PDA

View Full Version : $300 for the 256GB option....smart or dumb move?




MarlboroLite
Jul 22, 2011, 12:33 PM
So it appears the one and only difference between the $1299 and $1599 13 inch models is the 256GB option in hard drive--(I'm not interested in the $100 i7 upgrade)--now I have read that 3rd party flash hard drives are a possibility in the MacBook Air...and yet those very same upgrades which are sold in limited retailers like OWC seems to cost far in excess of the $300 Apple is charging for the bump in capacity.

I guess my question boils down to this--would the smarter move be to save $300 right now in the hopes of being able to upgrade the hard drive at some future date for less than the amount Apple currently charges, or simply go for the 256GB option now at what miraculously seems to be the cheapest option provided by Apple as of today?

I get the sense that the price for flash memory in this particular "format" is not falling as rapidly as has been the consensus and I'm not sure whether waiting 2 or 3 years for an affordable upgrade solution is worth it at the moment?

In any case...I'd really appreciate some advise and/or thoughts regarding this issue, so that I can make a decision with the most accurate information possible!

Thanks in advance...

EDIT: Oh and one more thing, I wouldn't mind the sacrifice of using an external hard drive for heavy media files--and since thunderbolt is now implemented, it would be the most common sense approach to use a thunderbold external drive--but again, how much longer do we need to wait to see affordable 500GB-ish TB drives on the market to take advantage of the port?



Fernandez21
Jul 22, 2011, 12:40 PM
How often do you upgrade and how much storage do you need now? If 128 is too cramped for you, it would best to just buy the 256 now instead of waiting a couple of years while you try to make due with the 128, and by the time you can do that you will probably want to upgrade and get a new laptop any way.

unagimiyagi
Jul 22, 2011, 12:46 PM
Upgrading to 256 gb outright at apple is not a dumb move IF you must have 256gb.

I agree with you:
1. flash memory prices aren't falling as fast as everyone thought.
2. as a result, storage sizes aren't increasing for the masses--iphones are still at 32 gb, when we would have thought that we'd be going on 128 gb by now. Ipods/ipads max out at 64 gb. Prior to this "stuck" stage, we'd been doubling storage about every year.
3. Waiting for a 3rd party 256 gb upgrade option has its costs--namely the 2 years or so you'll be 'stuck' with 128 gb. Of course even if you've managed to stick it out for 2 years, your macbook air will be 2 generations behind. You may well just think about buying an entirely new macbook air--an air that will in all likelihood come with 256gb standard.
4. In laptop land, it rarely makes financial sense to upgrade anything except the RAM and hard drive--spinning disk hard drives, that is. SSDs are kind of new and still premium items, so financially, it's not a no-brainer to do it aftermarket at the highest storage sizes.
5. I think that a year from now, the equation changes for those of us who think that 128 gb is still slightly constrained, but 256 gb is adequate. I've found that 500gb is the magical point in which storage is no longer an issue. But I could probably get by with 256gb and not sweat it, b/c at that point it just becomes purely about how many multimedia files I want to store. Honestly, I probably won't even watch more of them. It's just about wanting to have everything with me.

I will probably just stick it out with 128 gb. Potentially I may add a 32 gb SD card, for about $32, for in-place backups, automatic, network-free backups. Or I may use it for extra storage, or whatever. The only reason I'd need more than 128 gb is for my media files. I am not willing to carry around an external hard drive daily, b/c that defeats the purpose of the air b/c I consider total travel weight.

stevenpa
Jul 22, 2011, 12:51 PM
If you can afford it, get it.

KohPhiPhi
Jul 22, 2011, 12:57 PM
It's crazy expensive if you ask me. I personally did pay the extra for the 256GB, but that's because I NEEDED a 100% mobile solution (I travel a lot) so I didnt want to carry around an external Hard Drive, USB hubs, etc.

If you dont plan on being totally mobile, then perhaps an external HD to store your movies, music, etc could also be a feasible way of saving up some bucks.

MarlboroLite
Jul 22, 2011, 01:06 PM
It's crazy expensive if you ask me. I personally did pay the extra for the 256GB, but that's because I NEEDED a 100% mobile solution (I travel a lot) so I didnt want to carry around an external Hard Drive, USB hubs, etc.

