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MBP 8 GB vs MBA 16 GB

  • MBP 8 GB

    Votes: 11 12.8%
  • MBA 16 GB

    Votes: 56 65.1%
  • other

    Votes: 6 7.0%
  • MBA 8 GB

    Votes: 13 15.1%

  • Total voters
    86
  • Poll closed .

phl92

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 28, 2020
223
37
I know there are plenty of discussions already, but it's kinda fun seeing the pros/cons....

I definitely take 512GB SSD storage. Ram size and model I am not sure anymore.
I like to keep my devices long time (my Dell XPS is now 11 years and still runs ok for Skype calls/office tasks). But I never use my Laptops as my main devices, f.e. in times like now I use my Laptop less than 5 hours a month, but this drastically changes normally or when travelling)
I most likely will buy an Mac Mini to replace my Desktop Windows in around 2 years. My Desktop is my main working place.
Before corona I used to travel a lot (around 3-5 months I am away from home).

What I need for sure:

  • I need my Laptop on a daily basis for Zoom, Skype Videocalls (mic and cam is important). (I like the Mic in the MBP a lot!!)
  • I am running a website (wordpress/elementor) and a small Youtube channel. I use Lightroom and Photoshop atm at my Windows setup, but most likely switch in future to Affinity or Luminar.
  • My Videos are so far very simple and I use iMovie, but I just upgraded to a iPhone 11, so my future videos will be 4k mostly. I am also very likely to upgrade from iMovie to FCP or DaVinci Resolve.
  • I use Youtube a lot, Netflix film watching (in bed often)
  • I like to have in my browsers 25+ tabs open

What I don't need for sure:

8k Videos (at least not the next 3-5 years)
any sort of Gaming
coding
any Apps which require huge databank files...
 
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phl92

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 28, 2020
223
37
I really like he MBP because imo the Mic really sounds better. i am teaching languages over Skype,Zoom and the better my audio the better for my students!
I also like that the screen is brighter and of course that battery is a bit better. The Touch Bar for me is kind of neutral.

the only thing i seem to like more at the MBA is the design which seems to be better when typing long time. And the price of course!

Having said that, the better Mic in the MBP probably makes no difference anymore if I would us a Lavalier mic to hold my lessons? I guess it would make the sound even better
 

phl92

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 28, 2020
223
37
Ok the Poll votings are quite clearly.
Can I use a MBA also together with an external Display via HDMI? Does it get warm doing so for a whole day, working in Skype/Zoom and some Video eiditing?
 

jerryk

Contributor
Nov 3, 2011
7,205
4,059
SF Bay Area
I really like he MBP because imo the Mic really sounds better. i am teaching languages over Skype,Zoom and the better my audio the better for my students!
I also like that the screen is brighter and of course that battery is a bit better. The Touch Bar for me is kind of neutral.

the only thing i seem to like more at the MBA is the design which seems to be better when typing long time. And the price of course!

Having said that, the better Mic in the MBP probably makes no difference anymore if I would us a Lavalier mic to hold my lessons? I guess it would make the sound even better
You should consider an external mic setup if audio quality is a concern. I do tech training videos and would never use any built-in mic. My publisher would reject it for audio quality alone.

Regarding Lavs mics, they are OK but omnidirectional. So they pick up sound in all directions and you need a quiet space, and don't move too much or your clothes will make noise. If your budget allows a USB mic like a Blue Yeti is an affordable option. Whatever you pick consider a mic with a cardioid (or hyper-cardioid) pattern to isolate some of the external noise. And put the mic on a stand so you can get it in the ideal position for your speaking style and voice.
 

phl92

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 28, 2020
223
37
Well I have a simple Lavalier, and a Rode Videomicro Go. Imo the Lavalier is much better in reducing other room noice, but you are right, clothes are producing noice when moving...
 

phl92

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 28, 2020
223
37
Wow just 10 days ago I was pretty sure I get the MBP M1 in full specs (except for storage) but now I am even considering the MBA with 8 GB! (but with the 8core GPU - 512GB SSD)

why? 2 reasons: having a 13" laptop for a main workstation is not an option for me in the future, so I will have to replace my Windows Dekstop anyway, and will switch probably fully to MacOS.
Brighter screen and better Mic in the MBP... well yeah, this was so far an argument for me, but honestly I just watched a Youtube video which at the end said it was fully recorded with new MBA, and I compared it with MBP.. not really a difference in speaking audio.
100 nits brighter...meh.
Better writing comfort on the MBA indeed is a argument though.

