Everysince the M-Powered Mac’s came out, I’ve been blown away by their performance. For the last year I have been using a M1 Pro 16″ MBP and in that time I don’t think I’ve ever heard it’s fans come on. So it made me wonder, do I need that type of power anymore?

Apple MacBook Pro M1 Pro

For years a Sys Admin (which is still a big part of my role), I need the power a high end laptop could provide for two reasons.

One; I wanted to be able to run multiple screens and high resolution screens.

Two; I would spin up Virtual Machines via VMWare Workstation on my laptop for different tasks, namely to avoid any addition loads on my ESX Clusters.

Addressing point one, I actually perfer now to run a single 4K 32″ screen. I’ve found when I use multiple screens I keep getting distracted, emails always open: hey what is that email? Oh, I can answer this quickly. Teams always there? Oh, I what was that chat thread? And so on.

The idea of multiple screens is good, but for me I found that I keep getting pulled from the task at hand.

Though 1 32″ screen for me is prefect, I can have what I need open with lots of space and work on it. And when I’m ready to check emails. I will. If I need two documents open at once, 32″ 4K is big enough to achieve that.

And to the second point, well I just don’t do that anymore. My ESX clusters at home and work these days and spin up more machines that even my MBP can handle. And with high speed internet (even on the crappy NBN) and 4G I can access these virutal machines anywhere. But even if I want an virtual machine or two, I can, the M2 16″ Air is more than capable of running a virtual machine, even two without an issue. I do at times spin up a linux machine on my devices that I want locally.

Because my main two points can now be handled by a ‘not so powerful’ device, it then became a question of how big and heavy to I want my device to be. And what do I want to achieve with my device.

Currently I use my 16″ M1 Pro everywhere, at home or work it is docked and even when travelling I carry it around. The first time I didn’t was recently to Melbourne and Queensland last year for Conferences where my iPad Pro handled it all.

Thankfully I had a chance to test these theories, my work ordered a M2 MBA for AV, and they didn’t need it for a few weeks, so now I am running on it now. I have used it as my daily driver for the last couple of weeks, and found not once was I lacking power. The first day it didn’t get hot and I was worried, but once OneDrive stopped syncing everything under the sun it hasn’t gotten warm again, and not once was I thinking I needed more power.

I’m also thinking I can get better bang for buck with a new setup device instead of getting a MacBook Pro.

This comes back to the title of this article, “Do you need a MacBook Pro anymore?” For me I am thinking the answer is no… granted they still have the place, though where it used to be if you just needed web browsers and office applications, you went for the MacBook Air, and anything else you needed the more powerful MacBook Pro is a paradigm that is changing. For me I’m consider the MBA is now the king of laptops.

So the setup I’m considering? 1x M2 Mac Mini with 32GB of RAM at work, and a MBA for on the go it doens’t even need to be that powerful, just a M2 MBA with 16GB of RAM would at least 256GB of storage.

I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on the idea?