8GB RAM is enough, right?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by ahoydecoy, Nov 18, 2016.

  1. ahoydecoy macrumors regular

    Apr 24, 2015
    I made my order for a base 13" MBP with touch bar (256 ssd, 8gb ram) ages ago, with an estimated delivery window of 7-13th December. The wait is killing me and the more I think about it and the more I roam these forums, the more I'm doubting my selection. I'm not bothered about the storage space, as I mostly work from the cloud, but I'm worried about the RAM.

    Firstly, it's a cost thing. Even the base laptop is really pushing my budget and it's an extra £160 odd (with student discount) to double the RAM.

    I don't think I need 16gb, but I need convincing.

    I'm definitely after more of a pro-sumer laptop, so the standard complaints about the new models don't bother me. I'm just after something powerful enough, well built and reliable and I'm fed up with Dell.

    I do edit photos and videos, but mostly on my desktop. The worst the laptop will likely be put through is having multiple tabs open on Safari/Chrome alongside Word, maybe Excel, One Note, Final Draft and occasionally Photoshop - a few of these at once.

    8GB will do, right?
  2. Howard2k, Nov 18, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2016

    Howard2k macrumors 6502a


    Mar 10, 2016
    General consensus is that you need 32GB for that.

    But in reality I use 8GB today and is great. Not saying don't get 16, but don't do it because of hype.
  3. craig1024 macrumors regular

    Feb 15, 2016
    I did more than that on 4gb of ram with El Capitan and never experienced a slow down I upgraded to 8gb of ram and noticed no speed improvement so you should be good for awhile
  4. ahoydecoy thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 24, 2015
    Thanks for chipping in. I see so many people here getting hysterical (I say this with love) about the need for 16 minimum just for surfing the web and how the OS will outgrow 8gb in the next year or two and any laptops without more RAM will be obsolete. I want this laptop to last a while, but I just don't believe this.
  5. Hyloba macrumors 6502

    Sep 30, 2014
    I do your stuff on my 4gb ram ultrabook. I guess 8 would be fine, but I'd like to hear from 8gb users.
  6. The_Nautilus macrumors newbie


    Nov 5, 2016
    I had 8 GB on my 2012 Air and it was fine. I didn't do photo/video editing but ran a Windows 7 VM and several Remote Desktop sessions along with multiple Safari & Chrome tabs all at once.
  7. johnparjr macrumors 6502a


    May 10, 2005
  8. therealseebs macrumors 65816


    Apr 14, 2010
    I have seen a lot of complaints about 8GB, and I will say that on my 8GB MBP, if I have a normal mix of stuff like web browser(s), chat programs, and mail client up, and I look at the memory pressure/memory compression stats, it's getting hit. If I add more stuff, it's pretty noticeable. So I would be pretty wary of 8GB, especially because of the not-upgradeable thing.

    ... I sometimes wonder if I shouldn't just have migrated to other vendors when the non-upgradeable thing started happening. It's been awful.
  9. Ries macrumors 68000

    Apr 21, 2007
    I'd never go below 16GB. I'm using 8GB just having mac osx standard apps + safari + vlc. Aren't even doing anything demanding right now. Remember the 1GB RAM iPad/iPhone? Major new iOS hits. "They will fix safari and app reloading, 1GB is plenty of RAM, just wait next patch...next patch...next patch...ohh, 2GB RAM fixed it, who would have known"

    Screen Shot 2016-11-18 at 23.17.42.png
  10. thats all folks macrumors 6502a

    thats all folks

    Dec 20, 2013
    Austin (supposedly in Texas)
    8GB will have to do if that is all you can pay for. maybe if this more than you can afford, you should step back from the purchase entirely and re-evaluate once you can remove emotion from the decision.

    the general consensus is that some tasks are much better served by more RAM. the (very reasonable) hope was that after five years of being stuck at 16, we'd finally see an increase in the maximum available.

    the OS and individual applications manage their RAM usage. the less there is, the less they use. you cant tell an application to use more RAM than you have, so it makes use of what is available. just because it works with less doesn't mean that it wouldn't be significantly faster with more.
  11. Howard2k macrumors 6502a


    Mar 10, 2016
    27 Safari tabs, iTunes playing music and backing up my phone, also doing some stuff in Lightroom.

    Screen Shot 2016-11-18 at 5.30.07 PM.png
  12. Jaekae macrumors 6502a

    Dec 4, 2012
    Most ppl dont understand how macOS handles the memory, and check that activity monitor and go "oh my god i need more" even though they dont need it in reality

    Ive used 8gb in my 2012 rmbp for 4,5 years now without any problems, for way more demanding tasks than you do (music production/mixing, photo editing, video editing)
  13. ahoydecoy thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 24, 2015
    Interesting, thanks. And you don't feel it struggling at all? Forgot to mention iTunes as one of the things I'll likely use a lot that I know eats RAM.
  14. Hyloba macrumors 6502

    Sep 30, 2014
    I often have 30-40 tabs open in chrome, itunes playing, couple of excel, word and pdf files open, and sometimes photoshop or illustrator, and vlc player. I have 4gb of ram and sure I do get some slowdowns or need to refresh a page, but would I really need 16gb for all of that?
  15. Howard2k macrumors 6502a


    Mar 10, 2016
    Nope. Hasn't been a problem at all.
    But again, I'm not saying don't get the 16GB, I'm just saying that 8GB is perfectly useable for most of us.

    Even 4GB in some circumstances. Although I DID have a 4GB MBA for a short time and when I was browsing Safari, playing in Lightroom, using GarageBand, and checking email all at the same time it started paging. I returned that to get the 8GB MBPro. The 4GB was mostly usable but I was in the return window so I figured I'd take that opportunity to upgrade and try 8GB. And I've been very happy with it.