So I dont see myself editing videos in 8k nor editing many layers in in DaVinci... I guess I am fine with 8Gb even in 3-5 years.... assuming that most Apps by then run natively.
 

badsimian

macrumors 6502
Aug 23, 2015
359
192
I have switched from the 16" MBP to the Air. I don't want to spend too much on the replacement machine as I think the value leaks away the more you upgrade/spend on it. More capable machines at the top end cost will be coming. The lower end ones are amazing value however.

I was slightly worried about the screen brightness, mics etc but there are enough videos on YT showing very little difference that I went ahead anyway. As I uderstand it, due to the way brightness in nits does not progress linearly, the 400 vs 500 nits is not 20% 'brighter'. The mics didn't sound different to my ears in the YT comparison vids and the maximum amount of throttling occurring under sustained load seemed to be about 10-15% tops, I won't notice this even with the odd game is play (I have the 8 core Air)
 
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phl92

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 28, 2020
223
37
I have switched from the 16" MBP to the Air. I don't want to spend too much on the replacement machine as I think the value leaks away the more you upgrade/spend on it. More capable machines at the top end cost will be coming. The lower end ones are amazing value however.

I was slightly worried about the screen brightness, mics etc but there are enough videos on YT showing very little difference that I went ahead anyway. As I uderstand it, due to the way brightness in nits does not progress linearly, the 400 vs 500 nits is not 20% 'brighter'. The mics didn't sound different to my ears in the YT comparison vids and the maximum amount of throttling occurring under sustained load seemed to be about 10-15% tops, I won't notice this even with the odd game is play (I have the 8 core Air)
I was also concerned about the missing fan and that it will be warm all time, leading to less lifetime overall. But I am not rendering all day 4k videos...
 

acidfast7_redux

Suspended
Nov 10, 2020
567
520
uk
I do everything you do, but probably more.

Zoom more. You're only going to play around with video software but not seriously ever going to compare throughput speed (you're not making money with it).

I never have 25 tabs open, like everyone on MR, it seems, as I'm extremely focused when I use the computer. 25 tabs seems foolish, IMHO, sorry.

The 8MiB MBA will be more than enough for your needs and the 16MiB RAM seems useless for the money you'll spend on it. I wouldn't even spend for the 512 SSD, to be honest and just keep everything in the cloud.
 
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phl92

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 28, 2020
223
37
Makes sense what you wrote, except for the last part :D
256 GB SSD is not just less storage, but also less cores on the GPU. Well Cloud is in the long period even more expensive, and also the bigger SSD is even faster.
But I will buy an external SSD.
 

jerryk

Contributor
Nov 3, 2011
7,205
4,059
SF Bay Area
I was also concerned about the missing fan and that it will be warm all time, leading to less lifetime overall. But I am not rendering all day 4k videos...
There are some YouTube videos that show the temp difference between the Air M1 and MBP M1. The difference is pretty small, ex 32C versus 34C. But the difference on the same (or lower) workload on the Intel versions is much greater (90+C for Intel, 34C for M1).

I understand the Air M1 has a large heatsink that the Air Intel does not.
 

acidfast7_redux

Suspended
Nov 10, 2020
567
520
uk
Makes sense what you wrote, except for the last part :D
256 GB SSD is not just less storage, but also less cores on the GPU. Well Cloud is in the long period even more expensive, and also the bigger SSD is even faster.
But I will buy an external SSD.
The performance difference between 7 and 8 GPU cores is less than 12.5% as the final core acts a thermal buffer and prevents throttling. Real-world difference is around 7-9%. I'm OK with that hit it will never notice it. The cloud is useful for more as it syncs up all my machines (I usually use around 6 Macs on a daily basis in different physical locations) and don't need the space on the non-portable machines.

I'd rather save the 20% toward a new machine. (Or more likely use it for travel, to be honest).

I guess I'm just a turd, £200 isn't really much money, it just seems wasteful and I'd rather get something fun/ridiculous for the money. Shoes, jacket, zoo trips, random junk. Computer hardware isn't super exciting, aside form this migration to the M1, which I find extremely interesting.
 

jerryk

Contributor
Nov 3, 2011
7,205
4,059
SF Bay Area
Well I have a simple Lavalier, and a Rode Videomicro Go. Imo the Lavalier is much better in reducing other room noice, but you are right, clothes are producing noice when moving...
I am not familiar with the Rode Videomic but check and see if it has a pattern setting and set to Cartiod or HyperCartiod. Also, make sure the mic is relatively close to your mouth. People try to use shotgun mics from 3+ feet away and complain about the outside noise. It should be just out of the frame of the camera and within 3 feet, preferably less.

For video presentations and lectures, I use a Deity D3 Pro mini shotgun mic on a mic arm and keep it just out of the frame and about 1 foot from my mouth. Sound clarity is great and very little extraneous noise.
 
