4gb/128 vs 8gb/256 for rMBP - advice needed

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by hj123456, Jun 28, 2014.

  1. hj123456 macrumors newbie

    Jun 25, 2014
    I understand that since rMBP is not upgradable, going for 8/256 is obviously better for future-proofing purposes. I do intend on using it as long as I can, until it's absolutely unusuable.
    I, however, am a college student and thus very tight on budget. Even around $200 difference is pretty huge to me.

    So I would really appreciate your honest opinions on what I should get.

    Here are some information about my case:

    I use Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator but not for heavy works & not a whole lot of times. Other than that my main uses are web surfing, Spotify, video streaming on the web, & school-related works like using Powerpoints & Word.

    I have I've used about 290gb out of 440gb on my current Windows laptop's C disk. Most of that are my media stuff (music, videos, photos, etc). The installed programs take up around 7gb according to the control panel (and some of them are windows programs that are pre-installed for whatever reasons). The numbers are probably not completely exact, and I'm sure there are random files that a non-computer person like me would probably be unaware of that are taking up space as well (I've never made an effort to clean up/organize the disk drive since I got this laptop) but you get the idea.

    So 128 or 256, either way the storage isn't nearly enough. Therefore I'll be using a 1TB external hard drive & cloud services (if needed) for all my media stuff.

    The main programs that I would be installing are Adobe programs mentioned above, Dropbox, Google Chrome, iTunes, and Spotify.

    I realize that there are gonna be Mac only apps/softwares that I will be using as well which are gonna take up space.

    So given my situation/usage, do you guys think I would absolutely need the 8/256 model? How long do you guys think I would be able to use the MBP if I were to get the base model? I've noticed that a lot of people here are professionals using the macbook for heavy works like programming, video editing, etc. And I realize that tech-savvy people have much higher expectation for a laptop's functionality. But I'm just an average user who honestly doesn't know too much about all of this tech stuff & I don't know what to expect from these specs.

    So I would very very appreciate any advice you guys can give me!

    If 8/256 is a must, then I would have no choice, but if 4/128 is enough for my case then I would love to save any money I can.

    Thank you in advance!
  2. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Aug 5, 2001
    You'll not like having just 4GB for photoshop and Illustrator in the long run. And 128 GB fills up quickly, so always having to carry around external storage is going to be quite annoying.
  3. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

    Sep 13, 2002
    Bristol, UK
    Personally, I would go to the refurb store and go for the 8GB / 256 GB option. The money you save on refurb should cover the extra cost. I just bought by wife a refurb MBA. Only way you call tell is that it comes in a plain cardboard box.
  4. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I'd say because of the pro apps, performance will be impacted by the 4GB, especially if you have PS, and other apps open at the same time. Surfing, streaming etc are just fine on 4GB.

    My personal $.02 is that since the memory is soldered onto the logic board and you cannot upgrade, and you have some apps that can and will take advantage of the ram. It makes more sense to select the 8GB then not.
  5. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    I want to add, that if the price difference between 4/128 and 8/256 is really only 200$ I would go with the later.
    200$ for double ram and storage is a bargain.
    If those extra 200$ really make all the difference the 4/128 will be perfectly fine, too.

    Be aware that in Ps 3D functions require you to have 8 gb ram!
  6. hj123456 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 25, 2014
    Well I certainly don't use any of the 3D functions. I use the Adobe programs stated above for very light purposes, but I think I'm gonna think about this a little more before I make a final decision. I am definitely leaning more towards the 8/256 option
  7. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    I'd go with 8/256. 4GB is just enough to get by these days, but 8GB gives you some futureproofing.
  8. littlepud macrumors regular


    Sep 16, 2012
    8/256 is definitely the sweet spot for the 13" rMBP.
  9. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    As I mentioned, I think the 8GB is a smart move, given your apps and future proofing your purchase. You're spending a lot of money on a laptop, you don't want to get penny wise and pound foolish to the point where you may find yourself dealing with performance issues due not have sufficient resources

    Good luck :)
  10. p3ntyne macrumors 6502


    Jan 10, 2014
    Sydney, Australia
    In addition to what everyone else said, the 256 Gb SSD is also up to 400 MB/s quicker at writing.
  11. merrickdrfc macrumors 6502


    Jan 8, 2011
    You definitely want more than 128 GB storage, and 8GB is pretty much a must for anything such as Adobe CS IMO
  12. capathy21 macrumors 65816


    Jun 16, 2014
    Houston, Texas
    Either model will serve your needs well at the present time. You mentioned it's going to be a machine you will want to keep for a long time. In that case, definitely go with the 8/256.

    In my opinion, you would get 2-3 years of good use out of the 4/128 config and most likely 5 plus years out of the 8/256 providing you take care of the machine and such.
  13. Mac7 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 14, 2009
    Picked up the 15" 8gb/256 model for around $1600 from BestBuy with student discount + movers discount. That's after taxes. So look into that if you're going to buy soon
  14. hj123456 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 25, 2014
  15. 556fmjoe macrumors 65816


    Apr 19, 2014
    If you're really trying to save all the money you can but need extra RAM for Photoshop and lots of storage space, then you could consider getting a used non-Retina model. My 2011 came with 4 GB of RAM (upgradeable to 16 if necessary) and a 500 GB hard drive (upgradeable to a SSD if necessary). I spent around $650.

    You won't get the latest and greatest graphics or CPU, but you should be able to get a pretty good CPU that will be usable for a long time and will handle the average person's uses easily. If you can't afford more RAM now, that's okay because you can always add some later. Same goes for the hard drive. If you need a larger disk or want an SSD in the future, you can just buy one when you need it. The total cost should still be hundreds less than a brand new maxed out Retina.

    Of course, whether this will work for you depends on how much value you place in the Retina display or how demanding your GPU and CPU needs are. For most people, any MBP with an i series CPU will be fine.
  16. jg321 macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2012
    8/256 defo. I don't think about it as the extra $200 or so wasted, think of the other $1000 dollars wasted if you're not happy with it because it doesn't meet your needs.

    Get the best you can afford, even if it is a little stretch.

    P.S. I have the 8/256 and it's not even my main machine.
  17. hj123456 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 25, 2014
    I ended up getting the 8/256 one :) Thank you everyone for the advice!
  18. SantaRosa2.2 macrumors regular


    Mar 7, 2012
    Somewhere in Florida
    I have had the Late 2013 13" rMBP 8gb/256gb for a couple weeks now and it is great! No lag or issues during HD Video Playback+ multitasking with several apps open.
  19. Am3r1ca16 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 17, 2012
    New York City
    i bought a used MBR 8GB/256gb for $1,222 on ebay. which is much cheaper than the 4gb/120gb base model Apple sells for $1,299! It was used for a few weeks but it came with everything including the box and no visible blemishes. basically a bargain :D:D

    try checking on eBay you can find cheaper Macs in very good conditions!

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