512GB Necessary on MacBook 12 inch?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by Vapaus, Mar 25, 2017.

  1. Vapaus macrumors newbie

    Sep 30, 2012

    So last week my MacBook Pro (Late 2013, 15 inch) developed a crack inside the screen, eventually the whole screen went kaput. Brought it to a Mac repair store and they needed to replace the whole top casing for a hefty sum and said it would take 2 weeks, called last Firday and apparently I have a swollen battery that's going to cost more money and take even more time.

    Just some background of my present situation- obviously not the subject of this thread. I am in school and need a computer every day for classes, assignments, emails, and just staying connected with the world, going 2+ weeks without a computer was not an option.

    So off I went straight to Best Buy hoping to get the simplest, most lightweight, cheapest computer possible to get me through. I saw online Best Buy had a sale of $200 off MacBook Airs. After a salesman briefly had me entertaining some ultralight HP notebook on sale, I ask to see the Apple section.

    I have not been keeping up-to-date on MacBook world, I saw the MacBook Airs I had come there for, but right next to them were these thin light new 2016 MacBooks which made the MacBook Airs look bulky and clunky in comparison, I couldn't resist and I ended up splurging. (At least they were $100 off).

    My plan of just getting the cheapest most basic computer to get me through 2 weeks obviously went out the window, and I'm going to be using this MacBook regularly from now on alongside my old Pro when I get it back.


    But in the rush I bought only the 256GB model without even considering memory. Since then I've been torn apart whether I should have gotten the 512GB model for $300 more if this is going to be a long-term investment, and whether to go back within the 15 day window I have and upgrade to the 512.

    I mean 256GB on a MacBook is only twice the 128GB I have on my old iPhone 6, which is maxed out between my iTunes library and photos (only 1.04GB available). My old MacBook Pro has 1TB (that was a customized online purchase, this is the first time I've ever bought a computer off a shelf of a Best Buy in a rush) as running out of memory had been a constant problem with the Windows PCs I had before that.

    I'm not happy but I'm resigned if I stay with 256, not going to be able to import my photo library, not going to be able to download my iTunes music library, as I'd be taking more than half my memory space.

    How important are these things? My aging iPhone 6 battery is going, if I don't have my 71GB of photos stored on a computer they're going to be lost (and I'm only going to be taking more photos as time goes on obviously). They'll be on my Mac Pro presuming I hopefully get it back in working condition eventually, but this new MacBook is kind a waste of all the expensive pricetag if I can't keep all my photos saved on it, right?

    Or is that a baseless worry?

    I'm not very up-to-date in my understanding of the 'cloud', if storing things in the cloud is the way of the future then 256GB built-in memory should be plenty enough? I'm not very familiar with how the cloud works though, and how much space it would provide for those purposes. On my iPhone I'm paying 99c a month for 50GB, although monthly prices jump considerably to increase cloud storage, is storing my photo library on the cloud a possibility and something I should consider?

    I really don't want to deal with external hard drives, especially considering the lonely single USB-C port on this MacBook for charging or anything.

    Is the 256GB model enough for me and I am needlessly worrying? Or is there really a good reason I would need the 512GB? Thanks.
  2. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    You're stuck between a rock and hard place if you want to keep all of your media on your computer.

    If you don't want to mess with the cloud or external drives, then you'll have to have a different plan. For instance, you could use utilities that compress your photos with little (to no) further fidelity loss. This can save 70% of storage space on your SSD. I have a work flow that keeps my photos at full quality on an external drive, but the version I keep in the Photos.app are compressed down to 30% or so. 3.5MB photos off of the camera end up around 1MB.

    You could split your iTunes library off onto an external and keep only the stuff you really need on the SSD. Takes a little work to do this, though.

    That's the beauty of the cloud. You don't have to worry about running out of storage. Just have to be connected to a network for access (which is the biggest downside). The second downside is that you've slipped a middleman into your data.

    Depending on how much music and photos you have, maybe 512GB isn't enough. They probably make slim USB-C thumbdrives that could hold your iTunes or Photos libraries.

    I use a Macbook Air 13" with 256GB. I've moved my iTunes library onto a 200GB microSD card. My Photos stay on the SSD, but they are compressed like I mentioned earlier. I don't use the cloud to store my photo/songs, so I need the on-board storage. Plus, I like to have everything with me ... photos go back to 2002 and my songs even earlier.

