How did you decide 128GB vs 256GB?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by 53x12, Nov 6, 2012.

  1. 53x12, Nov 6, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2012

    53x12 macrumors 68000


    Feb 16, 2009
    I have settled on going with a 13'' MBA with 8GB. The only thing I am having a hard time deciding on is whether to go with the 128GB vs 256GB SSD. I know, buy as much RAM (will do), CPU (maybe) and HDD space (probably not?) as you can afford. :D

    But the MBA isn't going to be something that I need to drag 1TB of data with me constantly. I just want something lighter, smaller and easier to travel with. Part of the reason I am selling my MBP.

    I assume with 128GB drive I will have around 110-115 GB of available space when I get the computer? With my cloud storage I already have ~17GB of cloud space available if I need it. Add in that I have a small WD Passport 500GB drive that I can travel with for music and movies I think I should have plenty of space available. Especially considering how the cost of HDD space is dropping, SDXC is even becoming an option to transport movies for a weekend when you can get 64GB for ~$45. Or I can get a 1TB USB 3 external drive for ~$80. Amazing how prices have dropped.

    For the extra $300 is it even worth considering the 256GB? If anything, in 2 years or so when SSD has become cheaper, I can always upgrade by going with OWC or another brand for much cheaper than $300.

    Is there anything I am missing?
  2. MacPat333 macrumors regular

    Sep 16, 2012
    I surviced the past 3 years with 150GB in my Asus Eee PC and I have just placed the order for a 13" MBA i5 with 128GB SSD and 8GB RAM.

    I believe, the RAM is much more important as an upgrade and with harddrive prices dropping monthly and the possibility to upgrade ther SSD during a later stage, save the money and go with 128GB.

    If you decide that 128GB won't be sufficient anymore in a few months time, OWC might have a less expensive alternative available, maybe at that time a 512GB SSD for the price of a 256GB SSD today!
  3. 0x000000 macrumors 6502

    Aug 26, 2011
    Just googled it and you should have 99 Gb available... for me, Mail, iTunes, Dropbox and an already reduced iPhoto Library should use up most of that space, plus some larger Apps. Add work-related stuff and I'll find myself pushing it. I had a 256 before and even though I had no HD Videos at all (something that sucks away ridiculous amounts of space), I never fehlt I could do with half of that. Also I only rarely relied on external HDDs, they - and the data on them - felt somewhat detached and peripherial (which they are).

    My 2008s MBA had 80 and that was borderline ridiculous. 256 was "Perfect".

    A different workflow may help, eg having music and photos in the cloud. But then again, it's also nice to have your stuff with you.

    Just check how much your stuff currently uses and see if it fits.
  4. JeffiJers macrumors 6502a

    Sep 12, 2012
    Personally, between 128/256 i dont see either as much space at all. Yes 256 is almost double the amount but anyone with a lot of data knows that 256 will fill rather fast and still need another option.

    I have the 13/8/128 with a slim external 1tb hdd. Use this for web design & minor photo/video retouching. Anytime i am working with big files i just pull out the external.

    With all my programs loaded on the 128 i still have 65-70gb free space so its not like i Need the HDD everywhere i go, i can still carry around a few movies and music.

    If someone were running windows then i would say the 256 is worth it.
  5. 53x12 thread starter macrumors 68000


    Feb 16, 2009

    Pat, I agree as that was some of the same thought process I have been using. Max the RAM as you can't change that later on. I personally don't mind traveling around with a little USB external drive that I can throw movies and TV shows onto when away from home. In the future when SSD prices drop, then upgrade.

    Thanks for googling that. For some reason, I would have expected the amount to be higher. ~10GB for OSX and ~3-5GB for other fluff preinstalled.

    I like external drives for large files that aren't used too often; movies, pictures, music, maybe rarely used apps or games. That way on the SSD I can keep the apps I use most often as well as files.

    Yeah I won't be running Bootcamp/Parallels/VMware Fusion. Just OSX.

