8Gb vs 16Gb of ram

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by topscorer17, Jun 12, 2012.

  1. macrumors member

    Aug 31, 2011
    Hi, i just ordered a base line 15 inch retina display macbook pro yesterday, after being told on the phone by an apple employee that the ram was replaceable and not soldered on (did specify "retina" macbook pro), but i have recently confirmed that i was given false information. so my big question is this:
    Should a cancel my order and get the 16Gb of ram or will 8 Gb most likely be plenty for a few years in the future? I will mostly be doing school work on it but also some gaming like diablo 3, starcraft 2 etc.
  2. macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Yes, the Apple rep was wrong. However, it's very likely you'll never need more than 8GB, as most users rarely need more than 4GB.

    To determine if you can benefit from more RAM, launch Activity Monitor and click the System Memory tab at the bottom to check your page outs. Page outs are cumulative since your last restart, so the best way to check is to restart your computer and track page outs under your normal workload (the apps, browser pages and documents you normally would have open). If your page outs are significant (say 1GB or more) under normal use, you may benefit from more RAM. If your page outs are zero or very low during normal use, you probably won't see any performance improvement from adding RAM.

    Mac OS X: Reading system memory usage in Activity Monitor
  3. macrumors 6502

    Dec 23, 2010
    London, UK
    If you will be doing gaming then I would probably recommend the 16GB, since in a few years games will get more powerful and the retina macbook is unlikely to be able to cope well. However for school work the base retina macbook should be more than enough!
  4. macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
    Unless you're planning on serious pro level video editing or running multiple virtual machines, 8GB should be plenty.
  5. macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2009
    116th & Broadway
    School work? Word processing and whatnot? You'll be fine.
  6. macrumors member

    Sep 25, 2011
    unless you are doing giga and terabytes of video editing and rendering 8gb is more than enough.

    As above. Most people don't even use 4. 8gb is only standard on retina machines because it needs it to do the higher resolutions
  7. macrumors regular

    Mar 22, 2012
    By the RAM you'll need for the software you'll use in 2016.
  8. macrumors 6502a

    Feb 5, 2008
    Id definitely recommend 16 if u are planning on running a virtual machine in parallels or vmware
  9. macrumors 6502a


    Jan 21, 2011
    New York City
    True! Always think ahead.
  10. macrumors 6502


    Dec 20, 2011
    I always tell people to buy as much as they can afford so that they will not be disappointed.
  11. macrumors 6502a


    Jun 18, 2008

    The current software, apps and programs, 8gb is more than enough. My Mac Pro is even doing well with just 8gb. But this retina is gonna need some new programs and who nows how that'll take a dump on RAM use. And Virtual machines are RAM rapers. I'd say go 16gb and put this issue to rest. This RAM is soldered so might as well take the leap.
  12. macrumors 601

    Mr. Retrofire

    Mar 2, 2010
    Lion and Safari alone need 4 GB.
  13. macrumors 65816


    May 1, 2007
    Houston, TX
    8GB is fine. RAM used to matter when you had a computer with a magnetic hard drive, dumping data from RAM and reading new data from the HDD was an extremely slow process that was very noticeable. With SSD and read speeds of 500MB/sec, this isn't an issue at all.

    16GB of RAM is if you need several virtual machines running at the same time. Everything else will have little to no impact (and certainly not worth the amount of money spent in my opinion).

    There isn't going to a game that will benefit from having 16GB of RAM, because the GPU in the Pro is going to be less and less "top of the line" much faster than having more RAM will ever be useful.

    Moral of the story: Spend that $600 on something else.
  14. macrumors regular


    Sep 17, 2011
    San Diego, CA
    16GB is needed if you want to future-proof your Macbook. In 2-4 years, 16GB is going to be standard.
  15. macrumors newbie

    Apr 26, 2012
    Upgrading from 8GB to 16GB RAM costs less than $200.

    And there's no way we can know what RAM requirements will be like 3-4 years down the road.

    If you're buying your computer to only use for the next 2 years, then 8 should be fine. If you're planning on using it for the long haul, then futureproofing with 16GB is a smart investment.
  16. macrumors 65816


    May 1, 2007
    Houston, TX
    Oops, got a bit confused there.
  17. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 4, 2009
    Reading and writing to system RAM is still 10x faster, and each write to an SSD causes a small amount of irreversible damage to its NAND memory chips, so buy the most RAM you can afford.
  18. macrumors newbie

    Mar 9, 2012
    I'm curious on this very same topic and would rather not litter the forum with another thread. I'm not the most hardcore of power users, but I am a photographer editing 20mp RAW files in PS, LR, and Photo Mechanic and I do edit 1080p video from time to time.

    I'm still chugging along (albeit at a snails pace) on a 2008 C2D MBP with a whopping 2GB of RAM, so I don't even know what working with 4GB would be like, much less 8.

    Can I get by with 8 over the long haul (4-5 years), or as mentioned above, shall I just give the piggy bank another smack and shell out the $180 upgrade?
  19. macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Keep the $180. 8GB will be more than sufficient.
  20. macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2012
    8GB is enough, I personally have 8GB on my desktop and never needed more.

    But since you are already spending 2.1k what's another $180 for double the ram?
  21. macrumors 6502a


    Nov 20, 2005
    Rochester, NY
    Considering the size of the initial investment I'd say that if you're planning on 4-5 years and it's only $180 I'd do 16GB.
  22. thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 31, 2011
    My order is still in the processing stage but if i cancel for the upgrade, will it have to restart the whole process, and make me wait even longer for my laptop?
  23. macrumors 68020

    Mar 10, 2011
    I'd call the order support number instead and ask them about switching the order.
  24. macrumors 6502a

    Nov 15, 2009

    Skyrim until a recent patch couldn't even address more than 2GB of Ram.

    If you ever need 16gb of Ram then your MBP's GPU won't even run it, so its a moot point.

    BF3 uses 1.5-2gb of Ram.

    16GB on a notebook is overkill.

    I have a full on gaming rig that never uses the 6GB installed
  25. macrumors 6502

    Dec 23, 2010
    London, UK

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