2X4GB or 2X8GB RAM Upgrade?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Macaroooon, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. Macaroooon macrumors 6502

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    Sep 9, 2012
    #1
    Apologies in advance for the various threads, but they are on what I deem to be different subjects, so I hope I'm not being annoying.

    I've got the stand 2X4GB RAM with my 2012 MBP, but I've been recommended increasing it, and I'm torn between the 8GB or 16GB increase.

    I'd prefer to get the 8GB money wise, but I don't want to have to upgrade again, so what would you recommend. Is 8GB enough for most?

    Will I see a big difference?
     
  2. Macaroooon thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #3
  3. TechZeke macrumors 68020

    TechZeke

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    Rialto, CA
    #4
  4. el-John-o macrumors 65816

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    Nov 29, 2010
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    Missouri
    #5
    I got 16GB of Crucial 1600MHz RAM for around $80 on NewEgg. 8GB is probably enough for me, but for a few bucks more? Meh, why not.
     
  5. yusukeaoki macrumors 68030

    yusukeaoki

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    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    #6
    Well check your activity monitor and see if you really use all the RAMs.
    If not, just go with the 8GB sticks.

    Buy 16GB if you use heavy applications that eats huge amount of RAM.
    They are very cheap and 1333MHz model by Corsair is only 75USD on amazon.
     
  6. Macaroooon thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #7
    [​IMG]

    I'm not sure how to check exactly what RAM I'm using! I'm such a novice :eek:
     
  7. el-John-o macrumors 65816

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    Missouri
    #8
    Well, you don't have any applications open so this doesn't tell you much. If all you use is Safari, then, 4GB is plenty.

    Basically, the two numbers you need to look at are 'Inactive' and 'Free'. One way OSX manages memory, is it takes recently closed applications and files and LEAVES them in the RAM. They are still there! However they are marked 'inactive'. Then, if you call up that same application, most of it's data will still be in the inactive RAM. The 'free' RAM is RAM that is physically unused. Also, if an application needs more RAM than is available in the free RAM, then it'll use some of the 'inactive' RAM as well. So, basically, Inactive+Free indicated how much RAM you have available.

    In order to truly see this, you need to open up the applications you use on a daily basis, a real-world test. For me, that would be Safari with several tabs, Photoshop with a couple images open, and Lightroom in the Develop tab, along with a few finder windows AND Parallels desktop with at least one Windows application open (say MS Excel) All while connected to my external Cinema display (which uses more RAM because I don't have a dedicated GPU on my 13", so it shares memory with the system). That would be a realistic example of a worst-case-scneario. I obviously can't use all of those applications at the same time, but it's not at all unrealistic for me to have all of those things opened when I'm actually getting some work done. Obviously, I could just fire up as many VM's as I can and max out my RAM, but that wouldn't be realistic, since I never do that! Just come up with a scenario that stresses the machine in a realistic scenario you might actually be in, and see where you are at then.

    THEN, you need to look at the 'page outs' number. This is going to be the kicker. That needs to always be 0. If it's not 0, you don't have enough RAM. Page outs are when there is not enough RAM for the system to allocate, so it starts to use your hard drive. Even the fastest SSD's on the planet are several times slower than RAM, in both read/write and the very important access times. So, your system WILL slow down when it is paging out. So start working up. With your web browser open, you have no page outs. So, for browsing the web, you don't need more RAM. Open up a few other programs you use, maybe a game.. any page outs? Escalate all the way up to the most radical-yet-realistic example you can think of (like mine above, for me), and take note of where your page outs are. If you are using 10 gigs of virtual memory (page outs) and your full 4 gigs of physical memory, then you need 16 gigs!

    Ultimately though, I think budget decides. Aside from cost, there is NO advantage to LESS RAM. 16GB can only benefit you. 8GB is probably sufficient, but there's no advantage at all to 8GB over 16GB aside from cost. So take a look at your pageouts, determine how much performance you need, and determine your budget.

    -John
     
  8. Macaroooon thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Sep 9, 2012
    #9
    Right, I think I'm getting you.

    I've done as you said an opened all the programs I use on a daily basis, and may have open at one time:

    iMovie, iPhoto, Itunes, App store, text edit, Skype and safari

    [​IMG]

    Now I see what you mean, I have Page outs above 0 - so I'm thinking 8GB of Ram should be enough for me?
     
  9. el-John-o macrumors 65816

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    Nov 29, 2010
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    Missouri
    #10
    Yep.

    Basically, what we're looking at here is being BARELY above 4GB of RAM. So 8GB should be plenty. You can always upgrade to 16GB later if you need to, but I suspect 8GB will be sufficient for those uses for years.

    Also, keep in mind if you use any VM's, like Parallels or VMWare, those suck up a LOT of RAM.

    Right now, you're using about 4.6GB of RAM give or take. (Your physical RAM + 'swap used', when you 'page out' you are paging out to the swap file). So 8GB should leave you with a couple gigs of free RAM even under your heavier typical use.
     
  10. Giuly macrumors 68040

    Giuly

    #11
  11. el-John-o macrumors 65816

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    Missouri
    #12
    Did a little 'use case test'

    I opened;

    Every single Application in the MS Office Professional 2010 Suite, inside a Windows 7 VM (Excel, Word, Powerpoint, Outlook, Publisher, OneNote, Access), Photoshop CS6, Lightroom 4, Safari, Mail, App Store, Skype, a SECOND copy of Windows running in a VM, and garage band, and I'm using 9.7GB of RAM (I have 16GB).

    So, obviously most users will be just fine with 8GB. Although it does beg the reminder, since we are talking about double the amount of RAM to go to 16GB, if you are using 9.7GB in a real world scenario, then you actually need 16GB of RAM, as 8GB wouldn't suffice! Running mis-matched sticks (like an 8GB and a 2GB stick to achieve 10GB) would have some performance ramifications as it wouldn't allow them to function in dual channel mode, as well as other slowdowns.
     
  12. Macaroooon thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Sep 9, 2012
    #13
    I've heard about the mismatched sticks!

    I am planning on buying MS Office Home & Student, so I'll be adding that to my files, but realistically I wouldn't have ALL of those applications open at the same time, so I reckon 8GB will be fine. I'm buying an SSD and external HD + Optical Drive External casing so I am on a bit of a budget :eek:
     
  13. el-John-o macrumors 65816

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    Nov 29, 2010
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    Missouri
    #14
    Hehe, I know about the SSD. I'm the one talking to you in that thread too :p

    There's no reason to be using as much as I was. A more realistic use of that much RAM would be enterprise level virtual machines, or software like Final Cut Pro X working on 4k resolution video. In other words, really high end stuff. Maybe in a couple years, but right now, February of 2013, most users will find 8GB to be plenty adequate. And this is coming from a guy with 16 gigs in his machine!
     
  14. Macaroooon thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Sep 9, 2012
    #15
    Thank you! Yep, this makes sense, I'd LOVE Final Cut but that really is out of my price range.

    iMovie isn't working for me at the moment, so I might be looking to buy a video editing software, but if I do I'll just quit my other applications!
     
  15. robvas macrumors 68020

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    Mar 29, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #16
    Save the $50 and get 8GB. By the time you need 16GB you'll want a whole new machine anyway.
     
  16. glenthompson macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

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    Apr 27, 2011
    Location:
    Virginia
    #17
    I have 8 gb and the only time I use close to that is running Parallels and Windows. Cranking up a bunch of Mac apps only uses about 5gb.
     

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