16GB or 32GB of RAM for developer

scorpious74

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 20, 2010
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0
I am looking to buy a new Macbook Pro and I'm stuck on if I should get 32gb of ram or just 16gb.

I primarily do web and application development without tons of VM's.

If there are other developers here, I really like to hear your thoughts and opinions on if 16gb is enough or is 32gb really needed.
 

mdbradigan

macrumors regular
Oct 28, 2014
122
224
Nashville, TN area
16GB should be fine for development without a ton of VM's. For Web Dev (am part-time, wife is full-time), 16GB is plenty. For app development, shouldn't be an issue either, unless you're doing massive projects or lots of virtualization.
 
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zhenya

macrumors 604
Jan 6, 2005
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What does the machine you are working on now have? What does the memory usage look like during your typical workflow?
 

sosumi99

macrumors 6502
Oct 27, 2003
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16 GB will be more than enough for you. There's no reason to get the 32.
 

zhenya

macrumors 604
Jan 6, 2005
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Agreed. If you are currently working with 8GB, 16GB should be more than enough. If you aren't sure how close to the edge you are currently, check the Memory Pressure under Activity Monitor. If it's green during your most strenuous work then you aren't even going to see an advantage going to 16GB.
 

igorpreston

macrumors newbie
Sep 9, 2018
20
1
16GB is just simply not enough for me. I have a project in docker which requires 8GB RAM to run. I am doing Ruby development and running Chrome, Safari, Docker, Atom as a text editor, RubyMine as an IDE, Vim for code editing. I cap at around up to 22GB RAM just for this single prject with specified set of tools I’m using iMac with 64GB RAM and seriously considering 32GB MBP for portable machine development. And I plan on working on a second project simultaneously so 32GB RAM is an absolute must.
 
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Macbookprodude

macrumors 6502a
Jan 1, 2018
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ЗША
16GB, there is very few use cases that justify the upgrade to 32GB
Speaking of 32GB, when do you think this will become standard where 16GB won't work anymore ? I have a 2011, soon to be 2012 non-retina MacBook Pro and want to know this question, since I can't afford a 2018 MBP.
 

Sterkenburg

macrumors 6502
Oct 27, 2016
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For your usage, 16GB will be more than enough for the foreseeable future. Specialized users who actually need 32GB generally know that they do and why.

Speaking of 32GB, when do you think this will become standard where 16GB won't work anymore ? I have a 2011, soon to be 2012 non-retina MacBook Pro and want to know this question, since I can't afford a 2018 MBP.
For general users, not anytime soon, and certainly not during the lifetime of a laptop bought today.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
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Boston
Speaking of 32GB, when do you think this will become standard where 16GB won't work anymore ? I have a 2011, soon to be 2012 non-retina MacBook Pro and want to know this question, since I can't afford a 2018 MBP.
I think that is so far off in the future, you won't have to worry about it.
 

grad

macrumors 6502
Jun 2, 2014
269
318
Do NOT make the mistake of getting less RAM than you can. Never. Go for 32GB.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
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This debate has happened with 1 GB or 2GB. 4GB or 8GB.
The differences however the technology was changing at fast pace back then. There's been very little change in technology now that would require so much ram. I mean, do you think Photoshop, Lightroom, or any other app will suddenly need 32GB of ram?

I understand the perspective but why spend money on something that is not needed. My iMac going on four years old, has 8GB of ram and hasn't had any issues.
 

grad

macrumors 6502
Jun 2, 2014
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Lots of people made the mistake of getting those unexpandable 4GB RAM macbooks when 8GB was an option. They were killing them on ebay short after. For me, it's difficult to work sequentially with just one application open. Not only do I appreciate the extra RAM or CPU cores, but also the extra monitors/workspace.
 

960design

macrumors 68030
Apr 17, 2012
2,987
937
Destin, FL
I am looking to buy a new Macbook Pro and I'm stuck on if I should get 32gb of ram or just 16gb.

I primarily do web and application development without tons of VM's.