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phl92

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 28, 2020
223
37
I am going for the 8GB.
Yes I do find iCloud also useful but its not a backup service or something. Its a very simple scyronizing service, which is very limited even (deleting a file from one device, deletes it from the whole cloud)
So for backup you need other "Cloud" or imo even better external SSD/HDDs
 
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acidfast7_redux

Suspended
Nov 10, 2020
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I am going for the 8GB.
Yes I do find iCloud also useful but its not a backup service or something. Its a very simple scyronizing service, which is very limited even (deleting a file from one device, deletes it from the whole cloud)
So for backup you need other "Cloud" or imo even better external SSD/HDDs
I used iCloud from 2008 to about 2010 and then switched to DropBox and haven't looked back, to be honest. I guess that's about a decade or so. I think for 6 machines and 2TiB or so it's about £150/year. It also has every document I've ever written since second-year of uni or 1995 (with Win95 and Office 95). I haven't tried to open anything from then in a long-time. I think it had my first CV ever written as well. Maybe 100k photos as well, even from my 1MP Fuji!

 
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jerryk

Contributor
Nov 3, 2011
7,205
4,059
SF Bay Area
I am going for the 8GB.
Yes I do find iCloud also useful but its not a backup service or something. Its a very simple scyronizing service, which is very limited even (deleting a file from one device, deletes it from the whole cloud)
So for backup you need other "Cloud" or imo even better external SSD/HDDs
As fast as backup goes I agree iCloud is a good solution. Backup has the 3-2-1 rule. 3 copies of key data. 2 of these copies should be backed up on different storage media. 1 backup should be in a different physical location in case a location is destroyed.
 

pugxiwawa

macrumors 6502
Nov 10, 2009
258
460
I would recommend going with 16GB honestly. If you are using this as main machine 8GB is just not enough. You will hit occasional beach balls, watching swap usage going up, some out of memory error, and then wondering why you didn't go with 16GB model. Just my 2 cents from my experience.
 

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acidfast7_redux

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I would recommend going with 16GB honestly. If you are using this as main machine 8GB is just not enough. You will hit occasional beach balls, watching swap usage going up, some out of memory error, and then wondering why you didn't go with 16GB model. Just my 2 cents from my experience.
I haven't seen any of these. But then again, I never have more than 4 tabs open.

I haven't seen a beach ball but did get a two-minute pause with MS Office install.

What are you people doing to you poor machines?
 

phl92

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 28, 2020
223
37
I would recommend going with 16GB honestly. If you are using this as main machine 8GB is just not enough. You will hit occasional beach balls, watching swap usage going up, some out of memory error, and then wondering why you didn't go with 16GB model. Just my 2 cents from my experience.
I am reading on various threads here and in internet about that Swap usage. And I dont see any problem with it? SSD's are built to handle that nowadays. On top of that Apple built in one of the best SSD's.
There are people who bought both machines, 8 and 16GB and the funny thing is their 16 GB machines are swapping even more.
MacOS or maybe its the ARM seem to be built to eat up Ram... the more you give them the more they use. Of course there are limits of workload which 8Gb can handle, but I am not constantly hitting my MBA with such stuff. I am rendering maximal 2-3 videos a week in 4k Video (max. 20min long, no big stuff added).
 

pugxiwawa

macrumors 6502
Nov 10, 2009
258
460
I am reading on various threads here and in internet about that Swap usage. And I dont see any problem with it? SSD's are built to handle that nowadays. On top of that Apple built in one of the best SSD's.
There are people who bought both machines, 8 and 16GB and the funny thing is their 16 GB machines are swapping even more.
MacOS or maybe its the ARM seem to be built to eat up Ram... the more you give them the more they use. Of course there are limits of workload which 8Gb can handle, but I am not constantly hitting my MBA with such stuff. I am rendering maximal 2-3 videos a week in 4k Video (max. 20min long, no big stuff added).
It's not a problem if you are ok with occassionally waiting for swap. It's just very noticable when OS needs to swap, regardless how fast Apple's SSD is. Btw I wasn't doing any rendering or graphic intensive work either, I was just browsing the web, doing some Black Friday shoppings with different tabs open like how I would normally do on my MBP 16" i9/16GB. But YMMV, so i would recommend not relying on just reading/trusting reviews. Get both configurations and try it out then you would know which one works best for your usage/workflow. Good luck.
 

phl92

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 28, 2020
223
37
Just made my online order: MacBook Air M1, 8GB Ram, 512 GB SSD.
For the saved 200+$ dollar I just got also Airpods Pro for 200$.

I think I will be happy, if not I will test and change to 16 Gb
 
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