Your HD usage and is 128GB enough?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Erko, Jun 25, 2012.

  1. Erko macrumors member

    Aug 12, 2011
    Hi, Ive been looking to switch over to Macs for a long time and since I now have enough funds I have decided to buy my first Macbook. I am deciding between the 13" base Air and Pro and my main concern with the air is the HD size, as I can't afford the 256GB upgrade(unless I manage to get someone to bring me one from America, where it is cheaper, yet has inferior(to me) keyboard layout). So I was wondering, how and for what do you use your Air's HD? I plan on using the internal drive to hold my music collection (est 15GB), possibly some games and maybe even a Windows partition. Is the 128GB drive able to handle it or am I trying to squees an elephant into a refigerator?

    Oh and I plan on also using it for recording audio, but Im not sure how much room that would require.
  2. WesCole macrumors 6502a

    Jul 1, 2010
    Since I need to run a few virtual machines, I couldn't get away with 128 GB very easily. Just my Windows 7 VM eats up 38 GB with all my programs installed. Then add another 7 or so for Linux and soon a VM for Microsoft Server and that will chew up 128 GB pretty quick. I got the 256 GB version, but will probably get a USB 3.0 enclosure with a 128 GB SSD to hold my VMs if that isn't enough.
  3. GREEN4U macrumors 6502a

    Mar 24, 2010
    I use about 56GB and this is with 7 years of music and photos, and 4 years of undergrad college files.

    I think 128GB will be fine for you.
  4. AlanShutko macrumors 6502a

    Jun 2, 2008
    I'm using about 271GB right now of my 512GB. My music and videos are on a separate computer, but my photos are on my MBA (~100GB... Those 150MB film scans are big)....

    You might be fine on a 128, but I'd say that if you're putting a Windows partition on there as well, you'll be a bit tight.
  5. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    It depends on how much audio you're planning to record. 60 minutes of uncompressed audio is approximately 650 - 700 mega bytes.
  6. Erko thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 12, 2011
    Well, I have been toying around with the idea of upgradeing the SSD later myself, when OWC has them for the new MBA and I have more money for it, beacause it seems that they are also shipping to europe.
    One thing I am wondering about is installing programs on an external HDD. How does that work on a Mac? Can it be theoretically harmful for the registery etc. If I could have the Windows partitions on another drive then I would be quite happy with the 128GB drive.
    For the record, I have lived with a 120GB drive in my current computer as a replacement when my old drive died and I managed to live with it, although it was tight. I did soon get an external 1TB desktop drive though.:rolleyes:
  7. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2010
    I have a 160 GB SSD. It has 98 GB free right now. My Win7 VMWare Disk is currently about 28GB, although it is allocated up to 40GB.

    OS X Doesn't use a registry, so installing Mac Apps to a different drive is not an issue. You can run a VM from an external, but performance will suffer a bit on USB2 - never tried it with FW, USB3 or TB. I don't think that Bootcamp will allow you to configure it on an external drive, but if you are planning to use a Virtual Machine, you can do that.

    It's getting easier and easier to live with a smaller drive, keeping things like media in the cloud and streaming on demand. The advantages of a small fast system (especially related to the SSD) like the MBA make it worth while to do a little managing of files. Periodically move your inactive files over to an external drive - or even an SD Card where you can get back to them if you need to, but they are not necessarily always with you.

    One way that I keep the drive use down is by keeping my music library on my phone instead of my laptop.
  8. crazyxzer0 macrumors 6502

    Oct 28, 2008
    On my own macbook 2008 I changed the HD to a 120gb SSD and never looked back.

    My iTunes library 100GB is on an external, and most of my movies and what not is all on the external as well. My apps, iphoto library, parallels virtual machine is the only main things on my computer internal drive and it takes abour 40-50GB. The rest of the free space is for temporary files before they can be transfered over to the externals.

