Do I need more ram? A few days to decide

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by eriksatie, Jan 31, 2017.

  1. eriksatie macrumors newbie

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    Jan 14, 2017
    #1
    I bought a MacBook Pro 13'' TB 8/256 one week ago and I'm gonna take it back because it has a defective up arrow that doesn't register well (I know it's a common issue but it annoys me because I use up&down arrow a lot)

    Now I am considering if also upgrading to better specs. I bought the 8gb model because I don't use virtual machine, edit big raw files or 4k video. I'm a professional web marketing consultant and I use lot of web app like Adwords, Google Analytics, Asana, Airtable and other. Adwords alone can take up 1,5gb of ram. I use Screaming Frog for crawling website and it can use up to 4gb (or more) fore large web site, usually about 1gb. I also make presentation with keynote and edit small to medium spreadsheet with numbers, and usually I need all this software at the same time to take data from various sources. then the usual background stuff: mail, messages, slack, facebook messenger, Spotify. Sometimes I also do a bit of light graphic design with Sketch and

    Add on top of this that I'm gonna buy the 5k monitor, that probably will use a bit more of the shared VRAM.

    After a few days of normal work without rebooting (and using no external monitor) I see 1gb of swap, pressure is on green but on the high side (50% or more) and mission control is often laggy. See attachment for detail.

    so I have a few days to decide (I can take it back until next Monday). Will I benefit from more ram? is 1gb of swap to be considerated "normal"? How will be in 3-4 years? I'm not gonna change computer earlier then that.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

    Staff Member

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    #2
    As you say, your memory pressure might be in the green, but it's quite high up the scale

    Personally, I think the 16GB upgrade is well worth the money, particularly if you plan on keeping the machine for a few years: you really are stuck with what you buy (even though you can't upgrade the storage, there's always the option of using an external drive)
     
  3. Steve121178 macrumors 68040

    Steve121178

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    #3
    Up to you. I wouldn't buy a computer with anything less than 16GB in 2017. Once you buy 8GB you are literally stuck with it and cannot upgrade 1, 2, 3 years down the road.
     
  4. eriksatie thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #4
    I chose the 8gb to stay on budget and investing in the 5k monitor, thinking the basic configuration would be enough. but after testing it for a week I'm thinking I'm a bit on the edge. I surely *can* use it now but not sure it will be enough in the near future.
     
  5. Steve121178 macrumors 68040

    Steve121178

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    #5
    8GB will be adequate for your needs it seems. For the sake of a relatively small upgrade cost, the 16GB option is worth it in my opinion. I use VM's so 16GB is essential for me, others less so.
     
  6. eriksatie thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #6
    What about 1gb of swap? It is there almost the time. probably I would need just 1-2gb more to stay safe, but this is not an option
     
  7. ZapNZs macrumors 68000

    ZapNZs

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    Jan 23, 2017
    #7
    8GB is plenty for you now. But if you are going back regardless for a return, I would say go to 16.

    The long lifespan of these means your needs may change, and upgrading the RAM on these is really impractical (and risky.) In 2-3 years, if you start running VMs, you will be so thankful you did. And with Win10 being great, and OS X and Win10 both about to shift to file systems that may not be compatible with older HFS+/NTFS, running a VM with an older file system to access older drives/files may become somewhat of a common thing during the transition years. FWIW.
     
  8. Sanpete macrumors 68020

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    #8
    As others have said, a big factor is how long you intend to keep it. The longer, the more RAM you'll want.
     
  9. kokhoong0624 macrumors regular

    kokhoong0624

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    #9
    Keep in mind if you want to run a 5K display flawlessly, you need the 15 mbp... the 13 one stutters a lot if you have many apps running
     
  10. CaptRB macrumors 6502a

    CaptRB

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    #10
    Most folks suggest 16 or 32 GB without knowing what they need.

    Just so you know...

    I'm shooting this week with a Nikon D810 (jewelry job for catalogue). That's a LOT of BIG files that I'll need to work with. The camera is usually tethered to a MacBook Air so the client can see lighting, then transferred to the 13" tMBP.

    My 8 gb tMBP has absolutely no issue handling this work and I often have PS and Lightroom running at the same time.

    My attitude was that the money for the extra 8GB brought the machine too close to the cost of the 15", which has 16 GB standard and a lot more going for it. I felt safe with the 13" but wanted to wait out this cycle and buy the 15" later.

    The 13" has turned out beautifully. We bought two of them. But if the memory upgrade makes you feel safer, by all means go for it.


    R.
     
