THE PCG Q&A
We’ve noted that some games are real storage hogs, demanding well over 100GB of space and making you wish you’d bought a bigger SSD when you had the chance. Then the DLC and updates arrive and they take up even more room. Do you routinely clean house to keep space free, or are those bars in Windows Explorer permanently in the red for you?
How much free storage space have you got on your PC?
Here are our answers, plus some from our forum.
Jarred Walton, Senior Editor of Tom’s Hardware: Just this week, while prepping to install Windows 11 on a new SSD, I ran into an interesting problem. I had a 2TB SSD as my main Windows 10 OS drive, a Kingston KC2000, and I noticed with a game update in Steam that it was behaving poorly. It only had 120GB of free space, so I decided to move some of the games to the new (and mostly empty) Crucial P5 Plus 2TB drive. Data was initially copying at 100-130 MB/s. Not good for an M.2 drive! Once I got to about 400GB of free space, read performance shot up to 500-700 MB/s. Besides those two drives, I have a 4TB Samsung 850 Evo that’s still good for mass storage. Moral of the story: You can never have too much capacity, and don’t fill your SSDs beyond about 70-80% if possible.
Nat Clayton, Features Producer: 130 GB. I built this PC last year with a single M2 SSD thinking “aye, 1TB will be enough”, forgetting that I work in games media and might need to install new games or record footage every now and then. That said, though, the download speed at my old co-working space was nonsensically fast enough that uninstalling and reinstalling games didn’t give me pause (the folks there have some outrageous setup that meant even a beast like MS Flight Sim only took an hour or two to download). And if I’m entirely honest, I only really need enough space for two things: Apex Legends, and a video folder for Apex Legends pop-offs.
Dave James, Hardware Lead: I’ve actually still got hard drives in my gaming PC, chock full of old digital photos from the dark ages of my youth and utterly legitimate video and audio files. They’re both in the red, with just 30GB left between them. Luckily there’s also 12TB of NVMe storage, split over a couple of drives, to keep them company. One’s my 8TB boot drive and the other a 4TB stick of gum with my Windows 11 install on it.
As you may note, the games are not the true storage hogs, that’s me.
Sarah James, Guides Writer: I currently have 820GB free out of 2.5TB but after this weekend, I’ll be adding a second m.2 drive to bring my overall storage up to 3.5TB. I don’t usually have much of a problem with space though, and I’ll uninstall anything I know I won’t play again any time soon. I’m basically only adding the extra NVMe drive because I’m doing a major upgrade and it would be rude not to.
Harry Shepherd, Guides Editor: I currently have 1.8 of my 3TBs free, but I expect that’ll go fast. When putting my current PC together about six months ago I ran out of cash after a single terabyte of storage. It was an expensive Gen 4 M2 drive, but hey, I was future-proofing. It was always my intention to take advantage of the second M2 slot on my new motherboard, and as expected, I was seduced by the temptations of Black Friday and picked up a 2TB stick. I’ve had to be very organised with my storage up to this point, but I predict the gigabyte flood gates to open now.
Lauren Morton, Associate Editor: Like Dave, I’ve still got some chonky HDDs in my system holding old My Documents folders from systems going back to my teen years, way too many photos, and all my footage from six years of Twitch streaming. Combined, those packrat tendencies have left me with 139GB remaining on a 2TB hard drive. I’ve still got a cushy 2.39TB available on my 6TB hard drive where I install the majority of my games though and 66GB free on my 512GB NVMe boot drive. I think I can safely keep kicking the can down the road a bit longer on this problem.
Phil Savage, Editor-in-Chief, UK: I’ve got a 2TB SSD that’s dedicated to games—the drive is called “Games”, that’s how you know. It’s got about 337 GB remaining. So yeah, it’s getting lower, but there’s plenty of things I can cut for space. Looking at WinDirStat, the big space hogs right now are GTA 5, which I’ve not played for months; Vermintide 2, which I still play occasionally, but maybe not enough to justify its 100 GB toll; and Red Dead Redemption 2, which yup, that can go too. Elsewhere there’s still 1 TB free on my old HDD that’s filled with music, Blu-Ray rips and Shadowplay footage, and 500 GB left on the M2 SSD used for Windows and various programs. Neither of those drives are called “Games” though, so they’re useless for my current predicament.
Andy Chalk, News Hammer: Got a 500GB SSD, my boot drive, which has 268GB free, and a second, much newer 2TB SSD with 666GB free. There’s also a 1.5TB HDD with 735GB free, which I use for music and image storage (although, truth be told, I’ve got a bunch of other crapola on there too) and an empty 600GB HDD that I just recently installed because it seemed a shame to waste it. It’s a bit of a mess (although nothing like a Dave James mess), but you can never have too much storage, and while there’s absolutely no reason not to make the move to SSD at this point (and trust me, you will not regret it), those cheap, fat HDDs still have value as a place to keep your lower-priority stuff.
Hitobat: I have about 300GB on a Samsung EVO 1TB ssd free. The main reason I think, is that I’m pretty ruthless with uninstalling Steam games once I realise I haven’t played them for a while. I keep only a small area on my desktop for game shortcuts, so that really helps to drive home when I’m adding new games and not cleaning up the old.
Zloth: If you check Steam’s help menu and select System Information, then scroll down, you can get the exact number. Total Hard Disk Space Available: 5722329 MB
Kaamos_Llama: According to Steam about 430GB across 3 drives, but I’m a snob and I won’t install games to the HDD anymore. I also just culled a few I haven’t played for a bit.
I would love to keep all of my games installed, as my download is not the fastest at 50mbps. Sometimes I get an urge to play something and it’s annoying that I can’t just launch it. Some bigger games take several hours to download, and often the moment has passed by the time it’s finished.
Of course you can copy and paste Steam games across to the main directory which is quicker, but my old 2TB disc doesn’t hold everything anymore. Time for a bigger mass storage drive in the new year probably, certainly won’t be buying a graphics card anytime soon anyway!
Pifanjr: Just enough for Total War: Warhammer 2 to update. So about 60 GB.
pathospades: I have two disk drives. My brother bought me one because he said they were cheap at the time and I ventured by plugging it in. Such a huge difference.
Total Hard Disk Space Available: 1196902 MB
I still have to clean up my hard drives with TreeSizeFree from season to season, but not as much as I used to. The default setup is really small.