Here’s Why Starfield Requires an SSD on PC

Here's why Starfield requires an SSD on PC and what you should do if you don't have one.

by Matthew Kevin Mitchell
Image: Bethesda Softworks

Everyone has been discussing Starfield’s large installation size, but few people have pointed out a critical requirement for PC players: a Solid State Drive (SSD). As per Starfield’s Steam page information, having a Solid State Drive (SSD) with at least 125GB of free storage space is mandatory to play the year’s most anticipated game. While this requirement may seem surprising, here’s why Starfield requires an SSD on PC and what that means for you.

Why Does Starfield Require an SSD?

Image: Bethesda Softworks

Starfield requires an SSD because the game streams game assets directly into your PC’s memory from the drive as you’re playing. Traditional hard drive (HDD) speeds usually aren’t up to the task, causing stuttering in your game as it waits for the HDD to feed it the data it needs. This is especially true in open-world games, such as Starfield, Fallout, and Skyrim, that load content dynamically. In addition, you will notice a significant improvement in load times over a traditional hard drive.

While immersing yourself in Starfield, you may encounter frustrating hiccups interrupting your gameplay experience. Specifically, you may notice that the game takes longer to load, and the game’s performance will become choppy and suffer from stuttering. This issue can be further aggravated if your operating system is located on the same hard drive as the game, forcing the reading arm to jump between files and constantly slowing down the overall performance.

Related: Can You Play Starfield on Steam Deck or ROG Ally?

Previous games like Cyberpunk 2077 initially required an SSD, but they came out with an HDD setting so players still using traditional hard drives could play. However, Bethesda has not communicated about this being the case with Starfield, so I wouldn’t count on this happening. Luckily, SSDs have become extraordinarily cheap, and the release of Starfield is the perfect time to convert. You can purchase an external SSD to play Starfield as an alternative solution. Just plug it into USB 3 ports for the best performance.

Author’s Note: I wrote this guide while playing Starfield on Xbox Series S.

- This article was updated on August 25th, 2023

About The Author

Matthew Kevin Mitchell has been a contributing writer for Attack of the Fanboy and PC Invasion since 2022. Matthew primarily covers Manga like One Piece, horror movies like Scream, and survival horror games like Dead by Daylight. His favorite moment came during his first press event covering Scream 6 for AotF. He hails from Denver, Colorado, where he received his Bachelor of Science in Information Technology from Regis University. When he isn’t scaring himself silly or writing, he loves to play ice hockey, spoil his dog, and drink an unhealthy amount of coffee.