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2020 13" MacBook Pro 16gb vs 32gb. Which to buy?

jtmoney7

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 12, 2020
3
0
United States
Hey all!

I am facing a dilemma and cannot make up my mind on which 2020 13" macbook pro model to order. I have my eyes set on the i5/16gb ram/512gb ssd, $1800 configuration. If I decide to go with 32gb of ram, I might as well upgrade the cpu to 2.3ghz and 1tb of storage. I am not a power user by any means, but with how expensive these macbooks are, I want to purchase the best model possible so it will last for years to come. If I go with 16gb will I regret not getting 32gb later? Some say 16gb is slowly becoming the standard. If I go with 32gb, would that be unnecessary and overkill? Is it just a waste of money or is it an investment? I plan on using the laptop for video editing in both 1080p and 4k.

This is a difficult choice for me because as I don't want to end up making the wrong decision. Money is not really an issue but I also don't want to spend the extra money if I don't need to. I will be getting the 13 inch model as the 16 inch is too big for me.

What do you guys think? Go with 16gb or 32gb?

Thanks!
 
Last edited:

chabig

macrumors 604
Sep 6, 2002
7,323
4,580
I want to purchase the best model possible so it will last for years to come.
Forget that. Buy what you need now. By the time you feel constrained, much better machines will be available. Normally I’d say 16 is fine, but since you’re editing 4K video, I think you can justify 32GB if you want to. It shouldn’t be necessary though.
 
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Sunshower

macrumors newbie
Jun 16, 2018
25
20
UK
Stick with 16gb I'd say, that's going to be a nice sweet spot for the next 5 years. Configuring a laptop is like baking a cake - you want the right balance of ingredients and 32gb would be overkill based on the power/usage of a 13-inch Pro. Unless money is no object of course, but I feel 32gb is more suited for the 16-inch.
 
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Andy012

macrumors newbie
Aug 10, 2020
4
0
I’ve decided to go with 16gb. Thank you both!
Hey, what’s your experience so far? I’m in the same situation... and need to decide fast.

I have a 2017 13” MBP non touchbar, i5 dual core, 8gb, 256ssd, and need an upgrade.

I will be using it for Chrome and Safari, at least 25-30 tabs open (some heavy pages which consume memory), Zoom meetings, screen sharing, and Facebook lives with screen sharing, most times always connected to a 31.5” 4K LG monitor.

My existing MBP handles all the above but fan is almost always on, sometimes throttles too.

Was thinking about the M1 but changed my mind lol. Kind of sick of the one fan...

Any advice will be appreciated!
Thank you!
 

applefan19

macrumors member
Sep 26, 2019
98
24
Hey all!

I am facing a dilemma and cannot make up my mind on which 2020 13" macbook pro model to order. I have my eyes set on the i5/16gb ram/512gb ssd, $1800 configuration. If I decide to go with 32gb of ram, I might as well upgrade the cpu to 2.3ghz and 1tb of storage. I am not a power user by any means, but with how expensive these macbooks are, I want to purchase the best model possible so it will last for years to come. If I go with 16gb will I regret not getting 32gb later? Some say 16gb is slowly becoming the standard. If I go with 32gb, would that be unnecessary and overkill? Is it just a waste of money or is it an investment? I plan on using the laptop for video editing in both 1080p and 4k.

This is a difficult choice for me because as I don't want to end up making the wrong decision. Money is not really an issue but I also don't want to spend the extra money if I don't need to. I will be getting the 13 inch model as the 16 inch is too big for me.

What do you guys think? Go with 16gb or 32gb?

Thanks!
Upgrade CPU and RAM to 16 GB.
 

kodabear

macrumors newbie
Sep 5, 2020
29
6
Hey all!

I am facing a dilemma and cannot make up my mind on which 2020 13" macbook pro model to order. I have my eyes set on the i5/16gb ram/512gb ssd, $1800 configuration. If I decide to go with 32gb of ram, I might as well upgrade the cpu to 2.3ghz and 1tb of storage. I am not a power user by any means, but with how expensive these macbooks are, I want to purchase the best model possible so it will last for years to come. If I go with 16gb will I regret not getting 32gb later? Some say 16gb is slowly becoming the standard. If I go with 32gb, would that be unnecessary and overkill? Is it just a waste of money or is it an investment? I plan on using the laptop for video editing in both 1080p and 4k.

This is a difficult choice for me because as I don't want to end up making the wrong decision. Money is not really an issue but I also don't want to spend the extra money if I don't need to. I will be getting the 13 inch model as the 16 inch is too big for me.

What do you guys think? Go with 16gb or 32gb?

Thanks!
I suggest you look at the refurb store. The savings is 15% and in my case the savings paid for the 32GB ram. For $2039 you can get the 2.3 GHz, 32GB Ram, 512 SSD.
 

thunng8

macrumors 6502a
Feb 8, 2006
902
285
Hey, what’s your experience so far? I’m in the same situation... and need to decide fast.

I have a 2017 13” MBP non touchbar, i5 dual core, 8gb, 256ssd, and need an upgrade.

I will be using it for Chrome and Safari, at least 25-30 tabs open (some heavy pages which consume memory), Zoom meetings, screen sharing, and Facebook lives with screen sharing, most times always connected to a 31.5” 4K LG monitor.

