2018 MBP with 8 GB Ram or 2018 MBA with 16?

Alhagar

macrumors regular
Original poster
Apr 19, 2015
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I know this issue has been discussed to death, but as I was speci’ing out a MBA I became alarmed at how quickly things got expensive.

I decided to check the refurbished sales at Apple.com and found a 2018 base processor MBP with 512 ssd for LESS than the MBA I was about the buy. The only downside is that the MBP only has 8 GB of ram.

I am an academic and do mostly word processing, PowerPoint presentations and the like. Will I be hamstrung in a few years because I got a MBP with only 8 GB of RAM?

https://www.apple.com/us-hed/shop/p...-Intel-Core-i5-with-Retina-display-Space-Gray

I realize that the answer to my question may be not to buy either. Thoughts?
 

IngerMan

macrumors 68000
Feb 21, 2011
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That’s simple. The 2018 MBP 13” with 8gb of ram blows the drawers off the 2018 MBA with 16GB of ram. It’s not even close or in the same class.
 

Alhagar

macrumors regular
Original poster
Apr 19, 2015
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Thanks. I know it is a better machine. But my question is, will I regret getting a MBP with only 8 GB of ram? As you know, on the refurbished store you get what you get. The machine I’m looking at is $1700. The next 2018 13 inch MBP on the refurbished site has 16 GB or RAM but only a 256 GB SSD and that is $1950.
 

tamara6

macrumors regular
Apr 28, 2004
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it depends on if you want to keep everything open at once or not. I got the 16 GB because I tend to keep lots of tabs open in safari and lots of applications as well. Right now I have only 3 safari tabs, but my email is open, Word is open with 4 documents, powerpoint is open with 7 presentations, excel is open with one small spreadsheet, slack is open (but hidden), preview is open with 3 documents, and bbedit is open with one. And I have 5 spaces going with all these things. My ram usage is between 10 and 11 GB. But I know that's how I work and I want to be able to keep all this stuff open. That's why I got the 16 GB upgrade.

If you keep fewer things open all the time, then you should be fine with 8 GB. But if you are not planning to need the more powerful processor in the MBP, then I think getting the Air with 16GB would be a good choice. What are you using the processor for? Are you going to be running Mathematica or editing video? Because I'm not sure that the 4 core processor is needed if your only heavy lifting is creating powerpoints - even if you plan to keep it for 5 years.
 

Alhagar

macrumors regular
Original poster
Apr 19, 2015
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94
it depends on if you want to keep everything open at once or not. I got the 16 GB because I tend to keep lots of tabs open in safari and lots of applications as well. Right now I have only 3 safari tabs, but my email is open, Word is open with 4 documents, powerpoint is open with 7 presentations, excel is open with one small spreadsheet, slack is open (but hidden), preview is open with 3 documents, and bbedit is open with one. And I have 5 spaces going with all these things. My ram usage is between 10 and 11 GB. But I know that's how I work and I want to be able to keep all this stuff open. That's why I got the 16 GB upgrade.

If you keep fewer things open all the time, then you should be fine with 8 GB. But if you are not planning to need the more powerful processor in the MBP, then I think getting the Air with 16GB would be a good choice. What are you using the processor for? Are you going to be running Mathematica or editing video? Because I'm not sure that the 4 core processor is needed if your only heavy lifting is creating powerpoints - even if you plan to keep it for 5 years.
Thanks. My work flow sounds a lot like yours, which my 2017 MBA with 8 GB of RAM (which I would hand down to one of my kids) handles fine. A MBA with the same size SSD and 16 GB of RAM is $100 more than the refurbished MBP I linked to. I’m not sure I need the CPU, but I would enjoy the extra ports, the brighter screen, the wide gamut and true-tone display. I know that the Touch Bar has gotten mixed reviews but I think I would enjoy for media playback and simple photo edits..
 

Alhagar

macrumors regular
Original poster
Apr 19, 2015
236
94
I think you've answered your question, then :)
Except that I worry about the 8GB of RAM! You say that your set up uses between 10 and 11 GB of RAM. I have read on these forums and elsewhere that Macs will use much of the RAM that is available, which would explain why I can have a similar workflow with only 8 GB of RAM. On this RAM issue in particular there seems to be so much contradictory advice. If only Apple still made more of its machines with upgradable RAM....

I think that my dilemma is in a way a symptom of the mess that is Apple’s laptop line at the moment...
 

IngerMan

macrumors 68000
Feb 21, 2011
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Macs will use much of the RAM that is available, which would explain why I can have a similar workflow with only 8 GB of RAM
Correct. Check your memory pressure in activity monitor on your 2017 MBA with all the tabs and apps you have open. If its green then you're good with 8GB of Ram.
 
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Alhagar

macrumors regular
Original poster
Apr 19, 2015
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The dilemma seems to have solved itself nicely. I just noticed on the refurbished store a 2018 MBP for $1699 that is 16GB of RAM but with only a 256 SSD. I can live with less storeage since I have a 1tb ssd on an iMac. Thanks IngerMan and tamara6 for your input and advice.
 
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Friarchuck

macrumors member
Nov 7, 2016
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The dilemma seems to have solved itself nicely. I just noticed on the refurbished store a 2018 MBP for $1699 that is 16GB of RAM but with only a 256 SSD. I can live with less storeage since I have a 1tb ssd on an iMac. Thanks IngerMan and tamara6 for your input and advice.
You scored an awesome deal then, because currently the 2018 MBP with 8gb/256gb is on the refurb store for 1779.
 

IngerMan

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Feb 21, 2011
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You scored an awesome deal then, because currently the 2018 MBP with 8gb/256gb is on the refurb store for 1779.
They go thru the stock quickly. You're quoting the i7 where his was the i5. Im sure it will come back, but you have to be quick.
 
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