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I am really torn between 8GB vs. 16GB RAM

LargeSizedMan2020

macrumors newbie
Nov 20, 2020
4
2
I'm rather torn too. Are there any websites or videos that are properly demonstrating the performance differences between the 8 gig vs. 16 gig Mac Mini models? If there is no difference then I think I'll invest in a little more storage rather than memory.
 
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phl92

macrumors member
Oct 28, 2020
96
24
I'm rather torn too. Are there any websites or videos that are properly demonstrating the performance differences between the 8 gig vs. 16 gig Mac Mini models? If there is no difference then I think I'll invest in a little more storage rather than memory.
No, not many people seem to have a 16GB version yet of the M1. So all this forums relys on speculation so far..
 
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LeeW

macrumors 68000
Feb 5, 2017
1,856
3,339
Glasgow, Scotland
Are there any websites or videos that are properly demonstrating the performance differences between the 8 gig vs. 16 gig Mac Mini models? If there is no difference then I think I'll invest in a little more storage rather than memory.

There are plenty on Youtube. The majority of people asking about RAM differences appears to be that that they have no understanding of what they need, so it's really simple.

If you are coming from an 8GB device without any issues then 8GB on the new model will be fine, better than you are used to so no need to upgrade.

Upgrading to 16GB is really based on two factors. The 1st is that there is no downside to having 16GB Ram other than the additional cost if that is not an issue then upgrade if you want to.

If your workflow required more than 8GB then you will know yourself that you need to upgrade and won't be asking if you need it, if you don't then stick with 8GB.
 
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xWhiplash

macrumors 68030
Oct 21, 2009
2,787
1,698
Go for the 16GB, more RAM is always a good thing.
Be careful with this. It is too common to have this comment literally everywhere and everyone says that. I have a 128GB of RAM system and I just do 1080p video editing. WAY overkill for my needs and was a bit expensive. I tested 1080p on 8GB of RAM and it is just as fast.
 
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jido

macrumors regular
Oct 11, 2010
166
16
Yeah, I know. Everyone is saying I am crazy having so many startup programs running at once. It's not normal. And, I pay the price by having to max out my computers every year or two in order to sustain that kind of usage.

However, it's the way I enjoy my computer.
I don't know, mine is set to reopen applications at login so most applications never close. Don't think that has much effect on performance on my MacBook 12" Intel m3 1.1 GHz 8GB. At most I have to close Firefox now and then, because of ads sucking up battery.
I usually have ~20 browser windows open which probably total 100 tabs. My daughter often nags me to close them.
Why is 8GB not enough?
 
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xWhiplash

macrumors 68030
Oct 21, 2009
2,787
1,698
I don't know, mine is set to reopen applications at login so most applications never close. Don't think that has much effect on performance on my MacBook 12" Intel m3 1.1 GHz 8GB. At most I have to close Firefox now and then, because of ads sucking up battery.
I usually have ~20 browser windows open which probably total 100 tabs. My daughter often nags me to close them.
Why is 8GB not enough?
Ads are becoming the worst part of looking at websites. There are many websites that crash Safari even when I have 128GB of RAM and its due to ads.
 
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Maven1975

macrumors 6502a
Aug 24, 2008
905
123
I see that myself. But I'm holding on to my 16GB RAM configuration. Can anyone suggest why the 16GB ships longer out? Is this a hardware production thing, or is the 16GB just more scarce due to popularity?
IMO - I think Apple did this intentionally to turn heads. First batch of M1’s out in the wild slaughtering with only 8GB of ram.

Also, It could be a yield rate on the chipsets. Lastly, the CTO’s are alwayes a little behind... but not to this this level.

Have a feeling that most (Power users) were drawn to the 16GB SKU out of habit and future use.

Just snag the 8gb with the discounts going around. This will all be irrelevant when the redesign is released.

Save the cash
 
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aleni

macrumors 68020
Jun 2, 2006
2,429
728
Wellcome to the 8GB fanclub. I have ordered 8GB and will be happy :)

I ordered the base air too. I do logo and packaging design and it’s always been on 8gb ram intel macs and it’s been fine. So the base air is perfect for my needs and save the $200 for upgrading my phone to the 12 mini soon.
 
