8 vs 16 GB of RAM

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Nimrad, Nov 23, 2013.

  1. Nimrad macrumors 6502

    Jul 28, 2010
    My girlfriend is buying herself a new 13" Retina MBP very soon. I'm helping her decide which model to go for. I've already decided for the model with 256GB and 8GB RAM, but I'm not sure whether or not to upgrade it to 16GB of RAM.

    She mostly use the machine for kind of heavy Word Processing and her 2009 MacBook no longer does the job. As she's studying a masters degree in petroleum geosciences there are A LOT of pictures involved when handing in documents. Besides school she does some not heavy image editing, surf on the web and watch movies.

    My question is, will these 8GB of RAM be worth it in the long run? Will the machine be adequate for her for a longer time if upgrading to 16GB of RAM or will it not be necessary for her use?
  2. EatingApples macrumors member

    Mar 8, 2011
    Does she need the laptop right now? If you get the 16 gb's you have to wait for weeks :-(

    I assume 8 gb of ram should be enough for her though, but remember that the ram cannot be upgraded later.
  3. chabig macrumors 601

    Sep 6, 2002
    8GB should be fine. You will see the most benefit from the SSD. It'll be night and day.
  4. Jg220 macrumors newbie

    Oct 22, 2013
    No you don't, less than a week from order to it being in my hands, and i've ordered a 16G 13 twice in the last month.
  5. marivaux, Nov 23, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2013
  6. Paapaa macrumors member

    Nov 7, 2013
    Come on, guys: "heavy word processing".

    Your GF doesn't need 8GB, 4GB is more than enough. Show me the document that fills 4G and I'll buy you a beer. So no, definitely not 16GB! (Buy her flowers or a nice trip instead)
  7. Count Blah macrumors 68040

    Count Blah

    Jan 6, 2004
    US of A
    I guess you stopped reading there. 4 is not enough. I have a work iMac that can only take 4 gigs of ram. safari/firefox/chrome easily get to 1.5 gigs and above in no time flat. Open up word, and I am already getting pegged.

    go with 8
  8. marivaux macrumors member

    Nov 3, 2013
    Actually, for what she does, I bet that upgrading the RAM in her 2009 Macbook pro would be more than adequate, unless she mainly wants a new computer--you can get 8 GB for $77.39 from Crucial:

    http://www.crucial.com/store/listparts.aspx?model=MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2009)&pl=Apple

    Obviously, if you want a nice new computer, it's a different story. But if you're talking about the work you describe, her computer should probably be good for a while. If you really wanted to lengthen the life of that computer, you could also get an SSD for about $250.
  9. Stunned Monkey macrumors regular

    Sep 19, 2013
    The way I see it:

    1. If you have to ask, you probably don't need it.
    2. If you know you need it, you probably still don't really need it.
    3. As such, you most likely don't need it.

    That said, I just ordered mine with 16 GB. I've bought lots of stuff over the years and I've often had regrets. But those regrets are almost exclusively lamenting not spending $XX more to get something better. Rarely, if ever, have I regretted spending a bit more to get more.

    I may well move on from this laptop in 3 years and never really reap the 16 GB benefit, but I guarantee I won't be beating myself up over getting it. I can't say the same over settling for 8.
  10. marivaux macrumors member

    Nov 3, 2013
    Hah, exactly, and probably what I'll do, too. It's the non-upgradeability thing that is super-annoying--before the new Airs and Retinas, you could always just buy it if you needed it. For most people, 8GB is the likely right amount. If you keep computers around for a long time, you COULD be happy that you shelled out the dough in the future. Or not. Three versions of OSX from now and new apps, who knows? I would say if the OP's girlfriend is currently the kind of person who is likely to trade in a computer in four years (instead of upgrade an old one), 8GB is right.

    Though actually...if her career in petroleum geoscience ends up with her running complex geological modeling software on a virtual machine, she might be one of the few people who was happy she shelled out for 16GB.
  11. nabeel24 macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2013
    Even for VM's, 8gb memory should be enough shouldn't it? I'm going to be using VM just for Visual Studio for programming classes. I'm hoping 8gb will be good enough.
  12. Watabou macrumors 68040


    Feb 10, 2008
    United States
    No, 16GB is the RAM you want to buy if you do heavy 3D work like 3D graphics processing. For "heavy" word proccessing, and pictures, you're going to be more than fine with the 8GB. 16GB is way overkill for that kind of work.
  13. marivaux macrumors member

    Nov 3, 2013
    I think 8GB would be fine for a lot of VM uses, though I haven't done a lot of it myself. If she's going to finish her master's in two years and then use geological modeling software (heavy RAM use, I imagine) on a VM (moderate RAM use) with the next version or so of Windows and OS X.11 or something...I might go for 16GB. Of course, her career might not involve her doing that, or her future job might give her a computer--I was just speculating on a possible reason for a RAM upgrade. And yeah, 8GB is more than fine for what the OP says she's using her computer for, currently, and probably what you're doing.
  14. OasisNYK macrumors 6502

    Nov 29, 2004
    Personally, the price isn't that much more and you are buying a high end machine. I am a fun believer that you should always get the best machine you can, and keep it for a long time.

    I bought a Dell Inspiron in 2004 maxed it out and it was strong for me through 2010. I then gave it to a family member who is still using it.

