Is 256GB enough for the latest generation MacBook Air

maverick786us

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I am planning to buy the latest generation MacBook Air from my which has M2 Chip and no wedge. Unlike me, my old man doesn't do programming, video editing and other heavy duty tasks. He uses it for his office work, internet, web conference and sometimes Netflix. Is 256GB sufficient?
 
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Dreamerbydesign

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I am planning the latest generation MacBook Air which has M2 Chip and no wedge for my dad. Unlike me, my old man doesn't do programming, video editing and other heavy duty tasks. He uses it for his office work, internet, web conference and sometimes Netflix. Is 256GB sufficient?
The cloud is your friend especially if you are buying Apple products. It’s literally part of the ecosystem now. Do frequent Time Machine backups, utilize the cloud for non sensitive information.

For the casual user this is enough. If you do anything intensive that actually required working with large amounts of storage space such as video editing etc, then yes the cloud would not be much of a help.

But in your case I think it would be fine.
 
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pendragon1

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yes, as long as he is not hording a bunch of video files. turf garage band and imovie to free up a few more GBs too.
 

UnknownSouljer

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I would say it greatly depends on you and what you need the machine to do.

For me 256GB barely covers the OS and all the apps I need to install. My minimum is 1TB. That’s me. I’m really not sure how we’re supposed to assess your storage needs when we don’t even know what you’ll be doing with the system.

If all you do is browse, Stream, do office tasks, and nothing else, yeah, you’ll be fine. If you’re doing more outside of that, you’ll have to make a determination if that requires more storage or not.
 

Dreamerbydesign

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I would say it greatly depends on you and what you need the machine to do.

For me 256GB barely covers the OS and all the apps I need to install. My minimum is 1TB. That’s me. I’m really not sure how we’re supposed to assess your storage needs when we don’t even know what you’ll be doing with the system.

If all you do is browse, Stream, do office tasks, and nothing else, yeah, you’ll be fine. If you’re doing more outside of that, you’ll have to make a determination if that requires more storage or not.
He stated the use case for the laptop in the original post.

*edit* - I also clarified in my previous post, to be more clear for OP. For a casual user (which seems to be implied in his original post), this setup is more than adequate.
 
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maverick786us

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I would say it greatly depends on you and what you need the machine to do.

For me 256GB barely covers the OS and all the apps I need to install. My minimum is 1TB. That’s me. I’m really not sure how we’re supposed to assess your storage needs when we don’t even know what you’ll be doing with the system.

If all you do is browse, Stream, do office tasks, and nothing else, yeah, you’ll be fine. If you’re doing more outside of that, you’ll have to make a determination if that requires more storage or not.

Yeah if it was me i would consider 1TB because I do iOS programming, video editing and sometimes use DJ app with lots of Music collection. I am buying this MacBook for my old man. He primarily uses laptop for office work, internet browsing, video conferences and Netflix. In his office work he do keep a lot of word and PDF files too. Some of these PDF files can be as heavy as 20-30MB.

256GB might be enough but, taking into the account that MacOS and the system takes 50% of the space, if he is running some OS upgrade, or once in a blue-moon multi tasking like video call, reading and editing document, and searching web, will he have enough disc cache / virtual memory for it?
 
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pendragon1

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iOS and the system takes 50% of the space, if he is running some OS upgrade, or once in a blue-moon multi tasking like video call, reading and editing document, and searching web, will he have enough disc cache / virtual memory for it?
ios?
no, macos is under 20GB and yes it would be fine for that use
 

Zepher

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I do about what your dad does on my MacBook Pro and I was fine with a 128GB SSD in mine. I did upgrade mine to 512GB since mine is socked and a member here was selling his old 512GB for a good price so I upgraded.
 

maverick786us

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I do about what your dad does on my MacBook Pro and I was fine with a 128GB SSD in mine. I did upgrade mine to 512GB since mine is socked and a member here was selling his old 512GB for a good price so I upgraded.
With the new MacBooks the SSDs and RAM cannot be upgraded.
 

