How much storage space for a Chromebook if using Linux

If you’re buying a budget Chromebook you’ll still find devices with as little as 32GB of storage. This is still enough for basic tasks, and you’d be surprised how much you can install. I found this out after doing a test to see how much I could install on my 32GB budget Chromebook. That being said, I also own a Chromebox with 64GB, a Pixelbook Go with 128GB and an Asus CX5 with 256GB of storage.

I’ve used Linux on all of these Chrome OS computers apart from my budget device with 32GB. Therefore, I’m in a good position to explain how much storage you should consider if you’ll be using Linux Apps.

I’ve owned my Chromebox for a few years and it was the first one I used with Linux. The fact I’ve decided to ensure the Chromebooks I bought since then, had more storage, possibly gives an indication of where I’m going with this. Yes, the more storage the better when using Linux, but how much? Let’s take a look into this further.

What are Linux Apps on Chrome OS

Linux apps have been available on Chrome OS for a few years now. When first launched they were not something everyone would have possibly wanted to use. This is because Linux was in beta for the first couple of years, therefore, this would have possibly put some people off from using them.

The good news is Linux is now out of beta and has been for some time. This means Google and the Chrome OS team consider Linux stable for all users to use. They are different from Android apps, which you can also use on a Chromebook. You’ll tend to find you can use fully-fledged programs when installing Linux apps such as GIMP or Libre Office.

GIMP provides a full edit imaging software for the Chromebook
GIMP is free to use on Linux and is a great image editor

Unlike Android apps, which have been made to work on mobile. Linux apps have been around for years and are designed to work on computers using a Linux operating system. Linux is a very powerful operating system but is also possibly the hardest to learn. However, using Linux on Chrome OS isn’t that difficult to master once you’ve understood the basics. After you have installed Linux on your Chromebook, you can install Linux apps easier by installing a Linux app store.

The minimum storage needed for Linux on Chrome OS

If you want to use Linux to get an idea of how it works. Then a Chromebook with 64GB of storage is a good choice. I would suggest this is possibly the minimum amount of storage you’d need for installing Linux on your Chromebook.

I used Linux on my Asus Chromebox, which has 64GB of storage. At first, I did not find this amount of storage limited me in any way. However, it’s important to remember I was just checking out the different Linux apps you could use. Therefore, I was not necessarily using these apps on a daily basis.

When you install Linux on Chrome OS you need to decide at that time how much storage to reserve for Linux. It’s very similar to creating a separate partition on a hard disk. For example, if your computer had 64GB of storage, and you reserved 20GB for Linux. You could not use the 20GB of storage for other purposes such as installing Android apps.

If you’ll be using Linux regularly

Although you can easily use Linux with 64GB of storage. You may be better off looking for a Chromebook with more storage space than this. A computer with 128GB of storage would be a much better option if you’ll be using Linux apps regularly.

It isn’t just about how much storage you need for Linux apps. Linux apps such as GIMP, a fantastic image editor, make it possible to create some excellent artwork. Images take up more storage space than text files. Therefore, you also need to consider how much storage you’ll need for files that you create with Linux apps.

My Asus CX5 is compatible with Steam Alpha, which needs a lot of storage space for games
My Asus CX5 and Steam Alpha

If you buy a Chromebook with 128GB of storage. You could easily reserve half of this storage for Linux, which would give you a lot more storage to play with. The remaining storage can be used for Android apps and any files you download from the internet.

256GB of storage for Linux

A Chromebook with 256GB is considered as being rather rare. This is because a Chrome OS computer typically needs less storage than a Windows PC. The idea of Chromebooks needing less storage goes back to when Linux apps were not available.

Although many people may not need 256GB of storage to use Linux. There will also be many others who could easily use up this amount of storage. If you’re considering installing PC games locally with Steam Alpha you’ll easily get through 256GB.

This is because some games need 20GB or more to install. Steam Alpha is still in beta mode, and it will take some time before it’s used as standard. However, it’s improving and the ability to play games locally is possible. Therefore, it’s easy to see how 256GB of storage could be needed if you’ll be installing a lot of PC games on your Chrome OS computer.

Storage for Chrome OS will continue to rise

Because Linux is getting more popular on Chrome OS. It’s not hard to assume we’ll see Chromebooks come with a lot more storage in the future. This is definitely the case if you’ll be using Steam. Therefore, I would not be surprised if we don’t start seeing more Chromebooks with larger storage options in the future.

As I’ve already said Linux Apps are a great addition to Chrome OS, and you can get access to some really powerful programs to install locally. Video editing, music editing, and image editing are all possible with Linux.

Linux on Chrome OS
Linux Apps open up a lot of functionality on Chrome OS

It isn’t necessarily how much storage space these apps need to be installed on your computer. It’s more about the creations you make using these apps, and how much storage these can take up. This is especially true when editing videos.

Add to that the ability to play PC games locally on your Chromebook using Steam. Then I can see Chromebooks with storage options in the TB in a couple of years from now.

Summary

If you’re considering buying a new Chromebook and will be using Linux apps. Then you should definitely be looking for a Chromebook with a decent amount of storage. You can easily use Linux apps with 64GB, but you may want to consider more than this if Linux is something you’ll be using regularly.

If Linux is a key reason for buying a Chromebook. Then I’d be looking for a Chromebook with at least 128GB of storage. You’ll be surprised how easily this can be used up, so it will not be a waste of money paying for more storage.

Chrome OS is more powerful than it has ever been, and in the future, if you’ll be using Linux regularly; the more storage the better.

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