New Laptop Specs

It’s time to retire my MacBook Air. Dsspit my love hate relationship with Apple, I do plan of getting another one. I keep my photos on an external HD My question is this:is is it worth it to get a larger size 512 or should stay with 256GB? My laptop has been used primarily for travel so I have for the most part been able to keep available space to 50% of the drive.

Also, with the new M chip can I keep the memory at 4 GB or upgrade to 8 (memory cannot be upgraded after the built.

What do you think?

Hi Robin,

I have the Mac Mini M1, and from that I’ll recommend two things: get the 16GB version and 500GB drive. The reason for the larger drive - you should never use more than 2/3 of the available space on the drive - because the operating system will use the drive for caching/swapping - when you get less than 1/10 of the drive left, the performance will start to degrade in a very noticeable way. Since you can’t upgrade the RAM, it doesn’t make sense to get the smallest amount for any machine used for photography/videography - again, you’ll regret it later (performance wise, today it’s not a big deal, but if you keep your computer for a while, you’ll gain from the additional RAM at some point). They don’t sell a 4GB version do they? Thought it was either 8 or 16GB…

I’ve been using mine primarily for video - with DaVinci Resolve Studio, and it works surprisingly well, unless I start to do some very complex things with it (like tracking masks). But even then, it’s better than any Intel Mac that doesn’t have external video processing. Highly recommend one.

Take care,

Dean -

How great to hear from you!

I appreciate your response.However I’m wondering if I need the power and the space:

I don’t do video (and by the time I do, if ever, I’m confident I’ll need another computer), and I don’t store anything on my hard drive. Memory options are 8 and 16 GB of RAM, I was told the new M1chip is much faster & stronger than the Intel chips so I shouldn’t have any trouble less RAM. Do you believe this? t I do all my work on an external drive, while traveling and effectively nothing else -except a few pieces of MS Word, docs and Email make it to the HD .

Given all that do you think the extra RAM and extra storage space are really necessary? Anything going on LR Lightroom that increases it’s software "hog factor?

In the meantime how are you doing? Are experiencing the same challenges with COVID and heat as we are?

~ Robin

Hi Robin,

Great to see you on here again too.

Yes the M1 chip is noticeably faster. I’ve heard plenty of folk say that 8GB is enough memory. However I’ve also been on group training classes where the difference in performance (when under stress) was noticeable between 8 and 16GB versions. If you have less RAM and an application needs more than what is available, it will write out to SSD instead, which will make your SSD degrade faster than it otherwise would (SSD drives have a finite number of write cycles - which is a problem when the SSD isn’t replaceable). So more RAM makes sense as it will reduce the need for dumping swap memory to “disk”.

I’ve not used Lightroom on my M1 Mac, I’m still using the same pre-“Classic” Lightroom on my old 2013 Macbook Pro (I still absolutely refuse to do a subscription to anything), so my M1 Mac is currently running Capture One for images. My opinion is that Capture One doesn’t work particularly great on M1 with 16GB with 50mpix images from my Canon 5DsR. I can’t get tethering to work yet on my M1 yet either (and that’s a Canon issue from what I can see, as the M1 doesn’t even recognize the camera being connected). Capture One is still using Intel code emulation under the covers, so there’s still work to be done (some parts of DaVinci Resolve Studio are also using Intel code, but it’s improving).

Yes you could get away with 250GB SSD if everything is external and you don’t ever need to use more than 200GB of internal storage. My question is, how long are you planning on keeping it? If it’s more than 4 years, I’d still go 16/500 myself so that future-proofing isn’t an issue (for the record, I tend to keep my Mac’s running for a decade or more as it’s better for the environment - so I don’t buy the base model).
Hope all is well with you.


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Hey Robin,

I second everything Dean said. I’m personally using a 13" MacBook Pro with the M1, 16GB RAM, and a 512GB SSD. It’s perfect. I would highly recommend going with the extra RAM and 512GB SSD for all of the reasons Dean mentioned above.

It’s a fantastic computer. You’ll love it!

The computer I bought when I was at RMSP is breathing it’s last breaths.Thanks for your input,
~ Robin

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Dean is spot on, I currently have a MacBook air and with 16 GB ram and 256 SSD. I find that 256 is enough as most applications are now native and that will keep the memory swap down. I’m only issue with the M1 based systems, is drivers. I used iSCSI and CFast / XQD card readers I find that the drivers which can’t be ran through Rossetta keeps me returning to my Intel macs.

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