16GB for an extra $200 worth it?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by nirvanemesis, Jan 24, 2015.

  1. nirvanemesis macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2014
    #1
    Decided that waiting until summer and crossing my fingers for a Skylake MBP is too long. I have a 17" 2009 MBP that still has a HDD and 4GB RAM, but I'm still in my first year of college so I definitely need something more portable and with more battery endurance.

    I've decided that a 15" Retina (at almost half the weight of what I previously carried) was what I wanted and I narrowed it down to two refurbished models, a $1489 8GB RAM 2013 and a $1699 16GB RAM 2014. They're basically identical (256GB SSD and like 0.2GHz difference) except for the RAM.

    I want this laptop to last as long as my 2009 did or even longer, so I'm wondering if the extra 8GB of RAM will be worth it in the long run. I'm studying Computer Science right now and I'm anticipating a lot of compiling (I'm not sure how much power that takes) and probably iOS or web development down the road. Should I spring for it?

    EDIT: Shoot, I forgot to say RAM in the thread title.
     
  2. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #2
    Its probably not needed, but its nice to have. If it were me, I'd get the newer model. You never mentioned what you'll be using the computer for, without such knowledge its hard to say if you need the extra ram. I suspect you wont, but its nice especially if are planning on keeping it for several years.
     
  3. Natzoo macrumors 65816

    Natzoo

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    Sep 16, 2014
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    Not sure where i am
    #3
    i have the same amount of ram as you and i don't think i really need it. But if its only for 200 more get the upgrade dude. You will probably use it for a long time.
     
  4. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #4
    It's not likely that you'd need more than 8GB of RAM for the needs you described. This should help: How much RAM do I need in my Mac?
     
  5. Count Blah macrumors 68030

    Count Blah

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    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    US of A
    #5
    As part of your desired courses and potential electives, would you be needing to run any VMs, and/or have windows and OS X running at the same time?

    If so, then there is nothing worse than getting a $1500+ machine and having it not be up to snuff when it comes to what you need. I was stuck in that position on a work laptop for 9 months, where I needed to have windows and develop in a debian VM. The lack of RAM was infuriating. Which is why I usually tell people to go one step higher than they think they will need in 2-years. Unless you plan on getting a new one by then. But in your position, that sounds unlikely.

    Good luck
     
  6. ixxx69 macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 31, 2009
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    United States
    #6
    Get the extra RAM, and the slight speed bump doesn't hurt either for compiling code. You may want/need to run VM's, e.g. for .NET programming, and the extra RAM will really help with that.
     
  7. leman macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #7
    I'd say its not worth it. Even if you have to develop in a Windows VM, 8Gb is more then enough.
     
  8. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #8
    I am not familiar with your specific usage scenario, but I think the 8gb rmbp should work fine.
    Consider however that $200 for the ram and cpu upgrade is actually a good deal!
     
  9. Commy1 macrumors 6502a

    Commy1

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2013
    #9
    It's hard to say without some more info, but I can say having upgraded to 16GB ram that it is very nice to have. As a photographer and video editing dabbler it's a life saver, everything moves along a lot faster. But that's about it, my memory at this time with Safari, Mail, Pages and background software running is at a mere 8% and that's about as high as it gets. If I didn't have the money at the time when I bought it, I would otherwise be just fine without.
    Above all else however, my main reason for getting it was that after ordering, it's impossible to upgrade it yourself. Software is ever moving forward and should I need more for any reason it would shut a door.

    In any case, this is my experience. Whatever you decide, I'm sure the machine will suit you well and last along time.
     
  10. nirvanemesis thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2014
    #10
    Wow, this forum is really helpful to newbies. Since the minimum that comes on a 15" now is 16 GB, I decided to play it safe and get that model with no regrets. Thanks everyone!
     
  11. AppleMacFinder macrumors 6502a

    AppleMacFinder

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    Dec 7, 2009
    #11
    16GB is mandatory if you want to run one or more Virtual Machines. Some time after upgrading 4GB to 8GB at Early 2011 MBP I had to upgrade it further to 16 GB because even 8 GB was too restricting
     
  12. ixxx69 macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 31, 2009
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    United States
    #12
    While I agree that 16GB is the safer bet, be careful - your anecdotal experience does not = "mandatory". Yosemite will run fine with 4GB, and a Windows VM will run fine with 4GB. It's the apps that are running in the VM or concurrently in OS X that determine whether 16GB is mandatory.
     
  13. cairene2011 Guest

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2013
    #13
    I made the "misjudgment" to max out two previous Macbooks and in the end I stuck rather long to these machines, when they were already quite outdated (eg the screen on the MBA), had dying batteries or were overdue to be replaced, because they didn't meet my needs anymore. I stuck to each of them for 5+ years, because I had spent so much money on them that I knew I wouldn't get back in a resale.

    I would say that when 16GB RAM becomes obligatory (which imho is quite a few years in the future), this computer that you're looking to buy right now, will be possibly be quite outdated in terms of processing power, battery life, battery health, screen, weight... etc etc.
    At that point you could sell it on the second hand market for a nice amount of money (because you won't lose as much if you don't pay extra for upgrades now) and buy a brand-new machine that then will have the 16GB included.

    :)
     
  14. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #14
    What an excellent post!
    That is why I usually recommend sticking to the standard :apple: configurations.

    But a lot of folks feel compelled to waste $$$ on useless upgrades for "future proofing" just to later realize that that didn't work out as planned and then they have to buy a new machine anyway.
     
  15. cairene2011 Guest

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2013
    #15
    Imho there is nothing wrong with upgrades, when you're sure you need that power right now. I, for instance, put a 2.8GHz processor into my new baseline rMBP because I think it will greatly help with my weekly video rendering. "Future proofing", however, seems - ironically - like a really shortsighted reason to throw money on upgrades. Just sell and buy a brand spanking new machine once that future has caught up with you. ;)
     
  16. Count Blah macrumors 68030

    Count Blah

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    US of A
    #16
    Yes. If you are browsing, and getting emails, 16 will be a waste. If you have more than 1 VM running, have a demanding app/development suite in a single VM, or plan on having xcode up and running for a while with the ios device simulator continuously running, then you will kick yourself for spending $1500 on something that can't handle the job.

    So yes, a lot do. Comp Sci majors who also want to do some iOS programming, are more than likely to be in > 8 Gigs range, IMHO.
     
  17. cmm macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Location:
    Manhattan & Zürich
    #17
    You are telling me your memory usage is only 8%? How are you measuring that?
     

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