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youngmac

macrumors regular
Apr 17, 2010
147
39
London
I’m sure 8GB will be enough for most people. This is a new architecture with a unified memory and I don’t see anyone having issues with 8GB all over YouTube reviews.
in my case I went with 16GB for peace of mind and because I could afford it and received a refund from apple for a 7 months old mbp 16 they couldn’t repair. It didn’t make sense to me to go with the low end for my replacement. I do video and photo editing.
if i was upgrading from an older mac and paying full price I would have been happy even with the base model MBA.
 
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Tankmaze

macrumors 68000
Mar 7, 2012
1,683
303
Be careful with this. It is too common to have this comment literally everywhere and everyone says that. I have a 128GB of RAM system and I just do 1080p video editing. WAY overkill for my needs and was a bit expensive. I tested 1080p on 8GB of RAM and it is just as fast.

the OP asking to choose between 8 GB vs 16 GB, if there was an option to upgrade up to 64 GB then I would suggest going to 32 GB for future proof. Why would you have 128 GB of RAM and not know what your needs are ? going beyond 32GB right now is if your work deals with a lot of virtualization and running different OS for work, etc.

I saw a benchmark video testing the M1 with 8 GB RAM, the video showed the davinci resolve rendering and already took about 8 GB of RAM and the rest of it swapping to the SSD. From what I know, swapping memory to the ssd frequently is not a good thing.
 
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xWhiplash

macrumors 68030
Oct 21, 2009
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the OP asking to choose between 8 GB vs 16 GB, if there was an option to upgrade up to 64 GB then I would suggest going to 32 GB for future proof. Why would you have 128 GB of RAM and not know what your needs are ? going beyond 32GB right now is if your work deals with a lot of virtualization and running different OS for work, etc.

I saw a benchmark video testing the M1 with 8 GB RAM, the video showed the davinci resolve rendering and already took about 8 GB of RAM and the rest of it swapping to the SSD. From what I know, swapping memory to the ssd frequently is not a good thing.
Because people have said to get 128GB of RAM before. Was definitely a $600 mistake I made :(
 
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xWhiplash

macrumors 68030
Oct 21, 2009
2,787
1,698
the OP asking to choose between 8 GB vs 16 GB, if there was an option to upgrade up to 64 GB then I would suggest going to 32 GB for future proof. Why would you have 128 GB of RAM and not know what your needs are ? going beyond 32GB right now is if your work deals with a lot of virtualization and running different OS for work, etc.

I saw a benchmark video testing the M1 with 8 GB RAM, the video showed the davinci resolve rendering and already took about 8 GB of RAM and the rest of it swapping to the SSD. From what I know, swapping memory to the ssd frequently is not a good thing.
Also, about swapping. SSDs usually have hundreds of terabytes written before that start to have issues. Around 600 to more than 1000 TBW. Using the lowest one, equates to writing 330 GB to the drive daily and it would still last 5 years. So swapping to an SSD is not as bad as SSDs have improved over the years.
 
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Pressure

macrumors 601
May 30, 2006
4,160
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Denmark
Also, about swapping. SSDs usually have hundreds of terabytes written before that start to have issues. Around 600 to more than 1000 TBW. Using the lowest one, equates to writing 330 GB to the drive daily and it would still last 5 years. So swapping to an SSD is not as bad as SSDs have improved over the years.
It depends on what kind of NAND flash they use. MLC is good, TLC is pretty bad and QLC is pretty much 2020 dumpster fire grade. Still good enough for static content but not viable long term as a scratch pad.

For the price Apple charges it better be MLC.
 
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xWhiplash

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Oct 21, 2009
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It depends on what kind of NAND flash they use. MLC is good, TLC is pretty bad and QLC is pretty much 2020 dumpster fire grade. Still good enough for static content but not viable long term as a scratch pad.

For the price Apple charges it better be MLC.
True, but I expect Apple to not skimp on their SSDs to have QLC. I would expect them to be more MLC that matches the 970 Evo/Pro SSDs.
 
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neilio

macrumors member
Oct 27, 2004
74
17
Springfield
Ther's a very high probability you don't need 16GB of ram unless you're doing really, really memory intensive work. I have the 8GB/512GB Air and have not run into any noticeable slowdowns or memory issues. As a test I use my Air like I use an iPad or iPhone and leave whatever apps I've launched running. I often end up with 25 apps running that included a number of intel ones (Photoshop, Visual Studio Code, Garageband, Polymail - note the memory hungry Electron-based apps) with 30 tabs in Chrome (the universal build) with absolutely no sluggishness or slowdown.

