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Cricketman

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Nov 30, 2008
253
75
Need a new laptop, don’t want to break the bank

Have a 2017 macbook pro 2.3 ghz i5 8gb/256gb that is having issues with over heating and battery drain. Just had it checked out by apple who found no issues. Honestly this has been the worst computer i have had.

Anyway, thinking about buying a computer as i need something reliable for the next 24 months.

Option 1: M1 Air Base, 8/256gb, 800 bucks (costco)
Option 2: m2 air base, 8/256gb 1049 (costco)
Option 2.5: m1 air with 16/512: 1259 (apple)
Option3: m2 air 8/512 1349 (costco)
Option 4: m2 air 16/512 1579 (apple)

i can easily afford these computers but am just trying to be more responsible with the $.

Prices reflect current deals at costco and apple education store prices

i can get $180 for my laptop via trade in with apple.

I am conflicted. I do not want to spend too much money, but at the same time it feels weird buying three year old technology. My use case is simple: word/excel/powerpoint/reading PDFs and zoom calls. For what it is worth, i like the form factor of the m2 better. Also my 2011 macbook had 8gb ram, feels weird continuing to have 8gb in 2023. Any thoughts?
 

AnInanimateCarbonRod

macrumors member
Nov 1, 2017
37
37
If price is not an issue and you prefer the looks/form factor of the M2, I would choose the 16/512 M2 (option 4) out of what you listed. Even with the lightweight usage you've described, I just can't recommend anyone to opt for a measly 8GB of memory in 2023. Keep in mind too that unlike Intel MacBooks where 8GB of advertised RAM is what the system can allocate and use, Apple Silicon uses unified memory meaning it's shared with the GPU so while 8GB may be the listed spec the actual addressable RAM available is less.

I don't think you'll be disappointed spending the extra money - Apple Silicon really is a game changer in terms of efficiency and heat (both of which are the complaints with your current Pro) and I think they'll remain very capable machines for quite some time.
 

Shirasaki

macrumors P6
May 16, 2015
15,394
10,587
Option 2.5 looks the best for me, unless you prefer m2 edition design. Air has no active cooling either way, so nothing else Need to worry about.
 
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HDFan

Contributor
Jun 30, 2007
6,293
2,639
If you can I would wait for WWDC in June in case something is introduced there that is of interest.
 

davidlv

macrumors 68020
Apr 5, 2009
2,291
874
Kyoto, Japan
Option 2.5 looks the best for me, unless you prefer m2 edition design. Air has no active cooling either way, so nothing else Need to worry about.
The OP said he uses Zoom, so the much better camera on the M2 model is advisable.
Option 4 is the best!
 

davidlv

macrumors 68020
Apr 5, 2009
2,291
874
Kyoto, Japan
Not for $300 more

It's not that much better
That is your opinion, not a fact. For me the difference is well worth the money, and it is not the only difference. The screen is slightly larger too. The design is different and overall, the M2 model is a refinement. I made that decision several months ago, bought the M2, and it has turned out to be the best Mac I have owned, after more than 33 years as a Mac user! Actually, the better Zoom camera only directly benefits the viewer, but it is a much better upgrade. The extra speed of the M2, compared with the M1, may never be noticed, as the M1 MBA is still very viable. The main consideration is whether or not to go for the 16GB of RAM. Many have said the 8GB M2 is good enough for most usage cases, and that may be true. I personally consider the extra RAM is "comforting" enough to make it essential. It may not be necessary for Office and/or Zoom, but if you can afford it, it will make you feel better about the purchase and that feeling will continue down the coming years. To each his own.
 

1BadManVan

macrumors 68040
Dec 20, 2009
3,143
3,277
Bc Canada
I would definitely get the m2 if you plan to hold onto this for a few years. Bigger and brighter screen, faster, better webcam, you like the design better as well. Overall it was a nice upgrade over the m1 spoiled by the critics looking for the clickbait. As a current M2 air owner, it’s a fantastic device
 
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adib

macrumors 6502a
Jun 11, 2010
697
540
Singapore
"word/excel/powerpoint/reading PDFs and zoom calls" can be achieved from an iPad. Try to see if the basic iPad and a 3rd party external keyboard can fulfill your needs.
 

idmean

macrumors regular
Feb 27, 2015
146
792
That is your opinion, not a fact. For me the difference is well worth the money, and it is not the only difference. The screen is slightly larger too. The design is different and overall, the M2 model is a refinement. I made that decision several months ago, bought the M2, and it has turned out to be the best Mac I have owned, after more than 33 years as a Mac user! Actually, the better Zoom camera only directly benefits the viewer, but it is a much better upgrade. The extra speed of the M2, compared with the M1, may never be noticed, as the M1 MBA is still very viable. The main consideration is whether or not to go for the 16GB of RAM. Many have said the 8GB M2 is good enough for most usage cases, and that may be true. I personally consider the extra RAM is "comforting" enough to make it essential. It may not be necessary for Office and/or Zoom, but if you can afford it, it will make you feel better about the purchase and that feeling will continue down the coming years. To each his own.
Everyone here is just offering their opinion... it's a forum.
 
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auxbuss

macrumors 6502
Feb 18, 2014
436
322
UK
Just been through the same process myself and bought a base M2. Couldn't be happier.

Out of interest, because I'm not a gamer, I bought a discounted copy of Disco Elysium, and ran it full-screen while doing other tasks – Firefox, Numbers, Mail, etc. – in a separate display. The machine barely got warm over a four hour period. It did use some swap – max. ~200Mb – but it never slowed.