    What kind of programs do you have loaded? Even on our 2TB desktop, I have only used ~100GB of space. That is with apps like iPhoto, iMovie, MS Office, dropbox, some movies, pictures and music. I tend to do a fairly good job keeping space available. :)
  6. crazyxzer0 macrumors 6502

    Oct 28, 2008
    I opt for the 256GB. I got the 256GB also to make sure I get the Samsung drive instead of the Toshiba. (At least that was under the impression when reading the ARS or AANDTECH review)

    I use windows and with a barebone install its already 20GB with a few applications installed. I feel like 128GB can be enough if you move all your music/photos to an external. I didn't feel like always plugging in my external to gain access to my music so I opt for the 256GB.

    I have like 15GB of iPhoto data, 90GB of iTunes data.
  7. 53x12 thread starter macrumors 68000


    Feb 16, 2009

    Is that true/been verified by tear downs?
  8. JeffiJers macrumors 6502a

    Sep 12, 2012
    OP, I have installed....

    MS office 11'
    CS6; ps, dw, ai, id, br
    final cut
    And a hand full of small file programs (android/ntfs)


    nothing to fuss about. just pick which amount of storage you need. toshiba/samsung both will do the same thing and last the life of the computer
  9. 53x12 thread starter macrumors 68000


    Feb 16, 2009

    I realize it won't make a big difference, however personally I haven't had experience with Toshiba products. Not that it will matter as Apple would stand behind it if anything ever did happen, but just from my experience I'm not a big fan of Toshiba.
  10. msjones macrumors 6502


    Oct 18, 2007
    Nottinghamshire, UK
    I have the base 11" 64GB/4GB model and I'm doing just fine. Currently have around 34GB free. Thats with vmware, iphoto, iwork, xcode and many other utils & homebrew applications installed.

    I am a power user with many terabytes of data, but keep almost all of it on my private home server. For my itunes and iphoto libraries I carry a 2.5" 500GB USB 3.0 hard disk.
  11. NutsNGum macrumors 68030


    Jul 30, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Same here, though I have another computer. If I can get away with this for a week or so, I might end up selling the Retina Pro.
  12. dazey macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2005
    I went for the 128GB on the principle that I did not want to carry large amounts of data on it (I use a home server as a repository to work from) and that it is upgradable in the future. Another issue was that if you go to 256GB then the i7 upgrade is possible, so I was looking at the i5 128GB/8GB or the i7 256/GB/8GB at which point the price rockets up. I also have a mac pro that runs happily on a 64GB ssd boot disc. I currently have 71GB free.
  13. designs216 macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2009
    Down the rabbit hole
    I opted for the 256 b/c apps are progressively requiring more and more space and I wanted the option of partitioning the drive to install Win7.
  14. gg81 macrumors newbie

    Sep 25, 2012
    I went with 256 on my 2011 MBA. More would be nice. I use mine to travel as a consultant for a software firm. I resorted to putting a lot on a modified Seagate GoFlex. I started with the USB3 adapter so can use o MBA and Windows desktop where I consume several TB with virtual machines (I use Parallels). I took the GoFlex apart and put in my own SSD (256GB was the $ limit) and then got the Thunderbolt adapter. Its my normal work its hard to tell difference between the TB connect drive and the internal one and easy to move data as needed between exteral SSD and Windows machine. Note the NTFS drives that come with Seagate only work on that drive; I have the full version
  15. mattnxtc macrumors member

    Oct 20, 2008
    I ended up with 128 gig b/c my old Dell (well not old) was 128 and I had no issues with it...I also have a slim 1 TB external drive available as well which I've never really used anyways.
  16. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Aug 27, 2012

    Extremely simple 4rme. My old laptop had a 80G HD and I never used 1/2 of it. I was debating 64G vs 128G actually and thinking I may go dual-boot on this one, went with the 128G.

    Once you have a LAN with multiple boxes, trying to cramp everything in one box is no longer an issue. Plus now we have the "cloud."
  17. maratus macrumors 6502a


    Jun 12, 2009
    I've got a 128Gb purely for price/availability reason, as I was looking for a used one. I didn't need more than that for a complementary laptop, but I had a 128Gb SSD in my early-2008 15" Macbook Pro.

