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Can anyone give me some advice which if these would be the best for all around computing? Kids will be using it sometimes too so which one more durable factors in but not much unless there's a big difference between the two in terms of sturdiness. It is for general family computing and won’t be used for music production.
 

this one: 2022 Apple MacBook Air Laptop with M2 chip: 13.6-inch Liquid Retina Display, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage, Backlit Keyboard, 1080p FaceTime HD Camera

Or this: Late 2020 Apple MacBook Pro with Apple M1 Chip (13 inch, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD Storage)

thank you in advance. 

Edited by robinloops
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General rule:

Buy the newest one with the biggest specs within your budget.

On both of those machines I would advise to get at least 16GB of RAM. More RAM is always better down the line.

Both those machines are plenty powerful for almost anything you throw at them unless you're an 8K video creator or your Logic songs depend on 80 Kontakt or Spitfire BBC Orchestra tracks. Then you want to get a different machine altogether (MacStudio or wait for Apple Silicon MacPros to be released).

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i have the 2022 M2 air, but... either way, 16gb for logic, and 512GB minimum for storage. that 256GB is not enough (unless you're willing to store work, or at least older work, on an external drive).

if you want to save money, the 2020 M1 air, with 16/512... and you canbuy refurbished on apple's website (bottom of the website homepage 'refurbished and clearance').

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I believe the 14" is the best choice for a utility machine that's predominately used at home, there was some really good prices over black friday too, but guess they're all gone now.

The bigger and better screen and speakers alone make them a much better machine for kids to use, and the base model comes with 16GB+512GB so you're just good out the gate for all tasks.  Everything about it is quality.

Once you start speccing up the smaller models the 14" becomes a no-brainer.  As you're gaining the SD slot which is handy for school projects that involve photos and dedicated HDMI output exists too.

But of course, all depends on finances and whether family members will want to be playing games on it (Fortnite/roblox etc.), whether it's going to be used on a fixed desk or on laps, or if any of them have a creative itch for audio/video/photos/design.

Need to be thinking 5 years down the road and 256GB just isn't a smart investment (imo).

If I was going for the 8gb/256gb models and then the Macbook Air would be my preference as you're getting excellent portability.  The 13" macbook pro is more based of the old design I believe.

I cant stress how great the screen and speakers are on the 14" models upwards though.  Absolute joy to use.

Edited by skijumptoes
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For what it may be worth, I have bought every Macintosh (save one) from the "Refurbished and Clearance" section of Apple.com.  These are the machines that you lusted for last year, now completely restored by the factory to "like new" condition.  But they are cheaper, because in the eyes of the law they are not "new" anymore.

Apple provides exactly the same bumper-to-bumper AppleCare® extended warranty protection that they offer on brand-new equipment, and of course you should always buy the longest period of that protection that you can get.  (An individual reseller's warranty program is not at all the same.)  It will arrive at your house in a very plain box which gives no hint that there's a computer inside.  You will be charged for any applicable sales taxes.

I also agree that you should buy as much RAM as you can get – at least 16GB.  It works like having more lanes on the highway.  Very important for software like Logic.

Edited by MikeRobinson
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Thank you for the responses. 
 

some more details:

it will only be a family computer. A principal use will be for homework for kids. 

It will not be used for gaming

It will not be used for music production (at most garage band may be played around with… a little)

It has to be purchased on Amazon (gift card)

Has a budget on $1000 but could go a little over

With that in mind I lean toward the 2022 m2 MacBook Air. Between those two. I can find anything better on Amazon in that price range.  

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16 hours ago, robinloops said:

With that in mind I lean toward the 2022 m2 MacBook Air. Between those two. I can find anything better on Amazon in that price range.  

The M2 Air is a great machine.  Getting back to your opening post I'd have that over the current 13" M1 Macbook pro by quite a margin,  providing 256GB is enough for you, of course.

That said, we've got a 2012 iMac sat in the dining room that's been used for 10 years for general use and god knows how many homework projects over the years - and that's still got 60GB left without any kind of maintenance or cleanup of the files.

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Yes, go for the M2, it's a bit more recent, the screen is a tad larger, even though the drive is only half the size which is a bit of a bummer but you can always grab an inexpensive external SSD if/when the need arises.

And for the intended use as stated, 8 GB of RAM is plenty.

The MacBook Air is really a great machine.

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i have the M2 air (8/256), it is not used for logic (just basic web/email/life; some text, some affinity photo, etc). i don't store music or movies on it. but if i had to, i could archive stuff on an external.

had it 4 months, there's 171GB available on my drive right now. it's a great mac...

