Become a MacRumors Supporter for $50/year with no ads, ability to filter front page stories, and private forums.

Natastrophe

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 16, 2021
26
10
I know a lot have asked this, but the 16gb version of the Macbook just seems to be endlessly unavailable here in the UK. Even the 8gb is in short supply.

Essentially i'm new to Macs, having not used one in years. I'm looking for a very mobile device for general web surfing, office productivity, however i'm a photographer.

So i'd like to be able to use lightroom and also do some video edition. Nothing heavy, just 1080p and 4k mainly, MP4 from my fujifilm cameras.

Question is, do I wait, get 16gb, with 256gb hdd or get the 8gb model with the 512ssd ?

I've looked at the Pro too, as I have heard the Air can have heat throttling issues when rendering.

Could users here share their thoughts and experiences.
 

casperes1996

macrumors 604
Jan 26, 2014
7,415
5,482
Horsens, Denmark
Honestly, don't go with the Pro. It takes *a lot* to get to where the Air throttles, and even when it does it's still way faster than even prior 13" Pro models. The money required to go from Air to Pro is better spent on upgrading storage or memory in the Air, with one little exception; If you love the Touch Bar and want the best speakers inside the laptop. - But if you don't mind the Touch Bar and have other speakers/headphones anyway, I'd call the Air a superior device for M1.

As for the memory situation, 16GB is of course better, and doing some batch operation on thousands of images it will make a difference, absolutely. But while you're using the device to make edits, work on a single image or whatnot, the 8GB model will pose no limitation.

As for balancing with storage size; Well, how willing are you to rely on external storage options like USB SSDs? That also influences the value proposition of a larger SSD vs more memory

All in all though I think you'd be pretty satisfied with the performance regardless of which one you get.
 

Natastrophe

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 16, 2021
26
10
Honestly, don't go with the Pro. It takes *a lot* to get to where the Air throttles, and even when it does it's still way faster than even prior 13" Pro models. The money required to go from Air to Pro is better spent on upgrading storage or memory in the Air, with one little exception; If you love the Touch Bar and want the best speakers inside the laptop. - But if you don't mind the Touch Bar and have other speakers/headphones anyway, I'd call the Air a superior device for M1.

As for the memory situation, 16GB is of course better, and doing some batch operation on thousands of images it will make a difference, absolutely. But while you're using the device to make edits, work on a single image or whatnot, the 8GB model will pose no limitation.

As for balancing with storage size; Well, how willing are you to rely on external storage options like USB SSDs? That also influences the value proposition of a larger SSD vs more memory

All in all though I think you'd be pretty satisfied with the performance regardless of which one you get.
Thanks! I'm looking on Amazon now and they have an Air 8gb with 512gb SSD, £1150 and a Pro with 8gb, 256gb SSD, £1180, so only £30.

Tough choice, but I like the fanless design of the Air.

Is 256gb storage going to be limiting?
 

casperes1996

macrumors 604
Jan 26, 2014
7,415
5,482
Horsens, Denmark
Thanks! I'm looking on Amazon now and they have an Air 8gb with 512gb SSD, £1150 and a Pro with 8gb, 256gb SSD, £1180, so only £30.

Tough choice, but I like the fanless design of the Air.

Is 256gb storage going to be limiting?

Personally? I'd get the Air in that situation without a shadow of a doubt.
If the speakers and Touch Bar don't matter so much to you I honestly see no real advantage to the Pro at all. The performance is so similar between them in 99% of cases.

As for the limitation of storage space, well, depends. You know how much storage you use better than I do. My current laptop is 256GB and it works alright, but only because my desktop is 2TB, I have heaps of cloud storage and my own "cloud" at home which is ≈3TB as well.

Photos and especially video files can eat up storage quickly
 

Natastrophe

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 16, 2021
26
10
Personally? I'd get the Air in that situation without a shadow of a doubt.
If the speakers and Touch Bar don't matter so much to you I honestly see no real advantage to the Pro at all. The performance is so similar between them in 99% of cases.

As for the limitation of storage space, well, depends. You know how much storage you use better than I do. My current laptop is 256GB and it works alright, but only because my desktop is 2TB, I have heaps of cloud storage and my own "cloud" at home which is ≈3TB as well.

Photos and especially video files can eat up storage quickly
I've lots of PC experience, but am new to Macs!