  11. eriksatie thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #11
    Usually I keep my computers until they can work. Before this one I had a MacBook Pro late 2008, bought in 2009, upgraded with 8gb and a SSD. I kept it 8 years, and still working honorably, but probably this is not the best approach to technology, it was too old, too big, too slow and lacked too many features. Now I *must* change it, even if it would be safer to wait until next refresh.

    So this new one will have a shorter life, if budget allow, but no less that 3-4 years
    --- Post Merged, Jan 31, 2017 ---
    This is a good point, if you add 512 and 16gb you go close to the 15' that is too much for me, don't need it and I prefer an external screen for everyday use
     
  12. Altis macrumors 68020

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    #12
    That's a fair bit of swap to be using, which puts additional read/writes on the SSD (which cannot be changed and has limited R/Ws).

    I'd say buying an expensive computer in 2017 with 8 GB of RAM that cannot be upgraded isn't good sense because RAM will end up being the first bottleneck that causes the computer to run poorly.

    The rest of the hardware should be good for many years to come, unless you take up some more demanding tasks like video work. But that 8 GB will make itself known and the only way around it will be to upgrade at that time.
     
  13. getbretweir, Jan 31, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2017

    getbretweir macrumors member

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    Jan 21, 2017
    #13
    I'm in a similar boat. I had a 2009 MBP then decided to try the XPS in 2015 (big mistake). Sold that and grabbed the regular MacBook, which I used just for web browsing, email, etc.

    I'm in a similar line of work as you, and though my responsibility is mostly sales and marketing (I own a small marketing company), there are times when I'll do some light video editing and other professional tasks. We're getting into drones and I imagine I'll need the extra RAM sooner than later.

    I grabbed the 13 inch non TB (I don't need the processor speed, extra ports, and don't want battery to suffer from a TB I'll never use). Went with 16/512.

    Good luck ... It's an amazing machine despite the 1% making noise cause they have to put up with dongles for a year.
     
  14. Miltz macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    If you're going to get a 5K monitor go with a 15" model that has a discrete graphics card. When it comes to memory since you want a 5K monitor and the 15" model will drive it without any issues, it also solves your RAM issue since the 15" models comes with 16GB of RAM. Done.
     
  15. CaptRB macrumors 6502a

    CaptRB

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    #15


    So the above post is a great example of what I'm talking about regarding ignorance about these machines.

    I'm using 36 and 50 MP camera files in photoshop and LR. The sensors in these cameras and the resulting RAW files present big memory usage. But the MP wars are stable and we're not going to see 150 MP cameras in 3 years or even 5. Lightroom runs okay on 4 GB and very nicely on 8.

    Where will this supposed bottle-neck occur and WHY? I'm running PS and LR at the same time with MULTIPLE files and layers and plug-ins.

    If you plan heavy video, go for the 16gb. Otherwise you'll be fine with 8.


    R.
     
  16. getbretweir macrumors member

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    Jan 21, 2017
    #16
    Most people buy in the middle. So when they see 256/512/1TB (if they can afford it) they'll choose the middle. That's a well known marketing tactic that's worked for decades. People that don't even know what it means, will gravitate to the middle, just like i3, i5 and i7. It's no mistake that more often than not, there are 3 choices (small, medium, large).

    And you're correct, if gaming and or video editing is a possibility, then yes, spend the extra $200. But don't fall for their tricks, like my man said, 8GB is more than enough for most people, and will be for at least the next 5 years.
     
  17. Altis macrumors 68020

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    #17
    Tell me all about how taxing your 0.05 GB files are on your RAM :rolleyes:

    OP said they're seeing 1 GB of swap in use? That's a lot... swap isn't supposed to be used in normal duties.

    Quite clearly, OP is already demanding much of the 8 GB... what's it going to be like for the next few years as more and more applications, OS, websites, etc all make use of more RAM? What about when they get a 5K monitor and more RAM goes to dealing with that?

    The fact is that you cannot upgrade the RAM later. The rest of the computer is probably good for 4-8 years, no problem -- CPU upgrades are very stagnant, form factor/hardware is exceptional, the screen is reaching about as good as it gets, ports are "the future", the SSD is extremely fast...

    The first bottleneck will be RAM, and that will be what requires the purchase of another computer. Buying a very expensive computer with such a bottleneck isn't good sense, IMO, especially if you're already approaching that bottleneck in regular use.
     