    You'll have to decide for yourself where your balance point is.
  3. Admiral, Mar 26, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2017

    Admiral macrumors regular


    Mar 14, 2015
    Unless you like to download a lot of pornography to keep on your computer, 256GB should be sufficient. Even in that case, HEVC is reducing file sizes dramatically. A 200GB iTunes library is somewhat surprising to me — have you considered moving that content to an external source, such as a 500GB or 250GB Samsung T3?

    I tend to suspect pr0n is behind the "home server" market; HEVC is reducing file sizes, and therefore the need for storage of that type, by about 85%. I think we're at a plateau unless and until 4K monitors, with their larger file sizes for video content, become mainstream and ubiquitous. Two years, maybe? Take a breather, kid.
  4. icymountain macrumors 6502

    Dec 12, 2006
    I think that requiring your computer to store all your data may be a very hard constraint. I do not know enough from your post to say for sure, but I would not even try for myself (just my photo library is more than 1 Tb, and my CD library encoded to high quality files is hundreds of Gb). That means that another solution (including backups + having on the computer only the files I need everyday ---most preferred music, most preferred pictures, and recent pictures before archiving). And that also means that paying a huge amount to get the bigger SSD would not be so important to me.

    Of course, that requires you to have a strategy to backup and select what you have on your computer. If doing this is no option, then indeed, paying for the larger SSD may be the only remaining choice...
  5. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Aug 5, 2001
    Sounds like you'll regret not getting the 512GB SSD. Remember, if all goes as planned, you'll likely have this computer for years to come, and your media collection will only grow.
  6. chriscl macrumors 6502


    Jan 4, 2008
    Stuttgart, Germany
    I used to have all my media on my laptop and it was a fruitless exercise, so I bought a 2TB Synology NAS, and moved most stuff there.

    Job done!

    And the Synology was cheaper than the additional cost of a 512GB SSD.
  7. Brammy macrumors 65816

    Sep 17, 2008
    I don't think so. I have a SanDisk Ultra 128gb drive for my 256gb Air 11 that I keep attached always attached. It has my Lightroom library on it.

    I haven't been able to find something that small in USB-C, yet. If someone knows of one, please post a link.
  8. Vapaus thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 30, 2012
    I assume that is some form of external hard drive? (Just googling it and seeing that it is a "Network Attached Storage", don't know what that is :(...but according to Amazon reviews it is connected to the cloud and thus multiple devices could store stuff on there wirelessly? Or do I have that all wrong?) How does that work?

    (The difficulty of connecting wired external devices to this MacBook- for obvious reasons- has me weary. Apple really could only fit this ONE USB-C port on the whole device? Or they saw an opportunity to bilk people for another $49 for an official adapter...see how long the $17 third party one I ordered on Amazon lasts. Yet they manage to include a headphone jack when I've been using Bluetooth wireless headphones since I bought them with my original iPhone 6.)

    I'm not especially tech savvy these days and up-to-date with the latest technologies- probably one reason I'm sticking with Apple products in the first place.

    Though in the past when buying computers I've always customized my own computers online- graphics being a top priority, though also getting the largest memory possible. (Going from 17.3" Alienware monster-sized red laptop with 1.5TB and dual NVidia GeForce cards w/ 3D for gaming- that weighed a ton and got hot as Hell with propellers running like jet engines... to 15" 1TB Mac Pro with the best NVidia GFX card offered... to this 256GB 12' Mac with no cooling fans at all that I can hold open in the palm of my hand is quite an evolution.) In a total reversal for me I didn't care at all about graphics with this purchase since I don't have any time for gaming anymore, I doubt the Intel HD Graphics would be up to the task if I even wanted to.

    Noticed I'm also down to 8GB RAM which is half the 16GB I have on the Mac Pro (and my 6-year-old Alienware :eek:). However I'm resolved that I'm not going to be downloading or installing or using tons of apps or any intensive games (or any games at all really, or any apps beyond basic functions like web browsers and Office, etc.), so that shouldn't be an issue.

    On that note, my Pro repair keeps getting delayed ugh, so I can't check exactly how much space they are using, but all the apps I have on my 1TB MacBook Pro, including Steam and all my Steam games, and Parallels Desktop with Windows 10, and a bunch of other games and apps I assume are using a fair amount of space, I'm not going to be putting that stuff on this MacBook to take up space, so at least I shouldn't be needing too much space for apps.
  9. Vapaus thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 30, 2012
    Anyway I don't necessarily need to keep all my media on my computer. However I want to make sure I don't lose it, i.e. that photos I take today I will have in perpetuity.

