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TraptedMind

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 27, 2020
13
6
I ordered the 256GB MBA and upgraded to 16GB RAM. Since my order is still processing, I have the option to cancel it. Originally I felt that 256 GB was enough but now I am worried that it may not be enough a few years from now. I will be using it for things like programming, web developement and photo editing. If I switch to 512 GB, I would upgrade to the 8-core GPU model and upgrade the ram of that to 16GB. Anyone have a 256 GB MacBook and feel comfortable?
 

kshitijshah

macrumors regular
Jul 13, 2012
135
117
I had the same dilemma. Went with 512GB as I figured I would t have to constantly worry about filling up the MacBook. Since these aren’t upgradable best to go with the max configuration you can afford
 

circatee

macrumors 65816
Jul 18, 2020
1,191
716
Honestly, I feel one has to review the current volume of data that you have.
Then, based on that, probably increase your storage by a percentage of sorts.

To add, you can also use cloud storage (for least used items); iCloud, Google Drive, OneDrive, etcetera, etcetera...
 
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DaMax85

macrumors member
May 19, 2011
88
34
Same. I pulled the trigger on the base M1 Air (8GB/256SSD). It's a leap of faith move because base model Macs have always done the trick for me and I do run Final Cut X. I stuck with 8GB because, from what I can tell from the reviews, the base Air runs FCX like butter.

I was going to upgrade the SSD to 512, but I've decided to alter my workflow and edit in FCX off an external drive.
 
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G5isAlive

macrumors 65816
Aug 28, 2003
1,392
2,180
Will you carry it around a lot? If so get 512 gb. Do you plan on keeping it for more than a year? if so get 512.

I got the minimum config M1 Air because I didn't know how much I would like it. I LOVE IT. and I already regret not getting 512. I may return it if I can let go of it LOL. Seriously, some games take 50 gb. and sure, look at what you use now, blah blah blah, but 256 just isn't a lot, and if you find yourself wanting to do anything different, you will want more. Or, if you don't mind hooking on a SSD and taking up one of your ports, then no worries. I just think that would get old if you travel a lot.
 

edhchoe

macrumors 65816
Oct 28, 2011
1,323
806
I went with 512. 8/8. Planning to keep for 5years unless M2 comes out next year.
 

buster84

macrumors 6502
Oct 7, 2013
428
155
I ordered the 256GB MBA and upgraded to 16GB RAM. Since my order is still processing, I have the option to cancel it. Originally I felt that 256 GB was enough but now I am worried that it may not be enough a few years from now. I will be using it for things like programming, web developement and photo editing. If I switch to 512 GB, I would upgrade to the 8-core GPU model and upgrade the ram of that to 16GB. Anyone have a 256 GB MacBook and feel comfortable?

Depends on your setup. If you use external hard drives or have a home server then 256gb is plenty. If all you have is your hard drive on your laptop get a 1TB minimum.

I got two of the 256gb air's because I have a 64gb raid 5 readynas setup that I can access 24/7 from my home server, or even outside of my house using the internet to download it from my home server. I prefer this setup because its like having my own 24/7 cloud that I dont pay any monthly fee for and It'll keep my data protected far better than any external hard drive or macbook can since a failed raid hard drives can be easily be replaced and the data rebuilt where a failed macbook requires backups, or hope someone can de-solder the ssd and access the chips manually.

Also the best thing about a home server is the fact that everytime I upgrade macbooks I only need the 256gb model saving me money on hdd upgrades that also looses value with the mac as it ages.
 
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Zazoh

Contributor
Jan 4, 2009
1,434
1,002
San Antonio, Texas
I’m a programmer. I always buy base models. Either one, archive to external drives, or two, put stuff in the cloud Or, on a server where it runs. i may take 3-5k photos a year, come back in 2 years and save 200 to 300. Most files, email, photos, a year down the road are not worth saving. All music, movies, and podcast I stream.

I know some people that save everything.
 