If you dont plan on being totally mobile, then perhaps an external HD to store your movies, music, etc could also be a feasible way of saving up some bucks.

It is crazy expensive! That's my dilemma--while it is expensive, Apple is actually offering the least expensive option compared to third parties as of right now. And as I said, I'm not seeing some massive downward price pressure on SSDs at the moment like many people had predicted- So how realistic is is that for the same $300 I'll get a 500GB hard drive in 2 years when OWC is charging $1400 (!!) for 480GB today! Hell, they're charging 400 bucks for 180GB! Prices are hardly plummeting....in fact they are still outrageously expensive. I doubt Apple will be making huge leaps in standard SSD storage for many years yet--I certainly don't see 256 being the standard by the next refresh....

KPOM
Jul 22, 2011, 01:11 PM
Apple's prices aren't unreasonable on the MacBook Air given the prices of OWC drives (the only alternative right now)
http://eshop.macsales.com/search/macbook+air

By contrast, the $400 differential between the 128GB and 256GB SSDs on the 13" Pro seems high.

Flash prices have stayed high for several reasons. First, demand is up. More manufacturers are using them, and tablets use flash memory, as well. Second, the tsunami hit production in Japan. Third, Apple knows it can get a premium for it and prices it accordingly.

Mandork
Jul 22, 2011, 01:12 PM
if you're rich spend the $300. otherwise if you can make do with the 128gb, get rid of useless files, move things you don't immediately need to external hdd, and maybe you'll be fine. i don't know what you have on your computer or how much space you're currently using, but if you can manage now under 100gb, you should be fine with 128gb.

SaintsMac
Jul 22, 2011, 01:16 PM
It's crazy expensive if you ask me. I personally did pay the extra for the 256GB, but that's because I NEEDED a 100% mobile solution (I travel a lot) so I didnt want to carry around an external Hard Drive, USB hubs, etc.

If you dont plan on being totally mobile, then perhaps an external HD to store your movies, music, etc could also be a feasible way of saving up some bucks.

I am in the same boat so I had to go with the 256.

newConvert
Jul 22, 2011, 01:17 PM
Think you could come out ahead if you bought the 128gb version ($300 "savings"), sold the 128gb stick on ebay (nets you $200? wild guess), then purchase the 360gb one from OWC for $780? Don't think you'd be quite ahead, but might be worth while?

MarlboroLite
Jul 22, 2011, 01:18 PM
What about using an 32 or 64GB SD card compliment as a solution instead of an external hard drive? Are these things still super slow in read/write speeds compared to good old fashioned external HD's?

vty
Jul 22, 2011, 01:19 PM
I travel extensively and don't even need an 80GB hdd, although of course YMMV.

What do I do?

I have a 4tb Synology NAS at home that I can access from any internet connection along with Spideroak (akin to dropbox). I have a cell phone that I can tether 3g and 4g wirelessly in the event that I'm not near an internet connection (I've almost never traveled somewhere where my cell provider didn't have 3g).

I also have Subsonic set up on my home desktop which allows me to stream all of my music/movies, although I've been having a pain getting it to work with UNC shares. Technically I can set this up on my NAS, but I haven't gotten around to it.. Been using Spotify for music lately.

My biggest hangup with my MBA is the battery life. I was used to 7+ hours on my MBP and 15+ on my Thinkpad (with 9cell and slice). Now I have to carry a power adapter. :cool:

I only need critical stuff on my MBA.. Manuals, visio charts, asdm, ebooks, etc.

ZipZap
Jul 22, 2011, 01:28 PM
In the end I think the price is roughly the same either way.

$300 upgrade = (OWC Price - Selling Price of the smaller SSD once replaced)

bob99
Jul 22, 2011, 01:35 PM
Get the upgrade... You'll be happy to have the additional space. I'm sure everyone with an Air also has external storage, but it will just make life more convenient. You'll be hooking up the external drive less frequently.

When it comes to computers, I think you should always buy what you need now. Getting this computer with the idea of upgrading it in a year is strange thinking, because in a year, there will be a 2012 Air with newer / better features.