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Yeah, in this case, save your money. Either of those computers will be more than enough computer (read: power, capability) for your named needs. The M1 MBP may not be the current model for sale, but the chip inside is still being sold, so I personally wouldn't worry about the longevity differing too much between the models. Whichever one is at the better price point is the one I'd go for—though yes, the M2 has the current body style and feature set (albeit limited, as the entry model) vs. the M1 MBP.

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Well it ended up being a choice between the 2022 entry level MacBook Pro and the 2022 MacBook Air. I advised her based on her needs and comments here to go with the air. Since the benchmark tests are so close, I think they will get a more quantifiable benefit from the better screen, better speakers, being lighter, thinner, design, etc. Basically the only advantage I could find with the pro is that is has better cooling but for their uses I don’t think they will ever run it hard enough to heat up enough for throttling. 

And fortunately I found that apple sells on Amazon so she was able to buy it new directly from apple. 

Thank you all for your help/advice. 

Now I want one!

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1 minute ago, fisherking said:

either air is a good buy (the M1 or M2); and refurbished will give you lots of options for less $...

Unfortunately I don’t think apple sells refurbished on Amazon, or at least didn’t have any available. But she was able to get the 2022 air and I think will be more than happy with it.  

 It was for my niece. She’s never had a Mac before. Told her she’s gonna love it so much, that she’s gonna have to buy an old windows laptop for the kids now. Lol. 

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Perfect choice.

I bought the 2020 air shortly after it came out and it's the best computer I've ever owned. I love it even more than the MacStudio I bought this year (it's portable after all...).

The one thing that makes this the perfect machine for me is that it doesn't have a fan. A fan on a computer always signals to me: this computer is right now dying a little bit because it's getting too hot. Plus the noise is highly annoying.

And so far everything (reasonable) I've thrown at this MacBookAir it has just done without a complaint at all. I even had it run a 3.440 x 1.440 display and it did it. Ok, I had to buy the "official" €79 Apple Adapter, but then it did.

Alright... rambling... 😐

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1 hour ago, wonshu said:

A fan on a computer always signals to me: this computer is right now dying a little bit because it's getting too hot. 

 

1 minute ago, robinloops said:

Not having a fan makes me worry that, “this thing has got to be just burning up in there!”

The funny thing is, what truly happens is:

  1. No fan? The CPU will be throttled. If the sensors notice that it's about to overheat, they limit the capacity of the CPU and your Mac starts to run slower. 
  2. Fan? The sensors notice it's about to overheat and they trigger the fan so that the CPU can continue to handle the same workload without overloading. 

So in both cases, the machine won't die. The MacBook Pro gets its "Pro" moniker because when you throw more work at it and it risks overheating, it handles the situation by triggering its fan and gets the job done anyway. At the expense of some fan noise. The MacBook Air not being a "Pro" machine stays silent and just starts working slower. 

Which is what makes the MacBook Air the perfect little machine for non-pro uses such as internet browsing, email, office work etc. And believe me, I've ran some hefty Logic Projects with tons of tracks on my 2013 MacBook Air, so it's still a perfectly capable machine.

Here's an example. Keep in mind the poor 2013 MacBook Air is also capturing the screen as a video while running the Logic Pro project! 

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3 hours ago, David Nahmani said:

The funny thing is, what truly happens is:

  1. No fan? The CPU will be throttled. If the sensors notice that it's about to overheat, they limit the capacity of the CPU and your Mac starts to run slower. 
  2. Fan? The sensors notice it's about to overheat and they trigger the fan so that the CPU can continue to handle the same workload without overloading. 

So in both cases, the machine won't die. The MacBook Pro gets its "Pro" moniker because when you throw more work at it and it risks overheating, it handles the situation by triggering its fan and gets the job done anyway. At the expense of some fan noise. The MacBook Air not being a "Pro" machine stays silent and just starts working slower. 

Which is what makes the MacBook Air the perfect little machine for non-pro uses such as internet browsing, email, office work etc. And believe me, I've ran some hefty Logic Projects with tons of tracks on my 2013 MacBook Air, so it's still a perfectly capable machine.

Here's an example. Keep in mind the poor 2013 MacBook Air is also capturing the screen as a video while running the Logic Pro project! 

dude that needs more tracks.... 🤔

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6 hours ago, David Nahmani said:

The funny thing is, what truly happens is:

  1. No fan? The CPU will be throttled. If the sensors notice that it's about to overheat, they limit the capacity of the CPU and your Mac starts to run slower. 
  2. Fan? The sensors notice it's about to overheat and they trigger the fan so that the CPU can continue to handle the same workload without overloading. 

