256 vs 512gb of storage

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Hyloba, Nov 21, 2016.

  1. Hyloba macrumors 6502

    Sep 30, 2014

    I'm almost done deciding which MBP to get but I'm still stuck on storage. I have a 128gb SSD at the moment and I am not sure what to think of it. It is a bit too small, but I can manage. I've grown a habit of storing everything on my external HDD.

    For my new purchase I'm debating 256 vs 512gb of storage.
    -Reasons for getting 256: It's more than 128 and I would put everything on an external HDD anyway.
    -Reasons for not getting 256: I might max it out when I start putting more music or photos on my laptop. Or if I put windows on it. At the moment I stream music, but I think I prefer offline access.
    -Reasons for getting 512: It's plenty of room for music and general stuff.
    -Reasons for not getting 512: While it is plenty, I can not store everything from my external HDD on it (2tb), so I would have to choose which files to put there. And I would still move them to my external HDD. Also, price, 1€/gb upgrade is actually quite expensive.

    My question is: how do you live with 256 or 512gb? For 256 people, do you store everything on e-HDDs? For 512 people, do you keep everything on it? What files do you choose to put on e-HDDs?
  2. lamerica80 macrumors 6502a


    May 22, 2008
    Dude, max it out. You wont care a bit about that saving in a couple of years but you will hate yourself for making your expensive laptop crippled by a small SSD. Plus the resale value will suck with 256 - that will be the mid tier iPhone in a couple of years and is already the top-tier. Your Macbook would have the same SSD size as a bloody smartphone man! No!

    I feel myself suffocating even thinking about owning a 2000 USD laptop with just 256gb of HD space. It really should be 1TB.

    Externals are for time machine only IMO.
  3. ugru macrumors 6502


    Sep 8, 2002
    Caput Mundi
    Go 512GB. It will be faster and if you ever need to use bootcamp you will regret not having chosen the bigger option...
  4. Hyloba, Nov 21, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2016

    Hyloba thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 30, 2014
    Yea well, ideally I would like to have a 2TB SSD so I can keep everything on my laptop. If you only make time machine backups of your laptop, does that mean you don't have more than 1TB of data combined?
  5. Barnfather macrumors regular


    Dec 30, 2009
    The answer to this depends on a bunch of factors including how much money you have to spend, and how you will principally be using the machine.

    Me personally? I won't be filling up the SSD with movies or huge files. All my music stuff is on a separate external drive and for more and more stuff I'm using the Cloud. If I travel, I'll have my iPhone/iPad for movie watching.

    So 256Gb should be okay for my purposes. It would also be pushing it to fund the extra capacity and if I had the money to do that, there are other things I'd upgrade first.
  6. aevan macrumors 68020


    Feb 5, 2015
    512Gb SSD is also faster than 256Gb SSD, but I don't think you'll notice this in everyday work. I would suggest 512, if you can afford it. Even with the external storage, you will find this space useful. But I also disagree with some people here that 256Gb is something horrible. If you can afford more - do it, it's the best upgrade. If you can't - you'll be fine.
  7. WhiteWhaleHolyGrail macrumors 6502a


    Nov 14, 2016
    It's all about how you use your computer. I keep my laptops lean and so anything above 256gb isn't necessary at all for me and when it is, I use fast external SSD for backup. I take the view that MBPs are mobile devices and not desktop storage units. However I can see why some might need more space because of their work etc. As for resale value, I really think the difference would be marginal as once again it will come down to user preferences of the buyer.

    Don't spend money for the sake of it, particularly if it's better spent elsewhere - CPU/GPU?

    Remember you can always return the unit if having used it you realise your usage of memory is higher than you thought.
  8. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    With the inability to upgrade the SSD, I would buy the most you can possibly afford today. In all likelihood you will notice the lack of space much more than the lack of $200 in your bank account over the next 4-5 years or so.
  9. Uplift macrumors 6502

    Feb 1, 2011
    I agree. Don't max it out 'just because'. I done it on my previous and current rMBP. I had 256GB never went over 200GB, but still got 512GB on last gen, I am now getting the 2016 Macbook Pro and never went still went over 200GB, in fact I am currently using 130GB so not even close to using 256GB...

    Thats a whole 256GB wasted... money i'll never see again.

    I'm going back down to 256GB with the 2016 model and will buy an external USB-C SSD to embrace the ports.
  10. sn00p macrumors regular

    Nov 10, 2009
    This really.

    My 2010 MBP has a 128GB SSD in and it has 30GB still free on it! People like carrying around "zombie data", that is to say, their entire music collection, film collection etc. Personally, I spent money on a decent and upgradable NAS so that the bulk of this data is kept there.

    I will say that I have a secondary drive in the MBP which house a VM which is 600GB in size (It has a whole load of software development tools in and code). I carry this around with me just in case I need it, I probably boot into it a handful of times per year, so I'm carrying around this huge bit of data which I hardly ever use.

    When my new system arrives I have a Windows To Go installation which I will boot off USB and use in place of the VM.

    Different strokes for different folks.
  11. dugbug macrumors 65816


    Aug 23, 2008
    Somewhere in Florida
    another vote for 512. This is also a VERY fast ssd, so placing content on your local store have a lot of benefits.
  12. Hyloba thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 30, 2014
    Thank you for all your replies, really appreciate it!