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xboxbml

macrumors 6502
Sep 15, 2015
280
86
I ordered the 256GB MBA and upgraded to 16GB RAM. Since my order is still processing, I have the option to cancel it. Originally I felt that 256 GB was enough but now I am worried that it may not be enough a few years from now. I will be using it for things like programming, web developement and photo editing. If I switch to 512 GB, I would upgrade to the 8-core GPU model and upgrade the ram of that to 16GB. Anyone have a 256 GB MacBook and feel comfortable?
Get the most you can if you can afford it...
 

mk313

macrumors 65816
Feb 6, 2012
1,367
617
If you are ok with using iCloud or another cloud service, 256 might be enough. I always bought larger Hard Drives/ SSD's until I found a deal on a 2015 MacBook 12". The price was great but it was a 256 GB SSD. I bought it & have never gone about 200 GB. I replaced it with a 2017 12", and that one also only had a 256 HD. I'at 122.7 GB of storage space left.

It seems like (to me) the big storage space hogs are videos and pictures. I use iCloud and it stores all of my photos there, and I buy almost all apple or amazon videos, so I don't store those locally either.

If your uses are anything like mine, 256 will be fine
 

kshitijshah

macrumors regular
Jul 13, 2012
135
117
With an education discount - A MBA 8/8 with 16GB and 512GB with AppleCare costs the same as a base MBA + base MacMini. What should one buy?
 

Macrumorsss

macrumors member
Sep 30, 2018
55
13
Ugh....I am feeling the same way....just having installed a few apps and MS Office Suite (which does take about 8 GB) I am already at 200....I want more space, but at the same time I am reluctant to spend that much more on what right now to me is a proof of concept without understanding where Rosetta2 and all these apps that are not native to M1 are going.
 

Steve121178

macrumors 603
Apr 13, 2010
5,694
5,284
Bedfordshire, UK
Ugh....I am feeling the same way....just having installed a few apps and MS Office Suite (which does take about 8 GB) I am already at 200....I want more space, but at the same time I am reluctant to spend that much more on what right now to me is a proof of concept without understanding where Rosetta2 and all these apps that are not native to M1 are going.
Surely you have more than just 'a few apps' if you hit 200GB! The bulk of that 200GB is your data, yes?
 

OSX15

macrumors regular
Jun 2, 2014
140
44
Cyberspace
Surely you have more than just 'a few apps' if you hit 200GB! The bulk of that 200GB is your data, yes?
interested in this as well.. I thought 256GB would be enough to install just the OS + a lot of my apps, but right now I am not so sure anymore..
 

Macrumorsss

macrumors member
Sep 30, 2018
55
13
Surely you have more than just 'a few apps' if you hit 200GB! The bulk of that 200GB is your data, yes?
Surely you have more than just 'a few apps' if you hit 200GB! The bulk of that 200GB is your data, yes?
Hi there sorry, i think my wording was confusing. I didn’t mean i have used 200 up i meant i had reached 200 as in having used the 40 something that is available on the machine.
 

Ruggy

macrumors 6502a
Jan 11, 2017
622
365
External drives are really cheap. Even SD cards are really cheap.
A 64GB SD card is what, $11
You can put masses of stuff on 64GB drive, carry it round with you and it's almost indestructible too.
(There are some great USB-C card readers available too.)
A 500gb SSD EVo 860 in a cheap case is about $90
An external drive will work almost as fast as an internal drive- you won't notice the difference.
Do you need everything available all the time?
I only buy the 256gb SSD and either use the cloud or back up to external disk.
I also have a server which cost less than the difference in price for the 512gb internal SSD at the time, but frankly, I only really use that for back up.
The upgrade option was expensive last time I looked and frankly, not worth it
Unless you are handling really big files- like editing big video files or something, or you are really sure you need to carry everything around with you all the time, then you really don't need it especially as there are plenty of options for music and photos in the cloud these days.
 

jerryk

Contributor
Nov 3, 2011
6,996
3,896
SF Bay Area
I had this same issue. But in the end, I decided the Air was a Gen 1 machine to try things out so I stuck to the 256 GB. If the 14" MBP M1x or M2 comes out next year I will probably consider upgrading and getting more memory and drive space at that time.
 