Conclusions: macOS memory management is impressive, so 8Gb goes an awfully long way; the M2 is a crazy powerful machine and a bargain at the price.
 
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Mainsail

macrumors 68020
Sep 19, 2010
2,254
2,912
My uses are very similar to the OP, and about 6 months ago, I purchased the base M2 MBA for $1,049 from BB (i.e. Option 2). The computer runs smooth as butter. Cool and silent. Great machine.

If productivity apps (MS Office/iWork) and video chat are the primary uses, I really don't see much reason to pay for upgraded specs. Laptops have been running these apps for decades, and I doubt these apps will push the base models (8/256) over the typical useful life of the computer (~5+ years).

For family members (HS/College students) and myself, I have purchased numerous base model MBAs over the last 10 years and never had an issue. Of course, YMMV.
 
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ricketysquire

macrumors regular
Oct 24, 2020
147
634
I'd avoid getting 8 GB of RAM just to future-proof yourself. You can always use an external SSD for additional storage, which is what I did when I had 256 gb of storage on my MacBook Pro.
 
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Alex Cai

macrumors 6502
Jun 21, 2021
377
327
The OP said he uses Zoom, so the much better camera on the M2 model is advisable.
Really if the budget is tight, M1 Air is the same as the M2 in terms of functionality.(except it will bring mental wellness)
Better Webcam is good but not a reason for me to upgrade no matter what kinds or how much zoom calls I attend everyday

If overheating and battery is the issue, why not download the turboboost switcher I used previously to cool the cpu down
 

brandoman

macrumors regular
Jun 2, 2017
113
177
No matter the option, just get the M2. It's a tad better battery life, and at least to me, running the M2 in low power mode is as fast as the M1 in standard performance mode.
 

egga94

macrumors newbie
Jul 22, 2022
24
50
Are you enrolled in classes anywhere? I personally did option 2.5 on the Education store which gives you a discount of $100, plus makes the RAM upgrade and 512GB cheaper by another $20 each, saving you $140 total.
 

EmanuelF

macrumors newbie
Apr 29, 2013
26
51
Option 5: 15 inch Air (coming out in June)


- Both M1 and 2 cpus are plenty fast for your needs.
- The other differences won't change your experience that much, because both laptops are damn good.
- Pick 16 gb of ram if you need more than 2-3 apps and 5-6 tabs open at the same time. (this is the most future-proof choice)
 
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Lounge vibes 05

macrumors 68040
May 30, 2016
3,450
10,137
I’d say you’d be happy with either, but my suggestion is no matter what you do get the 16 GB of RAM and double the storage to at least 512.
Like everyone else says if you’re planning on keeping it a really long time the extra hour or two of battery life, better WebCam, brighter display, better microphones and MagSafe all will be noticeable improvements on the M2.
But also, if you don’t mind buying refurbished, a baseline M1pro MBP should also be on your list as well, i’m pretty sure you can find one of those for about the same price as an M2 with 16 GB of RAM. And even though it’s a good bit thicker and heavier you get a much better display, much better speakers, much better microphones and HDMI. You lose out on about 4 hours of battery over the Air though, so it’s really all about what you need.
 

roman.stapunov

macrumors member
Dec 1, 2018
49
54
Belarus
Why MacBook Air 16/256 option isn’t mentioned? I see from the list that 256Gb can be enough for the topic starter. I bought MacBook Air m2 16/256 and this is the best value for the money if we are talking about airs. It easily beats my MacBook Pro 13 2020 i7/32/512 provided by Employer for my workflow: project management including running Power BI reports and hours of teams video calls per day plus 40 inch 5k2k display connected.

It will be the best option for what the topic starter needs.
 
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1BadManVan

macrumors 68040
Dec 20, 2009
3,143
3,277
Bc Canada
Why MacBook Air 16/256 option isn’t mentioned? I see from the list that 256Gb can be enough for the topic starter. I bought MacBook Air m2 16/256 and this is the best value for the money if we are talking about airs. It easily beats my MacBook Pro 13 2020 i7/32/512 provided by Employer for my workflow: project management including running Power BI reports and hours of teams video calls per day plus 40 inch 5k2k display connected.

It will be the best option for what the topic starter needs.
Because people are turned off by the slower ssd in 256 variant of the m2, even though it makes no difference for most use cases.
 

roman.stapunov

macrumors member
Dec 1, 2018
49
54
Belarus
Reading what is the topic starter’s use cases they will never face the issue due to SSD speed I think. I am using mine from November and this is really great and powerful unit. If money isn’t a concern then 16/512 will be better, but if 256 capacity enough and money matters then I see no value to overspend. In my location price difference was 500 USD between these two options and I have never regret buying 16/256 especially when I recognized how great it is for my daily job in comparison with intel unit.
 

geta

macrumors 65816
May 18, 2010
1,316
937
The Moon
Reading what is the topic starter’s use cases they will never face the issue due to SSD speed I think. I am using mine from November and this is really great and powerful unit. If money isn’t a concern then 16/512 will be better, but if 256 capacity enough and money matters then I see no value to overspend. In my location price difference was 500 USD between these two options and I have never regret buying 16/256 especially when I recognized how great it is for my daily job in comparison with intel unit.
Speed wise most off the ppl wont gonna have issues with the 256GB SSD, but its just too small… unless you using cloud storage for all your data. Same goes with 8GB RAM, for a basic daily usage it will be fine, more then that you should upgrade to 16GB.
 
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