MacBook Air 13" 2011: 128 or 256 SSD?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by ryan.apham, Sep 16, 2011.


MBA 13": 128 or 256 SSD

  1. 128 SSD

    64 vote(s)
  2. 256 SSD

    80 vote(s)
  1. ryan.apham, Sep 16, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2011

    ryan.apham macrumors member

    May 6, 2011
    I am going to buy the 13" MBA as the title says, but I am torn between the two. Usually, I will try to buy the best gadget available because I think I will not regret it. However, this case is different.

    The price tag here in Singapore is S$1688 (~1360 USD) for the 128 SSD and S$2088 (~1680 USD) for the 256 SSD. The price difference is more than 300 USD, but yet what you receive is just 128 GB more of internal storage.

    With that 300 USD I can spend on an external hard disk of 1-2 TB and still have money left to buy a hard case and a sleeve for the MBA.

    From my past experience with MBP 2008, I only used around 60-80 GB out of 320 GB HDD (documents, music, games, Adobe Suite, etc.); my movies and downloads are in the external HDD. I don't edit movies, photos, and play games that much.

    Therefore, I think I can manage with the 128 SSD one.

    I am not going to bootcamp or something. And though I bought an MBA for portability (but I hate the small screen of 11" so I will go with the 13" option), I don't mind bringing an external HDD along to anywhere I go.

    However, one thing I'm afraid is that the files will get bigger over the years. I am planning to keep it as my primary computer for at least 2-3 years. So I don't know if 128 SSD is enough (even for important files only). I can save music and stuff on my iPad, iPhone and external HDD though. One of my friends say that 256 SSD is not even enough, so go with 128 SSD + External HDD though.

    And one more thing, I have heard that the i7 causes a lot of heat and noise to the laptop, and there is not much of a difference to upgrade to i7. Is it true? I am not a power user, and I am a student, I am trying to be as economic as possible. So is it worth to upgrade to the core i7?

    Edit: I have sold my MBP already, so I will need a new laptop as soon as possible. Any piece of advice is much appreciated. :D
  2. rhinosrcool macrumors 65816


    Sep 5, 2009
    With an external drive, you should be okay. Also, as a friend mentioned, the 256gb ssd is not all that much. With either the 128gb or the 256gb, you're probably going to need an external. Use the savings and get the extras.
  3. Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    Just Bought

    The 256, it won't take much filling up thats for sure, I ordered an external at the same time. 128 is really very little storage space when you consider that the OS is going to take a chunk out of it first.
  4. genosseinski, Sep 16, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2011

    genosseinski macrumors member

    Jul 10, 2008
    I bought 256 GB so that I can use my MBA as long as possible. I am so glad I did. The price difference with student discount was not THAT great (considering the 256 GB SSD-prices online) and with iPhoto, iTunes and the like I have already used over 100 GB. It feels good to be on the safe side. Because Apple Laptops are quite expensive, I don't want to buy a new one in 2 years or so. They should last long (and with the new MBA I have the feeling they'll do) and a big HDD can help you to enjoy it as long as possible.

    external HDDs don't do the job for me, because when I travel I just want to take my laptop with me. I don't want to fiddle around with cables, syncing, external libraries etc. When I want to show a photo to someone, I just want to open iPhoto and boom there it is.

    I wonder how some people can survive on 64 Gb...
  5. vitzr macrumors 68030


    Jul 28, 2011
    Only you know what size is best for you. It's a matter of remembering that a good portion will be taken up by the OS, your applications and such. Therefore what free space that remains on a 128, isn't that great. Yes the 256 option is expensive, but there's nothing worse than to be severely limited on free space.

    Yes, you can use an external, but that defeats the portability & convenience that an MBA offers. So be very diligent in choosing. When it comes to storage space it's easy to underestimate ones true needs.
  6. skyton macrumors 6502

    Jan 3, 2005
    I had the same decision as you. In the end i went for the 128 as the step up in price for 256 was too much.

    I am keeping a close watch on space and so far its very minimal.

    This is my secondary machine though, so all music and films are elsewhere
  7. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Jun 14, 2010

    Plus remember that some portion of the $300 price difference will be returned when you resell the machine. A used 128GB system will fetch less than a used 256GB system; my point being that the "cost" of the upgrade is less in terms of the over-time cost of ownership.
  8. jmgregory1 macrumors 68000


    Jun 24, 2010
    Chicago and a few other places around the world
    I just got the 128 and although I was pushing towards filling it, I did figure out to shut off the time machine snapshot feature that freed up about 32 gigs of space. I'm guessing that between iCloud and other cloud storage options, maintaining huge hd's will be a thing of the past - at least as far as huge hd's on your laptop.
  9. shznit macrumors member

    Apr 4, 2010
    The $300 difference is much better spent on a NAS imo.
  10. ZBoater macrumors G3


    Jul 2, 2007
    Sunny Florida
  11. MJedi macrumors 6502a


    Dec 16, 2010
    Based on your usage, stay with the Core i5 since the performance difference (according to the reviews) are very small.