    My aforementioned 6-year-old 1.5TB Alienware laptop served me well for several years and I stored tons of things on there, but then it totally malfunctioned, stuck at black screens unable to load Windows, and is currently unusable. Even though I'm almost certain it's a hardware issue (from that 10+ pound 17.3 inch monster burning so hot for so long), Alienware/Dell customer service will not do anything unless I reformat Windows first and thus lose everything I saved on that hard drive, which I did not want to do, so essentially I lost everything I had saved on there and right now it's a very expensive paperweight. (Also the last Windows PC I ever bought.)

    Right now my 1TB MacBook Pro has everything saved on it. While it's obviously a few years old (15" Retina Late 2013), it was fairly souped up and could still handle just about anything I would want to use it for (• 2.3GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.5GHz• 16GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM• 1TB PCIe-based Flash Storage• Nvidia GeForce GT 750M)....however as I've now learned, Macs are not immune to falling apart after a few years, the cost to repair the screen and battery is basically the price of a new MacBook Air, and having just called the repair shop it only just shipped out today when it was supposed to be back by now, so I'm now up to a full 2 weeks without it.

    So I don't have my MacBook Pro back yet, tho I'm pretty much 100% certain I'm way over 256GB out of the 1TB.

    My primary concern stems from the fact that I have a years-old 128GB iPhone 6 and it is constantly packed full. (Used: 120.74 GB; Available: 876.4 MB)

    And now I have this brand new MacBook which is only 2x the storage space of my phone at 256GB.

    Photos & Camera take up 70.77 GB. (I've had to repeatedly import lots of photos/videos to my 1TB MacBook Pro and then delete them from my phone in order to be able to take any new photos/videos. 214GB of usable storage left would be filled up quickly on this MacBook?)

    According to my iPhone 6, Music takes up 30.7 GB with 5,134 songs. According to iTunes, when I connect the iPhone to my MacBook, my iPhone has 5,118 songs that take up 28.47 GB. (Not sure why the discrepancy)

    But the iTunes library on the MacBook has only 1,384 items totalling 11.15GB, they all have blue cloud symbols next to them...I'm guessing these are just the songs I've bought from iTunes? So I wouldn't be able to access all my other songs ripped from CDs or other sources unless I actually physically stored my 30GB iTunes library on the MacBook?

    Or are these 1,384 songs out of my 5,134 actually the only songs available through iTunes at all even if I were to say subscribe to Apple Music to stream in order to save physical storage space?

    I obviously at least have the space to store the 30GB music library if need be, though that's a lot of potentially wasted space if not necessary.

    (The idea of re-packaging up this MacBook just after I've finished getting it all set-up to head back to Best Buy and go through the complicated return process with the new Best Buy credit card I got approved for to make this initial purchase, in order to spend an extra $300 for the 512GB model, is definitely not what I am eager to do if there is a better alternative out there! :eek:)

    (1) Is there a better alternative for permanently storing my photos and videos that quickly fill up my 128GB iPhone over and over again besides importing them to store on a computer hard drive which will fill up? In a way that I can always easily access them on my computer and never lose them?

    (2) Is there a way to access my full iTunes library on my MacBook, including my nearly 4k songs I did not download from iTunes, without physically storing the library on the MacBook?

    (I'll get Apple Music if need be, still never used the free 3-month trial, $4.99 a month student rate won't kill me, but not if I'm still going to be missing 4k songs I ripped from CDs or other sources)

    If there is an alternative way to save and store- and easily access on either of my MacBooks- my photos in perpetuity; and there is a way to access my full iTunes library on the MacBook without physically storing it, then 256GB should be more than enough, I wouldn't even know how to fill 512 for that extra $300.

    Running out of storage on my iPhone is a constant headache and I would gladly pay $300 to double the storage space on it if I could, but if the cloud or network storage or other modern technology mean I don't necessarily need the biggest hard drive on this MacBook, I'd greatly appreciate saving that time, money, and aggravation of upgrading.
  10. chriscl macrumors 6502


    Jan 4, 2008
    Stuttgart, Germany
    The NAS is simply a box containing one or more hard disks, with a network card on the back. You plug the network cable into the NAS, and it appears as a device on your local network, and you then access it as you would any normal network share.

