256GB vs 512GB MacBook Air (M2): Which One to Choose?

Though both options are the same model, the 512GB version of the MacBook Air M2 provides you with much more bang for your buck due to its expanded storage, strong processor, and superior components. 

I’m a long-time laptop user with years of experience working with, fixing, and upgrading a range of different computers. My own time spent with such machines, backed up by my general knowledge of Macs, allowed me to tackle the question posed in this guide.

All of the following paragraphs look at the MacBook Air M2 to see, not just its features and new capabilities, but which model is best for you.

Key Takeaways

  • The 512GB MacBook Air M2 is the best version of the device, as you get better memory and a lot of processing power for a relatively small investment.
  • The MacBook Air M2, regardless of storage capacity, is a great upgrade over the first generation model.
  • If you want extra space for your air, it’s best to utilize an online storage service or make use of an external hard drive.

Getting a MacBook Air M2

Buying a new laptop, regardless of make or brand, is a big decision. Not only is a computer a hefty investment, but there are many factors you need to weigh. In some cases, even if you narrow your search down to a single model, it’s hard to know which one to get.

That’s the case with the latest version of the MacBook Air. While the computer, which is outfitted with the new M2 processor, is an easy upgrade over the generation one model, it comes in two sizes (256GB and 512GB). Picking between those can be tricky.

When looking at the model from a purely technical standpoint, it’s a solid device. You get a lot of internal power, a sleek shell, as well as a portable, fanless design. The corners are rounded, the battery is strong, and it has Apple’s ever-reliable liquid retina display.

Taking all of that into account, it’s one of the best portable computers on the market. However, not everyone may be able to decide what size they want. The answer is the 512GB version.

The Superiority of Extra Storage

Though Apple gives you two options with the M2, it’s not a difficult choice. That’s because the 512GB model comes with many, many upgrades over the 256GB one. 

The base 256GB model only has a single NAND storage chip, which causes it to have a 50 percent slower SSD performance when compared to the larger option. In fact, that makes it even slower than the generation 1 MacBook Air (which came with two).

On top of that, it has two fewer GPU cores. That results in a 15 percent reduction in graphics. It has a smaller charger than the 512 model, and worse flash storage as well. That’s a lot of cons for a device that, while not as expensive as the larger model, still commands a premium price. 

Upgrade Price and Expanding Your Space

Looking at the above pros/cons, it’s also important to remember that the 512 comes with double the storage. That extra space goes a long way, especially for those who need to run multiple large programs on their computer or who have a heavy workload.

Yes, that additional space does cost more. However, the price that you’ll pay for the upgrade ($300) is more than worth it when you consider the steep cost of the base model as well as the sheer amount of additional features you get for the cost.

Storage might not seem like a big deal when you first get a computer, but it fills up fast. I have had to expand storage on many computers in my life when I got too cocky and assumed I would never fill them up. All it takes is a few large programs and things get cramped. 

On top of that, remember that the new MacBook is a closed system. That means it’s not upgradable and there’s no way to add more to the SSD. You want as much capacity as you can get from the output.

If you do find yourself limited on space, with either model, it’s a good idea to use online services like Dropbox, Google Drive, and iCloud. Such storage options will ensure you have extra room if you ever need it.

You can use external drives too. While they are another investment on top of an expensive machine, having a physical space to store your data in addition to online is always a good idea as it adds an extra safety measure in case something goes wrong.

FAQs

In this section I tackle a few of the largest questions prospective Mac owners ask about the M2.

Does the Macbook Air Need More RAM?

When it comes to memory, the amount you need is entirely up to you. Most users will be happy with the RAM that comes out of the box, but those who have a large workflow or who run multiple programs at once will want a little extra.

Can You Upgrade a MacBook Air’s SSD Storage?

No. Unlike other computers, any of the newer model MacBook Airs (made within the last five years) do not come with an upgradable SSD. What you buy is what you get.

Is the Apple MacBook Air M2 Worth It?

As with any computer or electronic, whether or not it’s worth it comes down to your situation. If you want a lighter laptop and have the budget, it’s a solid choice. If you need a powerful machine that can handle a high workload, there are better picks.

Final Words

Sometimes, picking a MacBook Air is an easy choice. Though there are two versions of the M2, the 512GB is superior in every way. Though you do save some money with the 256GB version, the extra cash is a small price to pay for its many upgrades.

Do you own a Macbook Air? How much memory does it have, and is it enough for you? Let us know in the comments below!

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