8 or 16GB RAM?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by matj, Mar 26, 2015.

  1. matj macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2015
    I'm just about to buy a 13" rMBP and am torn between the base model (8GB, 2.7ghz,128GB) and an upgraded ram model (16GB, 2.7ghz, 128GB) costing ~ £160 more. I need a hand deciding, I'm a student so that additional spend would be good to keep if the additional ram isn't needed. On the other hand this is something I'd like to keep for at least 5 Years, so while my needs aren't crazy; a VM in the background, and a number of chrome tabs plus word/spotify ect. The odd bit of xcode and Photoshop/iMovie too. I'd still like to be able to do all this with fair snappiness in 5 years so am I best to upgrade my RAM or is 8GB enough?

    Thanks guys. Much appreciated.
  2. Hieveryone macrumors 68040

    Apr 11, 2014
    If you're doing VM's xcode photoshop etc and want to keep doing it for 5 years, get the 16 GB.

    Back in the day 2 was enough. Now it's obsolete. Eventually, 16 GB will be standard. When? Idk. But in 5 years with 4k coming out then 8k I would be safe and get the 16GB RAM
  3. 556fmjoe macrumors 65816


    Apr 19, 2014
  4. Simplicated macrumors 65816


    Sep 20, 2008
    Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
  5. matj thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2015
    Hi, thanks for all your responses. To be clear the VM would only be a single linix VM with 1gb ram or at most 2gb and 10 or so GB of storage. Otherwise yes I would like to still be able to do all above in 5 years.


    Thanks for the response :) I am right it going with ram as my biggest potential bottleneck I assume? This is my first Mac but I'm finding to run what I need in windows 8GB is a minimum for it still to be running well however I've heard memory management/compression is much better in osx.
  6. ZBoater macrumors G3


    Jul 2, 2007
    Sunny Florida
  7. Jurwin macrumors regular


    Trust me it's much better to future proof your laptop and get the 16 gb model. Because if you go with the 8 gb model there is no way to upgrade it later on. I have 8 gb on my macbook pro. With google chrome with a few tabs and other apps open you can easily be using more than 6 gb of ram!
  8. gngan macrumors 68000


    Jan 1, 2009

    If you have all the things you said open at the same time then I would call that crazy. Photoshop with many layers will be a ram hog so I don't see why you wouldn't call that crazy.

    Maybe you should adjust your work flow but other than that then I would say you need 16gb.
  9. Rigby macrumors 601

    Aug 5, 2008
    San Jose, CA
    For a single VM and some standard applications 8GB is more than enough from my experience. I have a similar scenario when traveling with my MBA. I typically have a Windows VM (4GB) for MS Office plus a few Mac applications running without problems.
  10. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020


    Apr 16, 2008
    Phoenix, AZ
    Also consider that you're stuck with whichever configuration you choose (it's soldered in). You can't change your mind later. :p

    Though Apple charges an obscene amount of money for 16GB, I'd say it's worth it if you're VMing. VMs can be RAM hogs if you expect performance that is somewhat similar to native.
  11. z31fanatic macrumors 6502a


    Mar 7, 2015
    Mukilteo, WA USA
    I'd stay with 8GB and upgrade the storage to 256GB instead. 128GB is not enough these days.
  12. David58117 macrumors 65816

    Jan 24, 2013
    8 gigs would be fine.

    The confusion comes from when people who don't know how to read the memory usage in activity monitor, nor know how OS X uses memory - try to give advice.

    Also, with SSD's so prevalent now, I don't think tons of memory is as much of a necessity as it was when it was just HD's being used.

    What will get you though, is the amount of storage. Spend your money on increasing that to atleast 256GB.

    For your usage, you're going to run into problems very quickly if you get the 128GB version.
  13. simonsi macrumors 601


    Jan 3, 2014
    Future-proofing on RAM over the next few years will likely come from compression and SSD-swapping vs uncompressed and HDD-swapping. This change combined will make 16GB running on an 8GB machine a user performance almost as good for most applications (some will still run better in real RAM).
  14. simon lefisch macrumors 6502a

    simon lefisch

    Sep 29, 2014
    Get the 16GB. That way you're future proofed.
  15. ZBoater macrumors G3


    Jul 2, 2007
    Sunny Florida
  16. mikeutter macrumors newbie

    Jun 28, 2010
    Though "You can never get too rich, too thin, or have too much RAM", yes, it is enough for your purposes. Heck, I run Parallels, iTunes, Photoshop, Firefox and some other stuff on 4 GB without a hitch on a MBA 2014.

    £160 is a lot of money for a student that should be spent elsewhere (like Guinness).
  17. steveyo macrumors regular

    Feb 2, 2015
    16GB IS A NO BRAINER once you venture into using the MBP as the host for VMs.
  18. Mr.C macrumors 601

    Apr 3, 2011
    London, UK.
    According to that I would be OK with 4GB of RAM. As it happens 8GB is the minimum on these new MacBook Pros so I guess for me sticking with the stock 8GB will be fine even in the long run. I'm most likely going to get the stock 2.9Ghz model with 8GB RAM and 512GB SSD. Having at least 512GB storage capacity is important for me. I would go with the 1TB upgrade if it wasn't for the ludicrous upgrade price. If I need more storage capacity I will make do with an external HD.
  19. steveyo macrumors regular

    Feb 2, 2015
    If you're just using the laptop for Office, Web Browsing and occasional photo editing (i.e. think easy enough for grandparents to use) then even a 4GB + SSD setup would suffice. BUT the OP wants to use the laptop for virtual machines so the more ram the better.
  20. Pootan macrumors member


    Oct 28, 2014
    if you VM you'll probably run out of the 128 gb long before before you hit 16 gb ram. Especially if you photoshop(implying you have pictures which can get big) and imovie (also takes up much space). And in you need 16 gb ram, that means you are running enough apps that you cache that entire space meaning you are running heavy software taking up even more space.

    If you are keeping 128, go with 8.
  21. mikeutter macrumors newbie

    Jun 28, 2010
    The OP wants to use a single VM that runs Linux with 1 GB allocated. Not VMs, just one VM:

  22. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Here's my $.02

    8GB should be fine, even if its just a single VM, but since the ram is soldered onto the logic board, I'd opt for 16gb, in case the need arises to run multiple VMs, or unforeseen tasks occur down the road.
  23. Wahlstrm macrumors 6502a


    Dec 4, 2013
    As much as i like big storage, Apple charges a lot for it and you can always get storage later. I use SD-cards as a 2nd HDD for all files that don't need insane speed to work. Cheap and easy to move between my macs :)

    I used to do a lot of photoshop on my 2011 MBP and the jump from 8 to 16 made a huge difference. That was 4 years ago. Both Photoshop, Megapixels in cameras and OS X has become more demanding since then. But OS X also got some clever memory handling since then so you can do more today with less.

    But for me I would rather spend the money on overpriced RAM that will keep the machine snappy for many years than overpriced storage :)
  24. tomnavratil macrumors 6502a


    Oct 2, 2013
    Litovel, Czech Republic
    Agree with the others. 8GB is fine for most people however as you cannot upgrade the RAM, I would go future-proof and get 16GB ;).

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