16GBs of RAM .. Worth it ??

NiCk-

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 11, 2007
174
90
Pretty much what the title says .. I'm planning to buy the 2.3GHZ model of the new retina MBP, but I can't decide if the extra RAM are worth it ..

I know that I won't be able to update them in the future (right?) and that is why I'm having difficulties on deciding ...

I intend to keep that computer for at least four years .. I don't use programmes that require large amounts of RAM, but I'm worried that 3 or 4 years down the road, 8GBs might not be enough even for simple tasks ..

What do you guys think ? Should I spent the extra money, or 8GBs will be just fine for me ??

Thanks in advance !
 

macduke

macrumors G4
Jun 27, 2007
10,704
14,316
Central U.S.
Four years is quite a long time. You never know what might come along by then. If I were you and weren't a designer/photographer/whatever I would probably get something less advanced since you're not using a lot of advanced programs. But if I were you and STILL wanted that retina screen (and who doesn't?) then I would future proof it—especially if waiting 4 years! And especially since you're dropping the cash already. Otherwise just MBA it up and upgrade earlier if you need to since it's cheaper anyway.
 

Macman45

macrumors G5
Jul 29, 2011
13,199
133
Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
The decision is yours in the end, but 8GB is ample from what you describe, but you are right when you say you have to choose at purchase time...Gone are the days when you can do it yourself down the line.

I'm not buying one myself, but if I was? I'll be honest with you, I would buy the extra RAM for future software that might need it...Four years is a long time in application development.

It sucks that they have soldered it to the logic board though, and I'm sticking with my 17" MBP, it's not my upgrade year and it's only 8 months old....Soon to be a rarity so I guess it's kind of a win win for me. Sad they ditched it though, but expected.
 

ennui613

macrumors member
Jun 11, 2012
54
0
Pretty much what the title says .. I'm planning to buy the 2.3GHZ model of the new retina MBP, but I can't decide if the extra RAM are worth it ..

I know that I won't be able to update them in the future (right?) and that is why I'm having difficulties on deciding ...

I intend to keep that computer for at least four years .. I don't use programmes that require large amounts of RAM, but I'm worried that 3 or 4 years down the road, 8GBs might not be enough even for simple tasks ..

What do you guys think ? Should I spent the extra money, or 8GBs will be just fine for me ??

Thanks in advance !
this is the same question i asked in another thread i made. i don't think there will be any simple tasks where 8GB of memory won't be sufficient. i had my current laptop for the last 5~6 years (only 2GB of RAM) and as long as you don't do anything that's CPU/RAM hungry, i think you'll be fine with 8GB. i've asked my personal friends this question, and asked a bunch of people on this board and most say 8GB.

but if you don't mind waiting possibly a week to 3 weeks, i would just upgrade to 16GB. it'll at least make u feel better and you won't go regretting or thinking if you've made a bad move or not.

i personally have ran out of patience and trying to convince myself to just go for the base model so i don't have to order online and wait a few weeks.
 

bhtooefr

macrumors regular
Feb 25, 2011
139
0
Newark, OH, USA
If it had spinning platters, I'd say 8 GiB would be fine, but honestly, with an SSD, I wouldn't get anything less than 16 GiB.

You want to do everything in your power to NOT swap. Yes, swap is far faster on an SSD, but it also wears it out a lot faster.
 
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mattopotamus

macrumors G5
Jun 12, 2012
13,338
3,523
If it had spinning platters, I'd say 8 GiB would be fine, but honestly, with an SSD, I wouldn't get anything less than 16 GiB.

You want to do everything in your power to NOT swap. Yes, swap is far faster on an SSD, but it also wears it out a lot faster.
I had 12gb in a desktop and cannot think of a single time where is was actually necessary for me to have that much. I mean my old pro had 4gb and i never felt "strapped" b.c of it
 

ennui613

macrumors member
Jun 11, 2012
54
0
If it had spinning platters, I'd say 8 GiB would be fine, but honestly, with an SSD, I wouldn't get anything less than 16 GiB.

You want to do everything in your power to NOT swap. Yes, swap is far faster on an SSD, but it also wears it out a lot faster.
can you explain what you mean with the whole SSD thing?
 

