Archive for June 11, 2022

The M2 MacBook Air Buyers Guide

Posted in Tips with tags on June 11, 2022 by itnerd

Since the new MacBook Air with the M2 processor that was announced at WWDC this week broke cover, I’ve got a ton of questions about which configuration people should by, and if they should upgrade from another MacBook. Thus this buyers guide will cover both those topics. However if you still have questions, leave a comment with your use case and I will try to help you out. With that out of the way, let’s get started:

  • Do you even need the new MacBook Air?: If you do basic tasks such as surfing the Internet, responding to email, and the like, you should consider the M1 version of the MacBook Air. It’s still in Apple’s lineup starting at $999 US or $1299 CDN. That’s a tremendous value that still gives you a speedy computer while saving yourself a few bucks.
  • Ignore the base model of the M2 MacBook Air: Apple showed all sorts of graphs about how much faster the M2 version of this computer is versus the M1 version. But those graphs only apply to the 10 core GPU version of the M2. The base model only has an 8 core GPU as I explained in this article. Thus you should ignore this version because if you’re getting the base model M2 MacBook Air to save a few bucks, the M1 version is a better value.
  • Choose your charger wisely: Depending on the M2 MacBook Air that you get, you might get the option for one of up to three chargers. The reason why this matters is that fast charging is only an option with the highest watt charger. So if you care about fast charging, choose wisely. But here are your options:
    • The base model comes with a 30 watt charger with the option of upgrading to a 35 watt dual USB-C charger or a 67W fast charger for $20 USD or $30 CAD.
    • Everything else has a 35 watt dual USB-C charger with the option of upgrading to a 67W fast charger for $0.
  • Don’t go crazy on storage or RAM: Apple charges a lot for RAM and storage, and whatever the computer comes with is what you are stuck with as RAM and storage as you cannot upgrade either. That makes it tempting to max everything out. But my advice is that unless you were doing something that was RAM intensive like video or photo editing, I would stick with 16GB of RAM. That’s because 8GB is too little and 24GB is overkill. In terms of storage, I would not get more than 1TB of storage because 2TB is overkill. But here’s another way to look at this. If you have a computer where you have 256GB of storage and you are using 230GB already, then 512GB will work for you now and into the future. Thus getting anything more than 512GB or even 1TB is a waste of money.
  • Consider the 14″ MacBook Pro if you are a “pro” user: If you’re a “pro” user, and you start to spec out the M2 MacBook Air with 24GB of RAM and say 1TB of storage because you need the power for video editing, rendering graphics, or photo editing, then you might consider the 14″ MacBook Pro. I say this because a fully loaded MacBook Air can get very close to a 14″ MacBook Pro in terms of price. But you will get a more powerful computer if you get the 14″ MacBook Pro which makes it a better value. And if you’re thinking of the 13″ MacBook Pro, don’t consider it for the reasons outlined here.

That would be my buying advice for the new M2 MacBook Air. As I said earlier, if you need some help deciding what you need, leave a comment below and I will do my best to help you out. Though I should note that these will not available until “next month” giving you plenty of time to ponder your choices. But if you do want to buy, you should buy quickly due to supply chain issues.