512/m5 vs 256/m7?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by viperGTS, May 5, 2016.

  1. viperGTS macrumors 68000

    Nov 15, 2010
    Both of these models are nearly the same price (the 512/m5 is ~$50 more); are the performance gains from the m7 over the m5 significant enough to warrant losing half the space and saving the $50? I'm curious to hear your thoughts.
  2. happyslayer macrumors 6502a


    Feb 3, 2008
    Glendale, AZ
    I had the 2015 1.2/512. I never used more then 175GB with my pics, music, Parallels with Win 10 Pro load and all 7 Star Wars movies :D. So when I had the chance to sell it and get a new 2016 I figured I'd get the faster CPU. More chance I'd use it than the extra SSD space. So far I'm happy. And the benchmarks are better. Real world... maybe a bit snappier.

    But if you need the space, definitely go with the 512.

    If you don't and can afford it, go m7.
  3. viperGTS thread starter macrumors 68000

    Nov 15, 2010
    Woah, thanks for the quick reply! Your post sounds very familiar... I think my best bet is to go through my current MacBook (non-Retina 2012 with 500GB HDD) and try to delete some things.

    So far, I have a 60GB Windows 7 Boot Camp partition that I rarely use but I keep just in case, and I'm using 335.35 GB on my OS X partition, but most of it is junk. I don't think I have that much junk that is keeping me over the 256GB threshold though. We shall see. Thanks for the quick response!

    I'd love to hear from others as well. :)
  4. pika2000 macrumors 601

    Jun 22, 2007
    For me, it would depend if the Macbook is a stay-home laptop or on-the-go secondary laptop.
    If it is the former, then expanding storage won't be a big deal with external drives if needed. Plus the burst speed might help more demanding apps.

    If it is the latter, then I would go for more internal storage for convenience sake. On the go, the speed difference might not be a big issue while having the peace of mind of not having to bring external drives is very convenient.

    But that's just me. I think one can argue a complete opposite as well.
  5. viperGTS thread starter macrumors 68000

    Nov 15, 2010
    It would actually be my on the go primary laptop to replace the MacBook Pro I mentioned earlier. So, ideally I would be able to have everything I own on it.
  6. 0983275 Suspended

    Mar 15, 2013
    What matters more to you, double the storage or that extra bit of speed?

    I went with m5/512, with the tasks I'm doing, I'm not going to notice the extra speed of m7 (coding, browsing, old games on an emulator, running MAMP, a VM or two once in a while).

    m3/256 would have been the cheapest option for me, but it's nice to have the extra space because of VMs, they can get big, especially if you have few of them and on the plus side I can leave few media content on the rMB instead of storing everything on an external drive.

    In that case, m5/512 would be the better option, especially if it's going to be your only machine (not sure if that's what you're implying, but if that's the case, you'll appreciate the extra storage).
  7. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Jun 14, 2010
    For me this wouldn't be a valid comparison. I either need the storage space or I don't (now or in the foreseeable future). There's no value to carrying around empty storage, and there's a lot of annoyance in having too little for my needs.

    So, for me the first decision would be 256GB or 512GB. Only then would I consider whether or not bumping to the m7 was worth $150.
  8. throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    You will most likely only be able to tell the CPU difference with back to back benchmarks. You'll double your storage capacity with the 512 GB.

    Go for the storage.
  9. cerberusss macrumors 6502a


    Aug 25, 2013
    The Netherlands
    Do you have things like traveling or kids in the foreseeable future? Or do you plan to digitize your old photos or home movies or administration? Do you use Xcode, Parallels, Bootcamp, Android Studio? Or some specific stuff like Oracle? Get the bigger storage.
  10. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    To save some space you might consider moving over to Parallels Desktop and Windows 10 (you'd need Windows 10 to use Boot Camp, anyway). That way Windows takes up only as much space as it needs. In my case, I have Windows 10, Quicken 2016, Office 2016 Windows, and AVG Free Anti-Virus. The whole setup takes up about 45GB (plus 4GB more if I suspend the VM rather than shut it down). For what I use it for, Parallels is fast enough.

    I also moved from the 1.2/512 to this year's m7/256. Rather than a straight move on Migration Assistant, this time around I just migrated my documents and manually copied over the applications that I needed. I went from using 220GB on the old drive to 195GB on the new drive (so I have roughly 55GB free, which is ideal for an SSD to maintain optimal performance). So far I like the m7.
  11. Boston007 macrumors 6502


    Apr 9, 2010
    What this guy said

    I went through the same debate as you.

    I picked the middle tier processor with 512G.
  12. kiranmk2 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 4, 2008
    I think it depends on how long you plan on keeping it. If it's only for a few years then the m7/256 is probably the one to go for. Any longer I would go for the m5/512 or find the extra cash for the m7/512. You will always need more storage space than you think - especially over 3 or more years. 512 will also enhance the resale value - 256 may be fine now, but in 3-4 years it will look anemic, even by Apple standards!

    There does seem to be a decent speed gap between the m5 and m7 this year compared to last years 1.2 vs 1.3 - the m7 will turbo 500 MHz higher than the m5 and the graphics are faster. Still no real difference between them for prolonged heavy lifting where the chips need to throttle though.
  13. MXSkier62 macrumors regular

    Dec 4, 2006
    I had the same dilemma, and I wound up going with the m5/512 option. I remembered years ago going through the same exercise with my MBA in 2011, and at that time opted for the extra storage because while I didn't need it then, I knew that i would one day need the storage. Glad that I did, as over the years I just accumulated more and more "other" on the SSD that I could not figure out for the life of me how to delete. So, this time around, I now have used about 130GB of the 490 that comes on the 512 that's available, and I would think that in about 3 years that 130 will balloon to somewhere around 300, which will make me happy that I have the extra space. Also, I don't have any movies on the computer now, but if/when I go on trips I'll be sure to download a few of them and that'll take up space that otherwise I might not have.

    Plus, the speed difference, while on geek bench, is notable, unless you're doing graphics or CPU intensive stuff, if you're just an average consumer, then you'll never notice the speed difference. It all feels faster compared to my 5 year old MBA. And oh, the screen!
  14. throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia

    Turbo speeds are all well and good, but for 90% of the time you use your machine just doing general stuff, the CPU is nowhere near redline any way.

    The increased turbo speed will only come into play when you're sitting there waiting for a batch job (e.g., rendering a final version of a video in iMovie or Final Cut or whatever) whereas the limitations of 256 GB of storage will be an ever-present issue forcing you to be a lot more stingy with file management for the entire life of the machine. I would say the lost time you will incur from messing about with additional file management will far outweigh the relatively uncommon time savings you'll see from the faster CPU.

    Both machines will throttle when run at 100% CPU for extended periods anyway.
  15. Coco Nuts macrumors member

    Coco Nuts

    Jan 1, 2016
    I would advice the m5/512. The 512 GB SSD is twice as big, and the write speeds are also higher than the 256 GB SSD.
  16. skcrane macrumors member

    Mar 24, 2009
    dayton, oh
    Everyone has different needs. I for one would rather have the 256gb with m7 than 512. I do not need the extra store I have 256 now and have 150 left at least on it . I have moved most of my storage photos and music (apple music) to the cloud and find no need for the storage. As I said everyone needs are different. The m7 should keep the computer more in date. I am moving from a 15inch macbook pro to the macbook as
    I find my macbook pro has become more of a desktop than a portable. I also do not need the processing power of the 15 as well or the 13 and the 12 just seems to make sense we will see when I get my m7 256 next week. I am trading my 15 for the 12.
  17. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    There isn't a significant difference in write speeds between the two capacities this year.

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