My existing MBP handles all the above but fan is almost always on, sometimes throttles too.

Was thinking about the M1 but changed my mind lol. Kind of sick of the one fan...

Any advice will be appreciated!
Thank you!
Not really sure about your one fan comment. The m1 doesn’t need an extra fan and still runs cooler and faster.

For your uses the m1 is a much better buy. It is much faster and has much better battery life. Only get the intel model if you need to run bootcamp or windows virtualised.
 

Andy012

macrumors newbie
Aug 10, 2020
4
0
Not really sure about your one fan comment. The m1 doesn’t need an extra fan and still runs cooler and faster.

For your uses the m1 is a much better buy. It is much faster and has much better battery life. Only get the intel model if you need to run bootcamp or windows virtualised.
Thanks for your comment!

Have you used both? Not sure about the M1 as it's first gen machine... Already seeing issues with it here on the forum.
 

thunng8

macrumors 6502a
Feb 8, 2006
902
285
Thanks for your comment!

Have you used both? Not sure about the M1 as it's first gen machine... Already seeing issues with it here on the forum.
What issues? There aren’t any widespread issues. No, I haven’t used both as I am not in the market to buy at the moment, but you can watch any number of videos and see the m1 running rings around any 13” intel MacBook Pro. Even the fanless MacBook Air is also much much faster than a maxed out 13” i7 intel model. I wouldn’t buy an intel model right now except is you really need to run Windows. It is a dead end and a lot slower, is noisier, uses much more energy and has much less battery life.

note that you do not even need to wait for optimized apps. For most intel apps, even running Rosetta 2, the m1 is faster.

The m1 is even faster in most things than the 16” intel model with discrete graphics.

a couple of videos you can watch here. Note the below is against the 8th gen, but the 10th gen intel is only marginally faster than the 8th gen


Another one against the 16”

 
Last edited:

Darkseth

macrumors newbie
Aug 28, 2020
6
1
Thanks for your comment!

Have you used both? Not sure about the M1 as it's first gen machine... Already seeing issues with it here on the forum.
I've had both here. The Intel model 1,5 Months ago was the 4-Port 10th Gen model, base configuration, which my GF also has.

The M1 is faster. By alot. It's not just about Benchmark numbers (but even then, it destroys it). Even Applications with Rosetta are faster or at least as fast as the Intel 10th gen.
Battery Life is BY FAR better. It's so consistent, while the Intel models are just okay during nothing, but sip battery empty like nothing.
The Performance difference also comes from:
- optimization of Software to Apple Silicon
- Unified Memory. Ram is much closer to the CPU, so Swapping is incredible. I have almost zero swap on my 16gb, but people are surprised just how much the 8gb Version can do with swap. You almost never notice it, even with 4k Video edit. So in other Words: 16gb in a M1 Macbook can do more, than 16gb on an Intel macbook.

Reviewers all had the same result: The M1 with 8gb Ram is MUCH faster in 4k Videoedit than every Intel Macbook Pro 13".

Check if your Applications work on M1. Native, Or with Rosetta, doesn't matter. If it runs, it will run well. And then there is no reason to get an intel macbook anymore, tbh.

Oh yea, i haven't talked about the Heat yet. There is almost no heat on my M1 Macbook Pro. Even during 10 min Cinebench it was simply slightly warmer, and Fan was still very quiet. Audible, but quiet.
And i even used "Turbo Boost Switcher", to disable the Turbo Boost, so my Intel one was stuck to 2 ghz. Enough for everyday usage, but even then it can't remotely compete with the M1's battery life, efficiency, and heat output.
 
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Andy012

macrumors newbie
Aug 10, 2020
4
0
I've had both here. The Intel model 1,5 Months ago was the 4-Port 10th Gen model, base configuration, which my GF also has.

The M1 is faster. By alot. It's not just about Benchmark numbers (but even then, it destroys it). Even Applications with Rosetta are faster or at least as fast as the Intel 10th gen.
Battery Life is BY FAR better. It's so consistent, while the Intel models are just okay during nothing, but sip battery empty like nothing.
The Performance difference also comes from:
- optimization of Software to Apple Silicon
- Unified Memory. Ram is much closer to the CPU, so Swapping is incredible. I have almost zero swap on my 16gb, but people are surprised just how much the 8gb Version can do with swap. You almost never notice it, even with 4k Video edit. So in other Words: 16gb in a M1 Macbook can do more, than 16gb on an Intel macbook.

Reviewers all had the same result: The M1 with 8gb Ram is MUCH faster in 4k Videoedit than every Intel Macbook Pro 13".

Check if your Applications work on M1. Native, Or with Rosetta, doesn't matter. If it runs, it will run well. And then there is no reason to get an intel macbook anymore, tbh.

Oh yea, i haven't talked about the Heat yet. There is almost no heat on my M1 Macbook Pro. Even during 10 min Cinebench it was simply slightly warmer, and Fan was still very quiet. Audible, but quiet.
And i even used "Turbo Boost Switcher", to disable the Turbo Boost, so my Intel one was stuck to 2 ghz. Enough for everyday usage, but even then it can't remotely compete with the M1's battery life, efficiency, and heat output.

Thank you so much for this!!! :)
 
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