  18. Dave245 macrumors 601

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    Sep 15, 2013
    #18
    Do you not think that future proofing is a good idea also? i ask because I'm going to be upgrading my 2011 MacBook Pro later this year, but i've been looking at the 15" and 13" MacBook Pro with touch bar, the 13" has 8GB Ram which I'm not sure is enough (not very tech wise when it comes to how much Ram and stuff like that i need) but the 16GB sounds good because well it's more and sounds better for future proofing, especially if keeping the machine for 4-5 years. For some reason the higher spec seems to be the most appealing.
     
  19. Miltz macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    For what it's worth, I was looking at windows 7 and Mac OS in activity monitor and it appears Mac OS uses more available memory than Windows 7. Perhaps it's by design ( I'm not going to pretend I know ) 16GB in my windows 7 desktop is a lot of memory, but on the Mac it seems like it's going to be just enough since I'm using 10GB regularly without anything crazy going on.
     
  20. rutrack macrumors member

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    Jan 5, 2017
    #20
    There is nothing wrong with your memory use, it will swap in and out with any memory size. What you need to look at is your "memory pressure" graph, which is on your bottom left, which shows all green, that means that you're all fine with memory use and it doesn't slow your system down. Have a look at the memory section here:

    https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201464
     
  21. CaptRB macrumors 6502a

    CaptRB

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    #21



    More nonsense. The sky is falling, so 16 GB will save you!

    FYI, why not have a look at what D810 TIFF or RAW file does in LR and PS with layers and plug-ins running. And then consider that I edit 5 at a time.

    The 8 GB 13" tMBP has no issue with this, nor do I have issue with 4K video editing. Now I already said, if you plan on 5K and high volume video, I doubt the 13" is a good choice, even with 16 GB.

    For the rest, 8gb will be fine for years.


    R.
     
  22. Altis macrumors 68020

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    #22
    Why don't you re-read OP. A 1 GB swap under regular use is not good.

    This isn't about you. Telling everyone that they couldn't possibly need more than 8 GB of RAM just because you don't (currently) isn't helpful.

    If OP's workflow already pushes the RAM limits when it's brand new, then it is probably a good idea to just get the upgrade and have a machine that will be good for 4-10 years. All the rest of the hardware will make it that long, so why not get RAM that will, too.

    Seriously, just read OP again. This isn't about you.
     
  23. Miltz macrumors 6502a

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    #23
    I decided to open every program installed on a mid 2010 iMac, then open a RAW DNG file from a Leica M10 in photos and try to edit it. Despite this computer is 7 years old and only having 4GB and a regular hard drive. It did pretty good. I had a few youtubes videos playing in the background too. The videos did stutter a bit at first, but overall not bad. Memory never went over 3.55GB for the amount used for some reason.
     
  24. double329 macrumors 6502

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    #24
    My 2016 M5 MB has 8GB. I have never had any issue. It is my out and about device. I am using the 16GB rMBP at home. Between the two, I don't have any usage issue. My take is: get the highest amount of RAM you can afford.
     
  25. ZapNZs, Feb 2, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2017

    ZapNZs macrumors 68000

    ZapNZs

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    #25

    I've found that when more RAM is available, more will be allocated to the same tasks (where as if less is available, some of that will go to the hard drive.) For example, right now things are chillin like a villain, but if I launch VMWare Fusion, the RAM being used for Chrome will decrease (as I assume more of the background data from background running Apps are then being cached to the SSD.) With regards only to internet, if I have a stupid amount of tabs open in a browser I am running numerous extensions with, that's when I begin to see the difference between my SP3 and MBPs, as the MBPs do not slow down at all, where as the responsiveness of the SP3 takes a minor-to-considerable hit (affected by a combination of the CPU and RAM.) Given the very high speeds of the SSDs in the 2016 Touch Bar MBPs, I imagine they will do even better when having to disk cache.

    Screen Shot 2017-02-02 at 8.59.05 PM.png



    Still, I look at non-upgradable hard drives & RAM on a computer one may keep for 5-10 years the same way I look at gun safes (I used to sell safes): with no way to predict the future needs/preferences, the premium for going slightly bigger is usually preferable over the regret of going smaller. In 2007, the standard RAM on a MacBook Pro was 2GB; in 2011 it was 4GB; as of 2016 it is 8GB. Even today, with the current version of OS X, the difference between 4GB and 8GB for moderate use is often pretty significant. Maybe 8GB will work great in 2021, aided by such a fast SSD, but I feel 16GB is a safer bet for a large investment. And unlike the days when people were saying 4GB of RAM is all one could ever need, we can't upgrade the RAM very easily (as doing so carries significant risks and will obviously void the warranty.) That's just my personal opinion.
     

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