the type of drive it comes with first, and then check the storage space.
As a gamer, you need something to store all of your games and saves. That’s why you need a 1TB laptop to help you get the most out of your gaming experience.
However, it’s not just about the amount of storage you have. You also need to make sure that the laptop you’re choosing comes in an SSD drive; otherwise, the performance of your computer may suffer.
Unfortunately, it’s still challenging to find 1TB SSD laptops. Not only are these gaming laptops expensive, but manufacturers don’t produce a lot of them.
So, it’s best to get a computer with both SSD and HDD storage to get the best gaming performance.
You can find laptops with 1TB HDD and 128 to 256 SSD. This allows you to store your system on the SSD and use the HDD as support storage for your computer.
That way, you’re not going to sacrifice the computer's speed.
If you’re a programmer, you need a lot of space to save your files and codes. This means that a bigger space can help you be more efficient and productive with your work.
But the storage you need still depends on how many programs you’re working on and whether you save your files locally or in the cloud.
So, to help you choose between 500GB and 1TB, you need to list what you expect from your computer’s storage.
Ideally, many programmers are content with 500GB of space, given that they have an external drive backup to ensure the safety of their codes.
But getting a 1TB won’t hurt you. In fact, it might even make it easier for you to program without worrying about consuming all the space on your computer.
For Video & Photo Editors
Like gamers, editors require substantial storage space, especially when working with large-sized photos and videos. That’s why a 1TB laptop is the best option for you.
However, you need to ensure that your computer can read and write files quickly when it comes to exporting videos and photos.
So, it’s best to get a laptop with HDD and SSD to make your work more productive. If you think that getting both drives is over the top.
You can always opt for a smaller-sized SSD laptop and purchase an external hard drive to save your files.
You can even buy a 500GB SSD laptop and complement it with a 1TB external hard drive for maximum productivity.
For Graphic Designer
Storage space is undoubtedly one of the critical components designers check when choosing a laptop.
This is because graphics and content, in general, require a massive amount of storage, especially if it’s what you do for a living.
That’s why you need to look for a laptop that can handle all the files you work on.
Both 500GB and 1TB laptops are good choices for designers. However, it’s best to stick with computers with SSDs so that you get the most out of your computer’s performance.
Design programs usually require a lot of computing power, so you need the fastest read and write speed to ensure that they will run smoothly.
So, always look for a computer that comes in SSD to get the most out of your computer. You can also consider building a gaming laptop from scratch and include an SSD.
The first thing you need to ask yourself when choosing between a 500GB and 1TB laptop is how you intend to use them.
If you’re still studying, you should ask yourself if you need massive storage for a computer.
For example, do you work with large files or do you just need a basic laptop for word processing and research? If you answer the latter, you can stick with a 500GB laptop.
This is already a substantial amount of space, allowing you even to install different apps you need.
However, if you’re a film student working with a lot of files, it might be best to consider getting a laptop with at least 1TB to ensure you have enough space for all the videos you’ll be working on.
This also means that you won’t need to bring an external hard drive since you have all the storage you need in your computer.
Price (Value For Money)
When it comes to prices, the larger the storage size, the more expensive they tend to be.
So, if you’re tight on budget, you might want to consider getting a 500Gb laptop instead of a 1TB.
In addition, the type of drive will also contribute to the price of the computer. Generally speaking, SSDs are more expensive than HDDs.
At the same time, laptops with both SSD and HDD also come with a higher price tag.
But if you can splurge, we recommend you get a computer with both SSD and HDD for an optimal experience.
Common 500GB Versus 1TB Laptop Questions
What is the highest GB available on a laptop?
Storage-wise, the highest GB you can get is 500GB. But it’s not the largest storage in a laptop since you can find laptops with 1TB to up to 2TB.
Is 500GB enough for Windows?
Yes, 500GB is more than enough for your laptop. In fact, a Windows system only takes up 20GB of storage. This means you have enough room for all your files and apps.
How can I increase storage on my laptop?
While you can free up some storage in your laptop by deleting apps and files, you can’t just magically increase the storage size of your computer without installing a new drive.
So, if you do want more storage space, consider getting a new hard drive or buying an external one.
How many photos can 500GB hold?
A 500GB storage can hold around 160,000 photos.
Related: How To Store Digital Photos
If you’re wondering what to get between a 500GB vs. 1TB laptop, remember that both options are good enough for casual users.
However, if you deal with many files and require a massive amount of storage, it’s best to get 1TB instead, so you won’t have to worry about freeing up space when you need more.
Also, keep in mind that capacity isn’t everything. You also need to check what type of drive you’ll be getting to ensure the best performance of your device.
Andrew White is the founder of TechGearoid, a leading technology review & information website that is designed to help consumers make better decisions when it comes to their IT purchases. As a specialist tech writer (nerd) with over 10 years of experience, he enjoys writing about everything there is to do with modern technology & the newest market innovations. When he isn’t providing value for his readers, he’s usually drinking coffee or at the beach. Andrew lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife and family.