Buying help for new MBP

Hi all

I’d be grateful for the views of others.

I’m looking to buy a new MBP after today’s launch. The keyboard is starting to fail on my 2016 MBP with touchbar and, frankly, I just fancy an upgrade to an M1.

I’m torn on which model and whether to upgrade and I’d be grateful for input.

My principle uses are word processing and email. However, I do have to process and use very large pdf documents on a daily basis. Sometimes these are 5,000 pages, sometimes up to as much as 15,000.

I’m pretty sure I will go for the 14 inch as, whilst I would like the increased screen real estate, I don’t want to lose the portability of the smaller Mac for travelling.

What are the views of MPUs on Pro v Max and whether I should get the increased RAM?


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I’d always get 16gb. I think more than that would be a bit excessive but I think 16gb is best for future-proofing + heavy workload.

I probably wouldn’t shell out for the M1 Max, I have the regular M1 and can’t reach its limits even with 16 apps and a 2600 pg pdf open.


Like you I opted for the 14" version for portability. I really appreciate more screen real estate but since Covid I am most often connected to an external monitor anyway so I think the 14" will be a better balance for my needs. I run a lot of graphics intensive workflows and need a lot of storage space so I went with the Max processor and 8GB SSD. I think the sweet spot for most pro users will be the 24 core GPU and 32GB unified memory.


Welcome to the MPU forum!

Also, I assume you meant 128gb here? :slight_smile:

Or 8TB, although I can’t fathom needing that much space!

Thanks. I’ll probably have maybe half a dozen apps running in the foreground. 5,000 page pdf is most common.

So you still think 16GB?

I don’t know if I can offer good advice on your particular use case (I don’t deal with PDF files that large) but I can talk through my own buying decision:

Honestly, I could probably get by with one of the original M1 based laptops. My main justifications for the 14” is dual monitor support and the HDMI port. That said, once I committed to getting a M1 Pro/Max powered notebook I wanted to optimize it for my needs. I do some big data analysis work, which requires good CPU speeds, benefits from a decent amount of memory and can take up a fair bit of space. I went with the 10 CPU core, 14 GPU core processor, which gets me the fastest CPU, but doesn’t spend any extra $$$ on GPU. No reason to go for the M1 Max, since other than some additional memory bandwidth, most it’s benefits seem to be media/graphics focused. While I could probably get by with 16GB, I went with 32GB because there are some data analysis tasks that would benefit from it. 1TB of SSD to let me keep my full Photos library on-device and still have plenty of room for big datasets.


Thanks. That’s really helpful.

I would still think 16gb, but like @ChrisUpchurch, I don’t often deal with 5000pg PDFs so I might not have the best perspective on your use case.

When it comes to the immediate ability to process large PDFs, that would be RAM issue?

Yes, more RAM would help with that. I can’t give a solid answer on 16 vs 32 for your use case, but at least for me, 16gb has been more than enough for my heavy workloads (software development/photo editing/etc).

There is a 14 day return policy so if you buy a 16gb RAM MBP and then find out the PDFs don’t load well then you can return and buy a 32gb RAM MBP. But how convenient that is also depends on where you live.

How much ram do you have now, and are you happy with the performance?

Personally, I would go for 16GiB to make the machine more future-proof. It should also help resale/trade-in value.

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Not to spin off on a tangent, but: 5000 and 15000 page PDFs? :flushed:

I deal with securities filings periodically, which can be enormous, but at least they’re mostly just HTML, XML and some minor images (in the U.S.).

In what world do people have to deal with PDFs that big? (And can I offer my sympathy?)

When you’re required to read War and Peace 15 times.

Just kidding! But I’m also curious what kind of PDF documents these are.

I work with UX and UI and with 32GB RAM on my 16" MBP, Sketch can come to a crawl when your document has more than a hundred artboards. So I think, Apple was telling me Sketch is better on the new MBP when they highlighted the app.

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I’m a lawyer. These are trial bundles.


You are an attorney and you don’t think the 16 inch screen would be worth it? That surprises me.

I’m not an atttorney but my needs for a computer are similar to yours as I review many documents/pleadings as an expert witness in medicolegal cases. I’d buy an 18" Macbook if they made one.

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Yeah, I’m tempted by the larger one, however:

  1. When at home (where I do nearly all my trial prep) I have a Mini with two monitors.
  2. I have an extra portable monitor for use in court.
  3. I have an iPad for use with Sidecar if I need that too.
  4. The 16 inch is just so large I’m worried that the portability (trains, carrying etc) will make it cumbersome.

Take your point on board though.

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Trains, commercial airplanes etc are where it shines - because you cannot set up an external monitor there.

I found the 16” to be too big for my lap, in the car and especially on planes.

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I have the same use case. I went for the 14" with 10-core CPU/24-core GPU, 32GB RAM, and 2TB storage.

In terms of what influenced my decision:

  • 10-core CPU: OCR. If there’s one thing worse than a 15,000-page PDF, it’s a 15,000-page PDF of images with no text layer.
  • 24-core GPU: I want the ability to use more than two external monitors, which requires the M1 Max rather than the Pro.
  • 32GB RAM: mostly future-proofing, although for some large PDF jobs it will be useful.
  • 2TB storage: my existing requirement is ~700GB so 1TB would become too small during the expected lifetime of the laptop.
  • 14": I currently use the the 13" and don’t want a larger size.