15” spend extra $ on Vega or Ram? Advice Please

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by MacDonaldTrump, Nov 29, 2018.

  1. Pangalactic macrumors 6502

    Pangalactic

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2016
    #51
    A basic guide for RAM (16 vs 32, for the case for 15'' MBP) for everyone apart from pro users who know how much they need anyway :D

    General Productivity -> 16
    Gaming -> 16
    Photo editing -> 16
    Video editing -> 16
    After Effects/Motion -> 32
     
  2. MacDonaldTrump thread starter macrumors 6502

    MacDonaldTrump

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2018
    Location:
    Brisbane Australia
    #52
    Sorry I thought I had mentioned previous ram - had 16 in both and honestly never noticed any problems. I’m only just learning that you can measure ram useage, is this in activity monitor?

    I think my biggest problem is I’ve grown up trusting apple, and relying on them to offer GOOD worthy upgrade options, usually I’ve found upgrades well placed. This series seems to confuse me more. As far as I can tell, the CPU is a waste of upgrade, GPUs will handle a 4K render here and there, I don’t play fortnite etc, and now learning that I may not need ram could save me quite a bit, I do need a new monitor somewhere when I have spare cash to replace the iMac screen I will miss.

    Think the spec 2.6 is sounding good
    Or 2.2 upgrade 512, 560 gpu - just stick with 16 ram then? Spend on monitor? Or beer?
     
  3. FrostyF macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2018
    Location:
    Western Canada
    #53
    Open Activity Monitor and click on memory.

    I've got 16GB on this machine and you'll notice that "swap used" is 1.06GB, meaning it's tapping into the SSD.

    Screen Shot 2018-11-30 at 10.05.23 AM.png
     
  4. leman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #54
    I am very confident that this will not happen. Just as with CPU speed, the question about RAM is the question about now, not future. Does your work need this NOW or can see a possibility of doing such work in near future. Grabbing "better" spec to future proof the machine doesn't make any sense, just like it won't make any sense to buy a fast sports car if all the driving you do is in a contested town.

    What follows is a detailed explanation to why I don't believe that we will see substantial increase in basic demand for RAM over the next few years.

    Lets look at why average RAM requirements increase over time? Generally, there are two following factors: asset size on one hand (images etc. the apps use), and programming techniques, frameworks and patterns on the other (more abstract, sophisticated programming tools usually come at a performance and memory cost).

    We have just experienced a big jump in asset size few years ago, where the entire industry went to HiDPI (retina) content. This has increased the asset size by the factor of 4. And it probably won't increase much in the coming years since the resolution won't see any substantial increases. One thing where an increase is possible is color depth — as we start getting into wide gamut displays etc., we will probably see gradual transition to image content with more color information /HDR (I predict around 5+ years before this becomes even remotely commonplace). But even then the average size of images won't increase much, since we will still be using 32bit pixels, just packed differently (like 10 bit color components or 9 bit components with shared floating point exponent).

    As far as programming techniques go, we already are as abstract and sophisticated as it gets. The trend in modern programming is actually going BACKWARDS — towards more efficient programs. This is in part motivated by the fact that semiconductor industry has stagnated and the performance increase isn't nearly what it used to be just a decade ago. For example, apps that are built with Swift will also use less RAM. Other modern programming languages (such as Rust) are looking into this as well. Another factor is AI which is becoming increasingly prevalent in contemporary technology. To be honest though, I don't see any crazy increases in RAM demand here, the demand is more for specialised processing power. These applications will be dominated by GPUs and specialised AI coprocessors.

    And finally — something that people usually miss — increase in RAM capacity does not come with nearly as high increase in RAM speed. So with DDR4 we can double the capacity of the RAM at the same space, but we didn't double its speed. In fact, the speed has barely changed. More RAM cannot become a basic requirement if the hardware is not able to utilise it efficiently. It will take almost 2 seconds (!!!) for your CPU to scan through all of the RAM. That is an eternity for the CPU if you consider that it can add-multiply over a trillion numbers in that time (just to make the relation clear, you'd need 3725.29GB of RAM to store that many numbers ;) ). And we don't have any technology to break through that yet... new approaches attempt to widen the memory interface (such as the 1024 HBM2 memory used at the new Vega GPU), but that relies on the same old "slow" RAM, just a lot of transfers at the same time, which doesn't help the CPU (that needs new data in small chunks but needs it NOW). All in all, large amounts of RAM will have the same utility as they have now — to support working with large datasets (an example given here was editing huge RAW images in PS using a lot of layers).