    That said, I think I'm going to stay at 256gb and buy a NAS with the money I saved.
  13. lamerica80, Nov 21, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2016

    lamerica80 macrumors 6502a


    May 22, 2008
    There is also the resale value to consider. In a few years, how will people view a macbook with 256GB of non expandable SSD. Probably like we view one with 80GB today. I think the exponential resale value increase from 256 to 512 would cover the added investment today, so in other words: you would get that money back when you sell it. Or at least a large chunk of it, so the extra 256 wouldnt really end up costing you that much extra.

    If you still go with 256, consider the loss you will eat when you sell it in a few years..it won't be pretty since every kid runs around with 512-1024 GB iPhones filming in 4K, a single iTunes backup wouldnt even work with that computer your trying to unload in order to upgrade.
    --- Post Merged, Nov 21, 2016 ---
    The resale value of the 2015 MacBook pros differ several hundred dollars between 256 and 512, so thats your money back right there! :)
  14. Howard2k macrumors 6502a


    Mar 10, 2016
    I use 256GB and NAS. Works fantastically. I split my Lightroom library onto both my SSD and NAS. I keep them on the SSD while grooming them and then when I'm done I move them to the NAS.
  15. Hyloba thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 30, 2014
    To be honest, where I live, the exact opposite is true. People don't care about better specs so they won't want to give more money for an older laptop.
  16. lamerica80 macrumors 6502a


    May 22, 2008
    I dont understand, are you saying an older laptop costs the same where you live regardless of specs? Or do you live somewhere where everyone just buys new laptops and the old ones are worthless? :)

    Anyway maybe it doesn't apply to you, but its just something in general to be considered i think. 256 really is on the small side for laptops these days and i think it sucks that one can't upgrade it. The macbook pro will still be a pretty powerful machine in 5 years but the a 256 SSD will be sadly outdated.
  17. Howard2k macrumors 6502a


    Mar 10, 2016

    Network Attached Storage.

    It's an "appliance" that you stick drives in. Basically a very stripped down computer that has some drive bays in it and appears on the network as a file server. My MBPro sees it as a network drive and I just connect to it via my wifi network.

    I have two x 2TB drives in there in a mirrored configuration (so 2TB total storage). So I write my photograph to the network drive and it stores two copies, one on each drive. If one drive craps out I can pull the photo off the non-failed drive. Though I have other backup drives too of course. My MBPro also backs up to the NAS using Time Machine.
  18. littlepud macrumors regular

    Sep 16, 2012
    512 is the minimum, IMHO. I run a couple of VMs and I already use up 220 GB of a 1 TB drive. The only media I leave on the SSD are photos and music. Movies and TV shows go on an external 4 TB USB drive.
  19. cjrulli macrumors regular

    Feb 3, 2010
    I also went 256 but am going to evaluate over the next couple of weeks. For a "Windows to Go" installation, how much of a performance hit does it take running it off an external versus something directly on SSD? Say I had a Samsung T3 external USB-C SSD.
  20. D_Apple macrumors newbie

    Nov 21, 2016
    Hello; long time reader, first time poster....

    Learned a lot here, so decided to add my $.02 to hopefully help someone else.

    I picked up my first MB Pro, a 256 15", this past sat and went through the same debate.

    It wasn't a money issue, but a lifestyle one. First, my digital life is no longer chained to one device; my laptop is primarily for extended travel, academics, and web browsing. After accidently dropping and subsequently destroying a laptop with all my data on it, I said "never again".

    With cloud storage (I have icloud, google drive, and dropbox), multiple devices (a 256 GB iphone 7 and a 256 GB ipad Pro), and external storage, there was no justifiable need for ME to upgrade. I keep 10s of GBs worth of documents, reference material, and manuals on the ipad and 10s of GBs of music on my phone because those are the devices that I consume those particular types of media on. I use a WD 2TB external that backs up the data on those devices via the laptop...

    Plus, I have a retina iMac with 2TBs that serves as my "main" computing and media storage device...

    Point is, some use cases require maximum capability/capacity in a mobile package, but mine didn't. Evaluate how YOU will use the device within your lifestyle and the technology available to you, regardless of some theoretical future resale value or storage apocalypse and buy the most appropriate one. I used the money I saved to buy parallels, windows 10, and dongles.
  21. sn00p macrumors regular

    Nov 10, 2009
    Should be very rapid.

    I'm done with parallels, when I do work in windows locally it's often because I'm trying to do development on firmware for devices with USB connections and it is forever causing parallels to lock up. Sometimes you can't even reboot the windows VM, it just completely locks up and you can't shut it down.
  22. BasicGreatGuy Contributor


    Sep 21, 2012
    In the middle of several books.
    Unless one is able to get what one paid for the Mac on resale, talk of spending more money for resale later on is not very logical. It is wasting money. You might as well throw money out the car window as you drive down the street. It is the same wasteful mentality, not to mention illogical.

    There is nothing wrong with the 256GB stock SSD. I seriously doubt someone who is doing light work and surfing the internet is going to readily tell a difference between it and the 512. Upgrading just because you can is not sound advice for everyone. It should be on a case by case basis, not some one size fits all.
  23. Uplift macrumors 6502

    Feb 1, 2011
    Any benchmark speed comparisons of the 256GB and 512GB to back up claims that it's faster?
  24. paaj macrumors member


    Oct 27, 2016
    'Historically', ssd's are faster in their bigger storage versions.

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