UnknownSouljer

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Yeah if it was me i would consider 1TB because I do iOS programming, video editing and sometimes use DJ app with lots of Music collection. I am buying this MacBook for my old man. He primarily uses laptop for office work, internet browsing, video conferences and Netflix. In his office work he do keep a lot of word and PDF files too. Some of these PDF files can be as heavy as 20-30MB.

256GB might be enough but, taking into the account that MacOS and the system takes 50% of the space, if he is running some OS upgrade, or once in a blue-moon multi tasking like video call, reading and editing document, and searching web, will he have enough disc cache / virtual memory for it?
If speed doesn't matter and your dad is capable of not losing things or is otherwise indelicate with computer hardware, then something like this might be a good interim solution: https://www.amazon.com/Samsung-MUF-...refix=samsung+usb+c+stick,aps,151&sr=8-3&th=1
The other upside is you don't have to buy this now, it can be purchased at some time in the future.

OS upgrades are small. If he's just working with documents, I probably wouldn't worry about it. I'd only start to worry about it if at minimum he wanted to store any amount of photos and/or music. And for video, obviously I'd say get more space.
 

maverick786us

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Thanks for all your suggestions, I will go for 256GB. Can you take a moment, at what this guy wrote in the SS and share your views


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Algrim

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M1 Pro is not the same as two M1 chips combined. That’s just… wrong. The M1 Pro contains media acceleration engines lacking from the base M1 chip. The M1 Max has two of each of these acceleration engines. The base M2 chip has some of the media acceleration engines built-in.

The SSD controller in the M2 Air has half the bandwidth of the M1 Air with a 256 GB SSD installed. With the larger 512 GB SSD, the problem seems to not exist.

In regard to memory load out, I wouldn’t go for anything less than 16 GB. While macOS is pretty efficient in swapping programs in and out of memory to the SSD, you can still ‘feel’ the decline of responsiveness during switching applications. Admittedly, I do a lot of application switching for my job so it’s noticeable.

Reading your original post, it’s doubtful your dad would need anything over the base model M2 Air but honestly you’d be saving even more money by getting a base model M1 Air. It doesn’t suffer from the slower 256 GB SSD, runs cooler, and is cheaper. It doesn’t have the built-in media acceleration that the M2 has but it’s more than sufficient for what your dad is expected to do with it (as long as he’s cool with a 13” screen or only being able to attach a single additional monitor to it as the base models don’t support more than one external monitor).
 

LukeTbk

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I did find the price reasonable when I saw them at Costco, is it if you want a very fast Chromebook with Apple interface stuff ?

It really depend on what the office stuff are, if it is heavy accounting or something else that does not allow using the cloud for some protocol-security reasons by the companies one could look (if it not a surprise by) how much space is stuff currently take, but that kind of file can be really smalls.

Everything smartTV do well, can be assumed to not take much place (streaming and so on)
 

maverick786us

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M1 Pro is not the same as two M1 chips combined. That’s just… wrong. The M1 Pro contains media acceleration engines lacking from the base M1 chip. The M1 Max has two of each of these acceleration engines. The base M2 chip has some of the media acceleration engines built-in.

The SSD controller in the M2 Air has half the bandwidth of the M1 Air with a 256 GB SSD installed. With the larger 512 GB SSD, the problem seems to not exist.

In regard to memory load out, I wouldn’t go for anything less than 16 GB. While macOS is pretty efficient in swapping programs in and out of memory to the SSD, you can still ‘feel’ the decline of responsiveness during switching applications. Admittedly, I do a lot of application switching for my job so it’s noticeable.

