Advice regarding RAM for 13" rMBP

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Spongofy, Jun 26, 2015.

  1. Spongofy, Jun 26, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2015

    Spongofy macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2015
    I'm buying a 2015 rMBP 13" with the new trackpad and I'm looking for some advice regarding the RAM.

    I'm in college and will use it as my main computer for word editing, web browsing and programming.

    I have decided to go for the 256 GB SSD which should be enough since I have a 1 TB external HDD for storage. This however means that I am stretching my budget already. Is the 16 GB RAM worth it over the 8 GB? From my understanding 8 will be enough for me now but I want this computer to last for a while and if the extra investment gives it a longer life length I am willing to spend the money.

    What are your thoughts on the matter? Any advice is helpful.

    English is not my native language so please excuse any errors.

    Edit: I do like to play games every now and then. Currently I only play Hearthstone which isn't that demanding but I would like my computer to be able to run games somewhat smoothly (but I do understand that a MacBook isn't the best option for gaming)
  2. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    RAM will make no difference to games which will be limited by the graphics card. The 13 inch macbook pro will play older games and less demanding games at medium to low settings at fairly decent frame rates but don't expect to be playing the likes of the witcher 3 at all.

    If you plan on running a few VM's, or doing some huge files in photoshop or 4K video editing then 16GB may be of some use to you otherwise it's not needed.

    Future proofing is a myth and despite what people rant on about, it'll be your CPU or GPU that is the limiting factor 5 years down the line not 8GB of RAM.
  3. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    On the contrary, RAM is quite important in the 13", as the graphics memory is shared with the RAM - it doesn't have a dedicated GPU. Furthermore when VRAM is used up on a computer, the system will actually briefly write to the RAM to use as graphics memory (much like writing to the HDD as virtual memory).

    Also as OS X is a UNIX system, it does utilise RAM somewhat differently to Windows - in that it will always use as much as it possibly can for best system performance. The more RAM you throw at it, the more it loves it.

    Yes, you are right in saying they'll see very little real-world difference in framerates/gaming performance with 16GB/8GB. However to say it doesn't make any difference isn't 100% accurate. OP, always get as much RAM as you can afford, especially as you won't be able to upgrade it later on a rMBP.
  4. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    I wouldn't sweat the 8GB of RAM too much. If your budget had some more room, sure it'd be nice to have. Still, yesterday for example, I was working on one of my co-workers new 15" rMBP. I was logged in with his user account with his working/programming environment fully up and running, logged in as administrator under another account doing some installations and other work, and logged in to Windows 8.1 under parallels in that session, installing and testing a bunch of heavy duty programs, and determining if I needed to adjust the amount of RAM dedicated to Parallels. Even under that heavy usage, I never saw the total amount of used RAM go above 9GB.
  5. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    That's true, but it's important to note that if he had 16GB RAM, it's likely you'd have seen the RAM go to ~12GB or more. OS X will always try to make the best out of the amount of RAM it has, and avoid writing to the hard-drive where possible. So amount of RAM being used is not always a completely accurate representation of how much RAM it would be using.
  6. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    For the average user, no it is not worth spending the money to go from 8 to 16GB.

    To notice any difference at all you would need to be doing something like editing really HUGE Photoshop files. But in normal, day to day usage of say a web browser or office apps, you will never see the difference.
  7. oldmacs macrumors 68040


    Sep 14, 2010
    Go 16.. If you want longevity 16GB will give you peace of mind.

    I disagree. For a lot of things a 2008 C2D Mac will run very well if it has an SSD and maxed out ram. For example, I use a 2008 Macbook (aluminium) and with the original 2GB of ram (which was more than enough in 2008/2009) it is a nightmare under Yosemite. With 4 or 8 gb of ram it is actually usable. You won't notice a massive improvement from the upgrade straight away, but in a couple of years you will.
  8. Spongofy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2015
    Thanks for all the input. I will probably go for 8 GB to keep the price down. I do want a future proof machine but since I never do any photo or video editing I think 8 GB will be enough for me.
  9. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    Uh, the machine in question HAS 16GB of RAM. Not sure how it'd be using 9 if it didn't. :)
  10. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    Ah very good. Sorry I misinterpreted your post. :)
  11. JackANSI macrumors 6502a


    Feb 3, 2011
    To chime in late, I have a 15" MBP (Early 2011) with 16GB of RAM that I previously had 4 and 8GB in it. I routinely use a VM running my bootcamp partition of windows 7.

    I upgraded from 4 to 8GB within a few months of buying my MBP and it made a real difference. Then a few months later I thought: "Hey it was so good going from 4 to 8, it will be even better with 16!". To this day, I don't feel it was worth the money to go with 16GB. (it used 512MB of that 8GB as VRAM in OS X I think)

    I use it for a vast array of little tasks that I don't feel like being stuck at a desk to do. I do minor java development on both VM windows and OS X, also increasingly using Xcode but it is not my first choice for any of this due to the small screen space compared to what I'm used to using (3x 24" 1920x1200 monitors). I never felt that RAM was my limiting factor for all that (after moving to 16GB and seeing not much return).

    A majority of the time I have a terminal window or two ssh'd to remote servers, a few browser windows, email, and some text or image editing software open, as well as acrobat. Never had an instance where I was hurting for more RAM during that workflow on 8 GB.

    I could comfortably have illustrator and photoshop open (alone) as long as I was just doing small, low-dpi things like web-scale images or graphics on 8GB and still had great response from the system.

    Anything I needed to do that is intensive on windows I just reboot directly into windows. I rarely needed anything from the Mac side if I need to dive that deep on the windows side anyway.

    I never tried gaming on this thing. I doubt I'd be too pleased with the result if I did. I'm 100% certain that the CPU/GPU would be maxed well before the RAM was taxed...

    So in summary, unless you know that 8GB isn't enough, don't sweat the choice of going for 8GB.
  12. Frosties macrumors 6502a


    Jun 12, 2009
    I am standing with a 2010 MacBook PRO with maxed 8gb of ram and with cameras getting more pixels imagefiles grow fast, but with 16 Mpixel nikonfiles and Photoshop i am ok, not flying but ok. For me 16gb ram would be in my next computer, but what you need is personal. My advice to friends is to go with minimum of 8gb ram if you don't know that you need more.

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