Heavy Google Sheets User (Super Heavy) - Upgrade my '18 15" Pro?

mrjohnnyglass

macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 4, 2012
102
93
Hey Gang, couple questions for y'all.

In my line of work, I'm working with a ton of data on Google Sheets. I'm talking 5-8 sheets open at a time, with 3-4 workbooks each, all with 3K-4K rows of data and 8-10 columns. Basically, in sales, I'm running pivot tables and querying the sheets all the time to find data I want, and it's really taxing on my system. I know using MS Office would be easier, but my whole organization is on GSuite and I need my CEO to have access to this data in real time as I'm in it and making changes, so it has to stay on Google.

I get a lot of spinning beach balls and page refreshes as I constantly have about 25 tabs open across 4-6 browser windows, not to mention podcasts and the fairly often zoom meeting/hangout call.

My question to y'all is this. I've got an '18 15" 2.2 with 16GB of RAM and the 4GB Radeon.

My boss has asked me if I need a new machine, but I don't know if a new machine will make much of a difference. I've got 1Gig internet, but will 32GB RAM make a difference in this sort of scenario? Upgraded processor?
 

Howard2k

macrumors 68030
Mar 10, 2016
2,849
2,080
When the system appears to be struggling check Activity Monitor and see if it’s hammering the CPU, Memory, or network. That might help you isolate where any bottleneck might be.
 

jerryk

macrumors 603
Nov 3, 2011
5,339
2,626
SF Bay Area
What does Activity Monitor show? Look at CPU tab to see where the cycles are going. Look at the Memory tab to see where memory is going. Also check the memory pressure on the Memory tab. If it is green (not yellow or red) and not filled, additional memory may not help.

You might also consider your connection. Even if you have a 1Gb/sec link if you use wifi you speed may be throttled down considerably. Especially if you use 2.4GHz instead of 5 GHz. And even if you are running 5GHz you may want to consider a wired Ethernet connection to reduce conflicts.

Other things to consider is shutting down anything non-work related, social media, browsing non-work, any music streaming, etc. These all use part of the finite resources on a computer system and the network. The Network tab on the Activity monitor may help you with isolating bandwidth usage.
 
Last edited:

Freyqq

macrumors 601
Dec 13, 2004
4,021
171
That computer is more than enough. Google sheets is a google product, as is chrome, so I'd make sure you're using chrome for that application.
 
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DHagan4755

macrumors 6502a
Jul 18, 2002
985
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That computer sounds like more than enough for the task at hand. But I'm wondering - stupid question: Have you considered a Chromebook? They make some pretty speedy Chromebooks now with lots of RAM.
 

Trey M

macrumors 6502a
Jul 25, 2011
943
301
USA
That computer sounds like more than enough for the task at hand. But I'm wondering - stupid question: Have you considered a Chromebook? They make some pretty speedy Chromebooks now with lots of RAM.
He’s working with thousands of rows of data and probably uses his machine for more than just Google Sheets...I doubt a Chromebook is a viable solution, especially when it’s going to be a work machine.

He also has a $2500 machine and is complaining about a lack of perceived power, and you’re suggesting a Chromebook.
 

jardinager

macrumors regular
Apr 24, 2015
246
477
NC
I bet a shiny penny that the lags are network related. You definitely don’t need a hardware upgrade to work with Google Sheets.

In fact, you have too much machine for web apps like Google offers.
 

Precursor

macrumors 6502a
Sep 29, 2015
888
837
Istanbul
Hey Gang, couple questions for y'all.

In my line of work, I'm working with a ton of data on Google Sheets. I'm talking 5-8 sheets open at a time, with 3-4 workbooks each, all with 3K-4K rows of data and 8-10 columns. Basically, in sales, I'm running pivot tables and querying the sheets all the time to find data I want, and it's really taxing on my system. I know using MS Office would be easier, but my whole organization is on GSuite and I need my CEO to have access to this data in real time as I'm in it and making changes, so it has to stay on Google.

I get a lot of spinning beach balls and page refreshes as I constantly have about 25 tabs open across 4-6 browser windows, not to mention podcasts and the fairly often zoom meeting/hangout call.

My question to y'all is this. I've got an '18 15" 2.2 with 16GB of RAM and the 4GB Radeon.

