Can someone walk me through the logic of future proofing with 16gb RAM?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Mongol, Jul 4, 2012.

  1. Mongol macrumors member

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    Jun 12, 2012
    #1
    I got the base model rMBP in store, and I still have a week to return/exchange, so just want some final opinions on this.

    Right now, from my normal usage, I don't even have page outs with 8 gbs.

    Once all the apps, and websites are updated with higher resolution assets, we'll see a bump in RAM usage, but I doubt it will exceed 8 gb.

    The main problem I have with the "future proofing" argument is that.. well, the CPU and GPU are also going to be outdated and those are obviously not upgradeable. So what exactly are you future proofing if you just upgrade the RAM?

    Also I'm curious for what everyone's profession is, and their choice regarding 8 gb vs 16 gb.

    Me:

    8gb
    Software developer/designer
     
  2. kettlecorn macrumors 6502

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    Jan 21, 2011
    #2
    I dont think it's future proofing anything. Is a 2007 Macbook future proofed now in 2012 because "you"/"I" got the higher upgraded ram? No, cause like you mentioned, everything including the CPU and GPU will continue to progress technologically so even if you have 16gb ram in 5 years, everything else is going to be outdated. And probably the DDR3 itself.

    I only see it as future proofing if it's talking in the context of your own needs. Like someone is going to graduate in a year and might need more intensive memory for work or something. Could also be a general thing, there are times when I wanted more RAM or this or that and regretted not spending the extra money. Future proofing = just in case. Not actually getting ready for the future.
     
  3. daleski75 macrumors 65816

    daleski75

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    #3
    For me I have gone for the base 2.3 with an upgrade to 16gb because in my profession I have to replicate customer issues on a variety of different platforms ranging from Solaris to Netware (spit, cough) to Windows 2008 and with clusters and god knows what else our customers have I need a machine capable of running multiple VM's at the same time.

    This and I am putting myself through a MCSA/MCITP.

    As for future proofing I think it's a moot point you buy a machine to suit your needs today and 16gb just gives you an extra bit of breathing space for running pretty much anything you wish in the future without memory constraints.
     
  4. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #4
    For the vast majority of users "future proofing" is nothing more than misguided buying advice. It serves no purpose other than to give Apple more money.
     
  5. Dangerous Theory macrumors 68000

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    #5
    Seems like you've already got it down to a T. If you don't and won't need the RAM then don't waste your cash on it. I assume some people are unaware of their future intentions so they're being careful...or just have too much money to spend. I think the majority of 16GB users bought it because they need it though.

    Oh, and your computer isn't going toes "outdated" for many years. Unless getting the best performance YoY is paramount to you.
     
  6. Mongol thread starter macrumors member

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    Jun 12, 2012
    #6
    Right, I meant that at some point the CPU and GPU will be outdated, and those are not upgradeable. So upgrading the RAM is only meaningful if we believe 8 gb RAM will be the performance bottleneck before the CPU and GPU are significantly outpaced by newer versions. Given Intel's processor roadmap for the next few years, I don't think that's likely to happen.

    And as for people who need to run VM's, I absolutely agree with the RAM upgrade in that case.
     
  7. cookiesnfooty macrumors 6502

    cookiesnfooty

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    #7
    You have people that still use netware. :eek:
     
  8. daleski75 macrumors 65816

    daleski75

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    #8
    Lots of local councils which we support still use it for their sins and the sooner it dies the better.
     
  9. leman macrumors 604

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    Oct 14, 2008
    #9
    The OP is entirely right. 8Gb will be enough for years to come if you don't use large data sets or multiple virtual machines. The whole idea of "future proofing" is a moot point anyway.
     
  10. lannisters4life macrumors 6502

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    #10
    I can sort of see where the "future-proofing" idea comes from, but I think in reality, it's a bit of a mindset.

