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etaleb

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Apr 7, 2012
260
10
Guys - I'm a regular home office user and planning to move from Windows to Mac Mini M2 soon with 8gb RAM. I don't want to spend the extra few hundred since I can invest it and just upgrade every 4 years if I have to. However, can somebody tell me if 256gb is sufficient for Mac OS and these apps to run? It's sufficient for my Windows 10 currently - ms office suite, ms teams, evernote, notepad++, zoom, skype, qbittorrent and maybe 5 other small apps

I also have a 18TB external 7200rpm HDD for just my media files (family memories etc)

Thank you
 

russell_314

macrumors 603
Feb 10, 2019
5,262
7,484
USA
Guys - I'm a regular home office user and planning to move from Windows to Mac Mini M2 soon with 8gb RAM. I don't want to spend the extra few hundred since I can invest it and just upgrade every 4 years if I have to. However, can somebody tell me if 256gb is sufficient for Mac OS and these apps to run? It's sufficient for my Windows 10 currently - ms office suite, ms teams, evernote, notepad++, zoom, skype, qbittorrent and maybe 5 other small apps

I also have a 18TB external 7200rpm HDD for just my media files (family memories etc)

Thank you
It's plenty enough if you don't have a lot of files or games. I just checked on my MacBook Air and I have 130 GB used. It seems macOS is using 31 GB between the OS and some system data and my applications use 64 GB (Diablo 3 is almost 18 GB of that 64 GB). Keep in mind you don't want to go above maybe 90% on an SSD because it'll cause a major system slowdown. Someone is going to correct me on the 90% so that's why I said about.

Also if you're editing 4k video, smaller SSD is going to be slower when transferring large video files but I suspect if you're doing that you'd be getting a 1 TB+ SSD


TLDR: It's more than enough for the tasks you listed.
 
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xraydoc

macrumors demi-god
Oct 9, 2005
9,649
3,963
192.168.1.1
A dissenting opinion: I'm also a mostly office-style apps guy. But I could never fit into a 256GB SSD. No problem with 512GB, but I had over 300GB on my M1 MacBook Air -- and that's just my main apps, plus some image resources I need to keep with me, plus browser cache files, various documents (Word, image-rich PPT files, lots and lots of PDFs). Granted, that's a laptop so external storage can't really be permanently connected like it can with a desk-bound machine, but macOS stores a lot of stuff on the boot drive unless you really do some very careful file management.

I currently have a 1TB machine now and still have 648GB free, but 256GB fills up really fast.

And since the internal storage can't be expanded later, unless you know you can fit everything you need on your main drive into 250GB, I'd recommend going for the 512GB upgrade. Just my 2¢.
 
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MayaUser

macrumors 68000
Nov 22, 2021
1,756
3,567
the base mac mini again has just one nand..so it is already slower than the M1
 

etaleb

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Apr 7, 2012
260
10
Also do you suggest an external SSD HDD or my 18gb 7200rpm SATA would do? My only use case would be family memory videos, movies, mp3 files, etc - nothing else and doing SSD would be cost prohibitive. Unless there is some use case to maybe put a 1TB external SSD but I don't know what it'll be used for
 

bradman83

macrumors 6502
Oct 29, 2020
466
914
Buffalo, NY
256 GB is fine for basic Office work, especially if you use cloud solutions like OneDrive for document storage and an external drive for media. There are a lot of apps that come preinstalled with macOS like iMovie and GarageBand that you can delete to free up gigabytes of storage space.

Ignore the comments on the SSD being slower at 256 GB vs 512. While it's absolutely true that the speeds are slower because it uses half the number of flash chips you're still getting performance comparable to a midrange Windows laptop, and it's still faster than SATA 3 SSD. For your workloads it's not going to be a significant impact. Just keep an eye on your RAM usage and make sure to quit apps you're not using since only having 8GB of RAM means you'll be using memory swap more often, and that could be impacted by the slower speeds (on Windows an app usually closes when you close all of their windows; on macOS an app can stay open and in memory even with all of its windows closed, you have to close it from the dock or from the menu bar within the app).