    I think 128GB is more than enough. If it isn't, a nice usb3.0 or thunderbolt portable hard drive will do the trick.
  9. Erko thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 12, 2011
    Thanks for the replies, I do plan on using the Windows throught bootcamp, at least at the beginning as it's free and has good graphics performance, so I can play some games on it(I plan to move all my gaming to consoles, but right now, I also have lots of games on my PC as well, most notably Skyrim :p), but I have head good things about Parallels as well, so might look into that as well some day.
    Basicly I've narrowed down my usage to this:
    Music - as of now, 14 GB, but lets say 20GB
    Windows install - 20GB, give or take
    Windows games - 10GB
    Mac games - 20GB(planning on getting Diablo 3 at one point)
    Rcording - 5GB should be enough, I plan on storing that on an external drive anyways
    Programs and such - 5GB
    And the total is 80GB, leaving a whopping 40GB for OS X and free, I might actually pull this through.
  10. Bigmacduck macrumors regular

    Feb 15, 2009
    128 GB storage feels like a car with a tank of 6 gallon capacity. Car runs as fast as cars with larger tank but the mileage range is shorter.

    So depends on the range you are using the car for. Same with storage. i alwas go for the max available because lack of onboard storage It the first thing that is going to hurt me down the road. RAM is a no brainer - it is so dirt cheap that I always go for the max.
  11. jeremyshaw macrumors 6502

    Oct 29, 2011
    It could be an economical engine, however. Though.... with driving, the greatest influence on MPG is how you drive it. I've been able to keep a 35(?) MPG HWY Altima under 12MPG for a duration of a 3 hour trip, before. 20 gallon tank didn't do much for me :p

    Anyhow, this is my laptop (windows, but it's also my daily driver).

    EDIT: I forgot to mention in the image, I have Cars 2 + Inception from iTunes (technically, Digital Copies from blurays I have, one allowed me to import from a special disc into iTunes, other one wanted me to download it from iTunes).

    Attached Files:

  12. JoJo Zzang macrumors member

    Oct 14, 2011
    Try this instead a USB :D,2817,2400091,00.asp
  13. xkmxkmxlmx macrumors 6502a


    Apr 28, 2011
    I am sorry, but you will be cutting extremely short.

    Do you not plan on putting anything else on your computer? Photos, documents, etc?

    20gb of music is cool, if you're always switching around. I have an extremely moderate 60gb that gets old pretty quick. Unless you find a good streaming option, there is nothing more annoying than having to go to your external to grab a song.

    Add in Windows (-20), games (-20-30, maybe 10 *if* you only keep one game installed at a time - GTA4, for instance is 20GB, tho).

    Apps at 5gb can be done. But my apps are in the 7GB range and I havent even installed everything back on my iMac yet. Garageband, iMovie come in at about a gig each alone.

    If you were not going to put Windows on it, I would say yes, doable. But windows is going to take up a huge chunk of that.

    If you're really on a budget and really don't mind swapping files like all the time, you can do it. But I am telling you, this will get so old so fast.
  14. bit density macrumors 6502

    Mar 5, 2004
    Audio shouldn't kill you. It's much more manageable in size and can be moved in and out as projects require.

    iTunes Match, and here is the big kicker. Stitcher. I have much less need for hard drive space. I had been pushing 128K on my previous. But in rationalizing my media across multiple machines and a central computer, I have PLENTY of space at 128G.
  15. Moshe1010 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 27, 2010
    If you plan to use this computer for at least 2-3 years, 128GB is a risky bet. I would go with 256GB, just to be on the safe side.
  16. NewbieCanada macrumors 68030

    Oct 9, 2007
    How much time will it spend in one place and how much on the go?

    For relatively little money (less than upgrading the SSD) you can get a nice USB 3.0 drive that's about as thick as the computer itself and weighs next to nothing. You wouldn't want to have to carry it with you all the time, but if your computer spends most of its time on a desk it's great.
  17. scarred macrumors 6502a

    Jul 24, 2011
  18. TyroneShoes2 macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2011
    CD-quality stereo is actually just over 635 MB per hour, but all that is completely beside the point; it has already been established that the music collection, uncompressed or not, is 15 GB, and few folks would save audio at uncompressed levels on a MBA. If you are doing 40-track sequencing in Logic at 192/24, you need to be on an x drive (and a beefier platform) anyway.