I'll use external storage most likely, but having a reasonable amount of internatl storage would be good for applications and the odd game. Plus "working" storage. I will use cloud for a lot of stuff.. Think i'm going for the Air..

Thanks
 

hvfsl

macrumors 68000
Jul 9, 2001
1,867
185
London, UK
Don't forget another limitation of the Air is you can only plug 1 monitor into it. Where as the PRO can have 2. Just in case you were planning to use it for working from home.
 

Natastrophe

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 16, 2021
26
10
Hehe, lets see how it matches up to my MSI GE63 Raider! Its a powerhouse, but buy does it eat power, just 1 hour on battery, this thing is tethered to the mains. But then it is a desktop replacement/gaming laptop.

The Air will be my ultra portable, take on photography trips laptop. Also great for sitting in the lounge surfing!
 
  • Like
Reactions: alcilan

alcilan

macrumors newbie
Jan 6, 2021
9
5
Queensferry
Hehe, lets see how it matches up to my MSI GE63 Raider! Its a powerhouse, but buy does it eat power, just 1 hour on battery, this thing is tethered to the mains. But then it is a desktop replacement/gaming laptop.

The Air will be my ultra portable, take on photography trips laptop. Also great for sitting in the lounge surfing!
I think you've made the right choice. After much umming and ahhing and seeing the Apple UK wait time for a 16GB 1TB, I went to Amazon and bought an 8GB with 512GB SSD MacBook Air in silver, before Christmas and before it dropped £100 in price. Ah well! Seriously, unless you really try to overload your Air, you'll not experience any problems. The larger hard drive seems, to me at least, more important in everyday use than internal memory that it won't call into use that often.
I also use Lightroom CC and it's a joy on the Air. Silky smooth.
Enjoy your new MacBook!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Natastrophe

Natastrophe

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 16, 2021
26
10
I think you've made the right choice. After much umming and ahhing and seeing the Apple UK wait time for a 16GB 1TB, I went to Amazon and bought an 8GB with 512GB SSD MacBook Air in silver, before Christmas and before it dropped £100 in price. Ah well! Seriously, unless you really try to overload your Air, you'll not experience any problems. The larger hard drive seems, to me at least, more important in everyday use than internal memory that it won't call into use that often.
I also use Lightroom CC and it's a joy on the Air. Silky smooth.
Enjoy your new MacBook!
It's amazing, I just rendered (Davinci 17.1 Beta) a 4k video, taken from my Fujifilm camera, 200mbs, 7 minutes long (15gb footage, 4 tracks). It rendered in about 3 minutes. Thats faster than my 6 core 12 thread intel laptop can manage in Sony Vegas Pro 14, although that program does not use full GPU acceleration.

Swap usage peaked at 3.5gb, which is tiny and the laptop was extremely responsive while the render proceeded. I just cant believe this little device only has 8gb, it "feels" like 16. This comes from my over 30 years of working in the IT industry, this laptop is just a huge game changer!

I just put this down to everything being on the CPU die, making it really fast. When you put swap on a fast SSD, the system wont take a huge hit. Yeah, you get more ware on the SSD, but i've seen SSDs last for years, over 5 in many cases and thats early examples. I was installing SSDs in Windows computers back in 2010, when 64gb and 128gb first started to become affordable. It was a revolution in performance!

Intel, you better watch out!
 
  • Like
Reactions: alcilan

rahulr

macrumors regular
Aug 1, 2008
134
32
North Carolina
I know a lot have asked this, but the 16gb version of the Macbook just seems to be endlessly unavailable here in the UK. Even the 8gb is in short supply.

Essentially i'm new to Macs, having not used one in years. I'm looking for a very mobile device for general web surfing, office productivity, however i'm a photographer.

So i'd like to be able to use lightroom and also do some video edition. Nothing heavy, just 1080p and 4k mainly, MP4 from my fujifilm cameras.

Question is, do I wait, get 16gb, with 256gb hdd or get the 8gb model with the 512ssd ?

I've looked at the Pro too, as I have heard the Air can have heat throttling issues when rendering.