Leon1das

macrumors 6502
Dec 26, 2020
255
180
Everyone on the forum says that if you get upgrade - you should take RAM first.
With M1 in mind - I am not aligned with that.
512Gb should be starting - and then feel free to add RAM

512Gb MBA has actual 494Gb (so minus 18GB) out of which System occupies 17Gb.
M1 Macs are "locked" - editing of system partition and removing bloat is more complicated, so you should forget about it.
- So minus 35Gb out of the box.
- Add keeping 10% of HD free for swap.
- If you create/manipulate large files (photo/video edit) - RAM is meaningful thing to do things faster, but large files (both input and output) need to be stored somewhere. You CAN get external drive, but performance will never be the same as your internal one + external drive kills portability of M1 MBA/MBP.
- If work is super important normally you will take cloud subscription... (10USD/m for 2TB with both Google or Apple). Warranty for external hard drive is one thing - but lost work is another thing... However with using cloud - you will have portion of cloud stored locally on your drive - which again takes space.
- Next to Mac apps - M1 allows installing iOS apps - and they work great, but they are larger than Android counterparts. You will want to have some of them (esp ones you paid for on iPhone/iPad).

To conclude - we know that M1 uses RAM differently + uses intense swap.
Finally we need to relook on the definition of RAM with M1.
But HD space cannot be optimized, either you have it or not.

Scenario where I see RAM as No1 absolute priority is virtualization.
Parallels for Mac is still in beta - but setting Windows 10 Arm on M1 requries physical memory.
If you have 8GB - you should not allocate more than 4Gb to Windows. But if you need to make things more complicated in virtualized Windows you cannot let 4Gb RAM prevent you.

TL;DR: Start from 512Gb and then decide if you further beefup RAM or storage
 
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Rck1984

macrumors 6502
Jun 5, 2017
345
720
The Netherlands
All depends on personal use case and habits.

If you're a gatherer, have tons of apps and want to have all data with you at all times without using external storage, then get 512GB or more.

I am totally comfortable with 256GB, my data goes to the cloud and big or really important stuff goes onto external SSD. Besides, I like a "clean" device and I hate clutter, drives me crazy.

I wouldn't worry about the difference in performance when copying files back and forth to an external Nvme drive, the performance is great as well. Those crazy read/write speeds are nice for applications and cool for benchmarks, but don't matter that much for actual use/transfer of documents and such.

So, what type of user are you. Look at your current storage and ask yourself what amount of storage you really need.
Instead of buying more storage, changing your habits of saving everything locally, or installing lots of (useless) apps into a more conservative way could be a possible way of dealing with this too.
 
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Zazoh

Contributor
Jan 4, 2009
1,434
1,002
San Antonio, Texas
So, what type of user are you. Look at your current storage and ask yourself what amount of storage you really need.
Instead of buying more storage, changing your habits of saving everything locally, or installing lots of (useless) apps into a more conservative way could be a possible way of dealing with this too.

Yup. Fully functioning machine using cloud storage.

Screen Shot 2021-01-07 at 2.31.11 PM.png

I used to have a ChromeBook - hahahah
 

woodynorman

macrumors 6502a
Nov 26, 2011
667
310
I ordered an 8/512 when they first came out. It was more than half full after transferring all my files. Wifey needed a new computer so I gave her mine and ordered a 16GB/1TB unit. I'm content it will last me for many many years.
 

ghanwani

macrumors 68040
Dec 8, 2008
3,083
3,410
Yup. Fully functioning machine using cloud storage.