If there are other developers here, I really like to hear your thoughts and opinions on if 16gb is enough or is 32gb really needed.
As everyone else has mentioned. 16GB is plenty, even future proof for web application development.
[doublepost=1539004590][/doublepost]
16GB is just simply not enough for me. I have a project in docker which requires 8GB RAM to run. I am doing Ruby development and running Chrome, Safari, Docker, Atom as a text editor, RubyMine as an IDE, Vim for code editing. I cap at around up to 22GB RAM just for this single prject with specified set of tools I’m using iMac with 64GB RAM and seriously considering 32GB MBP for portable machine development. And I plan on working on a second project simultaneously so 32GB RAM is an absolute must.
The OP was asking if 16GB was enough for web application development. It is.

Please contact Docker forums for assistance with memory overflow issues that have been reported since 2014, this is why many have moved away from it. Ruby also has a history of massive memory usage. Please be conscientious of your end users ( I am sure you are. You are just trapped in a storm of regret, because nobody uses Ruby voluntarily ).
 

cram501

macrumors regular
Feb 15, 2016
136
170
Ashburn, VA
If you're a developer, always get the most that you can afford. You can always suffer with too much memory. You might not be able to last with less.
 

Premal212

macrumors regular
Jan 26, 2017
185
69
London UK
If you are pushing around 12gb or more right now, I would definitely go for the 32gb. I use After Effects and Illustrator for my workstream and jumping from 16gb to 32gb has massively changed the performance. Granted the SSD is very quick for page filing, that extra 16gb just means all my background programs can run happily on 8gb, leaving the other 24 for my design programs.

If you are floating around 8gb right now, 16gb will last you for a good few years still, you can always kerb back your habits to give you another few more years on top of that. The last thing you want is to start kerbing your habits from next year. That would be a waste
 

BornAgainMac

macrumors 603
Feb 4, 2004
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Florida Resident
The differences however the technology was changing at fast pace back then. There's been very little change in technology now that would require so much ram. I mean, do you think Photoshop, Lightroom, or any other app will suddenly need 32GB of ram?

I understand the perspective but why spend money on something that is not needed. My iMac going on four years old, has 8GB of ram and hasn't had any issues.
What about VMs? Developers can build a test machine to test out their app under different operating systems and configurations. Not just desktop operating systems but server operating systems running SQL Server / Oracle / WebLogic / Tomcat and with cluster configurations. 32 GB is needed here.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
66,690
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Boston
What about VMs?
No question if a person runs multiple VMs simultaneously 32 GB is useful, but in the OP's use case he clearly stated he's not running a ton of VMs:

I primarily do web and application development without tons of VM's.
Again so many people opt for 32GB just to be safe, but the current state of software is such that most will never use that much ram. Yes, there are people who do need 32GB, but the vast majority of people don't need that much
 

macagain

macrumors 6502
Jan 1, 2002
290
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Just monitor your ram usage in your normal workflow... you want to be avoiding swap as much as possible. I got 32 and usually see about 8-12 free in my everyday use, so 32 was clearly a good move. I usual have Eclipse (and tomcat from within), Webstorm, Chrome, Safari, iTunes, Mail, Calendar, Messages running.
 

scorpious74

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 20, 2010
18
0
Usually I will have at most Chrome, mail, Spotify, sublime text, Terminal, and maybe Sketch open at one time.

I loaded everything up on my 2011 MBP with 8gb of ram and took a look at Activity Monitor. Everything was still in the green.

I tried to stop using serious memory hog applications, as much as possible, like Adobe stuff and Microsoft crap.

With the new 6 core processor and SSD drives, I’m thinking the standard 16gb of ram will be enough.

I have looked at Windows machines, but I just don’t see them as good local development machines like the Macs are. Plus having to buy all new software, relearn ****, and not throw up every time I load Windows 10.

So I’m thinking about going with the 15 MBP 2.2GHZ, 256 SSD, and 16gb of ram. I am just hoping not to get that wonderful “buyer’s remorse” feeling
 

scorpious74

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 20, 2010
18
0
And I assume that if I buy the 16gb model I can’t upgrade to 32gb later if I do need it?
 
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