Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

MacBook M3 256GB vs MacBook i5 512GB 2017


Original poster
May 6, 2017
The one I'm getting is the MacBook 12-inch 2017 model. I'm trying to decide which version to get. So this is my first MacBook, I'm planning on using it for the rest of high school and collage. (So about 6 years.)

I want to have 512GB SSD storage and maybe 16GB of memory, but I don't want to pay the $1,599 price tag for the version that has 512GB SSD, 8GB of memory and a i5 processor (That I don't find necessary to have) Then I would have to upgrade to 16GB of memory, then the total price is $1,799.

But if Apple would let us pick out more options on the Macbook 12-inch $1,299 base model then the specs would be the m3 processor, 512GB SSD, 16GB of memory.

On the base model, the i5 processor is available for an extra $100. But I don't find it worthy enough to upgrade to the i5 processor when it isn't a significant jump in power when compared to the m3.

I'm going to do some
- Light to Heavy web browsing
- Photoshop
- Illustrator
- Light 2D/3D rendering (CAD rendering)
- Light architecture programs (Designing floor plans, or designing some parts of houses.)

I really don't know if I really need 512GB SSD, 16GB of memory, For what I will use this MacBook for. I really don't need the i5 processor.

What is the best thing for me to have?
Last edited:


macrumors newbie
Jul 2, 2017
I like to look at high dollar purchases as a cost over time and how much I will use it over that time period. If you really think you will use this machine for school for the next six years, which I think is reasonable. 1800/6=300 per year for a product that you most likely use everyday.

This doesn't include the amount you can sell it for at the end of the six years.

So the cost seems reasonable to me.

I bought a 2013 MacBook Air with 128gb thinking I wouldn't need extra space but I did upgrade the ram. I should have went for 256 as well because I have filled the 128 with nothing much of anything. Moral of the story, don't skimp on internal storage.

From what I've seen here the i5 is a good performer. And since you plan on using this over a long period of time, you will probably need the extra space as well.

I would suggest the i5 with upgraded ram
  • Like
Reactions: CatherineVeraGat
Jun 28, 2017
Speaking from experience, it's amazing how quickly 256GB fills up. I remember buying my first MacBook in 2010 and the 250GB hard drive seemed huge. One year later, I was buying HDfilm from iTunes and downloading HD video from YouTube and before I knew it, I had less than 10GB left!!! Same with my first 16GB iPhone - from day 1, I was constantly fighting for storage space.

I've learnt with Apple products - GO FOR MAXIMUM STORAGE!!! That's why my next iPhone is going to be 256GB!!!

On a side note, my 2010 MacBook was ruined by 2013 Mavericks - beachballs, slow slow slow. What I learnt from that was go for one with a decent spec. Apple were obviously very greedy with my entry level white MacBook and three years is pretty poor - it's not been a nice user experience! Obviously high under specced which I did not understand at the time!

16GB of RAM on the new MacBook should future proof it for the next four+ years.
  • Like
Reactions: CatherineVeraGat


macrumors G3
Jun 18, 2017
I keep my laptops a long, long time, and 256 GB is fine for me. However, I use an iMac as my primary machine. I have a 1 TB SSD in that one, and 24 GB RAM.

However, if this MacBook is going to be your primary computer for use for 6 years for 2D and 3D work, I'd personally recommend 16 GB RAM and 512 GB SSD.

Mind you, for that type of workload, I'd consider going with a MacBook Pro.

P.S. I cannot resist posting this:

  • Like
Reactions: Populus and c0ppo
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.