    It became quite clear for me that if I don't create BootCamp partition and manage to move my media library to the external storage, I can totally live with 128Gb. If you generate lots of pics/data, you may want some free space on your internal drive but then you would already be deciding between 256Gb and 512Gb! And you can decide on the external storage policy for your specific application.

    Another option which may help is using SD-MicroSD adapter with 64Gb MicroSD card as a media/library storage. There's a custom Nifty Minidrive adapter in development which fits flush with the body, so it's a viable long-term option which of course isn't that cheap (good large MicroSD card are still somewhat pricey)
  18. 53x12 thread starter macrumors 68000


    Feb 16, 2009

    I was wondering why you recommend the MicroSD over something like SDXC? Don't SDXC have a higher transfer rate?
  19. Lukewarmwinner macrumors 6502

    Oct 12, 2012
    SDXC will stick out - and the nifty-solution won't. But yeah, SDXC is much faster.

    I also went with 128gb - mainly because of the price. My 2010 Air got a 256gb drive and never used it. I chose 256gb back then 'cause I needed to run windows-apps. Once Win got away I had huge amounts of storage never to be used. So saved some money this time. My music library is in the cloud, same for my documents and pics. So internal space is only used on applications and some small work-in-progress docs..

    Remember that the development in cloud-storage is tremendous, and fast growing, which really is the future. Pay a small fee for one of them, and save your date in the sky. Much more convenient, synced to all your iOS-devices and backed up.

    As other mentioned, a external hard drive or a NAS (2-bay preferable) could be a other solution
  20. crazyxzer0 macrumors 6502

    Oct 28, 2008

    It's only benchmarks but I bet if I didn't read the review and got a Toshiba I would still be happy. :)
  21. noteple macrumors 65816


    Aug 30, 2011
    I started with a 128. In classes it was enough.
    However once I got all my stuff loaded for the road I found I only had about 20-30 gig free.
    Downloading some ISO's, data from thumb drives and before I knew it or could off load to the cloud tech tools started complaining about 15% free.

    Next machine was 256 and I haven't hit the wall on that Air yet.

    All depends on what you need todo day to day.
  22. sviato macrumors 68020


    Oct 27, 2010
    HR 9038 A
    I chose 256 because I knew I'd be downloading a bunch of movies and would likely need to use Bootcamp in the future (and I was right, seeing as I had to use tax software this weekend which wasn't compatible with OSX).
  23. Maui19 macrumors regular

    Jul 16, 2007
    My current MBA (Rev A) came with 64GB SSD. It has been fine for me for nearly five years. I keep all my storage hogs (music and photos) on my desktop CPU or on external HDs.

    I am going to get a new 13" MBA next week and will be getting the 128GB SSD. The SD slot makes it unnecessary (IMO) to pay for the expensive higher capacity SSDs.
  24. aaron5566 macrumors regular

    Jun 23, 2012
    I chose the 128gb model with 8gb of RAM because I thought that the 256gb wasn't worth the extra money. I just bought an external hard drive and it seems fine today. I can survive on a 128gb even with Windows 8 as a partition.
  25. jmgregory1 macrumors 68000


    Jun 24, 2010
    Chicago and a few other places around the world
    Get the 128. If you're diligent about off-loading old files or applications you're not using, you'll have plenty of space. Last year when I replaced my 240gb 15" mbp (with about 230gb used), I got the 128gb mba and simply dumped old files, photos and music onto my GTech drive.

    Frankly, the stuff I was keeping, as far as files and photos and even music, was in most cases things I hadn't looked at (or listened to) in years. Having it safe on an external drive, just in case, only makes sense. I've never understood why some people talk about needing to keep their 50 hi-def movies on the laptop or iPad ALL the time. I mean, really, how often do you watch a movie, one you've pretty clearly watched before?

    It is probably one of those common things, like the ubiquitous "junk drawer", attic, closet, basement or garage stuffed with old things you just can't get rid of.

    Ok, enough with the rant - get the 128.

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