8GB vs. 16GB for RAM?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by doctorstrange, Feb 6, 2014.

  1. doctorstrange macrumors newbie

    Feb 6, 2014
    I'm looking into buying a new rMBP and I'm wondering what exactly the 16GB of RAM is used for? I've been on several forums and everyone says either "if you're questioning it you don't need it" or "get it just to be safe" and neither of these provides a concrete answer as to what a practical application for this much RAM would be.

    I'm questioning if I need it because I've been using a Mid 2010 with 4GB for about two years and 4GB is absolutely not enough. I don't know if 8GB will be enough because I haven't tested my work on either that or the 16.

    What do you guys think?
  2. disasterdrone macrumors 6502

    Aug 31, 2013
    VMs, video work, certain types of photo work, some page layout.
  3. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    ... and you know that it is not enough how exactly?
    This review explains how far 4gb will get you: http://bgr.com/2013/11/18/apple-13-i...iew-late-2013/

    And for further questions about the usefulness of ram you might wanna look anywhere here :



    It really depends on what kind of video work. Ram does not help with rendering. CPU does.
    I have yet to see photo work that would demand more than 4gb.
    VMs are the only sure thing I can come up with that really requires more ram.
    Really excessive multitasking would use ram. i havent managed to multitaks that much on a macbook yet.
    Also there are badly programmed apps like dragon dictate that use up almost infinite amounts of ram.
  4. Idefix macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2012
  5. disasterdrone macrumors 6502

    Aug 31, 2013
    Sure it depends on the type of video work, and sure it depends on the type of photo work, but you ought to try posting in pro-photographer forums that 4gb is enough and see how they react!
  6. doctorstrange thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 6, 2014
    I usually run some kind of system checker in the background so I can see exactly what is being used and when I'm working, RAM is almost always at 99.99% and the computer is quite slow. I recently downloaded a memory freer app and I have to run it every 45 minutes or so. Which isn't that bad, but I'm concerned that it means I'm pushing the computer more than it's supposed to be pushed.
  7. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    This is a very good link. I didnt know that more ram can actually decrease performance with some apps.


    I edit raw files and i see no differnce. People write all kinds of trash in forums...


    What system checker are you running?
    What OS are you running?
    Does the memory freer app make your system faster after you run it?
    Are you using an ssd?
    What apps are you using? / What do you use your macbook for?
  8. Praxis91 macrumors regular


    Mar 15, 2011
    More RAM helps if you do video editing and run any VMs. However, my philosophy has always been (for anything, but I'm a new Mac owner and I've built many PCs over the years): get as much RAM and hard drive space as you can afford.
  9. disasterdrone macrumors 6502

    Aug 31, 2013

    It's not about whether you edit raw files or not. Some of us use multiple large files, do HDR work, panoramic stitching, etc.
    You can rapidly run out of space working on several versions of these kinds of situations simultaneously. It's fine if you don't need it, but don't try to give the impression that no one does.
  10. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    I am sure there is always someone who does. Just saying i dont. even with stitching and hdr.
  11. accountforit macrumors 6502a

    Jan 22, 2014
    ^^^^ stop feeding this guy.

    He clearly has a hard on for RAM and arguing daily with people who want more than 8gb. It's a little absurd how this guy seeks out RAM threads and spews this garbage day after day. Can someone say "no life"?

    You can get by with 2gb but that doesn't mean you can't benefit from more. Buy the reasonably cheap 16gb, put your mind at ease, and move on.
  12. Meister, Feb 6, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2014

    Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    You are obviously not a Connoisseur of ram threads :D
    ... or maybe you are because you are the one that I am arguing with daily ;)
    Arent you the guy that edits photos in preview?

    At second thought you have somewhat of a point though.
    The continous ram threads are even getting boring for me now.
    But there is always someone coming along who opens up a new one. And its just too tempting :D

    Here is another new one btw: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1704360
    :D :D
  13. doctorstrange thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 6, 2014
    1. I'm running Activity Monitor, came with the MBP.
    2. I'm running Mavericks. MBP is Mid 2010, 256 SSD, 4GB RAM.
    3. Immediately after I run it, yes. After about a half hour there's barely any difference from when I first ran it though.
    4. Yes, around 256 GB.
    5. I have work/classes that require me to simultaneously run Unity, Photoshop, a browser of my choice (usually Firefox), and an IDE of my choice (usually IntelliJ IDEA or Xcode). I have to occasionally open up Maya as well but I try to shut it down when I'm not actively using it.

    When I'm not doing design related things I'm using my MBP as a rails development server and to be honest I have no idea what that does for the RAM.
  14. fskywalker macrumors 65816


    Nov 6, 2009
    Just bite the bullet and get 16GB Ram! You won't regret playing safe
  15. Meister, Feb 6, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2014

    Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    1. If memory pressure is in the green you have enough ram
    2. Thats a good configuration
    3. Seems like your slow system and maybe even your system crashes could be connected to your memory

    I think your problems are either caused by software issues or defective memory.

