Buying a new MBA. 128GB + external, or 256?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by 6-0 Prolene, Jun 14, 2012.

  1. 6-0 Prolene macrumors 6502

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    Feb 11, 2010
    #1
    So I'm actually beginning to think that the MBA is the right laptop for most of my work. I have a 27" iMac that I use for serious Lightroom/Photoshop work (that's really the most processor-intensive work I do), and when I'm on the road the Air would be used primarily for MS Office, and managing some photo shoots on the road.

    I'm thinking that the 128GB SSD would probably be ample for my needs, and I would add a USB 3 or TB external drive for storing photos (my nikon D700 makes some RAWs that are anything but tiny). Otherwise I really wouldn't need to install much on the MBA--maybe a game here and there, but more Angry Birds and less Diablo.

    Sticking with the 128 SSD would obviously save some cash for a nice external drive and the 8GB RAM upgrade, so that would be nice. Anyone out there using an MBA with similar needs? I guess I could splurge and get the 256 anyway but if 128 does the trick I might as well save the cash.
     
  2. amitdoc2b macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 25, 2008
    #2
    Get the 128gb with 8gb memory. That's the best deal all around from what Apple offers. It's only a $100 upgrade, and yes, use an external for more than 128gb.
     
  3. justit macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 1, 2007
    #3
    I've got 128 ssd in an upgraded MBP and it's not enough if u live in Apple's walled garden (iPhoto iTunes) . Taking external drive doesn't make sense esp. for backing up everything. The 256 ssd might be a better overall fit.
     
  4. ZBoater macrumors G3

    ZBoater

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    Sunny Florida
    #4
    I just got the 512GB and it still isn't enough. If you have a lot of movies, that will eat up space like crazy. A 2TB WD Passport drive (USB 3.0) is a more attractive alternative. They don't make SSDs big enough to hold all my stuff (well, they do, but I'd rather buy a Ferrari... :D )
     
  5. falterego macrumors 6502

    falterego

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    Dec 28, 2008
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    #5
    The 128GB and 8GB memory is the better option. USB3 is plenty fast to handle working off an external for those RAW files. I work with a magazine who will get 200 RAW files at 96MB a piece from the photographer and they work perfectly fine off a FW800 drive.
     
  6. icyfire, Jun 14, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2012

    icyfire macrumors 6502

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    Jan 6, 2010
    #6
    For your needs, 128gb is enough, no need to spend the extra $300 for the 256. If you really need the space down the line, you can upgrade with an aftermarket ssd and sell the 128. I've been using a 128gb ssd in my Macbook Pro for the past year and while it is annoying at times to budget the space, I've been managing fairly well (also have bootcamp Windows installed on a 30gb partition). The only issue is you can't have too many HD movies at one time so you have to manage with an external HD.

    And definitely get the 8gb ram upgrade.
     
  7. 6-0 Prolene thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Feb 11, 2010
    #7
    Thanks for the replies. I don't do much movie watching on the road, so I don't think the space will be much of an issue.

    I decided to go for the 128, which nicely offset the cost of a little USB3 hard drive, a case, and some other goodies. I think it'll work nicely for my needs.
     
  8. Ptdr macrumors member

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    Feb 25, 2011
    #8
    Hi ZBoater, according to a guy from an apple store the 512GB ssd could be faster, more advanced than the others, could you please check if it's a samsung or toshiba?

    :)
     
  9. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

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    Aug 10, 2010
    Location:
    Poole, England
    #9
    It's not more advanced, but it is faster, apart from 4K random write. Without going into details overall, in real world performance, the 512 will be faster.

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/6003/the-new-macbook-air-uses-toshibas-sata-6gbs-ssds

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Ptdr macrumors member

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    #10
  11. ZBoater macrumors G3

    ZBoater

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    #11
    I have a SM512E.
     
  12. dcorban macrumors 6502a

    dcorban

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    Oct 29, 2007
    #12
    I don't have the same needs as you, but I decided to go for the 128GB drive and bought an SD card to augment it. I am currently at 85GB drive usage and wanted to get it down a little to give more working space on the new 128GB drive. I moved to the SD card 20GB of videos and magazine scans that I only access occasionally, but wanted to have more portable than my USB hard drive. So, my new drive will only be half filled. I only paid $36 for a Sandisk Ultra 32GB SD card, so that saves me quite a bit over the $300 for the extra 256GB, most of which would go unused by me.
     