If you have an iTunes library, and photos, and back up your iPhone, the 256 is probably the ticket.

golgo1313
Jul 22, 2011, 03:56 PM
if the air is your primary or only computer, then i would highly recommend coughing up and getting the 256gb. if it's your couch/weekend warrior, then smaller isn't bad.

bp1000
Jul 22, 2011, 04:17 PM
Just curious what takes up peoples space?

For years I've never used more than about 60gb

Only things I store on my laptops are photo, less than 20gb, 16gb music to accommodate my phone and ipad, then just docs, not much else. I use groove shark and spotify and use vod services for movies streaming.

The only big files I have are hd camcorder files which I load on process burn and archive into a backup drive, I also archive my extra music and steam missing music anyway. That 60gb includes a 10gb.virtual windows instal too.

I guess with streaming music and video and cloud services I no longer need really big hdds.

I don't use big programs like ps either, just use an old copy of fireworks for web graphics

Meever
Jul 22, 2011, 05:22 PM
You should first consider getting a 2.5 external.

There are some obscenely thin and light 500gb drives now.

Or even usb thumb drives that are a few mm thin that can add like 32gbs for under a hundred bucks.

Platypusman99
Jul 22, 2011, 05:28 PM
I have the 128 GB 13" 2010 and I am almost out of room as I have to run Windows XP for work, via VMware Fusion. If there was a way to run VMware and Windows on a fast external drive i would do it and my problem would be solved.

fitshaced
Jul 22, 2011, 06:19 PM
I got the 13 128gb. I thought about holding iTunes on a 16gb SD card and leaving it in the machine but thought the card might get snapped some how.

I think there is always a need for external space these days so putting as much of your files off onto external storage is the best way. If you insist that you need to have your enormous aperture library on your built in SSD, 256GB is probably a must. Those libraries get very big. I keep it off my laptop. I'll look into thunderbolt storage when they become more available. I'll suffer with usb speeds until then.

No matter what drive you get, you'll most likely push it to its near capacity due to app upgrades, device backups, os updates. Best to keep a system drive as much a system only drive as possible.

USB 3 would be nice right now :p

bp1000
Jul 22, 2011, 06:22 PM
I have the 128 GB 13" 2010 and I am almost out of room as I have to run Windows XP for work, via VMware Fusion. If there was a way to run VMware and Windows on a fast external drive i would do it and my problem would be solved.

Couldn't you install virtualbox and just put the XP image and data on the external disk and mount it in os x to run?

Brenzo
Jul 22, 2011, 06:31 PM
Couldn't you install virtualbox and just put the XP image and data on the external disk and mount it in os x to run?

Genius idea. Definitely going to get small USB drive to load Windows for those few times I need to launch Internet Explorer or certain programs.

How long until there are Thunderbolt-enabled thumb drives?

h00ligan
Jul 22, 2011, 06:33 PM
I had originally ordered the 128, however... I realized I need to have at least one fully functional windows 7 install and possibly an xp install on there. So by the time I give 30-40 gigs to other os's - 80 may not be that much with photography in view.

At the end of it, I decided that the hassle of upgrading and the length I keep my machines was probably worth the extra up front cost.

Fernandez21
Jul 22, 2011, 06:52 PM
Just curious what takes up peoples space?

For years I've never used more than about 60gb

Only things I store on my laptops are photo, less than 20gb, 16gb music to accommodate my phone and ipad, then just docs, not much else. I use groove shark and spotify and use vod services for movies streaming.

The only big files I have are hd camcorder files which I load on process burn and archive into a backup drive, I also archive my extra music and steam missing music anyway. That 60gb includes a 10gb.virtual windows instal too.

I guess with streaming music and video and cloud services I no longer need really big hdds.

I don't use big programs like ps either, just use an old copy of fireworks for web graphics

Exactly, you put your bigger files into an external drive, most people don't do that, they like having all their files with them without having to remember to bring a back-up cd/thumb drive/external drive with them, they just want the files on their system.

Samsumac
Jul 22, 2011, 07:01 PM
I would save the money and get a sata iii blade ssd to upgrade when they are available.