Could users here share their thoughts and experiences.
I had this same dilemma. My aging 2014 MBP was ok, but it really wasn't cutting it anymore, and it was a bit heavy. There was an M1 MBP available at Best Buy (here in the U.S.) It was the 8/256 GB model. I thought I was sold, it was so fast, and it had all the features and then some of my 2014. I placed an order and received it a couple weeks later. My wife has a 2015 MacBook, we were lucky to find an M1 Air with 16/256GB. Her machine is just as fast as mine in real world use, the battery life is the same, and it's basically the same machine. Where her machine shines is when there are a lot of apps open, and there's a lot going on. Mine still slows down a bit.

I returned mine and picked up a 16/256 and saved a couple hundred dollars. I haven't looked back and am very happy I got it.
 

Natastrophe

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 16, 2021
26
10
I had this same dilemma. My aging 2014 MBP was ok, but it really wasn't cutting it anymore, and it was a bit heavy. There was an M1 MBP available at Best Buy (here in the U.S.) It was the 8/256 GB model. I thought I was sold, it was so fast, and it had all the features and then some of my 2014. I placed an order and received it a couple weeks later. My wife has a 2015 MacBook, we were lucky to find an M1 Air with 16/256GB. Her machine is just as fast as mine in real world use, the battery life is the same, and it's basically the same machine. Where her machine shines is when there are a lot of apps open, and there's a lot going on. Mine still slows down a bit.

I returned mine and picked up a 16/256 and saved a couple hundred dollars. I haven't looked back and am very happy I got it.
Ah. I researched a little further and found that the M1 Air with 8gb/512 is a little higher spec than the base Air. It has an additional GPU core and the SSD is much faster. Looking at reviews online the 256gb gets around 2200MB/s and the 512 gets as high as 3800MB/s (tested mine closer to 3000MB/s) a significant improvement! I think this is why it feels so fast for a device with only 8Gb ram and why some have found the base model a little slower by comparison and have upgraded to the 16gb model.

For me, it was just going to cost too much. I'll leave the Mac to render and not multitask, and when i'm just surfing the web its fine. In fact i'm finding I can do both. I just cant get it to slow down!
 

tis

macrumors 6502
Dec 8, 2020
310
413
Ah. I researched a little further and found that the M1 Air with 8gb/512 is a little higher spec than the base Air. It has an additional GPU core and the SSD is much faster. Looking at reviews online the 256gb gets around 2200MB/s and the 512 gets as high as 3800MB/s (tested mine closer to 3000MB/s) a significant improvement! I think this is why it feels so fast for a device with only 8Gb ram and why some have found the base model a little slower by comparison and have upgraded to the 16gb model.

For me, it was just going to cost too much. I'll leave the Mac to render and not multitask, and when i'm just surfing the web its fine. In fact i'm finding I can do both. I just cant get it to slow down!

The extra GPU core makes little to no difference. The SSD differences are also very small between the 256 and 512 models. The 256gb model is getting around 2,700 read speeds, and from what I’ve seen, most 512gb models are getting around 2,800 read speeds. Very little difference.
 

Big Stevie

macrumors 65816
Jun 20, 2012
1,243
683
UK
I ordered a 16gb/512gb M1 Air from Apple with a delivery date of mid Feb, but then I decided that the standard 8gb/256gb would easily be powerful enough for my use so I cancelled the order and collected an 8gb/256gb from a local store this morning.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Natastrophe

Natastrophe

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 16, 2021
26
10
I ordered a 16gb/512gb M1 Air from Apple with a delivery date of mid Feb, but then I decided that the standard 8gb/256gb would easily be powerful enough for my use so I cancelled the order and collected an 8gb/256gb from a local store this morning.
I have to say, i'm still impressed with my 8gb 512gb model. I've been editing 4k videos in Davinci Resolve, no issues at all! This thing just keeps surprising me, an 8gb PC would crawl along!

I'm tempted to replace my desktop later this year with a mac mini, i'll keep my Windows gaming laptop though, its RTX2060 based, so still kicks ass!
 
  • Like
Reactions: James_C

Natastrophe

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 16, 2021
26
10
The extra GPU core makes little to no difference. The SSD differences are also very small between the 256 and 512 models. The 256gb model is getting around 2,700 read speeds, and from what I’ve seen, most 512gb models are getting around 2,800 read speeds. Very little difference.
Hmm, testing mine hit over 3k, for the 256gb I only have what others have shown in testing in their reviews, which was slower...
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.