    I had my 2008 MBP, which was a gun, did whatever I threw at it. But I remember at some point in around 2010 thinking, hmm yes, it is getting a little slow, so I payed about $60 for a RAM upgrade from 2GB to 4GB, and the performance increase was pretty visible, especially as I'm prone to having 15 things open at once. So from a "future-proofing" perspective, if my Core 2 Duo MBP did not allow for user-replacble RAM, it would have been a good idea for me to get 4GB installed when I bought it, considering the machine lasted me up until a week ago. The problem there is, having had the 4GB from day one, I would have become very accustomed to it, and by around 2010 I might have thought to myself, this machine is running a little slow, how about fitting it with an SSD or a large hadron collider, etc., so the cycle goes on. So yeah if $250 is nothing to you, get the 16GB, because if anything's certain in life, it's that memory usage goes up and up over time. But I wouldn't keep yourself up at night worrying.
     
  11. Moriarty, Jul 5, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2012

    Moriarty macrumors 6502

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    #11
    Because many users find that RAM limitations are the thing that slows them down first. I had an old Macbook with 4GB RAM (it could support up to 6GB, but was an expensive upgrade). I rarely ran programs that maxed the CPU, and don't need a fast GPU (nice for games, but not at all necessary). But I did really want more memory, an SSD and a nicer display because I do a lot of multi-tasking (MATLAB, LaTeX etc).

    So I got the Retina with 16GB. The CPU and GPU resources are insane for my needs. I could do well enough on one of the four cores, though it's nice to have the extra in reserve when I need it (and that Macbook's fans were always going nuts). Yet I do often use up to 8GB of my 16GB of RAM.

    And in the future, I'm going to be hitting that RAM ceiling again before I start wanting more CPU and GPU power. That's my situation, for many folks it's different. It depends entirely on what you do with the machine. This CPU and GPU will last me 5 years. 8GB of RAM? No way.

    Look to the future... what will "bottleneck" your system first? I think that in the vast majority of cases it's going to be RAM if you only have 8GB. It's not a bad amount, but when paired with a quad i7 I think it's not quite balanced. The average user will still have decent performance in 5 years from that CPU, unless you're doing intensive photo/video editing etc. But in 2017, 8GB of memory will be a bit pitiful.
     
  12. Dangerous Theory macrumors 68000

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    #12
    Great point. Thumbs up for the LHC comment - that made me laugh :D
     
  13. zerotiu macrumors regular

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    Jun 12, 2012
    #13
    8gb is more than adequate. I personally buy 16gb because 1st, sometimes I use virtual apps for another OS. 2nd, I want and I can buy it.

    Previously I've used mbp early 08 with 2gb until now, so... Buying 16gb is more to satisfy myself.
     
  14. Fortimir macrumors 6502a

    Fortimir

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    #14
    I can give you a good reason.

    I just bought a camera with 36.3 megapixels. There's a noticeable difference in handling between 8 and 16GB, especially if you have more than one image open in more than one application at a time.

    All cameras are heading into higher and higher megapixel realms. Only matter of time before 24-36mp is straight-up normal on ever camera.
     
  15. Maziar macrumors 6502

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    #15
  16. colour macrumors regular

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    Mar 13, 2009
    #16
    1333MHz SODIMM 16GB Ram from amazon right now for $86.99 with no shipping charge, this is not an advertisement ! What it is telling you is that $87 is going to max out your machine so you don't have to worry about RAM problems for a few years and you can throw anything at it for. $86.99...... if you can afford a $1800-$2200 laptop you can afford 5% of that price to max out your ram THERE IS NO ARGUMENT.

    Note: don't give in to apples "upgradless pro machines" their business model is an unethical money making equation.
     
  17. zerotiu macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2012
    #17
    You call it business model? I call it niche market. Look at LV bags. It's just ordinary bags, we've all seen bags that have more durability than those. But still many people with enough cash buy it. If LV try to make it into mass market, people won't buy it, because it's cheap. You will doubt the quality,etcs (althought they have exactly the same material).

    To me, the OSX itself and the design are good things about apple.

    Do you know why there are a lot of questions about this RAM upgrade? I'm sure all the askers all capable of affording the RAM. They need assurance boosts from other. It is natural.

