Image of an M1 processor chip that processes data on Mac

How to Buy a Mac – Part 3

June 22, 2022 12:20 am Published by Leave your thoughts

In Part 1 of How to Choose a Mac, we gave you a basic overview of the M1, M1 Pro, and the M1 Max. We spoke about standard Apple M1 configurations in Part 2. In this article, we will do one more part to complete our series. Part 3 of how to buy a Mac is where we will speak about form factors and compare the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro 13-inch with touch bar.

Desktop Form Factors

Next, let’s look at the different form factors starting with the M1 machines. We’ll look at the desktops first. The M1 or Mac Mini does not include a display or a keyboard or a mouse, but it is a competent little desktop computer. If you have already purchased the display and the keyboard and mouse, this is the cheapest way to get into Apple Mac ownership.

Configuration of the Mini

There are two USB 4 ports which include Thunderbolt 3. You should know that USB performance on the original M1 chip is inconsistent with the Intel Max for external storage drives. In addition, the M1 has two USB Type-A ports. Unfortunately, they are only 5 gigabits per second (5 Gbps). Of course, you may not even need gigabits. You only need them if you are not streaming videos, downloading large files, playing games, etc. Then you can get by with Mbps (Megabits per second), especially if all you do is check email or chat on social media. It’s good to note that Apple has now released the 2020 MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and M1 Mini with M1 chips replacing the low-end machines. The Mini has an HDMI 2.0 port and a 3.5-millimeter headphone jack, but it’s also helpful to have a gigabit Ethernet and a gigabit Ethernet port.

24-inch iMac

The 24-inch iMac offers the same great M1 features. Imagine having a 1080p Webcam, along with an audio system that has six speakers. The iMac has always been the computer of choice for media. This Apple silicon version will not let you down. There are multiple colors for your enjoyment. Plus, it has a Touch ID fingerprint reader on the keyboard. If you want, you can swap a matching trackpad for the mouse or even add it. What is incredible is that the color of the trackpad, the mouse, and the keyboard will match the color of the iMac you select.

Did I mention iMac? There are actually two versions.

1. More expensive

> 2 USB 4 ports with Thunderbolt
> 2 additional Type C USB ports (10 Gb)
> 3.5 mil headphone jack
> 1 Gb Ethernet port which is on the power supply
> No option for 10 gigabit Ethernet (yet)

2. Less expensive

> Fewer colors
> Lose Ethernet on the power supply
> Don’t get Touch ID on the keyboard
> Miss out on the two additional USB ports
> M1 chip is the binder type with one less graphic score.
> Recommendation: Go for the full-featured version if it’s within your budget.

Comparison of MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 13″ with touchbar


> Together, they only have 2 USB 4 ports with Thunderbolt
> Both have Touch ID fingerprint readers
> The number of ports is the same for both.

A welcome addition for MacBook Air and MacBook Pro notebooks is the MagSafe charging port. You can keep your type C ports free and still charge your notebook. Or you can charge using any of the impressive USB C ports. If you decide to do that, be aware that these ports are for Thunderbolt 4 spec, 3 in total. There are two on the left side and one on the right.


> The MacBook Pro is slightly larger
> MacBook Pro has a larger battery (longer battery life.)
> MacBook Pro has a fan inside. This means it could potentially run faster for a longer time.
> The MacBook Air does not have a touch bar.
> MacBook Pro screen has a slightly higher peak brightness expectation.

Best Choice

Ultimately, the MacBook Air is your best choice. Why?

> Lightweight
> Screen is beautiful.
> Great battery life and long-lasting.

Bonus features

Although it is still slightly behind the Intel Max, we get a 3.5 mil audio jack that supports high-impedance headphones. That makes it ideal for audio professionals.

Additionally, on the right-hand side, you have an HDMI 2.0 and an SDHC card slot. Moreover, the card slot supports the latest UHS 2 cards.

While the touch bar is gone, we have the return of real function keys where you can find a Touch ID fingerprint reader.

The display is now a mini-LED-backlit display, which supports up to 1000 nits sustained brightness and 1600 nits peak brightness if you’re viewing HDR content. Typically, it’s 500 nits, the same as the 13-inch MacBook Pro. Incidentally, the display is actually black which is how it should be.

Comparison MacBook Air and MacBook Pro continued

The speakers on the MacBook Pros are excellent. They sound so much better than what you would expect. The 16-inch could be an issue for you because of its larger size. When you have time, you may want to stop at your local Apple store and see if the 14-inch would be a better option.

The 16-inch can also call the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips more effectively than the smaller 14-inch. What that means to you is better performance. If you’ve got a 16-inch equipped with an M1 Max chip, you can switch it into a special high-power mode to have additional performance. So those are the new MacBook Pros, and you might find that the design and the port options that the new MacBook Pro offers are a deciding factor in your decision whether or not you need the additional performance of the M1 Pro or M1 Max.

Choosing SSD capacity

There are other factors to consider when choosing a capacity for Solid-state Storage (SSD). For one thing, SSDs have a limited lifespan. You might think that they would last the lifetime of the computer; however, eventually, they will no longer work. And the hard thing to come to grips with is they can’t be replaced.

It stands to reason that the larger the SSD capacity, it will be able to handle more data before it breaks. Moreover, SSDs that have larger capabilities also have faster speeds. With that in the back of your mind, if you’re doing daily light work, 256 gigabytes may be fine, but we recommend that you choose 512 gigabytes if you have enough budget. You might also consider 1-2 terabytes if you are doing heavier work.


We have covered a lot of material in our three-part series on how to choose a Mac. In Part 1, we gave you a basic overview of the M1, M1 Pro, and the M1 Max. We also spoke about the essentials of what you need to know about the M1 and unified memory, the advantages of the M1s, and the disadvantages of the M1s,

In How to Choose a Mac – Part 2 of our series, we included what uses SSD, a comparison of the M1 Pro, what is the M1 Pro’s overall benefit, and a discussion of Apple ProRes. In addition, we spoke about the M1 Max, battery life, and more on the M1 configuration comparison.

Part 3  of how to buy a Mac delves into form factors, comparing the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro 13-inch with touch bar, and choosing SSD capacity.

Megabite is the best repair service for Macs in Fernandina Beach, FL. There is a lot of information to absorb before buying a Mac. If you have any questions about what we have covered, our phone number is 904-430-0350. You can also contact us here.

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This post was written by Pam Lokker

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