Help Me Configure My Next Mac

I’m hoping some of you can give me some direction in how to configure my next Mac.

I currently use a MacBook Pro 16" 2.3 GHz 8-Core Intel Core i9. 16 GB memory. Intel UHD Graphics 630 1536 MB (I don’t know what any of that means, I just copied it LOL).

Most of the time, my MacBook stays docked to a CalDigit dock and powers an old school Apple Cinema Display and an LG 38" ultrawide monitor. I occasionally take the MacBook into court/depositions/remote work sites but a majority of the time, it stays connected to the 2 monitors.

I am in the habit of leaving open apps and windows all the time as I it’s a pain to keep opening and closing apps and I frequently move back and forth between apps.

Apps that pretty much remain open all day - Word, Pages, Excel, Safari, DevonThink, Fantastical, OmniFocus, OmniOutliner, Obsidian, Spotify, Drafts, Acrobat and Mail.

I don’t get too crazy with an excessive amount of Safari tabs open at the same time - at most 10.

Here’s what I don’t like about and/or concerns me about my setup - I’ve been using DevonThink (indexed files) more lately and there’s a lag especially when I’m using the find/search feature in the upper right corner or when I’ve just used the “move” command to move files from the inbox to a specific group - the lag comes as I type the desired group after evoking the keyboard shortcut to move file. I’m uncertain if it’s because I don’t have enough RAM/processing power or if that’s just how DThink works. I don’t see a lag anywhere else.

Also, it seems like the fan on my MacBook is on a lot of the day - not so when I’m working without it being connected to the dock.

I’m also concerned about battery health (should I be?) because the majority of time, the MacBook is plugged into the dock and power.

So, I THINK some sort of M1 MacBook would work for me but not sure as to what processor and how much RAM I should get. Maybe even a Mac mini in conjunction with my existing MacBook?

I’d be very interested in seeing what the community thinks about what I should do.


I believe this is a common complaint and I haven’t seen a solution. Small comfort, I know.

In a word, no. Modern batteries can take this.

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What kinds of things do you typically do? Recommendations for configuration vary widely depending on the tasks at hand

If you’re locked in with the two external displays on one computer, your choices are an M1 Mini an M1 Pro/Max MBP. The original M1 portables (Air & 13" Pro) only support one external display.

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I would recommend the Mini with 16GB and keep the MacBook Pro, this will last a long time and also will easily support your workflow.

If you want to stop the noise on the 16" Macbook Pro, you need to add an eGPU. It’s the descreet graphics card causing the heat when hooked up to external monitors. I have a Blackmagic Pro, with a desktop class graphics card, and it’s completely silent even when editing 4K video. Plus, it also performs amazingly well - much better than my M1 laptop for tasks like rendering (it’s about 3-4x faster).

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I listed all the apps that I use in my original post. I don’t have a need for video processing.

for the apps you’ve listed the base model of every M1 processor (either “vanilla”, Pro or Max) should do. If your budget (and the config) allows it get more ram and disk space.

The choice can vary depending on other factors: 2 external monitors? M1 mini or the new Pros. Need bigger screen on the go? 16" Pro. Want extra mobility and power? 14" Max, and so on…


In that case, I would agree with @memex’s recommendations listed above, but I would strongly advise getting at least 16GB of RAM for that level of multitasking.