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MacBook Air or Pro

  • MacBook Air M1 256GB 8GB ram

    Votes: 17 54.8%
  • MacBook Pro M1 256GB 8GB ram

    Votes: 14 45.2%

  • Total voters
    31

iPadProPerson

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 16, 2020
21
1
I am in need of a new laptop. Thinking of base MacBook air or pro. I will use web browsing and web apps, xcode, garageband, movie, possibly final cut and logic, photoshop and graphics design, blender and other 3d modeling/ animation, am amateur podcaster, youtuber, and blogger. What would be the best choice?
 

casperes1996

macrumors 604
Jan 26, 2014
6,775
4,711
Horsens, Denmark
I agree with Paul. The differences between the M1 Air and M1 MBP are fairly minor; Especially if you're going to connect to external audio gear, so that the built-in speakers are not of massive significance. It would benefit more to spend the budget on the RAM upgrade than going for the Pro over the Air.
 

iPadProPerson

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 16, 2020
21
1
Thanks, I have looked into that. I have been fine with 4gb of ram on windows, and blown away with 6GB in iPad OS. I have read that in Mac OS, it is ver efficient, so 8gb should be enough.
 

Paul1980

macrumors member
Nov 15, 2020
70
40
United Kingdom
Thanks, I have looked into that. I have been fine with 4gb of ram on windows, and blown away with 6GB in iPad OS. I have read that in Mac OS, it is ver efficient, so 8gb should be enough.
Were you doing all of that work load you mentioned in the original post with 4gb on a windows machine?
 

glenthompson

Contributor
Apr 27, 2011
2,794
708
Virginia
The Pro will handle sustained heavy workloads like video encoding better. If you think you will push the processor hard for extended periods, get the Pro, otherwise the Air is fine. Also depends if you like the Touch Bar.
 
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Never mind

macrumors 65816
Oct 25, 2018
1,071
1,187
Dunedin, Florida
My set up is almost the same as yours with the exception 16 gb not 8. You can always attach a SSD external drive later, but you can never upgrade the memory if you need it in the future. For me it was only a $68 upgrade from the air to the pro because I took advantage of the veterans discount. Don’t care for the Touch Bar, but I will except it. Think very hard about the memory part. Will you keep this system for years or just for a little while?
 

ght56

macrumors 6502a
Aug 31, 2020
829
782
I would say unquestionably the Pro if you are doing 3D modeling. You may want to opt for the 16 GB of RAM option as well as, to my understanding, models can quickly consume a substantial amount of RAM.
 

moldy lunchbox

macrumors 6502a
Sep 9, 2010
758
307
Sunny California
After seeing the base M1 Air standing toe-to-toe with the 16" MBP with benchmarks, and even beating the $3800 Intel i9-equipped 16" in certain tests, we can say that either M1 would be just fine for the job. Just pick the one you like more, and spec it based on how much you're willing to spend on a laptop.
 

jerryk

Contributor
Nov 3, 2011
7,059
3,937
SF Bay Area
I agree with others that if you do all those you could use some additional memory. But if that is not an option just stay with the Air.
 
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Paul1980

macrumors member
Nov 15, 2020
70
40
United Kingdom
I would be going Air with 16gb. As Notebookcheck's review of the Pro says, they just can't justify the price of the Pro over the Air. After personally using both I chose the Air for that reason. The Pro, in my opinion, is just a bit different and not better than the Air. The 16gb Air will be better for you than the 8gb Pro if you're on a budget.
 

zeppo2

macrumors regular
Sep 4, 2010
142
4
I was pondering the same possible decision and came upon this thread.

The size and weight of the Macbook Pro and Macbook Air are essentially the same to me.

For $1049 a Macbook Air with:
Apple M1 chip with 8‑core CPU, 8‑core GPU, and 16‑core Neural Engine
two thunderbolt / USB 4 ports
Force Touch trackpad
256 GB SSD 8 unified memory $1000

For an additional $250 a Macbook Pro with the same specs, plus
The Pro has 500 nits brightness vs 400 nits brightness for the Air.
The Pro has the touchbar vs function keys with the Air.
  • Stereo speakers with high dynamic range
  • Studio-quality three-mic array with high signal-to-noise ratio
Is there anything else I'm missing?
edit: the Notebookcheck site mentioned above it appears not.

But what about servicing the two? If something happened out of warranty, is the Air more costly to replace a cracked screen or battery? I think the only thing I've done myself before is replace a foot pad on my mid-2014 macbook pro. I've never had an Air. Perhaps things are more problematic to fix?
 
Last edited:

BornAgainMac

macrumors 604
Feb 4, 2004
6,908
4,369
Florida Resident
The fans don't make that big of a difference with the M1 as much as you think for really long CPU related tasks. Since this a first generation, I recommend the 8 GB. In 2 or 3 years, you can upgrade to a more future proof Mac as they come out with better features like Facetime / 4K cameras, smaller bezels, thinner, longer battery, much faster speeds.
 
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di1in

macrumors regular
Feb 27, 2011
227
14
If you’re buying refurbished, an MBP M1 base model costing $1099 gets you these over the MBA:
  • Brighter screen by 100 nits (only helpful when sitting out in daylight for me)
  • HDR Speakers (much better sound as per reviews)
  • Better Internal Mics (great for noise clean up in video calls as per reviews)
  • Touch Bar (helpful with mail and safari, that’s about it from my perspective)
  • Internal fan - (stable performance over time, while air may deteriorate once the heat sink is saturated)
  • Better graphics by 5-10% - (just 2 frames/sec more in civ)
  • Bigger battery by 10whr - (survive battery wear better over the years, apart from the obvious more hours of usage)
  • 20$ more for apple care
 

Ma2k5

macrumors 68030
Dec 21, 2012
2,507
2,477
London
I have the Pro but think the Air is probably worth it just because of the more comfortable form factor when using it around and depending on your preference, you may prefer no Touch Bar.
 

di1in

macrumors regular
Feb 27, 2011
227
14
I would buy the 16GB Air over the 8GB Pro (but I would personally recommend the 16GB Pro, because I’m that guy).
Oh, that's a good point. Any idea how the performance would vary for a game like Civ between 16GB Air and 8GB Pro?
 
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