Having a tough time deciding between 128g and 256g MBA

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Alaskanmac, Apr 24, 2014.

  1. Alaskanmac macrumors member

    Aug 30, 2007
    I'm a Senior level computer science student getting ready to graduate and go to grad school.

    My old laptop is crapping out on me and I've decided to buy a 13" Macbook air. I already know I'm going to upgrade the ram to 8g, but I'm having a hard time deciding between 128 and 256g for the hard drive.

    Obviously I know this comes down to how I'll be using the machine, so I figured I'd ask yall for your opinions.

    This laptop will only be my mobile machine. All of the work I do i back up to dropbox so technically I don't HAVE to have any of my work on my machine when I'm not using it (although I do usually keep copies of my dropbox on the machines as it's easier than manually downloading/uploading).

    I use google music so I will not have any music/videos on the machine.

    My biggest concern is having enough space to either dual boot (or VM) into linux, as I do a lot of my work on linux currently, and would want to be able to continue this with the MBA. I do not know however how much space this typically takes.

    Can some of you weigh in on how much space you think I'd realistically need for my IDEs (usually eclipse), and to be able to also boot into linux (possibly windows as well, haven't decided yet)? Do you think I could get away with 128g considering I wouldn't keep any music or other media on the machine?
  2. Agent69 macrumors member


    Sep 22, 2005
    United States
    I ordered a MBA last week and went with the 128GB drive but I am only going to run Mac OS X. If you are doing to dual boot, I would recommend getting as much disk space as you can afford.
  3. Pharmscott macrumors 6502a


    Dec 13, 2011
    Sacramento, CA
    I have 256gb with 130gb used and I have Win7 on Bootcamp on a 60gb partition. So, I have 60gb left. I have about 9gb of media and Office 2010 and a few other applications installed. Of course it's easy to just say "get more storage." Hopefully that gives you a "real world" use idea.
  4. ItHurtsWhenIP macrumors 6502

    Aug 20, 2013
  5. Malizzar macrumors newbie

    Jul 9, 2011
    I got the 512 in my 2012 MBA and do not regret it. I love having all the space I could need so I can limit external file transfers.
  6. jahala macrumors regular


    Feb 7, 2008
    I have gone through this dilemma several times. Every time that I chose the smaller hard drive option, it was okay for a year or more, but then I wanted to do something I had not anticipated and ran out of space. If you can afford it, get 256 GB. I was getting by with 128GB on an 11" Macbook Air, but I was always having to delete my virtual machines to make room for project work, so I sold that machine and got another with 256GB.
  7. Dweez macrumors 65816


    Jun 13, 2011
    Down by the river
    Save up some additional funds and go for the larger device.
  8. abta1 macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2010
    Paris, France
    I went for the 256Gb option in the end. For me, one of the reasons for getting the MBA to replace my 15" MBP was for portability reasons. So to have to carry around an external HDD would to an extent defeat the purpose. Of course if you don't plan on moving your laptop around, then you can opt for the cheaper version and have a large external drive connected to it at all times.
  9. deadwalrus macrumors regular

    Feb 16, 2011
    I had a similar debate. Decided 256 was the right move. But then it occurred to me that the 13" rMBA mid-spec'd had the same configuration plus a retina screen. Extremely glad I went that route.
  10. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Oct 9, 2005
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    256. You'll be surprised at how quickly your new machine can fill up with data so give yourself some breathing space and go with the 256 GB. You won't regret it. Like DeadWalrus, I went the 13" rMBP route.....and my new machine is perking right along with about 75 GB free after I put important stuff into it and added my iTunes Library.....
  11. damidget macrumors regular

    Aug 3, 2013
    Brisbane, Australia
    Go for 256GB.
    You never know how much stuff is going to end up on your computer...
  12. Mezmorizor macrumors member

    Jul 1, 2013
    You'll definitely want 256 for dual booting. I would be really careful with dropbox though, I've found that it does really weird things to your files sometimes. Definitely make sure you have sync turned off if you choose to keep using it.
  13. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    In common with almost everyone else on this thread, I'd recommend that you choose 256 GB SSD over 128 GB SSD very strongly.

    Not only will you need the space - and 128 will seem very little in a very short space of time - but the larger SSD drives are actually faster and more stable than the smaller ones.
  14. dazz87 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 24, 2007
  15. 2IS macrumors 68030

    Jan 9, 2011
    I have a 128GB MBA (an ancient 2010 model at that) and while I was running OSX + Bootcamp, space was a major issue for me. I was always having to repartition or delete stuff I didn't REALLY need, and it was rather minimalist to begin with.

    I eventually did a clean install of OSX and went with parallels to boot into windows for the times I needed it. I only did bootcamp initially because I wanted the ability for some lightweight gaming when away from home, but that never happened. Anyway, space is far more manageable now. I typically always have between 20-30GB free, but that's with extensive use of cloud based services. (dropbox, google drive, iTunes Match for my music) and not a whole lot of programs installed on either the OSX or Windows side.

    If you're only going to keep it for a short while, you may be able to get away with 128GB, if you're going to keep it for several years, you'll probably be glad you went with 256GB.
  16. bniu macrumors 6502a

    Mar 21, 2010
    Can't decide between 128 and 256? Easy, get the 512 :D
  17. MarkCollette macrumors 68000


    Mar 6, 2003
    Toronto, Canada
    I really wish I had gotten the 256 instead of the 128.
  18. Idarzoid macrumors 6502

    Mar 15, 2013
    Since MBAs got upgraded today, definitely get the 256GB. (a bit cheaper today than it was before, they reduced the price by $/£100)
  19. protoxx macrumors 6502a


    Oct 10, 2013
    256. I 6 to 10 months you'll be asking yourself why you didn't get 512.
  20. iWeekend macrumors regular

    Nov 28, 2012

    this. a thousand times this.
  21. erasr macrumors 6502

    Sep 18, 2007
    256 for absolute sure. The amount of times my 128 has run out of space is ridiculous. Argh it's annoying me now even thinking about it!
  22. Blorzoga macrumors 68030


    May 21, 2010
    I was trying to decide between 256 and 512 last year, but when I priced out an external SSD, the choice was obvious. I got the 512 and don't regret it for a second. I also went for the 8GB of RAM, but didn't do the processor upgrade since I didn't think I'd even notice the difference for what I use it for. It's nice to not have to worry about running out of space on your disk.
  23. watermelonbook macrumors regular

    Jan 31, 2014
    128GB is unacceptable for a notebook computer.

    My smartphone (Samsung Galaxy Note 2) has 144GB of storage.
    16GB built-in and a $97 Sandisk 128GB MicroSDXC card in the
    slot. I'm nearly full... with only 2GB left on the 128GB card.

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