I've run heavyweight apps like Photoshop and Lightroom off of an Intel MBP with 8GB of RAM and barely noticed a performance hit, so it's not a huge deal especially if you're coming from an older system where anything will be faster by comparison.
 
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bigfatipod

macrumors 6502
Sep 22, 2011
328
166
I went with the smallest size on my mba (128gb at the time) and I always regretted it. Things I didn’t expect took up space and I was constantly juggling files around to avoid errors. Eg Time Machine had a bug that sometimes wrote to the local drive, etc. so I always go at least one notch up from the base.
 
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-hh

macrumors 68030
Jul 17, 2001
2,549
335
NJ Highlands, Earth
People will say yes but I don’t think so , 512 should be the minimum

Agreed.

What is appropriate really depends on (a) how much one has in the way of Apps (and data), and (b) expected workflows over the hardware's expected lifespan ... plus (c) a personal safety margin.

I put a 256GB SSD in my 2012 Mac Pro when I first set it up in 2012, and it was 'apps only' as data was put on the other internal bays.

After ~5 years, that first SSD got mostly filled and then hammered to death due to inadequate free space. I replaced it with a 512GB SSD.

During CoVid, I bought a stripped M1 mini (so back to 256GB) as an interim replacement machine. Its done okay but only because it was very much a stripped down interim machine intended for only email & MS-Office, etc.

That Mini's now been replaced with a Studio, as a 'full' replacement for the old Cheesegrater. As per the above saga, I chose to get 2TB.

In general, my decision is that for my future Macs, they should have an absolute minimum of 1TB, as Macs effectively can no longer be as readily incrementally upgraded, and one of the painful things I found with my first Pro->M1 Mini migration is that it is not easy to put 10 gallons of system files into a 5 gallon hat...I probably spent a good 20-30 hours of touch labor to figure out ways to "make it fit" and get it working okay.

YMMV on how much your free time is worth, but for me, the $200 incremental cost between 512GB to 1TB is a bit irritatingly high (IMO its only worth $100), but if it saves me ~5 hours in migration touch labor, it is worth it. Same thing if it allows +1 year longer useful life because of delaying the time horizon for when SSD wear starts to seriously crash/bog the machine, allowing for me to replace it on my own terms instead of being forced into it.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
25,839
10,686
I'd recommend 16gb of RAM (instead of 8). Might even be more important than drive size.

These days, I'm thinking that 512gb is becoming "the minimum" for many users (unless you are one of those folks who's careful about what's stored on the internal drive)...
 
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doobydoooby

macrumors regular
Oct 17, 2011
150
205
Genève, Switzerland
For what you are asking, it's plenty enough. The only question is if you are happy to be forced to keep an eye on it or not because it will probably start to become a bit limiting after a while if you get lazy with where you are storing files. However, this is a desktop computer so you aren't limited to that one drive as you might be with a laptop... The apple tax of an SSD increase is so large that you could instead invest in a NAS that just sits in the house somewhere with massive plain old HDDs in it. Then you have your nippy SSD in your mac where its needed, you get a pretty great new mac for very little money, and all the deadweight media gets stored somewhere else. Bigger bang for your buck.
 
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etaleb

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Apr 7, 2012
260
10
If I land up using 175 of 256gb, will I be able to back up the whole contents of the internal SSD to an external 18TB HDD via USB or does time machine require a lot more internal free space to do this? Any other limitations you can see one running into when being at 68% capacity?

Thx
 

Shazaam!

macrumors member
Apr 12, 2009
97
27
The internal SSD is like a closet. The smaller the closet, the less time it takes to get filled up, and the more frequently it needs to be cleaned out. If that helps.
 

neo_cs193p

macrumors regular
May 17, 2016
132
145
If I land up using 175 of 256gb, will I be able to back up the whole contents of the internal SSD to an external 18TB HDD via USB or does time machine require a lot more internal free space to do this? Any other limitations you can see one running into when being at 68% capacity?

