256Gb Or 512Gb Macbook Air
You should get a MacBook with greater storage than 256GB if you want to use it as your primary computer and are considering purchasing any MacBook model (MacBook Air or MacBook Pro). You’ll be grateful to yourself in a few years, even if you just double the internal capacity to 512GB.
After reviewing the two storage options, there is no doubt that performance, features, capabilities, and the overall user experience are not different. The primary reason 256GB is not enough storage for a MacBook is a simple one. If you have just 256GB of storage to play with, then your MacBook is going to fill up really fast. Otherwise, you will need to augment the MacOS space with reliance on external drives, cloud, and network storage.
You could save some cash by going for the MacBook, which has only 256GB, and still depend on the primary machine for storage-intensive tasks. A MacBook Pro or 1TB MacBook Air costs more, obviously, but if you are planning to use your machine for an extended period of time–five to eight years, at most–it is worth paying extra money and getting a SSD for 1TB of storage.
The most-desired 512GB version is not just more desirable because of the added storage, it also has faster SSD performance compared with the base model – and at $1,349, it is the lowest Engadget has seen. If $1 seems high, you can also get 512GB storage and 8GB of RAM for $1,199 (the same price as the M2 MacBook Air) in the still-excellent M1 MacBook Air. Yet, if you were to head over to Apples website today and try to purchase the MacBook Air or the MacBook, the base models still only come with 256GB of storage — that is the same as it was back in 2012. If you are buying a MacBook today, we would advise getting at least 512GB of storage.
If you are buying any MacBook model (whether that is the MacBook Air or the MacBook Pro) and you are planning on using it as your primary machine, you should get the one that has over 256GB of storage. An extra $200 is not much money in the grand scheme of buying a new MacBook, so I would recommend you ALWAYS steer clear of the base model 256GB, and opt for the 512GB model, or, if finances permit, the 1TB model. For example, Apples latest MacBook Air is configurable to have 256GB or 512GB internal storage, and getting the higher-capacity model will set you back another $200–that is a LOT. Apples latest MacBook Air and the 13-inch MacBook Pro M1 start out with 256GB of internal SSD storage, which is double what some of the older generations had, and they are still priced similarly.
The $999 M1 MacBook Air represents a middle ground in terms of price and performance, but we would suggest spending the money for some additional storage, as 256GB is somewhat on the low side, and you will be getting a more powerful GPU for that money. That is only 300 dollars off of the M1 14 Macbook Pro, and the price gap disappears if you bump up to the 24GB M2 Air, but the M1 Macbook Pro is vastly superior in just about every aspect. The 512GB model has a similar price as the 512GB M2 Air, but Air is a lot thinner, has a larger display, thinner bezels, the battery is roughly equal, and is about the same speed most of the time, so I would not really call the 13 – “M” – “Pro” models.
If you are looking to primarily use the M2 Air for pro apps, however, you will want to get the 10 cores model with at least 16GB of RAM. If you are looking to use your M2 Air to edit videos using programs such as Final Cut Pro Final Cut Pro, and plan on exporting prores422 files, which is the perfect filetype for this program, then the extra RAM is going to be notably faster than the larger SSD. Apples new MacBooks are insanely powerful, so you can get away with just 8GB for most tasks).
The Verge does not have an M1 model in stock for testing, but the 512GB model we have got in stock is faster than even the basic M2 model in both reads and writes, as you can see in the results below. The results confirmed the base Air model has slower flash storage, with writes being 15-20% slower than the 512GB models 40-50% slower read speeds. Back on the new MacBook Airs, theTheVerges test models with both 256GB and 512GB storage showed 15-30 percent difference in write speeds, with a 40-50 percent read speed advantage for the larger model. The Verge tested flash storage performance on both the 256GB base model and 512GB version of the new MacBook Air M2 using Blackmagics Disk Speed Test application.
When Apple introduced the first Retina Display MacBook Pro back in 2012, it shipped with 256GB of flash storage as the bare minimum. I am writing this piece now on the 5K iMac from 2014, after seven years, and the iMac is still running just fine, and I have roughly 400GB left on its 1TB SSD — or, put another way, almost twice as much storage as the newest base-model MacBook Pros or Airs ship with. It has not been cheap to get more storage on a MacBook in quite some time. The good news is most manufacturers are increasing the base amount of storage they are giving notebooks, without increasing their initial prices.
This is probably why we are seeing only slight increases in base storage in the iPhone 5 (going from 16GB to 32GB, then gradually moving up to 64GB, and now up to 128), not major jumps in base storage for MacBooks (like moving up to 512GB, and even up to 1TB, at the very least). With this in mind, generally speaking, we would suggest upgrading to 256GB in order to allow yourself some breathing room, although 512GB internal storage is likely too much for regular use cases.
Right now, my older 2008 MacBook is almost at its maximum capacity at about 160GB; half that is my iTunes library, which will probably grow somewhat going forward. YouTube channel Max Tech confirmed the basic Air model has the exact same storage setup as the M2-powered baseline 13-inch MacBook Pro, which is also plagued by a slower storage drive. The latest MacBook Pro models feature soldered-in RAM, a glued-in battery, and proprietary SSDs, which Apple does not release externally to the Apple Channel.
Should I buy MacBook Air 256GB or 512GB?
If you’re purchasing a MacBook (MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, etc.) and want to use it as your primary computer, you should choose a model with greater storage than 256GB. In a few years, you’ll be grateful that you even doubled the internal capacity to 512GB.
Is 256GB enough for average user?
In reality, 256GB of internal storage will probably be more than enough for most users who don’t already have (or foresee having) a significant number of locally saved photos, videos, video games, or music that can’t be swiftly offloaded into the cloud or to a backup drive.