    I haven't had that paging happen yet on 8GB. I did have my memory pressure into the yellow the other week but I don't recall exactly what I was doing and I can't say for sure if it was an anomaly because of an errant process.
  16. therealseebs macrumors 65816


    Apr 14, 2010
    Probably not. But consider that every time MacOS updates, we end up needing more memory for the same apps. And there's no upgrades. So... I wouldn't want to bet on 8GB staying sufficient.
  17. Kafou33 macrumors newbie

    Nov 16, 2016
    A point that surely worth consideration is the iGPU use shared memory, the iGPU use or can use (I don't know) 1.5GB, so if someone take 8GB there's only 6.5GB left. That alone may be a good reason to upgrade to 16GB. Is it true to say that?
  18. Pootmatoot macrumors 6502a

    Nov 17, 2014
    It depends entirely on usage. If you're a typical consumer-level user, 8 is fine.
  19. Ph.D. macrumors 6502

    Jul 8, 2014
    Please note that Macs now actually try to use all the memory all the time, e.g. so that it doesn't have to re-load stuff from disk as often. What this means is that you will frequently see "8 GB used" (or close to it), and that's absolutely fine and normal. In fact, it's better than the old days when only active stuff was stored in ram.

    Don't worry about the "memory used," just look at the "memory pressure." If that's in the green, you are good.

    I'd agree that 8GB is fine for most people. This is even more true with the 2016 machines due to the very fast SSD and the continued use of memory compression, etc. Tiny delays due to swapping to the SSD are even less noticeable now.

    This is a case of "if you have to ask, you don't need it." On the other hand, if you use the machine for very heavy FCP use, etc., then you don't have to ask - you know you will want the 16GB (and probably a 15" machine with Radeon graphics).
  20. Ankaa macrumors 6502a

    Jul 27, 2008
    Seriously? That's were we're at, now? You CAN'T work on a computer anymore if you don't have at least 16 GB RAM?

    Seriously people, get a grip. Of course more is always better, but instead of eying the activity monitor, do you actually NOTICE any differences?

    I'm still at 4 GB RAM on my MBA and while I stayed at Yosemite, I really don't notice a lot of issues...and I use this machine for MatLab, for Lightroom with Raw files, for Photoshop, for Parallels, ...

    I do have 24 GB RAM in my iMac because that's my workhorse. But for my MOBILE Mac, do I need that much? Most probably not.

    If you NEED it, you would know. And yes, I've been debating the exact same question ('should I opt for 16 GB RAM?' just earlier today here in the forum), but came to my personal conclusion that 8 GB is probably fine somewhere between 95% and 99% of the time for my usage and that I might as well just save that money...
    --- Post Merged, Nov 18, 2016 ---
    One addition: Many of the slowdowns people notice probably aren't related to the RAM. I do see those in Safari on my iMac, for example, with nothing else really happening at the same time...I highly doubt that 24 GB RAM aren't enough for a few tabs in Safari...
  21. deliriumxy macrumors member

    Nov 21, 2016
    This thread is great. I also recently got a base model 13" w/ touchbar, and have been going back and forth in my head considering if I got enough RAM. A lot of enthusiasts seem to be very vocal that 16 gb is best, and getting it will "future proof" your machine. I've also read opinions saying that "future proofing" is misguided, and its best to buy what you need now, sell it later and just buy a new machine.

    I've been using a 2011 MBP with only 4 gb of RAM to code and browse the Internet. I've found it more than enough with no slow down. Remember that RAM is mostly beneficial for running many programs simultaneously. If you use Activity Monitor you can always just shut down any memory hogging applications and free up some RAM. So, if you just manage your RAM efficiently you can easily get by with 8 gb. It depends on how you like to work. I suppose some people just like to have many applications open at the same time. I believe it's a luxury for them.

    I even went as far as to chat with an Apple rep, asking them this question. They didn't even try to up-sell me. The rep said if I don't intend to play 3-D games, or do intensive video/photo editing, 8 gb of RAM would be sufficient. 16 gb of RAM would probably be optimal if you intend to use Virtual Machines to, for example, run Windows. I don't use VMs, so I don't really need it.

    I'm wondering if someone could give more insight into how Mac OS allocates RAM? I noticed that with no extra programs running, the OS will still use about 2.8 gb of RAM. Why is this?
  22. Ma2k5 macrumors 65816


    Dec 21, 2012
    The more available RAM you have, the more the computer will use. If you had only 8GB ram, it doesn't mean you would have experienced slow downs. The computer just gets more lazy with RAM if you have more than you need. The key is actually the "Pressure" graph. If that is green, that means you won't really benefit from more RAM.

    I think this leads to people who have 16GB, seeing 14 GB in use, believing that it is no longer enough and hop on the 32 GB train.
  23. Stephencovar macrumors member

    May 20, 2015
    Pasadena, California
    Wow, this is a great and informative thread. Everyone here is helping me feel like I made the right decision of buying the base model 13" without the touch bar.
  24. ahoydecoy thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 24, 2015
    I'm still slightly torn, but planning on sticking with my gut and my already ordered 8gb RAM. Unless people really think I'll have a much better experience on a 16gb machine, I'm not convinced.
  25. ixxx69 macrumors 65816

    Jul 31, 2009
    United States
    I can just about guarantee for the usage you suggested, you would notice zero difference between 8GB and 16GB. You'll be fine with 8GB for years to come. By the time you need more, you'll be ready for a new laptop anyway. Future-proofing is almost always a waste of money.

    There are a couple dozen people on this forum who literally voice their dislike of the new MBP in various ways on a daily basis in nearly every advice thread... so just keep that in mind.

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