Chupa Chupa

macrumors G5
Jul 16, 2002
14,834
7,394
It was a tough decision for me too, mostly b/c it's not a cheap upgrade as most Apple upgrades are not. I ended up going w/16GB b/c it's a "now or never" situation and OSes seem to be getting more bloated every year. Min RAM for ML is 2GB! If you use Parallels or VMWare too 8GB goes fast. If anything when I go to sell in a year or so 16GB will certainly help to find more buyers than 8GB stock.
 

bhtooefr

macrumors regular
Feb 25, 2011
139
0
Newark, OH, USA
can you explain what you mean with the whole SSD thing?
SSDs only have a limited number of write cycles before a given sector is worn out, and it has to use other sectors. (SSDs also have wear leveling algorithms to try to spread the wear out around all the sectors, though.)

Eventually, it starts running out of spare sectors, and then the drive is useless.

On a modern OS (and even plenty of non-modern OSes - Mac OS has had swap space since System 7, for instance), when you run out of RAM, instead of giving an out of memory error, the OS "swaps" pages of RAM to disk... writing them to the SSD. Which is the one thing that you want to avoid the most on a SSD.

On a hard drive, writing doesn't wear the drive any more than normal use, although both reading and writing are slow, which is why swapping is so slow on a HDD system, but is safe.

I'm not familiar with how modern versions of Mac OS utilize RAM, but I'd guess 8 GiB will avoid swap in mild use, but start multitasking a lot or working with large media, and you'll hit swap.
 
Last edited:

ennui613

macrumors member
Jun 11, 2012
54
0
SSDs only have a limited number of write cycles before a given sector is worn out, and it has to use other sectors. (SSDs also have wear leveling algorithms to try to spread the wear out around all the sectors, though.)

Eventually, it starts running out of spare sectors, and then the drive is useless.

On a modern OS (and even plenty of non-modern OSes - Mac OS has had swap space since System 7, for instance), when you run out of RAM, instead of giving an out of memory error, the OS "swaps" pages of RAM to disk... writing them to the SSD. Which is the one thing that you want to avoid the most on a SSD.

On a hard drive, writing doesn't wear the drive any more than normal use, although both reading and writing are slow, which is why swapping is so slow on a HDD system, but is safe.

I'm not familiar with how modern versions of Mac OS utilize RAM, but I'd guess 8 GiB will avoid swap in mild use, but start multitasking a lot or working with large media, and you'll hit swap.
thanks for enlightening me. i never knew about this before. haven't really purchase new hardware in such a long time never done any deep research. so i guess i could say, although SSD's are superior to HDD in speed, but it's almost no different in its lifespan? i always had this impression SDD would be a lot more safe, less failures and will last a long longer compared to a HDD.
 

arctic

macrumors 6502a
Jun 18, 2008
632
1
It was a tough decision for me too, mostly b/c it's not a cheap upgrade as most Apple upgrades are not. I ended up going w/16GB b/c it's a "now or never" situation and OSes seem to be getting more bloated every year. Min RAM for ML is 2GB! If you use Parallels or VMWare too 8GB goes fast. If anything when I go to sell in a year or so 16GB will certainly help to find more buyers than 8GB stock.
This!!!

And developers will be recoding their apps to take advantage of the Retina resolution. I have a feeling that 8gb will feel limited down the line if you'll take advantage of the new software with retina support. Sad that these are soldered. There's no turning back on these so might as well do it now and forget about it rather than have the possibility of regret.
 

bhtooefr

macrumors regular
Feb 25, 2011
139
0
Newark, OH, USA
thanks for enlightening me. i never knew about this before. haven't really purchase new hardware in such a long time never done any deep research. so i guess i could say, although SSD's are superior to HDD in speed, but it's almost no different in its lifespan? i always had this impression SDD would be a lot more safe, less failures and will last a long longer compared to a HDD.
It depends on your usage model, really.

If you're writing a lot to disk, and care about longevity over speed, use spinning platters. Writing is "free" as far as lifespan on a spinning platters drive. That said, swapping is the main thing that will kill an SSD, other writing isn't that bad, you get hundreds of thousands of write cycles per sector nowadays.

If you're mostly reading from the disk, SSDs all the way. They're faster, and have no mechanical parts to wear out, so are far more reliable there (whereas a spinning platter drive is always wearing whenever it's spun up, and wearing even more when it's being stopped and started).
 

macduke

macrumors G4
Jun 27, 2007
10,704
14,316
Central U.S.
SSDs only have a limited number of write cycles before a given sector is worn out, and it has to use other sectors. (SSDs also have wear leveling algorithms to try to spread the wear out around all the sectors, though.)