    The added function of the NAS is also that it will support RAID (for fault tolerance and redundancy) for added security of your data.
  11. ARK macrumors 6502

    Jul 20, 2008
    Indianapolis, IN
    Im in a similar boat myself but I have different circumstances. I have the same souped up 2013 late 15" with 1TB and its working great. I use up only 205GB of my 1TB drive. I also have an early 2015 MB with 256GB hard drive. I bought the MacBook on a whim because its damn sexy, I can take it anywhere, and it was a $900 open box at Best Buy during one of their sales. The only use I have for it is light duty stuff. In fact I don't even have my files on it. Just my iCloud account (email, no photos, no music).

    That said, I am in a quest to lessen my files on the 15" to get it down to where I "could" theoretically move to the MacBook if I wanted to sell the 15" down the road. I no longer play games (2 kids) nor have time for freelance design work. That said, I do have Adobe CC.

    So, my question to you is do you use iCloud at all? I have iCloud Photo Library on and Optimize iPhone Storage which downloads smaller optimized photo files on my iPhone. At this time my 15" has the original photo files. There is also a setting which will allow you to store the originals on iCloud so you have the smaller photo files on your MacBook as well. Have you tried this at least?
  12. KayM8 macrumors newbie

    Dec 28, 2016
    Have you tried removing the hard disk, attaching it in an external hard disk enclosure and connecting it to a different computer?

    And about your storage issue, I would recommend you get the 512GB if price isn't an issue. If not, try cloud services, or get a couple external hard disks? The issue with cloud storage is you need internet access to access your files, and your files remain at the mercy of the cloud storage provider.
    If you go for external hard disks, I recommend having one disk as a main storage and one as a backup storage. I'd suggest SSDs because they resist drops and all better (and long term storage without use wouldn't affect the drive), but normal spinning hard disks are much more affordable.
  13. Ixidor macrumors regular

    Mar 22, 2016
    Personally, I have the 256 GB MacBook and I pay for iCloud storage. Why?

    I have multiple Apple devices and I love being able to access my work from any device at any time.

    I switch on power nap on my MacBook so the files are always constantly up to date.

    I also use a cellular iPad so not having wifi isn't a deal breaker too.
  14. DNichter macrumors 604


    Apr 27, 2015
    Philadelphia, PA
    All depends on your use case, but I think 256GB is more than enough for everything I need. I use iCloud Photo and Music Library for the majority of my storage.
  15. Gregintosh macrumors 68000

    Jan 29, 2008
    512 is becoming a minimum. Now with 4K video and Live Photos I've noticed the photo library growing at a huge pace. It's also convenient to have music downloaded. Downloads can add up fast too.

    I have the 256GB and I wish I sprang for the 512. It's such a chore to keep space available. I will definitely be selling and going to a 512 or even 1TB when refreshes of all the notebooks come out.
  16. wjw0111 macrumors member

    Aug 15, 2016
    All depends on workflows I guess, but I've found the opposite for myself at least. As time goes on I feel like I need less and less storage. When I had a huge iTunes music library, movies, etc... all stored locally I wanted tons of storage. Now with everything streaming through Apple Music, Netflix and iTunes in the cloud I almost feel like 256 is overkill for most daily drivers.

    I'm currently at 191GB free, and most of what I've used is just the complete GarageBand loops/etc... at 30GB. I used to be very big on keeping everything local, but I've learned to love the cloud as bandwidth prices have dropped and speeds and caps have increased. I don't know how it is in the states, but here in Canada I'm now paying $50CAD/month (about $40 USD) for 150 mbps with a 1 TB monthly cap.
  17. Gregintosh macrumors 68000

    Jan 29, 2008
    I agree, streaming is good. My internet is 100mbps here with the same 1TB cap. That's at home. But sometimes I go on the road where I'm relying on hotel WiFi or mobile hotspot usage. And a few months a year I find myself in the Philippines visiting my business there, and the internet I get is 1 or 2mbps usually. Horrendous.

    I don't need ALL my archives with me at all times but I do like to have some movies, business seminars, and other entertainment locally. Music I keep on my iPhone though so no need for that. I also like to keep my most recent pics from Photo Gallery and I like to back up my DSLR photos when I travel.

    Problem with the new MacBooks and the Pros is that lack of SD slot. On my 15 inch MBPr from 2012 I was able to get a 200GB microSD card and use an adapter to mount it flush with my computer. It was a great way to add space. It's not possible anymore.

    And lack of USB ports makes flash drives way less convenient too, since they require adapters (though some expensive USB-c ones are starting to show up).

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