256 GB SSD or 16 GB RAM? 2017 MacBook Pro No Touch Bar

Which one would you choose?

  • 256 GB SSD

    Votes: 20 62.5%
  • 16 GB RAM

    Votes: 12 37.5%

  • Total voters
    32

asoksevil

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 7, 2010
473
153
Taipei, Taiwan
So I just purchased a new MacBook Pro 13" no Touch Bar with an i7, 16 GB RAM and 128 GB SSD.

I will mainly use this machine for college (management), couple of PDFs, excel, word, powerpoint, light casual gaming (Blizzard games), web browsing, Spotify, and photoshop. I won't be using virtual machines nor boot camp.

I read tons of RAM threads were most of them recommended getting 16 GB of RAM because you were "future proofing" yourself. So I pulled the trigger and went with it, knowing that I might be able to add more SSD in the future because it is removable on the nTB.

Now, after moving all my stuff inside, I realize I have 20-40 GB of remaining storage and I am starting to have some buyers remorse... because I feel the 16 GB of RAM are not noticeable for any of the tasks I do.

Any thoughts? I am still in my 14 day return period...

Thanks!
 

Jamalogo10

macrumors member
Jun 13, 2017
89
32
After originally reading this I thought update the SSD. 128gb is absolutely ridiculous. The i7 is not worth the $280 and the 8% speed boost unless you really want the most powerful nTB machine.

Get the i5, 256/512 ssd and 16 gb of ram.
 

AFEPPL

macrumors 68030
Sep 30, 2014
2,644
1,570
England
Depends....

The last device i got, i had to make a compromise too, I selected the 1TB option then the biggest CPU and that meant i could only get 8GB option. Biggest mistake ever! I also have a previous year model rMBP the 3.0Ghz i7 with 16GB (not the 3.1Ghz) and it just runs much better than the 8GB version.

As above the CPU makes very little difference and i would drop that first for sure. 256/16GB sounds good to me.
 

New_Mac_Smell

macrumors 68000
Oct 17, 2016
1,927
1,544
Shanghai
Absolutely upgrade the SSD and leave the RAM at 8GB. Ideally you want 512GB SSD/16GB RAM, or 256GB SSD/8GB RAM, so there is no necessary bottleneck. For your use, 256GB SSD sounds a minimum whereas 16GB RAM is overkill.

And do ignore that CPU upgrade, not worth it for majority of buyers. If you are unsure whether you need it or not then you simply don't need it. Price wise you'd probably be better off moving to the 13" TB model, as it has a better CPU to begin with.
 
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psymps

macrumors member
Aug 12, 2017
46
16
England
So I just purchased a new MacBook Pro 13" no Touch Bar with an i7, 16 GB RAM and 128 GB SSD.

I will mainly use this machine for college (management), couple of PDFs, excel, word, powerpoint, light casual gaming (Blizzard games), web browsing, Spotify, and photoshop. I won't be using virtual machines nor boot camp.

I read tons of RAM threads were most of them recommended getting 16 GB of RAM because you were "future proofing" yourself. So I pulled the trigger and went with it, knowing that I might be able to add more SSD in the future because it is removable on the nTB.

Now, after moving all my stuff inside, I realize I have 20-40 GB of remaining storage and I am starting to have some buyers remorse... because I feel the 16 GB of RAM are not noticeable for any of the tasks I do.

Any thoughts? I am still in my 14 day return period...

Thanks!
I'd say exchange your model for the i5 model nTB and try and get the 256GB SSD if you can. Also, 8GB of RAM will be fine for your consumption, as you won't be using virtual machines.

The fact is is that both the i5 and i7 are dual core CPU's for the 13 inch nTB model so you won't get a noticeable gain in performance going with the i7 especially for your usage.
 

asoksevil

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 7, 2010
473
153
Taipei, Taiwan
After originally reading this I thought update the SSD. 128gb is absolutely ridiculous. The i7 is not worth the $280 and the 8% speed boost unless you really want the most powerful nTB machine.

Get the i5, 256/512 ssd and 16 gb of ram.
Depends....

The last device i got, i had to make a compromise too, I selected the 1TB option then the biggest CPU and that meant i could only get 8GB option. Biggest mistake ever! I also have a previous year model rMBP the 3.0Ghz i7 with 16GB (not the 3.1Ghz) and it just runs much better than the 8GB version.

As above the CPU makes very little difference and i would drop that first for sure. 256/16GB sounds good to me.
Thanks for the message! While 128 GB seems absolutely the bare minimum, 256 GB is plenty so more SSD wouldn't matter... that's why I decided to put more sources on the CPU (I wanna keep this machine for 7 years or more) and not on the RAM because 16 GB seems too much for my needs.
[doublepost=1502976335][/doublepost]
Absolutely upgrade the SSD and leave the RAM at 8GB. Ideally you want 512GB SSD/16GB RAM, or 256GB SSD/8GB RAM, so there is no necessary bottleneck. For your use, 256GB SSD sounds a minimum whereas 16GB RAM is overkill.

And do ignore that CPU upgrade, not worth it for majority of buyers. If you are unsure whether you need it or not then you simply don't need it. Price wise you'd probably be better off moving to the 13" TB model, as it has a better CPU to begin with.
I don't like the TB version because it doesn't have physical function keys and smaller and less battery life. You seem to be suggesting getting 16 GB of RAM over the i7 CPU?

I'd say exchange your model for the i5 model nTB and try and get the 256GB SSD if you can. Also, 8GB of RAM will be fine for your consumption, as you won't be using virtual machines.