Reading your original post, it’s doubtful your dad would need anything over the base model M2 Air but honestly you’d be saving even more money by getting a base model M1 Air. It doesn’t suffer from the slower 256 GB SSD, runs cooler, and is cheaper. It doesn’t have the built-in media acceleration that the M2 has but it’s more than sufficient for what your dad is expected to do with it (as long as he’s cool with a 13” screen or only being able to attach a single additional monitor to it as the base models don’t support more than one external monitor).

What is the reason Apple used a lower bandwidth controller for M2 Air, that mitigated the advantage of M2 over M1. Do iPad Pro with M1 Pro Chipset also use these media acceleration engines? What is the reason M1 Pro doesn't support H.265? That processor seems to be capable of that format. With world moving towards 8K, space will be a big issue, in order to overcome it, that compression is much needed
 
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maverick786us

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I did find the price reasonable when I saw them at Costco, is it if you want a very fast Chromebook with Apple interface stuff ?

It really depend on what the office stuff are, if it is heavy accounting or something else that does not allow using the cloud for some protocol-security reasons by the companies one could look (if it not a surprise by) how much space is stuff currently take, but that kind of file can be really smalls.

Everything smartTV do well, can be assumed to not take much place (streaming and so on)

Its mostly Office 360 Word documents and sometimes reads heavy PDF file, nothing beyond that.
 

Algrim

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The iPad Pros, despite their name, use the base M1 and M2 chips instead of the Pro or Max versions. The M2 iPad Pro is a great machine but whether or not it would be a good productivity tool is debatable. I love my iPad (older generation Pro) but the iPadOS just doesn't seem sufficient for the task. Apple is trying to change that but not there yet. Since Office is part of the picture I would definitely pick up a keyboard if you went that route.

Good luck!
 

UnknownSouljer

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What is the reason Apple used a lower bandwidth controller for M2 Air, that mitigated the advantage of M2 over M1.
They did and they didn't. The speed of the SSD is based around the quantity of chips. The controller writes and reads to all chips simultaneously. So if you have halve the chips, you have halve the speed. In the base level M2, they simply used higher density chips, but that also meant "fewer chips". By buying the next size up all of the bandwidth is there the same as M1.
It was basically a cost cutting measure, likely because the lower density chips probably costed nearly as much as the higher density ones, so it didn't make sense to spend more for less. And they made the judgement call that anyone buying a base level M2 Macbook Air would likely not benefit from the additional read/write speed for basic office, browsing, and streaming tasks. And on that they're definitely right.

Journalists though aren't logical. Their job is literally to criticize and make as big a stink as possible because that is what drives clicks. Even if they're missing the point.
Do iPad Pro with M1 Pro Chipset also use these media acceleration engines?
Yes. M1 Pro/Ultra is also significantly faster than M2. There will be M2 Pro/Ultra chips coming out next year when the Macbook Pro gets a refresh as well as the launch of the new Mac Pro. I expect the Mac Studio will also get refreshed at the same time, but that hasn't been discussed nearly as much in leaks yet.
What is the reason M1 Pro doesn't support H.265? That processor seems to be capable of that format. With world moving towards 8K, space will be a big issue, in order to overcome it, that compression is much needed
They do. I'm not sure why you think they don't.

However h.265 is not "a" format in the way most people think that it is. H.265 is an umbrella for a huge system of encoding options. You can choose compression ratios, type of compression, color depth, chroma sub-sampling, gamma, and a number of different things all while still being "h.265". And that isn't even talking about what you bring up, resolution.
So when talking about accelerating that format a lot has to be discussion about specifically "what" you're accelerating inside of h.265. And indeed it has taken a VERY long time for media encoding and decoding engines to support EVERY feature h.265 has.

To put it another way, "3d graphics" is just a broad term. Saying a graphics card supports DX12 is a bit meaningless. Since we could be talking about just software support stacked on top, and it could be related to "tessellation" or "occlusion" or "global illumination" or heck, HDR. DX12 is an umbrella to a lot of features. h.265 is an umbrella with a lot of different features.

