I could use a little advice on my next computer purchase from a few Apple consumers who have had some hands-on experience with some of Apple's latest products. I have some financing available to me to purchase a new computer in the coming weeks or months. However, personally, rather than buying the shiniest new thing with all of the bells and whistles, I endeavor to make a purchase that meets my personal/professional needs and is, to some degree, financially responsible.

About me now.

That said, a little about me. I am a web developer and graphic designer by trade.

As a web developer, I currently use a "Local (by Flywheel)" setup for local development to run PHP driven projects that are primarily front-end heavy. Atom as my text editor. I do notice a bit of lag when running BrowserSync, Chrome, and with iCloud file-sharing enabled on both computers so I've managed to increase their lives by turning off iCloud file-sharing and keeping things locally backed up to a few external hard-drives.

As a designer, I run a myriad of Adobe products via the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite which also tends to hog resources, especially when running any of this software in parallel with my local development solution. I also use Sketch from time to time which seems to work much better, but I still need both for my needs.

Most everything else I do is on the web. Just about every other App I use for work works great, so I have no real issues there and personally, I don't play many games. At most, I might watch some video for continued learning/instruction.

About my current setup.

I currently have both a Mac mini and a Macbook Air. I'll list out their specs below:

With my Mac mini I use two external monitors (on monitor arms) that I plan on continuing to use. One is true HD, and the other is 4k. With my Macbook Air, I typically do not use an external display.

Mac mini (Late 2014)

  • 2.8 GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5
  • 8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3 RAM
  • 1 TB Fusion Drive
  • Intel Iris 1536 MB Graphics

Macbook Air (13-inch, Early 2015)

  • 1.6 GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5
  • 8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3 RAM
  • 250 GB SSD Drive
  • Intel HD Graphics 6000 1536 MB

What I want in a setup.

I can probably spend around $3,500.00 bucks for hardware, the included software, and the additional AppleCare+ extended warranty. This computer will need to last me as long as the two I have now which have lasted around 5 to 6 years. I am also going to be nixing the approach of having two computers (one mobile for working in the office or at a coffee shop, one stationary at home) and using just one computer which I'm hoping is a laptop that can support my two external monitors and just dock at my standing desk when I'm at home. I'm tired of backing up multiple computers and keeping files/settings consistent between them. I am also going to be utilizing some new workflow using Docker to add some flexibility to what I do, and I hear that Docker can suck resources at times (if you can add any advice on this, please do).

All of that said, I'm trying to decide between a new custom-configured 2020 Macbook Air or a Macbook Pro.

Here are the specs on those:

Custom-config'd Macbook Air, $2,249 before taxes and AppleCare+

  • 1.2 GHz quad-core 10th gen Intel Core i7
  • 16 GB 3733 MHz LPDDR4X RAM
  • 2 TB SSD
  • Intel Iris Plus graphics

Custom-config'd 13" Macbook Pro, $2,999 before taxes and AppleCare+

  • 2.3 GHz quad-core 10th gen Intel Core i7
  • 32 GB 3733 MHz LPDDR4X RAM
  • 2 TB SSD
  • Intel Iris Plus Graphics

At the end of the day I'm only saving about $750 between the two, but that's $750 I could do a lot of other things with, so I just want to make sure that when I'm paying for the Macbook Pro, I'm getting something that is necessary and packs a punch to my workflow, otherwise (to me) it's just a bell or a whistle I don't need.

Again, just looking for a personal take from someone who might own either of these and be willing to shed some light. YouTube has a lot of videos comparing them, but those are just hardware specs, I'm asking you from the stand-point of personal experience as a developer whether owning one over the other has benefited you directly in some way.


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