My boss has asked me if I need a new machine, but I don't know if a new machine will make much of a difference. I've got 1Gig internet, but will 32GB RAM make a difference in this sort of scenario? Upgraded processor?
Unfortunately Excel only runs on one core (instead of multiple cores) on MacOS. I also had to deal with excel pivot tables of 10k lines with 15 columns and it was beach ball beach ball beach ball. I don't know how Google Sheets works on MacOS but trust me MS Excel won't be any better for large sheets.
 
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Trey M

macrumors 6502a
Jul 25, 2011
943
301
USA
The Lenovo Chromebook C630 is pretty damn fast.
He has a 2018 15” MacBook, immensely more powerful than any Chromebook, and he’s hitting perceived performance thresholds. Doesn’t matter which model, you’re suggesting a simply inferior machine in almost every regard to solve his problem.
- - Post merged: - -

Unfortunately Excel only runs on one core (instead of multiple cores) on MacOS. I also had to deal with excel pivot tables of 10k lines with 15 columns and it was beach ball beach ball beach ball. I don't know how Google Sheets works on MacOS but trust me MS Excel won't be any better for large sheets.
Totally +1 this. Excel is a POS on MacOS whenever dealing with large data sets. It was literally the only application I used that ever brought my 2018 MBP i9 to a screeching halt.
 

PROFESS0R

macrumors 6502
Jul 30, 2017
325
282
OP... as others have suggested, you are using the wrong tool for the job. The problem is Google Sheets... if you replace your computer with a new one, you are going to wind up in exactly the same place. If you are doing heavy number crunching, use Stata, SPSS, SAS, or R... all of these programs will use multiple cores, and will handle the relatively small number of samples you are dealing with, with absolute ease. I routinely work with 1.2M rows of data and close to a thousand variables, and my 8-core using Stata hardly blinks, even when running relatively complex nonlinear regression models. I don't know if you can convince your manager to switch tools, and perhaps Google Sheets is the only viable solution for you and your company... but really... if you can switch, you should.

Joe
 
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jardinager

macrumors regular
Apr 24, 2015
246
477
NC
Unfortunately Excel only runs on one core (instead of multiple cores) on MacOS. I also had to deal with excel pivot tables of 10k lines with 15 columns and it was beach ball beach ball beach ball. I don't know how Google Sheets works on MacOS but trust me MS Excel won't be any better for large sheets.
This is so true. Excel currently beach-balls just copying and pasting in the current Mac OS port. The experience is a little (barely) better on the Windows version.
 

mrjohnnyglass

macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 4, 2012
102
93
OP... as others have suggested, you are using the wrong tool for the job. The problem is Google Sheets... if you replace your computer with a new one, you are going to wind up in exactly the same place. If you are doing heavy number crunching, use Stata, SPSS, SAS, or R... all of these programs will use multiple cores, and will handle the relatively small number of samples you are dealing with, with absolute ease. I routinely work with 1.2M rows of data and close to a thousand variables, and my 8-core using Stata hardly blinks, even when running relatively complex nonlinear regression models. I don't know if you can convince your manager to switch tools, and perhaps Google Sheets is the only viable solution for you and your company... but really... if you can switch, you should.

Joe
Joe,

Thanks. I would love to use Stata, but so many different departments need access to various sheets that I'm working on, in real time, that Google Sheets seems like the only viable option.

I think I'll just have to make due for now. I'm not going to make my boss spend $3500 just to maybe see 3-5% in performance gains. Oh well.

John
 

pshufd

macrumors 68000
Oct 24, 2013
1,569
1,023
New Hampshire
Joe,

Thanks. I would love to use Stata, but so many different departments need access to various sheets that I'm working on, in real time, that Google Sheets seems like the only viable option.

I think I'll just have to make due for now. I'm not going to make my boss spend $3500 just to maybe see 3-5% in performance gains. Oh well.

John
There are applications built on spreadsheets which run fine to start with and then get larger and larger. The unstructured nature of how spreadsheets work means that they can be extremely inefficient for large data needs, particularly when there is structure to the data.

If the application is financially important, then you do metadata and data analysis so as to build something computationally efficient. In this case, widespread access is required and you can build web applications to provide users with access to the data. I don't know how the application looks but I would likely use a database and build a webserver application to handle this. The thing is that it's not cheap to build something like this but it would be far more efficient and extensible.