13" rMBP, any reason to upgrade to 16 gb RAM?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Mongol, Oct 22, 2013.

  1. Mongol macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2012
    Hi guys, just checking out the options, and you can upgrade to 16 gb RAM on the 13" rMBP for $200.

    But is it really a good idea? I would prob do it on the 15", but the 13" is only dual core, so the bottleneck is likely going to be the CPU if you already have 8 gb RAM.

  2. justin216 macrumors 6502


    Mar 31, 2004
    Tampa, FL
    Depends on the use case, I think 8GB is fine for most users now and into the future. If you want to do professional design work on it, VMs, etc, you may want to consider the 16GB investment.
  3. fskywalker macrumors 65816


    Nov 6, 2009
    If I would buy through BTO would go for the 16gb just to play safe in the future as that cannot be done at a later time.
  4. teotuf macrumors member

    Jan 24, 2012
    You are exactly right. People really don't know how to optimize their purchases.

    On the 15 incher it makes sense, as with multiple VM/heavy photoshop/video editing, you might need more than 8gb of ram, key thing here is that it's HEAVY multitasking (hence using multiple cores)

    However, on the 13 inches, even if you have that much ram, you will still only have a dual core - which is going to be the speed bottleneck. You will feel the lag from lacking a quad core much faster than feeling the lag from running out ram on a 8gb machine. And considering that you cannot upgrade to a quadcore on the 13 incher, wasting $200 on the ram is rather pointless. You can use it to upgrade the SSD or upgrade the CPU (at the cost of battery life), and it'll be money better spent.

    Some people say it's better for resale values... Yeah... Saving that $200 now is a lot better than getting $100 later in a year or two.
  5. mv71 macrumors newbie

    Oct 9, 2013
    I only want to run one Windows 7 in a VM to do some Word and Matlab/Simulink Stuff.

    Is the 8GB 13" enough for that or should I go for the 15".

    I think i will get the MBP for the next 3-4 years.
  6. teotuf macrumors member

    Jan 24, 2012
    I've ran 4 VMs with 8gb. So that's definitely enough for it. I haven't had much experience with running multiple VM on dual core though (I did it on 2720qm), although I can't imagine it being too bad if you are only running one instance.
  7. hellfire88 macrumors 6502

    Apr 28, 2008
    How important is it really to have a quad-core CPU for setting up a home VMware lab (using something like AutoLab) for learning (not trying to be snarky, genuinely curious from people that have done it)?

    I've been wanting to do this for awhile and have been focusing on laptops with quad-core i7's (thus limiting me to 14"+ laptops for the most part). But if you think for learning purposes, a dual-core i5 haswell (with hyperthreading) and 16GB of RAM would cut it the new rMBP 13" may be the perfect laptop for me (for now anyways lol).
  8. DollaTwentyFive macrumors 6502a

    Nov 11, 2010
    Parts Unknown
    Theoretically - according to the event today, they are cramming 12MB into 8MB of RAM with Mavericks.
  9. st0k3d macrumors member

    Oct 14, 2013
    There are many instances where you could need more RAM but not be taxing the CPU. They are not the same thing and perform a very different function.

    CPU = processing power, operations (heavy video, graphics, computations)

    RAM = Multitasking

    Although at some point one could be a bottleneck for the other, this is not case all of the time. My current MBP I bought with 4gb of RAM which was good at the time, than I doubled it to 8, and I still have run out, and this is with a old much slower processor.

    Programs are only going to get more and more resource intensive as time goes on.
  10. Tanax macrumors 6502a

    Jun 15, 2011
    Stockholm, Sweden
    If you upgrade to the i7 in the 13", would 16GB RAM make more sense then when running at least 1 VM for development and perhaps another VM(/parallels desktop) for Windows games as well as the usual things like browser, spotify, etc?
  11. codefuns macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2011
    One reason to upgrade to max is, you can't upgrade it later after you make decision. that sucks, maybe you know how much memory and disk you need now, but for later, you don't know. if you don't want to change to another one just after one or two years, just upgrade it to max.
  12. majkom macrumors 65816

    May 3, 2011
    are there any hands on? is new retina 13incher less laggy then the last gen model?
  13. Nick521 macrumors member

    Dec 5, 2010
  14. Atomic Walrus macrumors 6502a

    Sep 24, 2012
    This debate's going to go on forever; There will never be a clear answer because everyone's usage is different. I spent a few hours going back and forth on this issue myself before making my decision.