PecanEater
Jul 22, 2011, 07:21 PM
I need a full mobile solution and went with the $300 upgrade. As other's have said, Apple's prices aren't unreasonable. I need the storage for photos and images.

nebulos
Jul 22, 2011, 09:34 PM
to me, this is a crazy way to blow $300.

but i can very, very easily live happily without that extra 128GB.

if you really, really, really need all that much stuff on your comp all the time, maybe it's worth it.

i wouldn't trust so much info to one comp, so you'd probably want to backup either way. to me, this takes the inconvenience aspect (of backing up) out of the equation.

i think it's absurd, but i know a lot of people do it. in fact, people do way worse things, like install that 360GB stick for like a million dollars.

as for the 'if you got the cash, do it' philosophy, i'm at odds with that. money has value, no matter how much YOU might have. i find the idea of someone just plopping down a bunch of cash on all the upgrades without really weighing the decision quite nauseating. no matter how much money you have, you only have so much. don't waste it. you can always put it towards something useful, including a donation.

nebulos
Jul 22, 2011, 09:48 PM
alternatively, you might consider putting this towards a Time Machine.

i'm gonna think about one of these myself; wireless backups, and it acts as a router too.

or, you could put that $ towards a previous gen mini, which you could use as storage, stream media off of, and have hooked up to your TV.

or, ...

nood1es
Jul 23, 2011, 02:27 PM
bought a 11" 128gb, debating if i should go back and return for the 256 myself. Dang decisions!

mac jones
Jul 23, 2011, 02:36 PM
It's worth it for me. I found it a HUGE hassle fiddling around with external storage, and even THAT wasn't enough.

128GB just does not cut it.

Though if I had a choice; but I don't.

coolbreeze
Jul 23, 2011, 02:40 PM
I got the 256 because this machine will replace my windows computer as well.

Need the extra space to put Windows 7 on a bootcamp partition.

bobr1952
Jul 23, 2011, 03:00 PM
Just curious what takes up peoples space?

For years I've never used more than about 60gb

Only things I store on my laptops are photo, less than 20gb, 16gb music to accommodate my phone and ipad, then just docs, not much else. I use groove shark and spotify and use vod services for movies streaming.

The only big files I have are hd camcorder files which I load on process burn and archive into a backup drive, I also archive my extra music and steam missing music anyway. That 60gb includes a 10gb.virtual windows instal too.

I guess with streaming music and video and cloud services I no longer need really big hdds.

I don't use big programs like ps either, just use an old copy of fireworks for web graphics

Your post is a good one for some who think they can do fine with 128. I guess it comes down to those who put all of their files on their main computer and those who put things elsewhere. My 2008 iMac contains 170GB of files--and probably close to 100 of that will not be needed on any Air I buy. Photos are on external drives, iTunes on networked drive--so if you are the type of user who doesn't store things on your main computer, you would be fine with 128--some with only 64--but if you want it on your Air, I guess you will have to cough up the extra $300.

clyde2801
Jul 23, 2011, 03:19 PM
considering the price difference between 128 and 256 gigs for SSD is roughly that price anyway, I'm not complaining.

WillMak
Jul 23, 2011, 03:49 PM
I currently have a 500 GB drive in my 2006 macbook but I don't think adjusting to the 128 GB will be too hard since I'm use to using an ipad now. I'd just save the 300 for now and upgrade in a years time.

WillMak
Jul 23, 2011, 03:50 PM
Anyone know how fast SD cards read? Why not just keep an SD card in for a little extra space

Gemütlichkeit
Jul 23, 2011, 03:52 PM
it's the most reasonable upgrade apple offers lol. the equivalent 256 drives out there are 300-400

Obscurelight
Jul 23, 2011, 03:54 PM
I only did the upgrade to 256gb because they wouldn't allow the i7 with 128gb :mad:

nood1es
Jul 23, 2011, 04:27 PM
yeah just made the exchange for a 256 and with student pricing its only 250 which isn't so bad like a few have said compared to other options.

wkw
Jul 23, 2011, 04:31 PM
smart! oh no wait, dumb!