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Leyf

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 16, 2022
23
15
Good evening forum. I'll give you a quick recap: I bought my first ever MacBook recently at a pretty good discounted price (MBP 2023 14" 16GB RAM 512GB SSD), and I'm sort of "new" with laptops, as I've always used my desktop for 99% of my daily tasks. The reason for buying this Mac was to get to know MacOS (and I LOVE it), and to get rid of my old laptop that barely works now. I also use it to watch a lot of content, browse the web, productivity apps and PhotoShop, it's not a heavy workload, mainly logos, banners, icons and such. And of course, to have a nice machine wherever I go and to be able to chill whenever I'm not at my desk. To give you an idea, my old laptop that I used for uni and as a main PC for almost a year, had 256GB of SSD and I don't remember having issues with it, at all. I even got a 13PM with 512GB that I thought I would "need", but I still have 350GB free or so.

And yet I'm still worried that 512GB for my MBP aren't enough, and this issue is preventing me from fully enjoying my new toy. I don't know the inner workings of MacOS yet, I don't know what the average size of an app is, or how much storage is considered "good" or at least "good enough". I'd like to keep this laptop for a few years and I don't think my habits will change much, so my options are either return it, spend extra for the 1TB model (and extra extra, since I see no discounted price for that model) and wait more than a month to get it delivered, or get an external SSD (I don't mind carrying one around, I just don't know if that's of any use to run apps etc), or get a bigger iCloud plan.
I don't usually store my photos or videos on my PC, it's mostly on the cloud, and I don't download or use a huge ton of apps in general. I won't play games on it either, maybe the occasional Stardew and some light indie titles.

What do you suggest?
Thanks in advance for your help.
 
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paardenkapper

macrumors regular
Apr 8, 2023
203
124
Germany
I can understand your concerns with storage as we were all used to have heaps of storage space available but Apple and others are pushing us to sync everything with cloud storage.

Just for me I have a NAS at home where I place my time machine backups and files that I do not need to access all the time. These are easy to setup and not that expensive.

If you want your files on the go you can just use your built-in SD-card slot and insert a 512 GB card as hard drive.
It's not as fast as another SSD but will suffice for storing your work files with ease
 
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Brachaci

Contributor
Jul 27, 2014
298
292
Slovakia
Welcome Viera. From what you wrote here, 512GB will be enough. I have the same configuration as you do and I am using Macs, iPhones, iPads from 2012 and have plenty of photos and videos. 512GB will be plenty enough for couple apps installed and since your production work does not require large video files (4K or higher), I wouldn’t worry about the size at all. macOS and Apple operating systems in general are good enough in managing your storage so you should not notice any issues while using your devices. Worst case scenario you can use external storage or sd card, but that won’t be necessary for quite some time. And together with iCloud you can put your concerns away and enjoy your new machine. It’s really freakin great. Cheers 👍🏻🤘🏻
 
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rm5

macrumors 68020
Mar 4, 2022
2,496
2,892
United States
@Viera I think an external SSD and/or NAS would work great! I wouldn't worry too much about running out of storage just by installing a bunch of programs. I mean yeah, that'll happen eventually if you just keep stacking them up, but since the preinstalled ones are no larger than 1 GB (if even that), and third-party apps USUALLY come in at around 2-3 GB, you'll realistically see your "Apps" category taking up like 20 GB at most.

Just grab yourself a 1 (or 2) TB external SSD and store all your active projects on it, and archive everything on a larger spinning hard drive—it's what I do and it's a good workflow. Or store everything on a NAS. There's no need to upgrade beyond 512 GB in your MacBook IMO.
 
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paardenkapper

macrumors regular
Apr 8, 2023
203
124
Germany
The problem with external drives on the go is that you're prone to lose them, leave them behind or forget them.
I remember that you could buy silver-colored SD-cards for MacBooks with small hard disks - so why not buy a permanently installed sd-card then?
 
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theluggage

macrumors 604
Jul 29, 2011
7,692
7,894
And yet I'm still worried that 512GB for my MBP aren't enough, and this issue is preventing me from fully enjoying my new toy. I don't know the inner workings of MacOS yet, I don't know what the average size of an app is, or how much storage is considered "good" or at least "good enough".

Useful tool - go to the Apple Menu, "About This Mac" and then click on the "storage" tab to get a colour-coded breakdown of the space used.

Mine is showing 65GB used for applications, another 65GB for system data and (because I've got Logic Pro) about 9GB of sample libraries etc. Now because I dabble in a bit of everything I've got XCode, Logic Pro, a bunch of audio plug-ins, FCPx, the Affinity apps and lots of other, smaller apps installed, so that's probably on the high side for the sort of uses your talking about.

What I'd say generally is that for the sort of general use you describe ("personal productivity plus occasional light media creation and casual gaming") :

256GB is only good for "personal productivity" or people who live in the cloud.

512GB is perfectly adequate with a bit of "discipline" and stay-at home external storage or the cloud. (Like, maybe don't carry your entire movie collection at full quality around with you).

1TB or more gets you the luxury of not really worrying about storage and is nice, but not essential.

The things that could make you need more (maybe several times more) include:
* video capture and editing/3D animation rendering - its the raw/camera-quality files that eat disc space.
* "serious" 3D gaming (which is really not a Mac thing).
* audio recording/production - still, an order of magnitude less space than video...
* running virtual machines (Windows particularly)

...which, of course, are important to many Mac users, so I'm not trying to gaslight anybody who genuinely needs an 8TB Mac! However, its really the first of those categories that sets the bar for storage/RAM/power requirements - and, even then, only if its your day job or serious hobby. Any current Mac can cope with a bit of everything if you just want to dabble or start learning, although I'd still avoid 8GB/256GB models.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
28,756
12,863
"What do you suggest?"

Get a USB3.1 gen2 SSD like the Samsung t7 Shield:

Use it for storing things that would normally just "take up space" on the internal drive, such as movies, or perhaps completed Photoshop projects, etc.

I sense that many (if not "most") users keep loads of stuff on their internal drives that is seldom (if ever) accessed -- would be better off moved to a "secondary storage" drive.

One thing, however -- if you maintain an external drive (as well as internal), you need to keep BOTH of them backed up...
(but you probably already knew that)
 
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Leyf

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 16, 2022
23
15
I can't thank you all enough for your help! You've given me plenty of useful information and effectively killed my buyer's remorse. In terms of apps I use, they're not many. I'm very minimalistic and I don't think my habits will change in the near future.
I'll keep my current model and just get an external drive, use the SD card slot, build a NAS or host my own cloud service, IF I ever need the extra storage, which I doubt.

Thank you again! You've just saved me a few headaches. I can now fully enjoy my nice little laptop :)

PS: I'm new here as you may have noticed, can I just say how friendly this forum is? LIke a breath of fresh air.
 
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