    In the end I decided to spend the same amount on the 512 GB SSD and stay with 8GB RAM, but my usage case makes this reasonable:
    -I don't run VMs, but I do use Bootcamp for a Windows partition.
    -I have projects that take up quite a lot of storage space that I'd like to be able to keep on-system without an external disk (in addition to a fairly large music library).
    -When monitoring my RAM usage on my home desktop, which has 16GB, I essentially never find myself exceeding 8GB usage. I can construct scenarios where I do exceed 8GB, but it never happens from my normal usage.
    -My current laptop (2010 17" MBP) was upgraded to 8GB several months ago, and I never hit my RAM cap on it.
    -I do NOT intend to keep the machine for 3-5 years, the usual long-term upgrade cycle I hear about on here. I'm planning to sell it and buy a Broadwell 15" next year.

    For me that makes a strong case for skipping the 16GB option (especially the bit about swapping the machine in a year or two). On the other hand if you read this list and think "everything I do is the opposite of that" then I'd say you almost certainly need to get the 16GB upgrade.

    -a daily usage that can exceed 8GB,
    -or simply wanting the machine to be relevant in 3-4 years
    would all point to the RAM upgrade.
  15. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    Exactly. In percentage terms and absolute dollars, the base models are the best for resale, particularly since Apple keeps dropping the prices of the rMBP and Air. I think $1299 is about as low as it will go (maybe $1199 when they finally drop the 13" cMBP), but in any case, next year or 2 years from now, no one will care whether it's a 2.4GHz i5 or 2.8GHz i7. It will still be "2013's" Mac in 2014 or 2015 when we're on to Broadwell or Skymont.
  16. teotuf, Oct 23, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2013

    teotuf macrumors member

    Jan 24, 2012
    Let's put it this way. Going from the $1499 model with 2.4ghz/8gb/256gb, if you had more money to spend, I'd grab the 2.6ghz upgrade, 512gb upgrade, 2.8ghz i7 upgrade, in that order. Then if you still decide that's not enough, THEN I might consider the 16gb ram upgrade.

    If you don't SPECIFICALLY know that you will need the i7 or the 16gb for, it's pointless to get them. As in, if you are even asking yourself oh should I get this to "future proof" my computer, then you shouldn't.

    You SHOULD get those upgrades, however, only if you know specifically what programs or specific usage that you are going to use to warrant the i7 or 16gb, and wouldn't even consider the laptop if it didn't have those. Then again, if you knew what you need it for, you wouldn't be asking for advice on a forum.

    The 512gb SSD for $200 and the cheaper $100 CPU upgrade to 2.6ghz(1200mhz for gfx) is much more justifiable if you just wanted something "nicer" just for the hell of it.

    Just to give you an idea of what 8gb of ram is capable of... I'm playing Guild Wars 2 on screen 1, streaming and recording video lecture on screen 2 so I can play them at 1.75x speed, about 15 tabs open in google chrome, streaming pandora in the background, having adobe and word open to the lecture slides. All that uses about 6gb of ram... on windows 7... OSX mavericks and windows 8 both manage ram so much better than that.

    Bottom line - if you have to ask whether to get the 8gb or the 16gb, you won't need the 16gb. If you do actually need it, you know already and wouldn't be on the fence about it in the first place.
  17. PDFierro macrumors 68040

    Sep 8, 2009
    I got the 13-inch and upgraded to the i7 but only 8GB RAM. I'm happy with my decision. I completely agree with the posts in this thread.
  18. crazybobbles macrumors newbie

    Mar 19, 2009
    so my use case was primarily processing lots of photos in lightroom. am i going to benefit from the 16gb of ram?
  19. *~Kim~* macrumors 6502

    May 6, 2013
    Thanks for this. Going for the model you mention with no upgrades. I can buy from the Retail Store and return it easily should I need to for any dead pixels or anything. I would go for the i7 but I can't really justify it as it isn't even quad core. If a quad core i7 comes next year, I might go for it and sell the Haswell, so I guess this is the best option.
  20. nilk macrumors 6502a

