M1 MBA or M1 MBP for Xojo

I’m looking at a MacBook Air M1 for daily use, second display would be an iPad with sidecar or independently for web/iOS testing.

Does anyone have any experience of using one of these as a daily driver with Xojo?

I’ve used an older version (2018 r3) on an MBP M1 which seemed ok but not as a daily driver.

Thanks in advance.

I’ve been using the latest version of Xojo on an M1 MacBook Pro since the day the notebook was released. It’s awesome and I have no issues whatsoever with it. I actually migrated from my iMac Pro to the M1 because Xojo was faster on it!

6 Likes

Thanks @GarryPettet - helpful to know that your MBP M1 is working better than an iMac Pro with Xojo.

The Universal build of Xojo runs noticeably better on M1 hardware (I believe was 2020r2). As for performance between the MBA and MBP, the SoC is identical for both (well 7-core GPU on the base model MBA compared to 8-core in all others), the only difference being if you were pushing the chip at 100% it would start to throttle around the 7-8 minute mark of sustained use on the MBA while the Pro would continue along due to its fan.

I would pick the Air for its cost saving, smaller/lighter, no Touch Bar, and same SoC as the Pro.

2 Likes

I have 3 M1 machine. one MacMini with 27" monitor, a MacBook Pro which is my main machine and MacBook Air for demos.

M1 machines is brilliant!!! when I was using my old iMac… it is always doing the beach ball even with 16GB RAM. Highly recommend M1 machines

I have old iMac and Lenovo Yoga too… and I use the Mac mini to control all the other machines… my husband call old iMac and window pc… so I also vnc to the window pc and screen shared the old iMac.

1 Like

The main reason I chose the M1 MBP over the Air was the screen brightness. For some people, this won’t be an issue, but I just find the Air display a little dim, and those extra nits on the MBP are invaluable to me. The touch bar is absolutely useless and will almost surely be dropped from Apple’s MBP line-up later this year. Ports are also very limited but it’s a fantastic machine otherwise, very fast, good keyboard, and Xojo runs great on it.

1 Like

Several Tech Reviewers after using both machines for several weeks recommend the Air over the Pro, because most don’t feel the extra $300 is worth the extras you get.

Advantages of the Pro

  • A single fan, which will help when running intensive tasks for more than 9:59.
  • 2 Hours extra battery life.
  • 1 Additional GPU core, gives about 5% improvement in GPU tasks.
  • 25% brighter screen.
  • More dynamic range in the speakers.

Advantages of the Air.

  • $300 cheaper, use the saving to get more storage.
  • Same CPU performance for 99.99% of tasks (unless running for 10:00 or longer).
  • Improved typing experience thanks to the lack of TouchBar.
  • 0.2 lb or 100 grams lighter.

MacRumors recommends holding off on the Pro because the 14’ Pro is rumored to appear this fall, with no TouchBar.

I would have liked to have seen Apple invest in the TouchBar, offering an option to make it so it only activates on a press, not a graze, or slightest touch. There are people who actually like it, but it’s been 5 years with no love from Apple.

2 Likes

The real world experience is really helpful information. Looks like the Air and its cost saving will do as I need - the little graphics work I do is exporting icons in several sizes or maybe exporting an image at a more optimised size for web.

My M1 Air is as fast as the iMac from 2018. No noise at all ever. My main Xojo project is 550 classes and Xojo is really okay. Even building. For main use I’d update the memory to 16 GB instead of the 8 GB I have.

Yup, for that kind of graphics load, chances are the apps you use don’t even touch the GPU. It is far quicker in my experience to resize images on the CPU, than the GPU, while actual pixel manipulations are much quicker on the GPU than CPU.

I would of course recommend getting 16GB and as much storage as you can afford. I have Big Sur installed on it’s own partition (with my data safely tucked away on a different partition) and Big Sur uses 17 GB, VM (virtual memory) uses 16GB, you also need at least an extra 26 GB for any BS updates, so for a 128 GB drive, half is need by the OS. BS was 6GB heavier than Catalina, so you can expect Monterey to require more space than BS, but hopefully not another 6GB.

I picked up the 8GB / 512GB unit and I’ve not seen a single operation (even DiVinci Resolve) require more than the 8GB installed. The same story on my Minis (1 8GB, 1 16GB). I’m not saying that there may never be some memory hungry app available in the future, but even heavy lift apps like Resolve/Fusion, FCP, Logic Pro, and Xojo are quite happy in 8GB of RAM.

So, if you have to choose between the 512GB SSD or 16GB RAM, I’d go with the 512GB SSD.

2 Likes

I took the 512GB/8GB because my previous laptop had 240GB SSD; a hell to work with everyday…

1 Like

The only concern I have with that is it uses SSD swap very quickly, which helps wear the SSD down quicker. There is/was a bug in ARM Big Sur which meant images took up far more memory than needed, contributing to the SSD wear issue.

Of course I would not expect this to affect the average consumer in any way at all. However we tend to use computers much harder and longer than the average consumer.

I also not so fond memories of pushing 64GB of usage on a Mac with only 16GB, that was a painful era.

In my tests where i focused on a single app instead of trying to get 350 apps running at the same time to artificially cause swapping, I saw very little swapping. It was used, but at a far more reasonable level.

I see. Doesn’t the macOS already have 350 “helpers” already running? lol…

1 Like

Yup! :crazy_face:

1 Like