Weekly Poll: How Much Internal Storage Do You Need?

Since transitioning to an SSD earlier last year, I’ve become accustomed to dealing with a smaller amount of hard drive space in my MacBook Pro. Moving from 256GB down to 128GB felt like a risky thing to do at the time – the last thing I wanted was the constant headache of a hard drive that’s full to the brim.

The reality is that I absolutely haven’t noticed the decrease in size. I trimmed down my Applications directory, moved all my iMovie content off to an external drive, and started a new photo library in Lightroom (my old Aperture library was becoming an out of control nightmare to manage).

These few changes freed up over 100GB of space and, by being mindful of what I download, save, and store on my internal drive, this space is still more or less completely free.

Downsizing to a smaller drive hasn’t once caused me a problem – I’ve found that when it comes to internal drives, bigger isn’t necessarily better. But would you be happy to sacrifice all those extra gigabytes? Let us know in today’s poll, and share your thoughts in the comments.


  • Dade

    take out your dvd drive and use the owc data doubler and use your drive that came with the macbook as a second drive and boot off ssd awesome combination who needs a dvd drive???

  • http://www.caiobianchi.com Caio

    Requirements for
    2011 -> USB port, HD 160GB.

    2013 -> Wireless connection.

  • haragog

    Yup I second Dade’s opinion! I have my ssd on the old dvd drive (bought a custom dvd casing like the one sold from apple standalone dvd drive), and a 1 Tb hdd on the normal drive’s place…

    Who needs a cd drive? 1999?

    • Rob

      Well done. I’d love to modify my MBP the way you did. As to the DVD the only use I can think of is restoring from the OSX DVD if you have some kind of problem.

      • Shelby

        $20 for an external DVD burner. 95% of the time, you REALLY don’t need that.

  • http://novastormsoftware.com Justin

    + 240GB OWC SSD
    + 1TB Western Digital

    I store the OS, apps, and Dropbox on the SSD, along with development partitions and a Parallels VM for Windows web testing. The WD drive is partitioned into a 240 GB clone of the SSD which is automatically updated every night, as well as a 260 GB Time Machine partition and 500 GB storage partition. I symlink certain directories on the SSD onto the storage partition (like iTunes movies and iOS apps/backups) so that leaves the SSD free for other things. The storage partition is cloned to a 500 GB external disk periodically, and a 500 GB FW800 disk functions as extra backup and scratch space for things like iMovie. I also have two additional clone backups of the main drive that are stored in separate locations.

    Basically that gives me 500 GB of storage space and a computer that’s capable of backing itself up, plus the security that comes from having external backups as well. :)

    • http://davidappleyard.net David Appleyard

      That’s a really smart system, Justin. Love the idea of internal backups :-)

  • David

    I have upgraded my MBP’s 160GB drive to 500GB, however that is currently going through yet another Repair Disk run via Disk Utility so I think it may be on it’s way out. I have an external 500GB for Time Machine and a 1TB NAS drive so am thinking I could afford the drop in inbuilt storage when considered against the performance gains of a SSD. Perhaps a comparison guide to the different makes/models etc would be a useful post for this site?

    • http://www.freemacgamer.com Free Mac Games

      Mine got old and crashed.

      Got a 320GB in my macbook now … Wish I would have done the same as you and gotten a 500GB tho.

  • http://jonathanv.com jonvdveen

    I use a 120 GB OCZ solid state drive for my apps and one of my Aperture libraries.

    On that note, Aperture 3 has solid support for multiple libraries. Each library can be located in a separate location (e.g., different drives). I use a different library for every year. It keeps things a little tidier and I’m sure it doesn’t hurt my performance. You don’t need to go to Lightroom for that type of flexibility.

  • http://www.marcelboast.com Marcel

    I’ve been toying with the idea of putting in a 64GB ssd (all the budget allows for at the moment) and then carrying around a few usb sticks for extra data, I especially like the Super Talent Pico-C usb drives, a few of those & I’m set

  • Sebastiaan

    Maybe on a Macbook i’d get away with a smaller drive (512gb or less), but my home computer(s) need a vast amount of space. I’m an avid collector of data and i always find new ways to clog my drives. Years ago it would’ve been games, that transitioned into a HUGE lightroom library and now it’s video. Currently have about 6TB in on computer. Although that does serve as a fileserver for all of the other computers in the house.

  • Colin

    I can get away with 64-128 MBs. NAS is how I keep my big chunks of data managed (music, movies, archives, etc.). I like to be minimal on what I actually keep on my internal drives.

  • Mark

    I recently purchased a new 15″ MacBook Pro. Along with it, I purchased a “data doubler” kit from MaxUpgrades.com which included: OCZ Vertex 3 120 GB SSD, the optical drive bracket, and external ODD enclosure. Threw the 500 GB HD into the bracket and the SSD into the factory HD location for SATA III connectivy. Boot time is ~5-6 seconds with applications starting with the system. Put Symbolic links in place for my Docs, Music, Pics, and Movies folder so having the dual drive setup is pretty transparent when it comes to managing data. Since the Desktop, Library, Downloads and Shared folders are located on the SSD, the HD rarely spins up.

    After using it for a couple weeks, I don’t know how I could go back to anything else.

  • Kristian Sørensen

    Because wi-fi is practically ubiquitous and rarely needed material can be stored in the cloud, I think I could probably do with as little as 64 GB. The only problem in going for a small-but-fast SSD is the lack of upgrade ability later. Once you’ve bought an aluminum MacBook Pro/Air, finding out that 64 GB is just 10 GB too little would mean that you would need to buy a whole new computer :S

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