The only question mark on this is what will happen when Parallels/Docker/VMware are released and virtual machines enter the mix, but based on my experiences and what I've heard and read from others it won't be an issue.
 
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warp9

Contributor
Jun 8, 2017
344
481
I have always chosen to upgrade RAM in the past and have never regretted the decision.
You answered your own question, and if you think the ram upgrade is "very expensive", maybe you should reconsider buying a new computer.
 
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surroundfan

macrumors 6502
Nov 22, 2005
320
16
Melbourne, Australia
I went for 16GB, not for now but for 2024 and beyond, when a few more years of macOS and general app bloat start taking their toll.

My forthcoming M1 MBP will go to my dad when the 14" one comes out and I'll upgrade. He's still using a late 2012 13" rMBP which came with 8GB (at the time double the standard amount of 4GB RAM in the MBA). Video-conferencing aside where the CPU is beginning to struggle, it's still very usable in a way that I suspect a mid-2012 MBA with 4GB of RAM would not be. The extra $A300 for the extra RAM will buy several more years of life at the other end...
 
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Booji

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Nov 17, 2011
670
378
Tokyo
You answered your own question, and if you think the ram upgrade is "very expensive", maybe you should reconsider buying a new computer.

I can certainly afford it, but I don't like to spend it if there is no "bang for the buck". In the past, the upgrade was a good decision, but is it still now with the new M1?
 
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map1978

macrumors 68030
Feb 9, 2006
2,616
949
Jacksonville, FL
If you are trying to future proof your Mac, I feel spending the extra money for 16gb is worth it. I am replacing a late 2012 MBP so I went 16/256.

If you are the buy and upgrade a new machine every 2 years, the 8gb would be effective enough.

My way of looking at it
 
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torana355

macrumors 68040
Dec 8, 2009
3,517
2,533
Sydney, Australia
8GB was already sufficient unless you were a heavy user on intel chips, with Apple silicon the fact the memory is part of the SOC it means its incredibly efficient, unless you are doing serious video editing or something like that I think the upgrade could be a waste. Thats being said I rather have it and not need it then need it and not have it since it can't be upgraded later. Personally I'm going to wait for the second generation Air, but when I do ill probably go with 16gb as I tend to keep Apple machines a long time.
 
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Sanpete

macrumors 68030
Nov 17, 2016
2,733
1,189
Utah
There are myths spread around that UMA has different memory consumption. That’s wrong. The way it moves data around is different from the x86 architecture (which has various interconnects to memory and GPUs) but the amount of memory the operating system, apps and documents/files consumes doesn’t change.
That may or may not be true, but it isn't the only thing that determines how much RAM you need. Whether you suffer a significant hit from less RAM depends also on speed of RAM utilization, speed of swapping, etc. In many cases, swapping isn't even noticeable.

It will always be preferable to use real RAM than swapping to disk. The latter will age your drive faster.
Is there some evidence drive aging is a serious problem in this context? I've seen that point raised a lot, but haven't seen any data in its favor. The data cited so far seems to suggest otherwise.

If you’re a creative or developer you should get more RAM every time.
Anyone who says 8GB is enough for creatives is cuckoo and they should go back to 2010 😂😝
That's way too broad. Many working with photos aren't working in medium format. Many working in video or audio aren't using using files that huge either. And many others are just doing graphics and such that may be even less demanding.

Use cases are individual. Really varies a lot depending on the details of what one is doing.

I see some content creation pros here saying they're doing fine with 8GB, and some saying they aren't.
 
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russell_314

macrumors 68000
Feb 10, 2019
1,929
2,564
USA
There is a difference between 8 GB of RAM on the M1 and 8GB of RAM on Intel. Also for most uses 8 GB is more than enough. Keep in mind this 13" MacBook Pro is the BASE MODEL with two ports. If you're considering you might need more RAM perhaps you would want to wait for the four port higher end model to be released.

If Apple had the RAM set between 64 GB and 128 GB you would have people here saying you need 128 GB. If you think you're going to have that many programs open at once get the 16 GB but otherwise save the $200. Don't waste your money buying something that won't help you. More RAM helps if you use it but if not it's just sitting there.
 
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