    Oct 18, 2007
    I'm not sure I follow the logic of the CPU being a bottleneck vs RAM. CPU and RAM are somewhat separate concerns (processing vs I/O), and each may be a bottleneck in different situations. For example, in a purely video encoding task, it is mostly the CPU that will affect encoding performance. In the situation of running many things at the same time that can make use of RAM (a bunch of VMs, a bunch of RAM-hungry apps like FCPX, Aperture, Eclipse, IntelliJ IDEA, etc), the situation where RAM becomes a "bottleneck" is when you are running so many things you use up all of your RAM, and then it falls on your SSD because you will be hitting swap -- CPU doesn't really factor into this situation (maybe with RAM compression in Mavericks it does? but then you'd want more RAM with a slower CPU).

    I think in the typical scenario, you're probably not going to run out of RAM with 8GB, not unless you are running tons of VMs, etc. But what more RAM buys you is more file cache, and that ultimately improves I/O performance because you don't have to hit the SSD as much. As fast as SSDs are these days, RAM is orders of magnitude faster.

    Personally, I wouldn't configure a Mac with less than 16GB, but that's because I run the RAM-hungry apps I listed and I run VMs. But also, the fact that you can't upgrade later would cause me to choose the maximum RAM config, especially since I typically don't sell my machines often (if I upgrade they generally get handed down rather than sold). I've actually been hoping for the 16GB option with the 13" rMBP, because, along with GPU performance, the max of 8GB was non-starter for me with the previous generation.

    $200 is kind of a rip-off, so if you don't think 16GB will make enough of a difference for you, 8GB wouldn't be a terrible way to go. If you find out later that you want 16GB, the resale market will make it easy to sell and upgrade with minimal loss. I won't be buying your machine with 8GB of RAM, though :)
  21. *~Kim~* macrumors 6502

    May 6, 2013
    Me again. After I posted, I found these on the front page:

    13-inch with dual-core CPU:
    - i5-4258U @ 2.4 GHz: Single-Core 2613, Multi-Core 5248
    - i5-4288U @ 2.6 GHz: Single-Core 2856, Multi-Core 5954
    - i7-4558U @ 2.8 GHz: Single-Core 3000, Multi-Core 6189

    This looks as if the increase from 2.4 to 2.6 makes more of a difference than the jump from 2.6 to the 2.8 i7. It's only £68 I think (education pricing), so I'm thinking go for that in case I decide not to upgrade in a year or two.

  22. PDFierro macrumors 68040

    Sep 8, 2009
    I got 8GB RAM, but went all the way with the i7 upgrade on the 13-inch. Don't regret it at all. Keep in mind that upgrading to the 2.6 i5 would still make it a custom config.
  23. teotuf macrumors member

    Jan 24, 2012
    This is exactly what I did, took the $1499 model and got the 2.6ghz processor upgrade. If I wasn't so budget constrained I'd have gotten the $1799 base model with 2.6ghz/8gb/512gb. If I had another $200 on top of that I'd get apple care. And if I still had money left over I'd grab the i7.
  24. unplugme71 macrumors 68030

    May 20, 2011
    I'll most likely upgrade to the 2.6GHz chip, but I'm still iffy on the 8GB or 16GB memory.

    Apps I use frequently are:

    iTunes, Handbrake, Safari (10-15 tabs), Pages, Numbers, iBank, and iPhoto (photos from iPhone 5S). I do plan on starting to use iMovie.

    The other thing is, my iTunes and iPhoto library are stored on a network drive and accessed over GigE or 802.11ac.

    I've never had much issues 4 years ago with 4GB of memory, although iPhoto sometimes ran a bit slow to launch. So having 8GB now is probably sufficient, I'm just concerned about the fact my iPhoto library grows about 2GB/month and my iTunes grows about 15GB/mo. Will memory help much accessing over a network?
  25. teotuf macrumors member

    Jan 24, 2012
    No. For your uses you would rarely even go past 4gb to be honest. 8gb is definitely a safe default for you.

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