The fact is is that both the i5 and i7 are dual core CPU's for the 13 inch nTB model so you won't get a noticeable gain in performance going with the i7 especially for your usage.
Thanks, I saw some benchmarks that left the nTB i7 on par or better than the TB a(geekbench) and under sustained load, it would throttle down to 3.4/3.6 GHz from 4.0 GHz which is still similar to what the i5 TB version offers.
 

jerryk

macrumors 603
Nov 3, 2011
5,697
2,846
SF Bay Area
Yes. 128GB is too small. Even doing the same things day after day, you accumulate data. So over time your memory requirements can stay the same, but the data storage requirement grows and grows.
 
Last edited:

TechZeke

macrumors 68020
Jul 29, 2012
2,373
2,025
San Antonio, TX
Unless you plan on using Virtual Machines or do something like 4K Video editing, you won't need 16GB of RAM. My 15" rMBP, iMac, and even the Surface Pro 4 I had all have 8GB of RAM and never noticed a slow down. Heck my current work computer is only 4GB, and its surprisingly works well for general tasks. The HDD slows my work computer down more than anything. RAM usage has pretty much stagnated for the last half decade.

On the flip side, running out of storage is going to be instantly noticeable the second you run out. Then that 16GB of RAM won't mean anything.
 

Patcell

macrumors 6502
Aug 8, 2016
466
203
Bergen County, NJ
I would definitely prioritize the 256GB SSD over 16GB RAM on that machine. 128 is really a bare minimum and I tend to think you will experience more headache over running out of storage vs. insufficient RAM. I personally think 8GB is sufficient by today's standards especially with how well macOS manages memory usage. My wife is a professional photographer and does a LOT of photo editing with Lightroom and Photoshop on her 13" rMBP with 8GB RAM and never has an issue.
 

asoksevil

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 7, 2010
473
153
Taipei, Taiwan
Unless you plan on using Virtual Machines or do something like 4K Video editing, you won't need 16GB of RAM. My 15" rMBP, iMac, and even the Surface Pro 4 I had all have 8GB of RAM and never noticed a slow down. Heck my current work computer is only 4GB, and its surprisingly works well for general tasks. The HDD slows my work computer down more than anything. RAM usage has pretty much stagnated for the last half decade.

On the flip side, running out of storage is going to be instantly noticeable the second you run out. Then that 16GB of RAM won't mean anything.
I would definitely prioritize the 256GB SSD over 16GB RAM on that machine. 128 is really a bare minimum and I tend to think you will experience more headache over running out of storage vs. insufficient RAM. I personally think 8GB is sufficient by today's standards especially with how well macOS manages memory usage. My wife is a professional photographer and does a LOT of photo editing with Lightroom and Photoshop on her 13" rMBP with 8GB RAM and never has an issue.
Thank you for all your messages, that's very reassuring news coming from professionals.

I just ordered the new one and this one will be on its way back.
 
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joefoong79

macrumors regular
Jun 23, 2017
176
32
So I just purchased a new MacBook Pro 13" no Touch Bar with an i7, 16 GB RAM and 128 GB SSD.

I will mainly use this machine for college (management), couple of PDFs, excel, word, powerpoint, light casual gaming (Blizzard games), web browsing, Spotify, and photoshop. I won't be using virtual machines nor boot camp.

I read tons of RAM threads were most of them recommended getting 16 GB of RAM because you were "future proofing" yourself. So I pulled the trigger and went with it, knowing that I might be able to add more SSD in the future because it is removable on the nTB.

Now, after moving all my stuff inside, I realize I have 20-40 GB of remaining storage and I am starting to have some buyers remorse... because I feel the 16 GB of RAM are not noticeable for any of the tasks I do.

Any thoughts? I am still in my 14 day return period...

Thanks!
128gb??? My mbp just the operating system and app already took me 70gb plus parallels desktop another 30gb. 128gb is not gonna enough. At least 256gb will be quite sufficient enough for this day.
 

ZapNZs

macrumors 68020
Jan 23, 2017
2,310
1,155
If you plan to keep this model for 7 years, I think both the storage and the RAM should take priority over the CPU. If we look at previous MacBook Pros from 7 years ago, the biggest limitations are generally the GPU, the local disk size/speed, and the RAM. CPUs on even the 2011 models are still plenty capable of meeting standard-use needs for most Users, but the GPU and the factory RAM amount and/or storage speed/size are often limiting factors. Where as the CPU and GPU were not and are not upgradable, the RAM and SSD were back in 2010/11 - this no longer holds true*. Consequently, if you are buying for that long of a period, more than 256 GB of storage and 16 GB of RAM are arguably higher priorities over the CPU.

Additionally, larger SSDs will usually have longer lifespans (and faster write speeds) - this tends to hold especially true when a smaller SSD is near full-capacity, which is sometimes marked by SSD slowdowns and accelerated wear. With the Samsung 960 PRO, for example, (which is one of the best consumer-grade m.2 NVMe SSDs available) the write limits for the 512 GB size SSD is 400 TB, 1,000 GB size SSD is 800 TB, and 2,000 GB size SSD is 1,200 TB - with the former 950 PRO, the write limit for the 256 GB size was 200 TB - the significance of this can depend on one's usage. With the ability to utilize high-speed, low-cost USB 3.1 gen 2 external SSDs, the smaller 256 GB size can be offset if using an external drive is convenient.

(*for practical reasons, I think we should consider even the nTB's removable SSD to be non-upgradable given third party options may never exist, finding reliable sources for OEM Apple SSDs may be near impossible, and even if reliable 3rd party options do come about some day, based on the pricing of 2015 MBP SSD upgrades they may be so expensive that the cost will be very hard to justify.)
 
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