15" rMBP - Is 8GB RAM enough for this usage?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by MacLifer, Oct 30, 2012.

  1. MacLifer macrumors member

    Mar 18, 2011
    Ok, so I have finally convinced myself to go with the 15" rMBP over the 13" rMBP.

    Right now I have a 2010 13" MBA (4 GB RAM) and a 2009 27" iMac (12 GB RAM). In the end, the 15" may replace both, but it is for sure replacing my 13" MBA right away.

    My travel scheduled has diminished drastically as of late, so portability is not really an issue. Thus, I went with more of the desktop replacement that is the 15" vs. the 13". If I get rid of my iMac, I will probably buy a 27" display down the line to connect the rMBP too.

    I have decided to go with the base 2.3Ghz i7 + 256 GB SSD, noting the minimal increase in performance for the processor upgrade and the possibility of upgrading the SSD myself in the future.

    Where I am getting stuck is the RAM. My primary applications are:

    Coda 2
    Parallels w/ Windows 7 (and soon 8)
    Office 2011

    .. and the basics of iTunes, Safari, Mail, etc.

    I do very little video editing, other than the occasional of stitching together videos and photos in iMovie for a family year-in-review sort of thing.

    On my MBA with 4GB, running Parallels drags the machine pretty nicely and the fan runs like a jet airliner.

    I figure Parallels with 8 GB RAM, along with the quad-core i7 (as opposed to the Core 2 Duo of the MBA) will run much better. But, of course, it is guaranteed to run even better with 16GB RAM :)

    Given my usage described above, do you think 16GB would be worth my while? I can afford it, but, if it is not going to help me in the 2-3 years I expect to use this laptop before selling it, I would, of course, rather use the extra savings for AppleCare or something.

    I would appreciate any opinion you may have. Thanks.
  2. bill-p macrumors 68000

    Jul 23, 2011
    How often do you use Parallels? If it's on a regular basis, definitely invest in 16GB.

    Retina graphics assets for the interface do take up more memory, so the rMBP actually uses more RAM to store things than your typical MBP.
  3. markus843 macrumors regular

    Sep 4, 2012
    North america
    You can always try the 8gb, if that doesn't work out you can always buy 2x8GB of ram and upgrade yourself for cheaper
  4. MacLifer thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 18, 2011
    Not upgradable

    Not with the rMBP, I can't ;)


    I probably use Parallels once or twice a week for a couple hours at a time. It is not heavy usage, but I do use it.
  5. markus843 macrumors regular

    Sep 4, 2012
    North america
    Oh whoops
  6. lixuelai macrumors 6502a

    Oct 29, 2008
    I think you will be fine with 8GB unless your usage drastically changes. Running a Win7/Win8 VM occasionally isn't going to need 8GB. I do roughly the same and I think 16GB is overkill. I have 16GB atm (got it as a gift) and has been trying to trade down to 8GB and use the money towards AppleCare.
  7. MacLifer thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 18, 2011
    Recouping when reselling?

    And another consideration....

    If I can reasonably get by with 8GB RAM, but decide to go with 16GB RAM just in case ... is it reasonable to expect that I will recoup most of that extra $200 when I go and resell the laptop in 2-3 years.

    Or in 2-3 years will the resale value of a 2.3/8/256 be about the same as a 2.3/16/256?
  8. trsblader macrumors 6502

    May 20, 2011
    I have the 2.3/256/8 and it is just fine for me. I use parallels and give it 4gb and still don't have issues, and I use it about as much as it sounds like you will use it. I regularly have an IDE and many other apps open at the same time for school and don't run into any problems.

    If you already know you probably won't keep the laptop for more than 2-3 years I just don't see it being worth the upgrade.

    2-3 years down the road, I don't see you getting much more, if any, for 8gb vs 16gb.
  9. TSE macrumors 68030

    Jun 25, 2007
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    I would recommend 16 GBs since you can't upgrade. Really, in the grand scheme of things what is ~$200 on a $2000 device, an upgrade that may prolong the usefulness of that computer for several years?
  10. bill-p macrumors 68000

    Jul 23, 2011
    If it's not a daily task, then as others have said, you likely won't need 16GB.

    But having said that, I think you should go for 16GB if you can afford it anyway... just for peace of mind.

    I thought that 8GB was enough myself... coming from a 15" 2011 machine with 16GB.

    But I was wrong. Just running Eclipse and XCode on a daily basis means I have approximately 2GB of RAM left for everything else. Opening a huge photo or a big PDF in Preview means I'm down to 100MB.

    Being a developer, I know that's not because of the app but because Retina graphics take up a lot of memory, but still... it's worth noting.

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