If you want to see how complex h.265 as a format is, just browse the wiki for a few minutes. Even if you don't understand all the technical, it will quickly show you that it's not just "one format". And that also might help you to understand that when encoding in h.265 it can either look fantastic, or like complete garbage depending on how the encoder is setup: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Efficiency_Video_Coding
 
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pendragon1

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re the 256 being enough, this is what my work machine looks like, loaded with bloated apps(office is 12GB+!!) and a bunch of ios/macos update files for the devices i manage. and like i mentioned, macos is under 20GB, way under.

1670512783047.png

i was doing some clean up and figure id post it.
 

maverick786us

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They did and they didn't. The speed of the SSD is based around the quantity of chips. The controller writes and reads to all chips simultaneously. So if you have halve the chips, you have halve the speed. In the base level M2, they simply used higher density chips, but that also meant "fewer chips". By buying the next size up all of the bandwidth is there the same as M1.
It was basically a cost cutting measure, likely because the lower density chips probably costed nearly as much as the higher density ones, so it didn't make sense to spend more for less. And they made the judgement call that anyone buying a base level M2 Macbook Air would likely not benefit from the additional read/write speed for basic office, browsing, and streaming tasks. And on that they're definitely right.

Journalists though aren't logical. Their job is literally to criticize and make as big a stink as possible because that is what drives clicks. Even if they're missing the point.

Yes. M1 Pro/Ultra is also significantly faster than M2. There will be M2 Pro/Ultra chips coming out next year when the Macbook Pro gets a refresh as well as the launch of the new Mac Pro. I expect the Mac Studio will also get refreshed at the same time, but that hasn't been discussed nearly as much in leaks yet.

They do. I'm not sure why you think they don't.

However h.265 is not "a" format in the way most people think that it is. H.265 is an umbrella for a huge system of encoding options. You can choose compression ratios, type of compression, color depth, chroma sub-sampling, gamma, and a number of different things all while still being "h.265". And that isn't even talking about what you bring up, resolution.
So when talking about accelerating that format a lot has to be discussion about specifically "what" you're accelerating inside of h.265. And indeed it has taken a VERY long time for media encoding and decoding engines to support EVERY feature h.265 has.

To put it another way, "3d graphics" is just a broad term. Saying a graphics card supports DX12 is a bit meaningless. Since we could be talking about just software support stacked on top, and it could be related to "tessellation" or "occlusion" or "global illumination" or heck, HDR. DX12 is an umbrella to a lot of features. h.265 is an umbrella with a lot of different features.

If you want to see how complex h.265 as a format is, just browse the wiki for a few minutes. Even if you don't understand all the technical, it will quickly show you that it's not just "one format". And that also might help you to understand that when encoding in h.265 it can either look fantastic, or like complete garbage depending on how the encoder is setup: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Efficiency_Video_Coding

Cutting cost and increase the price by 100$.

https://youtu.be/edxjFZlK8RY

I just saw this comparison between between M1 MacBook Air and M2. Its a shame that the performance of M2 Air is 50% compared to M1 Air. I liked M2 Air because its boxy the wedge in the previous models was my biggest turn off, I don't mean to disrespect those who like the wedge. The deep sea blue with box design looks so elegant and in terms of sleekness and weight its like an iPad Pro with a Keyboard. Apple shouldn't have compromised the performance with its successor. Anyways for my old man that performance difference shouldn't be noticeable for is day to day activities
 

UnknownSouljer

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Cutting cost and increase the price by 100$.

https://youtu.be/edxjFZlK8RY

I just saw this comparison between between M1 MacBook Air and M2. Its a shame that the performance of M2 Air is 50% compared to M1 Air. I liked M2 Air because its boxy the wedge in the previous models was my biggest turn off, I don't mean to disrespect those who like the wedge. The deep sea blue with box design looks so elegant and in terms of sleekness and weight its like an iPad Pro with a Keyboard. Apple shouldn't have compromised the performance with its successor. Anyways for my old man that performance difference shouldn't be noticeable for is day to day activities
Again, I don't think you understand.