    If this will be your primary (or only) computer, I would go with the 256GB SSD.
  12. flight macrumors regular

    Mar 4, 2010
    I know many advocate buying for the future. But generally, I buy computers for today's use and the money I saved goes towards a future purchase. If you think 128GB is good for today, then go with the smaller storage option. With Thunderbolt and exciting new services, you might not need the extra space.
  13. ryan.apham thread starter macrumors member

    May 6, 2011
    If the story is true, then I think the hardcore fans of movies, songs and photos will save their precious $300 on the monthly fee to use the service instead :D. Come to think of it, $10 per month means if you save that $300, you can have an access to an unlimited online storage for 2.5 years! The only drawback is that, you have to sync back and forth your files :).

    Edit: Wow, the situation now is 50-50. Hard to make my mind :D!!!
  14. EthanMiller macrumors member

    Aug 15, 2011
    It's really a question of usage.

    If you tend to be at home a lot - and thus can either keep the HD attached, nearby for need, or on the network, then the external would do better. The speeds of the SSD are most noticeable booting and launching programs, which would be on the internal anyways.

    If you're away a lot - or somewhere like college, which is my situation - then the bigger internal can be a lifesaver. I can't get to my network storage anywhere on campus, so I keep a lot on the internal. Now, I have the 128, and I survive, but I only have about 20GB free.

    This all goes to moot if you can get a static IP and set up port forwarding to a network drive. I plan to do this to the 1TB drive attached to my AirPort in my dorm room.

    The other consideration is what you can afford - if you do have the extra budget for both, it may very well be worthwhile, especially if you do a lot of photography or video editing, or like to bring your music/video/photo collections with you on the road.

    As a point of comparison, I picked up my SeaGate 1TB drive for just over $80.
  15. accessoriesguy macrumors 6502a

    Jul 8, 2011
    I have a friend waiting on a 1TB SSD, were getting close, another thing that makes it a bit unfair is that SSD's are generally in 2.5 form factor. 3.5 1TB standard hard drive are just becoming price friendly.

    like someone else stated it all depends how much memory you need. thunderbolt will make it easy to expand memory without compromising speed. of course thats expensive now but later it will be better. OWC offers memory upgrades too, that also make your computer faster for about $250 USD. if you wait a while those prices will come down too and you can upgrade manually.
  16. Faux Carnival macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2010
    Well you won't be doing any hardcore archiving on either of them. It's an SSD, duh. So get a 1TB external instead.
  17. Aras87 macrumors member

    Sep 14, 2011
    get the 128gb ssd then buy a 1tb external hd with the rest of the money. just my 2 cents
  18. IngerMan macrumors 65816


    Feb 21, 2011
    I voted the 128 SSD.

    A few things to consider. Thunderbolt external storage devices even TB sticks.

    But more importantly OWC, The prices keep dropping on their replacement blades. Since they just introduced Sata III drives for the Air the current Sata II are getting more attractive. Say you decide you want 240 or 360 a year from now. Maybe the Sata II price is $300 for 360GB, that is a real possibility and I think it makes more dollar sense to wait if you indeed will want it.
  19. orfeas0 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 21, 2010
    Athens, Greece
    Wow, votes exactly 50-50.

    You answered your own question. You used 60-80, you will use 60-80. And if you get an external you may use even less.
    Don't buy the 256, and don't buy the i7. Such a small difference in performance isn't worth the money nor the heat/fan noise.
  20. Gregintosh macrumors 68000

    Jan 29, 2008
    I say 128GB is probably enough, and based on your usage i5 is enough. Use the extra money for your external hard drive and some apps.
  21. hkim1983 macrumors 6502

    Feb 5, 2009
    If you want to take an absolute minimalist approach, and you don't have a networked HD for storage, going by what you listed, you should probably get the biggest one you can get (256), although this also depends on how long you're planning on using this.

    I personally have a networked drive for my computers to access for storage, so the boot drive of my computers doesn't have to be large (quite convenient).
  22. Confuzzzed macrumors 68000


    Aug 7, 2011
    Liverpool, UK
    If you find yourself running low, in a couple of years time buy another SSD and install yourself for much less than $300! By then you can probably get the 256 for $50
  23. Kafka macrumors 6502

    Mar 10, 2011
    With a 130 Gb music library I have no choice.

    All those considering TB for basic external storage will be very disappointed.
    First off such a thing does not exist, and when it will the prices will be insane.
    Then when the prices will drop, there'll be a new TB norm, AND they'll have a different computer anyway.
  24. ryan.apham thread starter macrumors member

    May 6, 2011
    I understand the first part. You can go with the 256 SSD option or use online storage services.

    However, I cannot get the grasp of what you are trying to say in the second part. What does not exist :confused:? What prices are insane :confused:? As far as I am concerned, 1-2 TB HDDs (not SSDs) are really cheap these days mate. My friend bought a Lacie 1 TB HDD for £100, and its size is like 2 iPhones 4.

    When there is a new norm for HDD storage size, you can easily sell your HDD via eBay, and buy whatever it is the new 'norm'.
  25. dzigg macrumors member

    Feb 20, 2007
    I bought the 128 SSD because I can't justify the $300 difference. And also I have a PC and few external HDD available so I just dump all my media there.

    I don't use large files on my work, so 128 GB is enough for me. I installed all of my needed apps, games, docs and I still have 50 GB left. I think it's actually a good thing not having so large disk space, it makes you more careful of what to keep or not, less clutter.. :)

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