Opinion... How important is HD size now?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by pjwalth, Aug 30, 2015.

  1. pjwalth macrumors newbie


    Aug 28, 2015
    I desperately need to upgrade my laptop AND desktop computers and I'm having a bit of a debate of whether or not actual HD storage is something to spend (significantly) more money on...?

    My main reasoning is because there is so much online storage that tends to be more reliable and safer. For example, I'm looking at the current MacBook Pro with Retina Display and I'm having a difficult time wanting to spend at least $100 more for 100 more GBs of storage. (Yes, I understand it's double in the higher-end cases...)

    I'm just curious on everyone else's (more experienced) opinions on this. Is it worth spending so much extra money when I can store things online?
  2. Spink10 Suspended


    Nov 3, 2011
    If you don't need all the storage locally then cloud may be a good option. Also depends on how portable you need to be - is external drivers an option, etc.
  3. zachlegomaniac macrumors 6502a


    Sep 20, 2008
    I'm managing with 128 GB SSD for the MBP I blog with (amongst a few other things). It's enough for what I do as the 1 TB mini the family uses provides us with space. If I was using it as my primary computer I'd definitely need 256 minimum. It truly depends on how much you use the cloud (for media especially).
  4. ApolloBoy macrumors 6502a


    Apr 16, 2015
    San Jose, CA
    Personally I hate cloud storage (I only use iCloud for storing contacts and nothing more) so the more internal storage, the merrier.
  5. davidg4781 macrumors 68020

    Oct 28, 2006
    Alice, TX
    I looked into this a while back. For me, I think if you're looking at a desktop, I wouldn't spend too much money on internal storage since you can always add external to hold your media. It's also a lot more expandable then.

    For a portable, it really depends on your needs. When I had a MBP, it was my main PC and I didn't want to deal with needing a file and remembering it's on an external drive back at home. I also didn't want to deal with half of my music or video library on the local disk and the other half on an external.
  6. imlovinit macrumors 6502a


    Feb 8, 2012
    I used to be more concerned about having enough space but come to the realization when I upgraded my laptop that having external hard drives works out better. I say invest more on performance such as ram options than hdd space.
  7. nebo1ss macrumors 68030

    Jun 2, 2010
    Agree with this and storage is now so cheap. I have a Crucial 500Gig ssd in my laptop and never regret the decision to do that upgrade.
  8. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    I personally find that 256GB is the minimum I'm comfortable with on a mobile computer. Cloud services have certainly made it a bit easier these days to get away with a bit less storage, so long as you are comfortable paying for them as necessary, and not having access offline. 128GB drives I find are small enough that by the time you make allowances for the core system files and a few things stored locally, you really are left with little flexibility to carry anything else with you, like some movies for a trip or whatnot. USB storage is still incredibly slow for this, even if it can technically provide enough additional storage. It also takes a good bit of battery to transfer from usb, or to leave a drive connected, say to watch something from it.
  9. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    Well, with USB 3/Thunderbolt, adding an external hard drive is no longer the performance bottleneck it once was. Even WiFi is getting faster, and "the cloud" is fast enough for modestly sized documents. Also, in this multi-device world it makes sense to put as much as possible on a home NAS, if not "the Cloud".

    On the other hand, nothing (well, nothing that its worth asking the price of) is as fast as the PCIe SSDs built into Macs these days. While its easy to plug an external HD into your laptop, its even nicer to have everything you are likely to need built-in so you can "grab and go", and reliance on the cloud means that your laptop is a brick without a good internet connection.

    You'll want some sort of external storage as backup, anyway.

    Question is, do you do any of these:
    • "Non-casual" gaming: even with online stores like Steam, big games eat a lot of HD and installing/uninstalling them is time consuming.
    • Video at "serious amateur" level or beyond.
    • Serious photography with raw files or graphics to pro print publication standard.
    • Boot Camp or virtual machines.
    ...if so, you will be dealing with multi-gigabyte files that pretty much rule out the cloud (at least, over home/hotspot broadband), take significant time to move between devices and might notice the extra speed of the internal SSD when working on them. Now, some of those (e.g.Video) mean that external storage is more-or-less mandatory, but the question is how much do you want to be able to carry around on your laptop? It also makes sense to at least be able to fit your "work in progress" on the super-fast internal SSD where feasible.

    Overall, I'd say that 256GB is plenty for most people and 128GB is fine for everyday home/office use. Worst case scenario: you have to add an external drive and/or take a bit of care with disc management. To justify 512GB or above at Apple's prices you'd need to tick at least one of the bullets above (or similar).

    Not that a 1TB internal SSD wouldn't be nice if you budget would stretch.
  10. coachingguy macrumors 6502a


    Feb 7, 2003
    The Great White, Albeit Frozen North
    I don't know that I agree with 128/256 gigs being enough... Cloud storage is great, to a point. Be it iCloud, Dropbox, Google etc... I use all 3 for different things.

    But, I also take a lot f pictures and in my job produce quite a few docs/projects etc... So, I just installed a 1 TB HD in my 2013 MBP because I was being constrained by the OEM 500gig. My new drive spins at 7200 with a 64mb cache, so while it's certainly not SSD, it is faster.

    Of course, your mileage may vary...

  11. imaccooper macrumors regular


    May 29, 2014
    North Carolina

    Some good advice here.

    I have bought multiple 128gb drives and have never had any problems. With that said, it is really all about what you do. Typically, the people here or on any other site that are wanting more storage have one or more of the following true:

    Store their photos and videos on the computer (and have a large amount of them).
    Work in photo or video editing and need to store large files locally for quick access.
    Require a virtual machine or some type or boot camp for windows.
    Have a large iTunes library including music, movies or tv shows.

    For me, none of these things are true and therefore I still have about 50gb free of my 128ssd. I store all of my files on Dropbox, but again without pictures or videos, it is only a few GB. It really depends largely on your usage case, but in my case, I have no problem with 128gb.
  12. tdhurst macrumors 68040


    Dec 27, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ
    128 gigs was NOT enough for me, but 256 gigs seems to be perfect.

    I store as much as I can online, but I just don't trust having internet access whenever I need my files, so the important stuff is on Dropbox in at least three places.
  13. bookwormsy macrumors 6502

    Jul 7, 2010
    I agree with the 256GB sentiment. I need enough to install my programs and a little bit extra for extra stuff (pictures, documents, videos, etc). I have a small Thunderbolt drive I can take if I need a lot of space.

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