Is 128GB enough for college?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by aberamati, Jul 10, 2017.


Mac For College: is 128GB enough?

  1. Yes

  2. No

  1. aberamati macrumors newbie

    Jul 10, 2017
    Hello everyone. I'm going to start college this fall and buy my first ever personal computer, after using iPad as my main device for few years. I'm not going to store any Movies or Music on my computer, I'm using Netflix/Amazon/Apple Music for entertainment purposes. I'm not playing any games. I'm going to study Computer Science, which may require few GB for compilers, Virtual Machines etc., but I can't Imagine that taking more than 20GB, correct me if I'm wrong. I'm a hobbyist photographer so I do have some photos, but I don't need to store my entire photo library on my Mac. I import photos from my recent shooting session, develop them on Lightroom, upload to Flickr (free 1TB of lifetime storage), share on social media, and at that point I don't need them on my laptop anymore. I can back up the files, Including RAW files, to an external HDD just in case, but for that purpose even 256GB is not enough so anyway I need external HDD for that.
    Everywhere I read that nobody should ever buy the 128GB variant of the MacBook Pro and I don't understand why. I wanted to ask here maybe I'm missing something and these warnings are well founded.
    From my perspective 128GB should be more than enough for me, I just want to make sure because Everyone seem to argue otherwise and I never actually had a Laptop to be able to accurately judge.
  2. krause734 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2010
    You can easily get by with 128GB. 256 might give you some breathing room but not necessary at all. Most people could get by with a 16GB Chromebook. You can alway get an external hard drive. I'd consider 256 for resale value and making it last longer but do whatever fits your budget.
  3. kschendel macrumors 6502a

    Dec 9, 2014
    128 Gb would be tight, but probably doable. I use my rMBP for work, on-the-road software development and "office" stuff, and if I were to delete the modest amount of photos and music, and clean off a couple iPhone backups, I could just manage to squeeze into 128 Gb. For a new user without years of "stuff", 128 Gb would probably suffice. (Except for virtual disk files for VM's, of course, but you can put them on an outboard USB drive.)

    Having said that, I'm going to suggest that you go for the 256 Gb anyway, unless you absolutely can't spend the money. The reason is that 128 Gb will likely get tight after a while, and it's a pain to be moving things to and from an external drive. Also, if you have 128 Gb filled to 80-90%, you might not have room to download some large file you need, or do updates, or who knows what. With 256 Gb you probably won't have to think about it at all for the life of the laptop unless you start accumulating lots of large files.

    (so my poll vote is "maybe".)
  4. AFEPPL macrumors 68030


    Sep 30, 2014
    I've run a 128GB 2012 Mac for 5 years and its still less than half full.
    I store all my data externally to the mac, either in the cloud or on a central NAS drive.

    Just depends what you want to do, and how you want to manage it. but for sure YES, its totally doable.
  5. Populus macrumors 6502a


    Aug 24, 2012
    Valencia, Spain.
    I just purchased a 128GB 13" MacBook Pro, because it is the only 2015 model available as of now. But, if I had the chance, I'd buy a 256GB machine. So, now you've got the opportunity to buy a bigger storage Mac, do it if you can. Maybe you can work with 128GB, but eventually, it is probable you'll need that extra storage.

    I'm going to buy a JetDrive Lite, in order to expand storage on my recently purchased MacBook Pro, but new MacBook Pros don't have any SD card reader or other way to expand your storage, so I wouldn't recommend a non upgradeable/expandable machine with only 128GB.

    If there is no other way, well, you'll handle it. Somehow.
  6. mpConroe macrumors member


    Feb 14, 2017
    Arbroath (UK) / Wroclaw (PL)
    I'm computing student and I have MacBook Pro 13'' 256GB (2016) and I must say that 256GB it's NOT ENOUGH. My computer is almost full now and I'm going to buy an iMac with 1TB but I will be editing videos in macOS and play games on Windows (bootcamp), also watching some movies and tv series. I'm doing nothing from this list on my MacBook Pro and at 256GB is ALMOST full. I couldn't live with 128GB.
  7. throAU macrumors 601


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    depends what you do, but 128GB in a macbook is very cramped. you will be streaming media rather than downloading because storage is tight, disabling things like local time machine backups due to storage concerns (even if you don't, likely the system will auto delete them a lot more quickly than otherwise due to space constraints), etc.

    256 gives you some breathing space to take advantage of stuff like time machine local backups, some larger projects, working with video, etc.

    512 gives you enough to worry less about shuffling things around once you finished working on stuff.

    more is obviously better, but i personally would not purchase a mac with less than 256 GB of storage in 2017. this would be why it is entry level on the "macbook" now.

    if you plan on boot camp or virtual machines as per above, i'd consider 512 as a minimum.

    if you can live with storing all your data on external drives you can maybe get away with less.... but external drives suck for a portable machine. it's another thing to carry, and you want to leave it at home you play data shuffling magician on a regular basis.
  8. maxsquared macrumors regular

    Jun 27, 2009
    When you talking about development, depends on how many environment you are working with, Virtual Machine is a storage killer.
  9. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    You might be able to "get by" with 128gb.
    But 256gb would be better, and leave you "breathing room".

    You're going off to school.
    Things tend to… "accumulate"…

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