    Of course longevity depends on your needs and how well you take care of your equipment but I would expect to have a MacBook for at least 6 years considering the price - maybe even 10 unless technology unleashes a game changer. Laptops are generally the same as they were in 2004 except they have better battery life and retina screens now.

    If you get 16 you will never regret it, you may not need it but you will probably never run into an issue. I also recommend the 2.6 over the 2.4 as it seems to offer the most bang for the buck. The i7 does seem like a little but of a waste unless you do some serious encoding or 3D work but even then the 2.6 isn't much slower from the benchmarks I have seen.
  15. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    The OS itself grabs that much these days. You are simply looking in the wrong place.
  16. joonyaboy macrumors 6502


    Jun 27, 2010
    This should be copy /pasted in every one of these type of threads. Bravo
  17. Nimrad thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 28, 2010
    Thank you so much guys, I'm gonna go for the 8GB version. Just needed the confirmation. Thing is, I have 16GB of RAM and I'm currently using 14/16. Apps open is Safari, Calendar, Mail, Excel, Word, Pages, VMWare(windows 8, using 1GB) Skype and a few minor apps. It just really surprised me that I actually used that much RAM doing something relatively light-weight.
  18. mac8867 macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2010
    Saint Augustine, FL
    It depends on how many VM's and how much RAM you are assigning to the hosted operating system. With 8 GB of Ram, for example, you are limited to Windows XP vm's with max memory (3.5 GB). Just saying... I personally upgraded to 16GB specifically be cause of virtual machine use
  19. robvas macrumors 68030

    Mar 29, 2009
    Most of that RAM is going to be used by file cache etc. That's an 8GB workload.
  20. nabeel24 macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2013
    I'm only going to be running 1 VM for Visual Studio for programming.
  21. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    :D its like these threads come up over and over again. Like cocroaches. :D

    @OP you should wait for the 32gb ram option next year! Otherwise she wont be able to read her mail.
    ...and of course the heavy word processing.


    Yeah thats why the new mba dont run with 4gigs. They are just useless right out of the box ... :D


    An imac is not a mb.
    :apple: just sells none working computers with 4gigs.
    They explode when you turn them on.


    This is copied and pasted in every similar ram thread!


    Pretty much sums it up.
  22. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    I have a 15 in MBP. I bought 16 GB of RAM for it and put it in. I started having kernel panics so I pulled out the 16 GB and put 8 GB in. I later purchased better quality 16 GB RAM but haven't gotten "around to" putting it in.

    Since then Mavericks came out. Under Mavericks, 4 GB behaves a lot like 6 GB and 8 GB behaves a lot like 12 GB. When I get around to putting in the 16 GB, it will behave a lot like 24 GB.

    I don't recommend putting 16 GB in her machine for her use now, but since the rMBP is not user upgradable, adding more RAM at time of purchase is the only chance you get to put it in. In my case, I wanted more RAM so I could be lazy and use tabs in Chrome as if they were bookmarks. Chrome literally devours RAM and once you get 50 tabs open, it begins to bog things down. The day I installed Mavericks, I found I could have more tabs open at a time so I know Apple's claim to memory "compression" in Mavericks is not BS.

    Bottom line: Does she need it? Heck no. Can you add it later? No, (unless you are one of those guys who has all the tools and skills they talk about on iFixit). So if you are thinking about resale or thinking about increasing usage of the machine in the future, you might find it's worth "future proofing" the machine by paying for the RAM up front when you buy the machine.

    BTW SSD is the biggest "bang for the buck" in system performance. This is especially true on Windows. I can "live with" rotating 7200 RPM media on my MBP but on my work machine, I'm so glad they finally started giving out machines with SSD in them. It makes Win 7 Enterprise less painful. I will eventually "get around to" putting a Samsung 840 EVO in my MBP, it's just that OSX is a pleasure to use even on rotating media. Here again is a future-proofing question for your girlfriend's MBP. If you buy it with the minimum SSD, it is difficult to upgrade it later. Unlike RAM, you do have more options for storage expansion because you can pick up USB3, Firewire (with an adapter) or Thunderbird expansion drives.

    While I agree that you probably don't need something if you have to ask, it does not rule out getting it anyway for future-proofing if you can afford it.

    hope this helps...
  23. undesign macrumors regular

    Nov 4, 2013
    Now that Apple's choked the ability to have options, all the more reasons to go full out on 16gb of RAM as you'll NEVER be able to upgrade. Just get the max and be done with it.

    Seeing how there are so many threads on this debacle, I strongly suggest to all of you that you make a massive complaint to apple on further limiting consumer choice. There is NO REASON why RAM should be soldered.
  24. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    Why solder the cpu?
    Why solder anything?
    Just upgrading the ram doesnt magically fix your machine.
    While I dont think any mortal being will need a 16gb ram mbp in the years to come, I still agree soldering ram is just offensive and blatant money grabbing.
    They really are taking the piss now!
  25. undesign macrumors regular

    Nov 4, 2013
    Pretty much everyone will max out 4gb, considering that the OS takes up a huge chunk of memory and software developers have become ridiculously lazy when optimizing, 4gb will be chewed up in no time, and I do it on a daily basis without any heavy work.

    8gb wont give you much extra and will be used up too considering all the extra bloat Apple's been packing into OS X.

    16gb should really be the ONLY option for everyone considering how apple completely screwed everyone with the soldered ram.

Share This Page