    The current status quo might — and will — change in the future. In few years, hopefully, we will have CPUs with 512bit vector units and we will have GPUs that are very fast and increasingly important for basic applications. We might get multi-channel RAM as standard feature. We will also get larger CPU caches and more cores. All this has the potential to drive up the RAM requirements even for basic software, as it starts adopting all these new features. But before that happens, your 32GB Coffee Lake will be a hopelessly outdated dinosaur anyway, it won't support any of the new features the future software will rely on.
     
  5. MacDonaldTrump thread starter macrumors 6502

    MacDonaldTrump

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2018
    Location:
    Brisbane Australia
    #55
    Thanks again for all the help, with things being soldered I guess I should also be considering apple care plus into the budget. From what I am reading all your input I think I may just settle with the 2.6 standard package with apple care plus. It is only a fraction more than configuring the 2.2 similar.

    And just because I’m thick - 32GB ram will not benefit me much is what I am overall understanding I am thick
    Thanks
     
  6. cobracnvt macrumors 6502

    cobracnvt

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2017
    #56
    I went with 16GB on my new MBP 15. I couldn't justify paying $400 for 16GB of additional RAM. My usage is with running a few VMs, but I can do that with the 16GB. Also, the SSD storage is very fast. Memory swapping doesn't come the penalty that it used to, with slow spinning drives.
     
  7. FrostyF macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2018
    Location:
    Western Canada
    #57
    19.29GB used with mainly Chrome and a few other things open, Photos, iTunes, Notes.

    Screen Shot 2018-12-04 at 5.41.26 PM.png
     
  8. MacDonaldTrump thread starter macrumors 6502

    MacDonaldTrump

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2018
    Location:
    Brisbane Australia
    #58
    I am just about ready to buy.

    I have a friend that can get me friends discount which helps, but it is a hassle dealing with their system of back of house ordering. Just having to go in to the stores is a little bright on my eyes sometimes.
    I am thinking of the 2.6, 16/maybe still32GB ram 1TB. If I go this option a couple of weeks wait to build. I really thought about going up to the Vega and i9 (In stock now) but after reading all the above I can see its overkill.

    I did consider a base MBP15 and a base IMAC but feel possibly upgrading just the MBP would do me just as well with a monitor at home.

    I did just see on the refurb site available to pick up is a 2.6 - 32GB - 1TB 560 GPU (basically same price as friends discount) I think this may be a good option also.
    Need something ASAP as editing in the iPad is a stretch.
     
  9. leman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #59
    Get whatever you feel best about. Any option you take will be a great computer for your needs.
     
  10. MacDonaldTrump thread starter macrumors 6502

    MacDonaldTrump

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2018
    Location:
    Brisbane Australia
    #60
    Actually for some reason I feel best about the refurb, mostly because I could have it now.
    I was really joking about the experience at the store and sure I can handle it and a wait if I buy there.

    Can anyone help me in regards to extended return period over holidays, does this also apply to refurb?
    Also If I buy from apple store with friends discount and return for any reason, does the discount get applied to a new model?
     
  11. MacDonaldTrump thread starter macrumors 6502

    MacDonaldTrump

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2018
    Location:
    Brisbane Australia
    #61
    I went with - 2.9 - 32GBram 1TB, i stuck with the 560 graphics as I just couldn’t stretch the extra finance to add the Vega. I have purchased with 15% staff discount, and within the holiday return period should I feel the need to add a Vega I can return it in January.

    Thanks for all the help above.
     
  12. MacDonaldTrump thread starter macrumors 6502

    MacDonaldTrump

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2018
    Location:
    Brisbane Australia
    #62
    Fk it, ridiculous money but I bumped the Vega up as well
     
  13. fathergll macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2014
    #63

    What happens when you open up a couple large Tableau sessions on top of that?
     
  14. leman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #64
    No idea, since I never used Tableau.
     
  15. fathergll macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2014
    #65

    If you work with large datasets on a data visualization tool like that locally then good luck if you multitask as it will eat up memory very fast.
     

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