MBP 128GB or MBA 256GB

cliffflip

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 13, 2019
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Hi, I have a plan to replace my Windows laptop (had enough with BSODs) with a Macbook. This will be my first time buying Macbook so I need an advice to choose between MBP 128GB and MBA 256GB (2019 version), as my budget won't let me consider more expensive models.

I use my current laptop for Office, Photoshop and casual stuff like browsing, music and games. I personally like Pro but wondering if the avalaible space on 128GB drive is enough for my needs. I prefer to listen to music online, but also want to keep my fav tune offline (~10GB). I also like play games (like cs:go and Football Manager) but I don't know the total size of those games in MacOS. Then things like I must spare the storage for OS and future updates and leave at least 10% of SSD storage for maximum performance and lifespan.

Can you help me, guys? thanks in advance :)
 

mick2

macrumors member
Oct 5, 2017
76
63
UK
Very ballpark figures - MacOS, MSOffice, Photoshop would use I guess around 30-40GB of your SSD.

After that, the things that tend to consume lots of space are things like media files (music & especially video formats), large photo libraries, VMs, XCode & other IDEs, AAA games. I'd suggest estimating how big a music library you want to store on the Mac (putting it on an external will be inconvenient), and looking up the install sizes for the 2 games you mention.
That'll give you a sense of how much the 128Gb of the MBP you'll have left.

You also have the option of buying in the future external SSDs (eg Samsung T5). These use TB3 connections and are tiny and blisteringly fast; they're great to store user data files, offline projects etc on but obv. aren't much use for apps and libraries that need to be installed on the main SSD.

hth
 

ilikewhey

macrumors 65816
May 14, 2014
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Maybe get a used mbp with 256gb, air only have 2 cores, I wouldn’t want anyone suffer on 128gb like I had when I was using it it was really annoying micromanaging the storage
 

Howard2k

macrumors 68030
Mar 10, 2016
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I use external storage (NAS) and use 256GB SSD. This allows me to keep files local while working with them (benefits of speed) and then move them to external storage when not actively using them (cheap mass storage).

As frugal as I am with SSD space, I wouldn’t go lower than 256GB.

I would wait for more comments from people with 128GB and see how they manage.
Obviously it can be done, but you need to find a workflow that works for you.
 
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cliffflip

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 13, 2019
3
0
Thank you for your replies! really appreciate that.

Yes I think 128GB is out of the question. I must agree with some articles in the Net that say it isn't fun if we get restricted with storage space, especially from a brand new stuff. And there's this 2017 MBP with 256GB of storage, on the same price range with 2019 MBA 256 in my local store, both of them has dual-core i5 (CMIIW). which of them has better performance?

Also I've read some review sites that with basic stuff, MBA is enough. But how about some casual games and maybe a little bit of Photoshop?
 

ilikewhey

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May 14, 2014
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i highly recommend getting at least a 2018 mbp, going from dual core to quad core, there is so much future proofing there. this is especially true if you run parallel to play cs go and what not. if you can, save up and buy a used 2018 mbp with 256gb and 16gb of ram, that is the most ideal setup that will last you many years to come if you run demanding tasks here and there.

folks here told me i don't need more than 8gb, but nowadays my usual usage exceeds 12-14gb just from chrome and safari tabs.
 

Howard2k

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Mar 10, 2016
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folks here told me i don't need more than 8gb, but nowadays my usual usage exceeds 12-14gb just from chrome and safari tabs.

It will do. The more memory you have the more memory you'll use. The key is not how much memory is being used but whether you're seeing memory pressure issues or not.
 

ilikewhey

macrumors 65816
May 14, 2014
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It will do. The more memory you have the more memory you'll use. The key is not how much memory is being used but whether you're seeing memory pressure issues or not.
I had less than 16gb before the memory pressure was always yellow and above, I like to close the lid when I don’t use it instead of shutting down so overtime the memory builds up,
 

Howard2k

macrumors 68030
Mar 10, 2016
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I had less than 16gb before the memory pressure was always yellow and above, I like to close the lid when I don’t use it instead of shutting down so overtime the memory builds up,

Yeah that means you made the right call going for 16GB. I use 8GB and it's almost never in the yellow. On the odd occasion, but it's a rarity. I can push it up there of course.
 

Muyfa666

macrumors member
Feb 5, 2019
79
42
Sweden
I tried a MBA 2018 and as much as I utterly LOVE the form factor, the CPU is too weak for this century. Office, Photoshop, web browsing, music and games is pretty much exactly what I do, and the MBA (2018/2019) 256gb/8gb will manage, but I personally noticed how it started to struggle fairly early on load. The MBP13 (2019) had no such issues, but I'd never ever go lower than 256 these days. I actually won't even go below 512gb anymore. Where I live the price point between MBA 2019 and MBP13 2019 (both 256gb/8gb) is very low, so there is no reason to go for MBA at all. Maybe if you are a super casual user, but then any Macbook is actually to expensive IMO...
 

The Man

macrumors 6502
Jul 7, 2004
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256 GB SSD is the minimum, or else you will always be managing space. I have only 128 GB MacBook Air 2013 and if you put a few apps on it and if you have an iTunes library, space is already tight. It's no fun to constantly having to delete things. Also it is better for the SSD to have as much free space as possible because of swap file and the MacOS writes RAM contents to SSD on sleep. If the swap file constantly has to use the same limited space, I reckon the SSD might wear out faster, although I don't know if this is really the case.