Thx
Time Machine will be fine. But another limitation worth considering is memory swapping, for which the OS will use the free space on the SSD. The smaller the free space, the quicker the SSD gets worn out. That said, you should still be good for 4 years with light use, but I would plan to keep at least 100GB free on the SSD.
 

Queen6

macrumors G3
Time Machine will be fine. But another limitation worth considering is memory swapping, for which the OS will use the free space on the SSD. The smaller the free space, the quicker the SSD gets worn out. That said, you should still be good for 4 years with light use, but I would plan to keep at least 100GB free on the SSD.
Pessimistic to say the least. I've still got a 2014 13" MBP, it's been hammered between work and family with it's SSD hovering around 80% - 90% capacity since basically day one, currently has less then 20GB free. SSD lifespan is the least of concerns to me.

Q-6
 
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Queen6

macrumors G3
@etaleb The base models are perfectly OK for the vast majority and a lot more capable than many here give credit for. Far too many push to upsell here, just no need for the average user. I use my Mac's professionally (engineering) and ceased throwing big money at Apple years back.

This is Apple's game, they want you to upgrade as their margins are far higher that way. Certainly some will have specific use cases as have I at times, equally you'll be aware of that if using professionally. I just pick up the base model of the class I need.

Every second post now seems to be is you "need" 16GB RAM and or 512GB storage and you likely wont need unless your doing some heavy lifting or need a lot of storage. Too much fear mongering, your Mac will suffer slowdown, SSD will fail in few years :rolleyes:

Q-6
 
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eyeseeyou

macrumors 68040
Feb 4, 2011
3,347
1,569
Guys - I'm a regular home office user and planning to move from Windows to Mac Mini M2 soon with 8gb RAM. I don't want to spend the extra few hundred since I can invest it and just upgrade every 4 years if I have to. However, can somebody tell me if 256gb is sufficient for Mac OS and these apps to run? It's sufficient for my Windows 10 currently - ms office suite, ms teams, evernote, notepad++, zoom, skype, qbittorrent and maybe 5 other small apps

I also have a 18TB external 7200rpm HDD for just my media files (family memories etc)

Thank you
For your usage, I'd say it'll work, but when it comes to storage I think it's better to have more and not need it than to need it and not have it.
 

Isamilis

macrumors 68000
Apr 3, 2012
1,578
582
Guys - I'm a regular home office user and planning to move from Windows to Mac Mini M2 soon with 8gb RAM. I don't want to spend the extra few hundred since I can invest it and just upgrade every 4 years if I have to. However, can somebody tell me if 256gb is sufficient for Mac OS and these apps to run? It's sufficient for my Windows 10 currently - ms office suite, ms teams, evernote, notepad++, zoom, skype, qbittorrent and maybe 5 other small apps

I also have a 18TB external 7200rpm HDD for just my media files (family memories etc)

Thank you
256gb is tight, especially if you plan to use for both office & personal stuff. 512gb is moderately sufficient.
 
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neo_cs193p

macrumors regular
May 17, 2016
132
145
Pessimistic to say the least. I've still got a 2014 13" MBP, it's been hammered between work and family with it's SSD hovering around 80% - 90% capacity since basically day one, currently has less then 20GB free. SSD lifespan is the least of concerns to me.

Q-6
Not an apples to apples comparison. We too have a 2015 MBP and also a 2010 MBA, both of which are still working fine with low free space. But the new ones swap much more aggressively. I now use a 256GB M2 and I don't live in constant fear that the SSD will die in a few years, but I do make sure I leave more than enough free space.
 
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benwiggy

macrumors 68020
Jun 15, 2012
2,318
130
It's very easy to put the libraries for Photos, Music, TV, etc on an external. You can also move things like Logic/Garageband instruments.

I don't live in constant fear that the SSD will die in a few years,
Fears about SSD lifetimes are largely overstated at the best of times. Apple has been selling MBAs with 8Gb RAM (or less) and 128Gb for years, and there's no evidence of widespread SSD failure due to heavy swapping -- or otherwise 'running out of writes'.
 
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