In 2020, Apple moved away from Intel and started making its own processors. Apple’s M1, M1 Pro and M1 Max give users some interesting choices. Penny Hoarder Issues “Urgent” Alert: 6 Companies Are Overcharging You. Penny Hoarder Issues “Urgent” Alert: 6 Companies Are Overcharging You. How many times have we fallen for this? For most people (including me), the 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro (starting at $1,299) or the cheaper MacBook Air (starting at $999) are more than enough for home use.
As the holiday season approaches, I’m frequently asked for recommendations on which laptop to buy. This year was no different. Customers of Apple’s MacBook Pro received two new models, while Windows users received Windows 11. Apple has just introduced new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros with a new design and the M1 Pro and M1 Max CPUs. They join the original M1 processor-powered 2020 13-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models.
My advice is for home users is to buy the 13-inch MacBook Pro with the standard amount of RAM, which is 8 gigabytes, but to buy the amount of storage you think you’ll need for now and the future. A 256-gigabyte solid state drive is the standard, but I think 512 GB (an extra $200) is a worthwhile upgrade for most people. If you are a power user considering the 14- or 16-inch models, 16 GB of RAM is standard and an upgrade to 32 GB costs $400.
If the bulk of your use is for video conferencing, web browsing, email and streaming video, these cheaper Macs are perfect. If you are a photographer, videographer, graphic artist, app designer or someone who makes a living with a computer, the M1 Pro and M1 Max are almost more than you could ask for. I don’t mean to dissuade home users from buying a 14- or 16-inch model. If you have the money or think you need the power, go for it. The Pro and Max models start at $1,999 for the 14-inch M1 Pro and $2,499 for the 14-inch M1 Max.
I prefer Intel processors like the i5 or i7 with a minimum of 8 GB of RAM (and 16 GB is better). Other processors like the AMD Ryzen are also really good. If you have a choice, choose a model with a solid-state drive that uses memory chips instead of spinning platters to store your files. Solid-state drives have no moving parts, and their speed is unmatched. If you are a gamer, or buying for a gamer, look for a model with a separate graphics processor, also called a discrete graphics processor.