View attachment 1708537

I used to have a ChromeBook - hahahah
How much data do you have in the cloud? I use some cloud storage mainly for sync between machines and I have all the files set to be downloaded on the machine. I would be concerned about response time if I had to go to the cloud for every file, not to mention cannot access the data if there is no network connectivity. Also I have privacy concerns with a lot of my files, especially those related to finance and health.
 

Zazoh

Contributor
Jan 4, 2009
1,434
1,002
San Antonio, Texas
How much data do you have in the cloud? I use some cloud storage mainly for sync between machines and I have all the files set to be downloaded on the machine. I would be concerned about response time if I had to go to the cloud for every file, not to mention cannot access the data if there is no network connectivity. Also I have privacy concerns with a lot of my files, especially those related to finance and health.

568 GB in cloud. 1/3 on Google 2/3 iCloud, I used to have some on DropBox but I dropped them about 2 years ago when they changed policy and synching without telling us. Most of the stuff are photos.

I don't Synch Desktop and Documents Folder. If I'm working on something, I have local in Documents or, my Sites folder. Then I drag to cloud. This is important for anyone reading this. If you synch and you delete from computer it is gone. If you manually drag to cloud, then you can delete from SSD and it is still in cloud.

Anything I work on is not for me. It is used somewhere else or shared. So It CANT stay on my computer. It will live on a server somewhere wether it is an email, document, or photo, or website (I'm a programer) Taxes go to IRS as an example, then I PDF and put in cloud. Photos get texted to mom and friends and can be access from phone, iPad, URL.

At home I have ATT Internet 1000 (Fiber 1000 Gigabits a second) Fam and I use about a terabyte a month. Mostly streaming as we don't have cable. I remote into work, so that is only about 2 gb a day. I can go to McDonalds and sit in parking lot and get free wifi, I live in a large City, there is wifi everywhere. And if I don't have network access anything I'm working on is not getting delivered.

If I know I'm going to leave the house, I'll pull down stuff I need.

PRIVACY: Here is the part I used to tell customers when I worked tech for a bank and they HATE it: All of your data is already in the cloud. The cloud is someones Server. It is there wether you use it or not. My Doctor uses digital storage online, as I can access my records at the health website. My bank has all my stuff on line as I do online banking, IRS, you name it, it is out there. I sign in to see everything I've ordered at Amazon, who also, like my bank, has my financial data. It is a myth to think in 2021 that only you house important data. In fact, most reliable entities are more secure than your house or method of storage at home.

With banking you are protected by Reg E, you are not responsible for the loss of your data if you are in the US. (I'm not a lawyer and there are caveats)

I have a 64GB iPhone 11. I can access all my stuff. I still have 43GB free on that. That alone, I have been saved by more times, by being able to pull down something important from the cloud when needed. Proof if Insurance. Photo Copy of Drivers License, etc.

I'm old enough have had a colonoscopy, clean as a whistle. I have a dermatologist for skin cancer and had my gall bladder removed in May. Oh, and my cardiologist wants to see my about my Blood Pressure log. I mean, I don't know what people fear with medical. I'm 57, I have stuff wrong with me that a 57 year old would have. :)
 

robfoll

macrumors member
Mar 22, 2020
81
57
Here is my Pro 8/256 fully loaded with 135 apps, tons of photos and a decade of business data. Music in the cloud, not much video. 8GB memory seems fine. I plan to upgrade to the projected 14inch / M2 machines in Q3 2021 and then will get more of everything and plan for the longer term.
 

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ghanwani

macrumors 68040
Dec 8, 2008
3,083
3,410
Here is my Pro 8/256 fully loaded with 135 apps, tons of photos and a decade of business data. Music in the cloud, not much video. 8GB memory seems fine. I plan to upgrade to the projected 14inch / M2 machines in Q3 2021 and then will get more of everything and plan for the longer term.
You're at ~50%. Once you get to 70% you might start noticing some slow down in access times. So it depends on how much more data you generate. If not much, you will be fine even with this machine for a long time.
 
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