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spookybean

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 27, 2022
1
0
hi i am a university student thinking of getting a new MacBook air m1 512gb but i need help picking between 8gb or 16gb ram.

i use my laptop for normal school stuff but also to play some games like hollow knight.
i make websites in wix, design graphics in canvas, and use discord a lot.
most of my work is in safari, discord and books
safari is my primary browser and i often have many tab groups open at the same time.

i also use apps like streamio, WhatsApp, messenger, spotify, mail, photos, notes regularly.
i rarely edit videos and photos in adobe.

i am not sure whether 8gb ram with the new chip will be enough for me or not.
i want to seriously future proof this device since it is quite expensive for me.
let me know your suggestions!

i am currently using the MacBook air 2019 and it works fine but gets quite sluggish when i have more than a few apps open. streamio almost always freezes if i have it open with safari and discord.

tia!
 

Basic75

macrumors 68000
May 17, 2011
1,995
2,340
Europe
A clear vote for 16GB. Changing the instruction set of the processor doesn't magically diminish use of RAM. With 8GB you have just enough for the most basic of use cases today.
 

Gudi

Suspended
May 3, 2013
4,590
3,265
Berlin, Berlin
i am not sure whether 8gb ram with the new chip will be enough for me or not.
8 GB is more than enough for Hollow Knight and all the other use cases you described combined. Don't listen to the people who tell you otherwise! Unless you work on multiple streams of 4K video at the same time, memory is in no way a limiting factor.
 

Realityck

macrumors G4
Nov 9, 2015
10,367
15,615
Silicon Valley, CA
8 GB is more than enough for Hollow Knight and all the other use cases you described combined. Don't listen to the people who tell you otherwise! Unless you work on multiple streams of 4K video at the same time, memory is in no way a limiting factor.
Safari as one example can use a lot of RAM if available for caching web content in different tabs more effectively. When you consider that 8GB is being shared with parts of MacOS, being used for GPU memory for display, it becomes apparent that the Mac will run better with 16GB then 8GB, even if 8GB seems to work just fine.

This YouTube video is one of the best for figuring out what works best for the buck.

 

Gudi

Suspended
May 3, 2013
4,590
3,265
Berlin, Berlin
Safari as one example can use a lot of RAM if available for caching web content in different tabs more effectively.
Safari is one example of why you don't need more RAM. If you find a tab that's eating 8GB memory, you should close it and not try to upgrade your Mac to meet the most ridiculous resource requirements on the internet. You can easily watch one 4K YouTube video on 8GB RAM. And then you close it instead of opening another one and another one, until you've filled even 16GB of memory and start claiming that 24GB is the new minimum.
 

Realityck

macrumors G4
Nov 9, 2015
10,367
15,615
Silicon Valley, CA
Safari is one example of why you don't need more RAM. If you find a tab that's eating 8GB memory, you should close it and not try to upgrade your Mac to meet the most ridiculous resource requirements on the internet. You can easily watch one 4K YouTube video on 8GB RAM. And then you close it instead of opening another one and another one, until you've filled even 16GB of memory and start claiming that 24GB is the new minimum.
I usually have several browser windows with tabs opened, there is no tab that is consuming a lot of memory by itself. This isn't a javascript error causing excessive memory to be used exceeding RAM capacity and greatly slowing down everything on a Mac. This is simple example of more RAM makes faster browsing.
 
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blkjedi954

macrumors 6502
Feb 15, 2012
396
306
Florida
I usually have several browser windows with tabs opened, there is no tab that is consuming a lot of memory by itself. This isn't a javascript error causing excessive memory to be used exceeding RAM capacity and greatly slowing down everything on a Mac. This is simple example of more RAM makes faster browsing.
i am not sure whether 8gb ram with the new chip will be enough for me or not.
“i want to seriously future proof this device since it is quite expensive for me.”
let me know your suggestions!
You said it BEST. Future proofing is what you’re going for, as it is quite expensive. 16gb is a no-brainer! Good luck.
 

kschendel

macrumors 65816
Dec 9, 2014
1,281
556
If you normally have "more than a few apps open", you're a candidate for 16 GB.

You can make 8GB work, with some usage discipline. My guess is that you would do better spending the money for more memory.
 
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Rigtee

macrumors member
Sep 19, 2018
75
32
Belgium
Hey, I'm the happy owner of a 2020 MBA M1 with 8GB of RAM but the larger SSD. I truly love my machine and it has been my daily driver for a bit over a year now.

But the lack of RAM truly sucks. I wish I had gone with the 16GB RAM, especially when I have it connected to my external 4K 32" display. With lots of applications the computer can get hot and slow, swap usage is huge (not bad per se but slower than the RAM that's sure as it uses the SSD) and I feel like with more RAM this would not be a bottleneck!
 
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tstafford

macrumors 6502a
Sep 13, 2022
969
885
It's your money so I hate spending it. I'll say it this way - I wouldn't own a Mac w/ less than 16GB RAM.
 

FreakinEurekan

macrumors 603
Sep 8, 2011
5,664
2,735
If you can afford more RAM, get more RAM. If it’s a choice between RAM and storage, with your use case, go for storage.
 

Realityck

macrumors G4
Nov 9, 2015
10,367
15,615
Silicon Valley, CA
If you can afford more RAM, get more RAM. If it’s a choice between RAM and storage, with your use case, go for storage.
Then you just end up having the slower SSD being a lot busier acting as a substitute for the lack of RAM. Using additional memory avoids that allowing you to live with a smaller SSD which you can always supplement with external storage. RAM you're stuck with what its built with. ;)
 
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Likeaboss7

macrumors newbie
Feb 12, 2019
23
16
Since you already have a Mac, when using it open up "activity monitor" and click memory tab and it will tell you how many gb of memory you are actively using. I feel if this is your second Mac then get 16gb ram as basic normal usage is at 6gb ram used
 
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