Eventually, it starts running out of spare sectors, and then the drive is useless.

On a modern OS (and even plenty of non-modern OSes - Mac OS has had swap space since System 7, for instance), when you run out of RAM, instead of giving an out of memory error, the OS "swaps" pages of RAM to disk... writing them to the SSD. Which is the one thing that you want to avoid the most on a SSD.

On a hard drive, writing doesn't wear the drive any more than normal use, although both reading and writing are slow, which is why swapping is so slow on a HDD system, but is safe.

I'm not familiar with how modern versions of Mac OS utilize RAM, but I'd guess 8 GiB will avoid swap in mild use, but start multitasking a lot or working with large media, and you'll hit swap.
With wear-leveling, TRIM, new controllers and all kinds of other stuff SSDs last quite a long time nowadays. The Retina MacBook Pro uses the new Samsung 830 chips. I believe they're supposed to last at least 5 years. I trust SSD much more than any spinny disk I've ever used. Plus the blade-type SSD on this machine is supposed to be replaceable—in theory. Like on the Macbook Air with the OWC drives.
 

torana355

macrumors 68040
Dec 8, 2009
3,497
2,493
Sydney, Australia
8 gigs is plenty unless you are doing video editing, work on very large images or gaming. We only run 6 gigs on our 4,1 Mac Pros in a large prepress department and they are fine except for when we work on really big psd files then we get some page outs and swaps. I have 4 gigs in my personal 2008 imac and my 2011 MBA and it is more then enough for everyday usage. No need for 16gigs even for the next 4 years imo.
 

ennui613

macrumors member
Jun 11, 2012
54
0
ah... thanks for all the good info!!

i usually store personal files for the most part on external drives. so i should be okay. it's just the RAM part kind of made me back-track about getting the in-store base model. making me think i need to do the BTO 16GB upgrade... i think i'll just be patient, check out the system when it gets put on display and go from there... or do you guess don't think there's a need to play with it before buying? this is going to be my first mac so i don't have any experience...
 

mattopotamus

macrumors G5
Jun 12, 2012
13,338
3,523
8 gigs is plenty unless you are doing video editing, work to very large images or gaming. We only run 6 gigs on our 4,1 Mac Pros in a large prepress department and they are fine except for when we work on really big psd files. I have 4 gigs in my personal 2008 imac and my 2011 MBA and it is more then enough for everyday usage. No need for 16gigs even for the next 4 years imo.
even with gaming 8 will be plenty
 

torana355

macrumors 68040
Dec 8, 2009
3,497
2,493
Sydney, Australia
even with gaming 8 will be plenty
Yeah you are probably right, im not a huge gamer on pc's, i game on consoles so im not 100% sure how much ram games are using these days.

----------

ah... thanks for all the good info!!

i usually store personal files for the most part on external drives. so i should be okay. it's just the RAM part kind of made me back-track about getting the in-store base model. making me think i need to do the BTO 16GB upgrade... i think i'll just be patient, check out the system when it gets put on display and go from there... or do you guess don't think there's a need to play with it before buying? this is going to be my first mac so i don't have any experience...
Honestly running 16gigs on a personal machine is a bit of a wank. 8 Gigs is more then plenty unless you are doing real video or photo editing. Save your cash and use it for Applecare or some adapters ect.
 

OneMike

macrumors 603
Oct 19, 2005
5,643
1,560
I'd go for 16GB. Programs aside there will be OS updates in the next 4 years. Although memory management should improve. I see the requirements going up, not down. Better to have and not need then need and not have. I'd go for 16.
 

torana355

macrumors 68040
Dec 8, 2009
3,497
2,493
Sydney, Australia
I am amazed at the amount of people recommending 16gigs of memory. Running only 6 gigs in a prepress workhorse Mac pro and get Zero Page outs and swaps on 99% of work we do in a professional environment says it all. 8 gigs is MORE then enough by a long way aswell.
 

superx

macrumors member
Aug 8, 2005
43
0
Reason I got 16 gigs for me.

I do rendering in 3d application, composting, editing etc.

I have to have most programs open at the same time.


Also with SSD you do not want to read write to the drive so much or you will wear down your drive faster.
 
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