  13. Spoonz macrumors member

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    May 16, 2012
    #13
    I'm going to get the 128GB model and was originally thinking I'd just get a fast USB 3 external for stuff I don't need access to all the time. Now I'm wondering whether to just get an SD instead due to it being smaller/easier to carry around etc, but don't really know the difference in speed that I'd get in practice :confused: anyone able to offer any info on this?
     
  14. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

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    #14
    No problem.
     
  15. Ptdr macrumors member

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    Feb 25, 2011
    #15
    Cheers!

    I might go for it...
     
  16. 6-0 Prolene thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Feb 11, 2010
    #16
    I guess it just depends on the size of what you're storing. I use 16GB cards in my camera, so a 32GB card would maybe last a weekend if I'm shooting an event or something. An external HD also lets you do a time machine backup...

    I found a Lacie Rikiki - a pretty tiny USB3 drive--in 1TB for $107. Seemed like a good deal to me.
     
  17. Creek0512 macrumors 6502

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    Jun 15, 2012
    #17
    You need to calcualate how much space the the stuff you need/want to have on your computer at all times will take up. For me that's about 60GB with over half of it being my music library whick I like to keep on my computer. I don't keep my movie files on my computer though because I don't need them all the time, I have a 500GB portable HD for them and backing up music. However, I almost always have it with me since it's small and easily fits in a bag with the power cord.
     
  18. Zzari macrumors member

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    Apr 27, 2012
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #18
    I've been debating back and forth for the past couple of days and think I'm going with the 128GB and 8GB RAM. It really is, by far, the best value for the MBA 13" right now. I'm planning on upgrading when/if they do release retina MBAs next year, and I figure the 128GB + 8GB RAM will hold its value for resale the best out of all the other configurations.

    Personally, I plan to have Mountain Lion, and W7 installed for Parallels. A few other apps including Office, Adobe, Skype, etc. I don't think will take up more than 10-15GB. My music collection is ~20GB, and I don't watch any media on the go. For storage, I have a Windows PC with 2TB, an iMac with 1TB, and another 500GB external, so I don't think it'll be a problem. I store most of my work in the cloud anyways (with a backup at home), so I don't think that stuff will take too much room on the Air.

    256GB is great to have (more storage is always better, right?), but for me, the $300 price bump just isn't worth it, especially since I'm not purchasing this as a computer to last for 3+ years.
     
  19. 6-0 Prolene thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Feb 11, 2010
    #19
    Yeah, Zzari, my thought process was very similar to yours. The 256GB would be nice but hardly necessary on my on-the-road, office/firefox/light duty Lightroom machine, so not worth the $300.
     
  20. amitdoc2b macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 25, 2008
    #20
    If you're going to get an external anyways, why get 256? Just get 128 and 8gb of ram and invest the $300 in savings in other things: your external, a case, etc. I think most people will need an external even with a 256hd so might as well just get the 128 and external. There's really nice tiny ones out there you can fit in your bag or case and bring along.
     
  21. 6-0 Prolene thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Feb 11, 2010
    #21
    As an example, this is the Lacie Rikiki 1TB I bought... and from one of my favorite camera stores of all places.

    http://www.adorama.com/VDLARU3BK1TB.html
     
  22. Sounds Good macrumors 68000

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    Jul 8, 2007
    #22
    Tempting advice. My original plan was to get a MBA with 256GB, but the extra $300 for 128GB is hard to justify.
     
  23. 6-0 Prolene thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Feb 11, 2010
    #23
    The $300 I saved bought me a nice Booq case, the 1TB USB3 HD, an external superdrive, and the ethernet dongle. I also bought Office 2011, but that brought it closer to $400.
     
  24. Sounds Good macrumors 68000

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    Jul 8, 2007
    #24
    Wow. Even more tempting now. :)

    Which USB3 drive did you pick up?
     
  25. 6-0 Prolene thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Feb 11, 2010
    #25
    Look up to post #21... ;)
     

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