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Benefit of 16GB of RAM

pcd213

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 24, 2019
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I've never had more than 8GB of RAM on my laptops but I've always wondered what the tangible benefit of 16GB RAM would be. My general usage is in lots of web with lots of open tabs, streaming video and audio, emailing, messaging, photo viewing, document writing, and calendaring. Often times I'll have Safari with a bunch of tabs and maybe five other programs running at the same time. I don't edit video, I don't edit music, I don't game, I don't develop.

What benefit would 16GBs have on my type of usage? Is 16GBs really only beneficial for video editors/gamers/developers?
 
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RobbieTT

macrumors 6502
Apr 3, 2010
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530
United Kingdom
Of zero benefit to you and probably most customers. People like to think they 'must' need more, probably from the days when it made a difference or have got used to Windows appetite.

I do have use cases where I need more (VMs) and 1 laptop has 16GB and the iMac Pro has 32GB, but the other 4 Macs run with 8GB as that is the minimum you can buy. Those that genuinely need more RAM know exactly why and the amount they require. The future-proofing argument is flawed for everything save for storage space (if relevant to you).
 
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Herrpod

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May 29, 2019
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8 (on a Mac) is perfect for what you described. Mirrors my usage. People told me in 2014 when I bought a MBP that 8 would be enough but I should go with more because it wouldn't be enough for long. 2019 is here and 8 is still enough.
 
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kp98077

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Oct 26, 2010
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I believe 8 is just fine for most and even professionals. I hear people say they will keep their laptops 4,5 or 6 years but the truth is they usually upgrade, therefore, the need is eve less...you can compare what 8 was 5 years ago and what it is now, computers work differently. I have an 8 MBP 2019 13" now and honestly push it hard and have not noticed any issues at all! I'd rather save that $
 
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pcd213

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 24, 2019
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Thank you, all! Very helpful!

Now, same question for an i7 processor. I’m asking more for my own knowledge than something I’d really consider.
 
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Stephen.R

macrumors 68030
Nov 2, 2018
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Thailand
OP: when you’re doing your usual activities on the computer, open up Activity Monitor (spotlight for “activity” or look in Applications > Utilities), click the memory tab and look down the bottom where it says memory pressure.

If it’s green, you probably don’t need more. If it’s yellow or red, you’d probably (almost certainly) benefit from more memory.

With the rise in popularity (amongst some people) of chrome, and it’s cousin Electron based apps (eg slack, Skype, discord, etc) claiming that 8GB “is enough for most people” is disingenuous at best.

There’s no such thing as too much RAM.
 
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Howard2k

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Mar 10, 2016
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OP: when you’re doing your usual activities on the computer, open up Activity Monitor (spotlight for “activity” or look in Applications > Utilities), click the memory tab and look down the bottom where it says memory pressure.

If it’s green, you probably don’t need more. If it’s yellow or red, you’d probably (almost certainly) benefit from more memory.

With the rise in popularity (amongst some people) of chrome, and it’s cousin Electron based apps (eg slack, Skype, discord, etc) claiming that 8GB “is enough for most people” is disingenuous at best.

There’s no such thing as too much RAM.


8GBs is obviously enough for most people since it’s the most popular 13” configuration.
[doublepost=1563044075][/doublepost]
Sure you can. It is much worse when the system is on a hard drive.


For sure. Much worse when it’s a Pentium
75 too. Luckily it’s neither :)
 
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cube

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May 10, 2004
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8GBs is obviously enough for most people since it’s the most popular 13” configuration.
Apple has typically skimped on RAM giving half the regular amount.
[doublepost=1563044274][/doublepost]
For sure. Much worse when it’s a Pentium
75 too. Luckily it’s neither :)
It can be a 2TB SSHD that you put in a cMBP.
 
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Howard2k

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Mar 10, 2016
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Apple has typically skimped on RAM giving half the regular amount.
[doublepost=1563044274][/doublepost]
It can be a 2TB SSHD on cMBP.

Simply not true. If 8GB wasn’t enough for most people it wouldn’t be the base configuration of the 13”. Otherwise people (myself included) wouldn’t be able to use 8GB.

Your logic just doesn’t work.
 
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cube

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Simply not true. If 8GB wasn’t enough for most people it wouldn’t be the base configuration of the 13”. Otherwise people (myself included) wouldn’t be able to use 8GB.

Your logic just doesn’t work.
Yes it works. Whenever I bought a Mac the first thing I did was replace the RAM and hard drive.
 
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Howard2k

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Mar 10, 2016
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Yes it works. Whenever I bought a Mac the fist thing I did was replace the RAM and hard drive.

That’s because either:
1) your needs are higher than average, or
2) you needlessly upgraded (and hey nothing wrong with that)

Again, if 8GB wasn’t enough (and as you obviously know, we can’t upgrade our MBPros) the forum would be full of posts from people complaining that they bought 8GB, the system has to constantly swap, it slows to a crawl, and it’s easily observable in Activity Monitor. Where are those posts?
 
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cube

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That’s because either:
1) your needs are higher than average, or
2) you needlessly upgraded (and hey nothing wrong with that)

Again, if 8GB wasn’t enough (and as you obviously know, we can’t upgrade our MBPros) the forum would be full of posts from people complaining that they bought 8GB, the system has to constantly swap, it slows to a crawl, and it’s easily observable in Activity Monitor. Where are those posts?

- When I did that I was using a regular amount of RAM. It was not until later that an Apple laptop was no longer enough.
- Normally the drives would be slow or not enough for carryover.
- It is normally better to upgrade yourself than from the computer maker.
 
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Stephen.R

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Nov 2, 2018
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Again, if it wasn’t enough it wouldn’t work.

A car with a flat tire “works”. A bbq that’s burning out of control “works”.

Your entire point is based on anecdotal evidence - your computer “works”, and some kind of blind faith that Apple has any clue how you intend to use the computer or how much memory you need. Go read what they say about “how much memory is right for you”.

I’m done arguing this point with you. OP, I told you above how you can check if more memory would help your specific usage or not.
 
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Altis

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Sep 10, 2013
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Simply not true. If 8GB wasn’t enough for most people it wouldn’t be the base configuration of the 13”. Otherwise people (myself included) wouldn’t be able to use 8GB.

Your logic just doesn’t work.

Apple has been consistent in giving the bare minimum RAM on their products. Then, in just a few years, the permanent/forced "updates" suddenly run like garbage and all we hear is, "well of course, it only has X RAM!". :p

That aside, 8 GB is okay for basic computing tasks at the moment. It'll likely just page to the SSD when it needs to (which can wear it sooner, and it can no longer be replaced independent of the logic board). But in a few years? Who knows.

... or have got used to Windows appetite.

Windows 10 seems to run much, much better on less RAM than macOS. Even 4 GB isn't a big deal for it, and it's still very quick on even older hardware (with SSD of course).
 
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cube

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Windows 10 seems to run much, much better on less RAM than macOS. Even 4 GB isn't a big deal for it, and it's still very quick on even older hardware (with SSD of course).
My usual 12GiB OS+Firefox experience is on W10.
 
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