Do You Still Need a Hard Drive for Your Gaming PC?

Do You Still Need a Hard Drive for Your Gaming PC?

For a gaming PC, some components are critical, like a CPU, GPU, motherboard, RAM, storage, and power supply. However, your gaming PC will work perfectly fine if it doesn't have components like RGB lights or custom water-cooling loops. But which category does a hard drive fall under? Do you still need a hard drive on your computer, or will just an SSD (solid state drive) suffice?

A hard drive is not a critical component of a gaming PC. Your computer will work perfectly fine if you have installed an SSD or an NVMe drive and have skipped the HDD. In other words, a PC doesn't need a hard drive to run.

To help you figure out the storage device you need, here's a complete guide on whether you still need a hard drive for your gaming PC. 

A PC Doesn’t Need a Hard Drive to Run

You've probably seen many build recommendations consisting of an SSD plus an HDD combo, with the SSD storage being smaller for Windows and the HDDs being the primary storage devices for all your games and other data. 

But why would you want a PC that doesn't have a hard disk drive? That's because hard drives are much slower than SSDs, causing gamers to wait several minutes before their game loads up. Games like Battlefield are notorious for excessively long wait times before players enter a match.

Secondly, the price difference between a hard drive and an entry-level SSD of the same data capacity is getting smaller. You can get a 1TB SSD for around $80, which isn't that much compared to the price of a same-sized HDD, and saving those few bucks and getting an HDD instead of an SSD doesn't make sense.

Considerations on if Your PCs Need an HDD

There are still some credible arguments in favor of hard drives. To help you decide whether you should get an HDD for your gaming PC, here are all the scenarios where getting a hard drive makes sense.

You Play a Lot of Games & Need a High Storage Capacity

Games today are getting larger in terms of file size. Just look at Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3, which requires around 100 GB of free storage space. However, if you play up to three games, a 1 TB or even a 500 GB SSD would be more than enough.

On the flip side, some gamers like to play two or three primary games and then several others when they feel like changing things up. If you're that type of gamer, you can get a hard drive and keep all the games you don't play as often in it. 

Your Budget Doesn’t Have Room for Bigger SSDs

Spending that extra $20 to $30 for an SSD is worth it because the performance you get is a lot for the price. But when you're on a tight budget, saving those few extra bucks here and there can add up to a considerable amount that you can spend on other, more important, components.

The second scenario where getting a hard drive makes sense is if you want a budget build and to save as much as possible for a good GPU. Fortunately, you can check out the Apex Bronze if you need a low-priced PC with a 512GB NVMe pre-installed. 

You’re Simply Looking to Expand Your Storage

Games are just one of the things that people store on their gaming PCs. Many people use the same PC for work and gaming; if you do video editing, you'll need a lot of storage. While a 1 TB SSD would be enough initially, it might soon get full. 

Therefore, the final scenario where getting a hard drive is a good decision is if you run out of storage on your solid-state drives and need more storage capacity for files. In that case, getting a large HDD instead of spending money on another SSD would be the better decision. You could also opt for an external storage solution instead of installing a new hard drive directly into your PC.

PC Hard Drive FAQs

If you still need clarification on whether to get a hard drive or stick with an SSD, here are some of the most commonly asked questions on PC hard disk drives. Go through them and see if you find answers to the particular questions you have in mind.

Is a Hard Drive Required for a PC?

No. A hard drive isn't a requirement for any PC. However, you need some storage where your operating system, games, and essential software can be stored. Instead of hard drives, you can either get an SSD or an NVMe drive.

Do I Need a Hard Drive for a Gaming PC?

A gaming PC is just like a regular PC, with the only difference being more graphics horsepower thanks to the dedicated GPU. Therefore, you don't need a hard drive for a gaming PC either, just like you don't for a regular PC. You will, however, require some storage, which can be an SSD or an NVMe.

Do I Need an HDD if I Have an SSD?

Having some storage besides the HDD is the main reason you can use a PC just like normal without a hard drive. So, no, you don't need an HDD if you already have an SSD installed on your computer. It also applies to an NVMe drive, where you won't require an HDD if you already have an NVMe.

Are Hard Drives Still Worth It?

It depends. If you're getting a brand new PC and know that you won't need over 1 TB of storage, getting a hard drive isn't worth it in your case. However, if you play many games for which you need a lot of storage, your budget doesn't have enough for bigger SSDs, or if you're looking to expand your storage, hard drives might be worth it for your particular use case. 

What Happens if You Don’t Have a Hard Drive?

As long as you have other types of storage, like an NVMe or an SSD, your computer will continue to work normally, even if you don't have a hard drive. Unfortunately, if you don't have other types of storage, you won't be able to use your computer if you don't have a hard drive. 

Summary of if You Need a Hard Drive

Your PC doesn't need a hard drive to function as normal. It can work perfectly fine if you have an SSD. If you're getting yourself a brand-new gaming PC, you should get an SSD instead of saving a few bucks and getting an HDD because the price difference isn't worth the performance loss. 

However, there are some scenarios where getting an HDD would make sense for you. For example, if you play many games and need space to store all the game files, you have a tight budget where saving every extra dollar can go toward a better GPU, or if you run out of storage space and need to expand. 

Written By Dani K
Edited By Will Wilson

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