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danwells

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 4, 2015
760
591
I'm finally ordering my M3 Max MBP tonight or tomorrow. Moving up from a last-generation Intel MBP that has lasted me four and a half years. The speed increase is going to be HUGE. I'm a still photographer (landscapes), working with large numbers of 100 MP, 16 bit per pixel medium format image files. I do a lot of other things with my computer, but it's my photography that pushes the limits of my Mac. (I sell prints, teach photography and write about photography, as well as working in ecology and conservation)

I'm going for a full-power M3 Max, and for 8 TB of storage (even at the absurd price - I'm bursting at the seams of my current 4 TB machine). The question is 64 GB versus 128 GB of RAM. I never see RAM pressure on my current Mac, which has 64 GB - but I do often end up using well over 32 GB. I'd never risk downgrading to 48 GB, but I'm wondering if I should go up to 128 GB for future-proofing. Given how expensive it is, I'd like to keep this Mac for at least as long as the last one, maybe even a year or so more - and I don't know how RAM usage patterns will change. I'd imagine that I might end up with an even higher resolution camera during the life of the computer, but probably not over 200 MP.

I don't imagine getting into VR/AR creative work, but who knows whether the whole industry will go that way (I hope not - I love big prints). Right now, there's no market for VR/AR content, and the quality just isn't there. The only way I know of to photograph for Vision Pro is using an iPhone, and I'm not about to give up my Fujifilm GFX gear for a pinky-nail sized sensor.
 

ObsidianIce

macrumors 6502
Jun 1, 2004
308
37
Seventh Circle of Hell
SO I got a top end m3 Max, with 4 terabytes and 64 gigs of ram. I'm moving up from a 2013 Top end retina. The difference is night and day. I went with 64 gigs and honestly don't think many people need to 128 unless they are doing REALLY REALLY intensive work. Are you talking about photoshop or some other software. Phototshop always will take as much ram as possible and if you are using massive photo files then it would help. However going with 64 gigs of ram won't be terrible. The crazy increase in power from your old to new laptop is a literal game changer. It is going to make everything you do run so much quicker. If you've got the money and it's not a big deal, get the 128, because it will be better, but performance wise either machine is like going from a Toyota Corolla to a Porsche 911 Turbo.
 

danwells

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 4, 2015
760
591
Photoshop, Lightroom Classic (library management), DxO PhotoLab,Capture One and various plugins - on 100 MP files.
 

geta

macrumors 65816
May 18, 2010
1,317
939
The Moon
If you asking (and based on your OP) you don’t need 128GB. But if you can afford it, why not.

Other option would be getting the lower M3 Max version with 96GB.
 

frou

macrumors 65816
Mar 14, 2009
1,276
1,758
Extreme future-proofing is often a bit daft. Because it's not the last computer you're ever going to buy, and you could figuratively put that money aside and use it to pay for a good chunk of the next computer, which you will be just as enthusiastic about buying in 20xx.
 
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jimmysalg

macrumors 6502
Sep 30, 2007
327
148
Miami
Any input on running windows? I currently have a MBP intel with 64GB of ram and my windows virtual machine works great. I was trying to see if I can get away with 32GB because of the big price difference.
 

danwells

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 4, 2015
760
591
I've thought about the lower version, but don't want to take the significant performance hit. The upgrade cost to the full-power M3 Max strikes me as a good deal with results I'll see now.
 

danwells

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 4, 2015
760
591
Remember that only ARM versions of Windows will run on Apple Silicon. ARM Windows will run REALLY fast - AS Macs are WAY faster than most ARM Windows machines (with the possible exception of a few servers?). Most ARM Windows machines are tablets, with a few VERY light laptops. Even the new chip Qualcomm's excited about (I forget the name) is a MacBook Air competitor, NOT a high-end MacBook Pro.

The fastest current ARM processor in a Windows laptop is the Qualcomm 8cx Gen 3 (at least by what Newegg carries, and I chose them because they have a reasonably comprehensive line). That Geekbenches (multi-core) at around 6100. A full-power M2 MacBook Air is right around 10,000. An M3 Max like we're talking about here is about 21,500. The difference is about 3.5:1. Geekbench isn't perfect, but that's the idea...