    Have you checked HP spectre configuration? 16GB RAM price is also $200.
     
  18. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

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    Poole, England
    #18
    *Facepalm*
     
  19. ZipZap macrumors 601

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    Dec 14, 2007
    #19
    Well I got the base from BestBuy and 2089. So that ram will cost me $300.

    I have a 16gig on order to be deliveres in another week. I am torn as I dont think I want to spend $300 for 8gigs.

    I got along fine on a MBA with 2 gig and I ran a windows VM just fine.

    The SSD makes a huge difference in performance so less ram did not seem to impact me.

    Decisions....decisions.
     
  20. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    Boston
    #20
    Future proofing is a bit misnomer and to be honest, I've missued it, but it seems to be the best way at time to be describe the logic in providing advice for people who are deciding on 8 or 16gb of ram.

    To summarize, since the MacBook Air and the retina MacBook Pro have hard wired ram, its best to maximize the ram now, since you cannot upgrade the ram later. So if operating system and applications demands for ram increase over the next few years. performance will not be impacted if you have 16gb. The potential of swap outs degrading performance is is mitigated.

    Now there is no guarantee that bloating of the OS and apps will require that much ram, but the trend is to utilize more. Then there is user habits of running multiple high demanding apps, again 16gb will be there if you need it.

    I use my laptop for Photoshop and Lightroom, along with Vmware which typically run at the same time. With 8gb, I'm not seeing much swap outs, however Photoshop does have a reputation that as it gets upgraded over the years to demand more resources, so while 8gb may be enough today, it may not be enough tomorrow, hence the "future proof' protection. True the CPU/GPU will be older and less efficient then something that comes out in the future, but I can do something about the ram today to mitigate any possible performance bottleneck.
     
  21. pandamonia macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 15, 2009
    #21
    For years computers used 32bit and could only address less than 4GB of ram including VRAM. Which means people only really had 3GB of system memory.

    Now people are saying that you need 16GB? LOL What ever.

    If you manage your system and keep stuff closed when your not using it then 8GB will be enough for the next 5 years EASY.
     
  22. MisterSensitive macrumors regular

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    Mar 22, 2012
    #22
    I put 16G RAM in my late 2011 MBP.

    Why? Not to "future proof" it, exactly, but as a musician who uses a DAW (MOTU's Digital Performer), I will soon upgrade to their new 64-bit version. Given that I will push the limits of this software and use many memory hungry plug-ins and virtual instruments, spending $95 for more than enough RAM seemed like a no-brainer.

    Could I have gotten away with 8G? Perhaps, but now I don't need to worry about any RAM ceilings.
     
  23. zerotiu macrumors regular

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    Jun 12, 2012
    #23
    ----
    Same story for disk storage. I bet people from 1950s never think that people can achieve 4 terrabytes storage. We will never know how fast the software tech are developed. It maybe like AnandTech reviews or maybe tomorrow software will need more memory than more CPU power.

    ----

    That is exactly the reason why I'm not using windows. The multitasking design. I usually use 3 workspaces. I'm not closing browser tabs, apps and opening them again. It is because I use them all the time.
     
  24. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #24
    Agreed, while I could close photoshop when I need to open Vmware, I choose not too because I'll need it, or keep safari open with a bunch of tabs when I open word and excel.

    The 16gb of ram ensures that I can keep working the way I want to without having the laptop slow down, due to page outs. Given the price difference, and the lack of upgrading later on, its a no brainer to opt for the 16gb.
     
  25. VFC, Jul 5, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2012

    VFC macrumors 6502a

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    #25
    I have had pcs/laptops for the past 30 years. I typically get about 5 years of useful life out of a pc/laptop. I find around year three I ungrade the memory and hard drive. Year four and five seems to be where i have to replace one or more fans.

    I never seem to run out of CPU power (only exception being the 486SX to 486DX upgrade). The thing that most often determines when I move a pc/laptop to the graveyard is the video card; and that is only because of the gaming requirement.
     

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