Sorry, I'm getting a bit off topic now, but I don't quite agree with the practical reality of that statement. I've lost a machine a couple of years ago, I think it was a 2010 MacBookPro - it was one of many, which constantly had problems with dying graphics chips.

Those chips weren't dying. The soldering points at the little connector feet at the bottom of the graphics chips were melting away and losing connections. I know this, because I had them "resoldered" at a friends shop who has one of those machines that can solder chips without frying them. And that MacBookPro had fans ( believe me... 😉 )and it worked for roughly another year before it really broke.

So when I write that I hear the machine dying I really do because that is my experience. I'd rather have the CPU avoid the damage and slow me down a bit rather than destroy itself trying to keep up. Of course that is my personal preference and of course as you also say, I'm not really using the MBA (or any laptop!) for Logic work. This has also to do with the fact that I don't want to sit in the kitchen and work on a multi-million dollar series. I'm happy to sit in the kitchen and sketch some musical elements or check through presets or learn how a synths works. For that the MBA is more than enough. But I digress even more... 😕

Edited by wonshu
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4 hours ago, wonshu said:

So when I write that I hear the machine dying I really do because that is my experience.

Wow ok thanks for sharing your experience, I wasn't aware of that, and that's not good for sure. 

4 hours ago, wonshu said:

I'm getting a bit off topic now

Not at all, this is perfectly on topic, and one more checkmark in the MacBook Air column when comparing it against the MacBook Pro. 

4 hours ago, wonshu said:

This has also to do with the fact that I don't want to sit in the kitchen and work on a multi-million dollar series. I'm happy to sit in the kitchen and sketch some musical elements or check through presets or learn how a synths works. For that the MBA is more than enough.

Yes definitely. And the funny thing is that I bought my MBA thinking it would be a traveling machine, that I would take with me on the plane, in my hotel room, when I had to do a presentation or a seminar etc. But then I quickly realized that I could achieve quite a lot more work than I originally intended with that little beast. 

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Migration of topic…

Now I’m curious. I have a late 21.5” 2013 iMac i5 with 16gb of ram. Has always been enough for what I do with music. Mostly recording guitar and adding accompaniment tracks. So several audio tracks, a few software instrument tracks. A lot of Chanel strip plugins (standard studio stuff like compression, track reverb when necessary, etc.) and maybe four or five group buses with effects, and some master busses for reverb, delay, master compression, etc. Also I’m running the newest version of logic I can on a no metal graphics card machine (can’t remember what os I’m on, but it’s the last one for non metal).  

occasionally I fiddle around with electronic music production too but never tons of tracks. But that isn’t even a requirement. 

I also would like to run stuff like tractor studio for casual use at parties (no pro deejaying anymore).  

I would most likely get 16gb of ram for longevity (seems needing more ram is always what happens over time even more than needing more processing speed). 

Do you think that same MacBook Air would have noticeable performance boost over my current iMac? And not need to throttle due to how hard I would be pushing it? 
 

And would it be enough of a machine to ride out the next 5 years or so?

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12 minutes ago, robinloops said:

Do you think that same MacBook Air would have noticeable performance boost over my current iMac?

If you look at the Geekbench scores compared to your iMac (I suspect you have the 2.9 i5, if not the difference would be even more), the M1 and M2 obliterate it. At least twice as fast.

https://everymac.com/ultimate-mac-comparison-chart/?compare=all-macs&highlight=0&prod1=iMacIntel053&prod2=MacBookAir040&prod3=MacBookAir042

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Thank you.

Wow! I’m assuming the entry MacBook Air m2 is the MacBook Air M2 8/8 22? 

So, if my projects run okay on my machine (it is the 2.9) on Catalina with the last logic version 10.6.3, they would run just fine on the m2 air? Also I would get 16gb. Without even coming close to getting hot enough for throttling? 

 

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I would say yes, definitely, you will be fine and very happy.

The only time my MBA 2020 got kind of warm was when it was driving the large screen @ 3440 x 1440 - I didn't feel it slowing down, but all I was doing was a Logic song with movie file and a couple (15?) of audio tracks in a music editing session with a director. Pretty much no FX processing whatsoever.

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depending on the project, you may experience throttling, and some heat. but it should be manageable, i know people on the M1 air running logic (or final cut); the M2 should be similar.

if you're getting this for logic, you should go 16/512 (at least 512). 256GB is not enough for the OS, apps, life, and logic projects. or, otherwise, you can store older projects on an external drive. but i'd go for 512 if i were you (which i'm not, but still.....)

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