Yes, Qualcomm's Snapdragon X and X Elite will be better. A 23 watt model can actually outrun a 7 watt MacBook Air (and will very slightly outrun even an M3 MacBook Air), and the 80 watt model is competitive with the M3 Pro. Of course an M3 Pro is around 40 watts. Up against the ~100 watt full-power M3 Max, it falls short by a third or so.

As of right now, assuming I didn't miss some fire-breathing server chip, the fastest machine to run Windows on ARM is ... a Mac.
 
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mdhaus72

macrumors regular
Dec 29, 2018
222
296
Looking at 16" M3Max with 8Gb SSD the jump from 64GB to 128GB RAM is only a 10% price increase. Go for it.
It's more than just 10% additional...It costs an extra $800 ($720 if you have the education discount) to jump from 64 GB of RAM to 128 GB.

That's a significant chunk of money and it doesn't make sense unless you really, really need to have it. Personally, I think he would be just fine with 64 GB, especially since he isn't having any RAM issues with his current machine.
 

gilby101

macrumors 68020
Mar 17, 2010
2,318
1,249
Tasmania
It's more than just 10% additional...It costs an extra $800
Let's be precise. On the AU site, the top spec 16" M3 Max with 64Gb and 8Tb is AU$10499, the 128GB is AU$1200 extra. That is 11.4%. No doubt slightly different in other currencies, but I stand by about 10% extra.

Whether the OP needs it is another matter, but the future proofing might well be worth an extra ~10% to someone who is going to keep it for at least 5 years.

All a bit out of my league (MBP 14" M3, 1Tb, 16Gb), but we can all take an interest and dream.
 
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throAU

macrumors G3
Feb 13, 2012
8,724
6,877
Perth, Western Australia
As of right now, assuming I didn't miss some fire-breathing server chip, the fastest machine to run Windows on ARM is ... a Mac.
aside:
I've been most impressed with Windows 11 on ARM in parallels.

Its fast. Graphics are fast. Old x86 windows games even work - well via the emulated GPU.

It has vastly exceeded my expectations. Is it perfect? No, but it's pretty bloody good. Way better experience for most things (performance wise - assuming they work) than running Windows in a VM on an X86 Mac.
 
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jimmysalg

macrumors 6502
Sep 30, 2007
327
148
Miami
aside:
I've been most impressed with Windows 11 on ARM in parallels.

Its fast. Graphics are fast. Old x86 windows games even work - well via the emulated GPU.

It has vastly exceeded my expectations. Is it perfect? No, but it's pretty bloody good. Way better experience for most things (performance wise - assuming they work) than running Windows in a VM on an X86 Mac.
Is this what you are running windows ARM on MacBook Pro 14" 2021 - M1 Pro, 16GB, 1TB?
 

Paul Deemer

macrumors member
Dec 17, 2023
34
18
Greenville, SC
Just be aware if you try to put that spec in a 14" Macbook it's gonna be your rooms new heater. With a top spec M3 Max 8 tb storage 64gb ram etc. I was originally going to get a 14 inch M3 Max until I saw everyone complaining about the heat and the fans. So I went with the 16" and the base M3 max and my fans have only come on twice in the 2 months I have had it. All that power won't be worth the money if it starts throttling in a 14".
 
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danwells

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 4, 2015
760
591
Mine is a 16" - I ended up going with 64 GB of RAM. Apple is saying it arrives March 4, and I'm hoping it'll be a little faster I was always a 16" customer, both because I like big laptops and because I agree with you that the 14" doesn't go well with the M3 Max, especially the 16/40 version. 14" Maxes worked relatively well when the difference between Pro and Max was the GPU cores, but don't work as well with the power of the M3 Max.
 
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PROFESS0R

macrumors 6502
Jul 30, 2017
345
332
If the upgrade is $800, and you keep it for five years, then the cost per month is $13.33. In my opinion, it doesn’t take much of an improvement in workflow to pay for $13.33 per month. Oh, and I ordered 128Gb because the 16 core version of the quantative analysis program Stata is happier with as much memory as you can give it on extremely large datasets with a large number of variables.

Joe
 
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