    I would recommend this:
    - reinstall mavericks
    - replace the memory in your macbook you currently own and while you are at it upgrade to 16gb

    You have the luxury of a ram upgradeable macbook. Might as well go to 16gb.
    On the new macbooks i think its pointless for 99% of users.

    The reason why you couldnt find any clear advice on how much ram is right for you is because it depends on how you use your machine. For some people (maybe you included) 16gb of ram is a usefull upgrade.
  16. kittencounter macrumors member

    Mar 22, 2013
    I don't know but I don't really have to worry about things slowing down. On my Mac I always have a bunch of of apps open and I never close them (Browser, Music player, Mail client, Messenger and IDE). From what I see the browsers tabs take pretty much load of RAM and there are always 10-20 of tabs open minimum. The only time I see RAM is used up quick is when I use Cut operations in Photoshop on big files, even 16 GB is not enough when you do it often with many files open.

    With app nap you can leave many applications / VMs open and never restart the machine. You just don't worry about it and the machine feels like it barely has to sweat and load things. It's hard to tell whether you need more RAM since very few ppl use the same machine and then upgrade the RAM to 16 GB to tell the difference.
  17. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    OSX uses virtual memory so 8gb is fine for most operations, and when its not, it will swap out to the SSD (or disk). I understand the angst because the ram is soldered onto the logic board. But if the OP is concerned then for peace of mind alone, it may be worth the upgrade.
  18. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    :D good point. It might be worth it just for psych reasons.
    Also the OP might benefit from 16b with his particular usage.
  19. CausticPuppy, Feb 7, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2014

    CausticPuppy macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2012
    I think that must be a Mavericks memory management bug. If you follow their link to last year's similar test on Mountain Lion, the results were opposite... Iphoto did better with more memory, and Aperture was pretty much the same, within the margin of error. But they only tested imports.... If you actually try to use Aperture with 4GB memory, it struggles. Trying applying a VSCO preset on a batch of 100 images.

    There is no reason that an application should slow down if it has more memory available.
  20. FrozenDarkness macrumors 65816

    Mar 21, 2009
    aside from the numerous other threads in this message board, i think the biggest thing that helped me make my decision is this, look around. Macbook air? max 8gb. 14" Razer Blade? 8gb max. Samsung and lenovo ultrabooks? 8gb maximum. I think if you need 16gb, you'd know it.
  21. IronManFanatic, Feb 8, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2014

    IronManFanatic macrumors newbie


    Jan 11, 2014
    Yes, exactly this! It's what made me stay with 8GB RAM. Now I have another dilemma, I originally wanted the 256GB version, and now I went for the 512, and sort of want to go back to the 256 (still sealed), because the 512 is heaps expensive for what it is (+AUD $350). Although I don't mind the added space, it's just so damn costly to justify. :/
  22. kevink2 macrumors 65816

    Nov 2, 2008
    My 2010 model has had 8GB since shortly after I bought it. 4GB wasn't enough.

    So far, for me 8GB is enough. Though I would be tempted, if I bought a new laptop, to go with 16GB. Things may continue to grow in the next 4 years.

    The extra RAM in the short term would only be useful for people wanting to run VMs, or if they do video/photo processing.
  23. bikemd macrumors newbie

    Jul 3, 2012
    Calgary, AB, Canada
    I hope this is not considered hijacking the thread. But I want to give the question of 8GB vs. 16GB RAM a little twist. My question boils down to, "what is a better upgrade if I can only choose one? Upgrading the CPU or bumping up the RAM"?

    I am considering purchasing a current model (ie. late 2013) 13" MBP with retina display. I am hoping to purchase it at the (Canadian) Apple Refurb store. There are two configurations I am interested in (I have highlighted the only difference in the two configs):

    MacBook Pro 13.3” Retina - Dual-Core i7 2.8Ghz
    Originally released October 2013
    13.3-inch (diagonal) Retina display; 2560-by-1600 resolution at 227 pixels per inch
    8GB of 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM
    512GB Flash Storage1
    720p FaceTime HD camera
    Intel Iris Graphics

    MacBook Pro 13.3” Retina - Dual-Core i5 2.6Ghz
    Originally released October 2013
    13.3-inch (diagonal) Retina display; 2560-by-1600 resolution at 227 pixels per inch
    16GB of 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM
    512GB Flash Storage1
    720p FaceTime HD camera
    Intel Iris Graphics

    They both cost the same ($1739). The first one has the bumped up CPU to i7 2.8GHz but "only" 8GB RAM. The second one has an i5 2.6GHz CPU but has 16GB of RAM. Just for reference, if I buy new, the bumped up CPU or the increased RAM cost the same ($200 options).

    My question is if I can only get one of these upgrades (CPU or RAM but not both), which is the better upgrade and where might I see a difference when it comes to performance?

  24. Buck987 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 16, 2010
    no doubt...RAM
  25. CausticPuppy macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2012
    RAM for sure... the difference between the 2.6GHz i5 and the 2.8GHz i7 is marginal at best.

    Intel's marketing sure is confusing, because the dual core i5's and i7's are identical except for the amount of cache and small differences in clock speed.

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