That's only the base level SSD in the M2. If you upgrade to the next step up (from 256GB to 512GB, a $200 upgrade), you get the same number of chips, and identical performance in terms of read/write, paired with the faster M2.
It works like this: if you actually care about speed, you're probably not the sort of person who would buy a base level 256GB SSD in your MBA anyway. Meaning that anyone who is performance minded the M2 is always faster than the M1 in all ways.
If you don't care about how big your internal drive is, you probably don't care about any performance you're losing anyway. Anyone who buys a base level machine is definitely not a power user. I don't say that as an insult, it's just that obviously people buy machines for very different intended use cases.

The crossover of people that want maximum performance but are unwilling to buy 'just' the next step up on SSD size I would guess is near zero. And even if you're on a 256GB M2 Air, most applications are NOT bottlenecked by a slower SSD. The M2 in general will make a bigger positive upgrade for more tasks than the SSD would offer negatively in the few tasks that having 6000Mbps vs 3000Mbps actually matters.
This is also ignoring all of the other upgrades the newer M2 MBA has, which all add up to a much more usable machine. The two ports available on the M1 MBA is a big restriction. And having nicer mics, speakers, battery life, and design matters a lot for a device that likely people intend to carry everywhere.
 
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xDiVolatilX

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I bought a 256gb laptop for my wife then reconsidered and bought the 512gb instead just so I don't personally need to deal with "it's saying not enough disk space" then guess who needs to deal with it? YOU! (most likely lol) go with the 512 for piece of mind.
 
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maverick786us

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M1 Pro is not the same as two M1 chips combined. That’s just… wrong. The M1 Pro contains media acceleration engines lacking from the base M1 chip. The M1 Max has two of each of these acceleration engines. The base M2 chip has some of the media acceleration engines built-in.

The SSD controller in the M2 Air has half the bandwidth of the M1 Air with a 256 GB SSD installed. With the larger 512 GB SSD, the problem seems to not exist.

In regard to memory load out, I wouldn’t go for anything less than 16 GB. While macOS is pretty efficient in swapping programs in and out of memory to the SSD, you can still ‘feel’ the decline of responsiveness during switching applications. Admittedly, I do a lot of application switching for my job so it’s noticeable.

Reading your original post, it’s doubtful your dad would need anything over the base model M2 Air but honestly you’d be saving even more money by getting a base model M1 Air. It doesn’t suffer from the slower 256 GB SSD, runs cooler, and is cheaper. It doesn’t have the built-in media acceleration that the M2 has but it’s more than sufficient for what your dad is expected to do with it (as long as he’s cool with a 13” screen or only being able to attach a single additional monitor to it as the base models don’t support more than one external monitor).

https://www.imore.com/mac/new-m2-ma...i-suffer-from-same-ssd-speed-issues-as-m2-air

The Pro versions of M2 are facing a similar SSD speed issues with its base variants. I am so happy that I bought 1TB variant of M1 Pro and didn't wait for M2. Overall M2 Pro is an incremental upgrade over M1 Pro
 

Algrim

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The M2 Pro edition also has less chips for the 512 GB variant. The M2 release to me seems quite rushed and I think the M3 will be what Apple wanted to release all along. Time will tell.

I'm still extremely happy with this corporate laptop; the M2 release is not making me wish we had waited for it.
 

Mad Maxx

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The M2 Air base model is designed precisely for users like your dad. I'm trying a 16GB/256GB version and it's an excellent machine for just about everything save heavy video/photo editing. I probably would've been okay with 8GB, but chose the extra RAM just to prevent any possible trouble with multiple documents and browser tabs open at once.
 

Jinto

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I had an M1 base model and it was fine for basic usage. That said I am pretty good about only keeping what I need. When I buy for my parents I generally load up on the RAM and storage so that they won't call me up for tech support.
 
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