    My PB had only a 80 GB HDD, which I had no problem living within. My MBA is 128, and again, no problem. Actually there is one tiny problem, which is that if I edit for more than 6 hours in Aperture all of the scratch files fill up the HDD, but all you have to do is empty the trash every once in a while to avoid that.

    I have a music library of about the same size, and a lot of photos and a few movies, and my 128 GB HDD is still well below 60% full. I can't imagine a Windows partition being all that big.

    128 is probably fine. If things get tight, it is really just a minor inconvenience to move some of it to an x drive. I wanted 256 also, and like the OP ended up considering it an extravagance for the low-yield price/benefit ratio. So far, a year later, it seems like the right decision.
  19. Erko thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 12, 2011
    All photos will probably be on a external drive, as they tend to rack up quite quickly(currently ~60GB). As for documents and such, I recon 1GB for them is quite enough, as they dont take up much space.

    What do you mean by 40-track sequencing? Having 40 tracks of audio active in Garageband/Logic etc? I dont think I would need that much tracks, but how many would the Air manage?
    No, I dont plan on doing much gaming on the Air. I only plan on playing Diablo 3 at some point and maybe also playing Skyrim and some older games. I have been moving all my gaming to my PS3, as I knew I would ditch my PC at some point this year anyways.

    One thing I might do is some programming on the machine, as the subjects I am choosing between all include programming to some extent.
    How does the Air take to CAD and such? Im not entirely sure, but one subject might also need that. I recon it will be fine, especially for lighter work.
    The 256GB isn't an option, I don't think I can afford shelling out another 300€. Another option would be the 13" Pro as it has more space and I will be able to add an SSD later. The downside for it is the higher weight and inferior display(used them both in a store and the Air had less glare and seemed to have a brighter image that was easier to view). Although I did like the keyboard on the Pro :p
  20. Virinprew macrumors 6502

    Apr 24, 2012
    It should be enough unless you have tons of video.
  21. dcorban macrumors 6502a


    Oct 29, 2007
    On my 128GB drive I have 32GB of music, 12GB of photos, 15GB of movies… and 38GB free space.

    In the past, this was not enough free space for my needs, since it was my only computer and I used it for downloading via bittorrent and usenet. You need a bit of free working space for that. But now, I have a Mac Mini that handles all my downloading needs, so I am able to use my free space to grow my photo, video, and music libraries.

    I do agree that if I had to have a Windows partition, it would not be enough space. I have no desire nor need for such a thing.

    I did buy a 32GB SD card, and I use it to hold around 20GB of documents (scanned magazines) and video that I rarely need, but want to remain portable in case I do need them.
  22. Creek0512 macrumors 6502

    Jun 15, 2012
    FWIW, if you get the Air with 8GB or RAM, you'll actually have ~100GB of free space when you first boot up.
  23. Erko, Jun 26, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2012

    Erko thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 12, 2011
    Does anybody know, where I could look at different Macbook keyboard layouts offered in the US, like the French, Western Spanish etc? I'd like to know, if one of them is more suitable for my needs(as estonian alphabet has 6 more letters compared to the US one, although 2 of them are mapped under other keys with AltGr)
    EDIT: If the Western Spanish looks like this, then its awesome, beacause the layout for this and Swedish is same and only some keys are different, which can be covered with stickers.
  24. JoJo Zzang macrumors member

    Oct 14, 2011
    its fine. get the ultra portable or pro version. it can be used with various drives from seagate or even a bare hd. but, its made for the ultra portable or pro version.

    they do have a desktop version as well. but, i'd say portable since you are most likely more portable with the mba. ;)
  25. Stein357 macrumors 6502

    Jun 18, 2010
    Rip City
    Yes and no. Yes because currently I have my iTunes folder on an external networked drive. Has quite a few TV shows so the whole folder is somewhere around 165. Ideally I'd like to get a 512GB MBA, but I think I will hold out until the Air gets a Retina display.

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