i7 32GB or i9 16GB ?

albusseverus

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Nov 28, 2007
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Looking at refurbs, I can get 2018 MBP for the same price i7 32GB or i9 16GB.
I want it for photo and video editing.
Does anyone have experience to tell me how these perform and give me an idea which might be the better option?
 

Trebuin

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Jun 3, 2008
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Depending on the size of the files you're working with...that'll drive the ram requirements. You can't upgrade either. Check your use on your current machine. I'm still debating between the i7 & i9 with Vega 20...haven't seen a good temp benchmark for the i7 yet.
 

Ma2k5

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Dec 21, 2012
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Neither are value for money. Can you get maybe a base 512GB model instead and use the extra money on software/accessories?

I think only the SSD and Vega options are worth upgrading - and even then for most the Vega options are more of a nice to have and dependant on what you do.
 

albusseverus

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Depending on the size of the files you're working with...that'll drive the ram requirements. You can't upgrade either. Check your use on your current machine. I'm still debating between the i7 & i9 with Vega 20...haven't seen a good temp benchmark for the i7 yet.
Thanks, I have no comparison. I've used 2011 iMac, 2015 MacBook and 2012 Quad Core Mini. All of these are dreadful, but photo and video file sizes are modest. Only need to make 20min HD movies, maybe some 4k later on, not trying to edit a 4k feature here.
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Neither are value for money. Can you get maybe a base 512GB model instead and use the extra money on software/accessories?

I think only the SSD and Vega options are worth upgrading - and even then for most the Vega options are more of a nice to have and dependant on what you do.
Thanks. Don't really need SSD upgrade, files are always on external disk. Vega is out of the question. I have my doubts about Processor upgrades, but hoped RAM upgrade might help.
 

Trebuin

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Jun 3, 2008
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Thanks, I have no comparison. I've used 2011 iMac, 2015 MacBook and 2012 Quad Core Mini. All of these are dreadful, but photo and video file sizes are modest. Only need to make 20min HD movies, maybe some 4k later on, not trying to edit a 4k feature here.
Sorry, I meant to run your work using the software you use. While doing that, check to see what your system is consuming. I've done panoramic stitching on a large scale & I can tell that it will easily eat up most of 16GB. I also use Parallels so I either don't run parallels while I'm doing that, or buy the RAM. Common sense would be for me to go 16GB, but I'm expecting the demands on RAM to increase over the next 7+ years to require more than 16GB with what I do...so up to 32GB for me.

I can't help you with videos...you just have to see what your system consumes. I also do encoding work, but that doesn't require practically any ram...but rather CPU. Also, I have a desktop I invested in exclusively for encoding so I don't need that CPU, except for maybe future proofing. In the end, I'll go with the lower temp, more efficient CPU...lower temp usually means longer life.
 

albusseverus

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Sorry, I meant to run your work using the software you use. While doing that, check to see what your system is consuming. I've done panoramic stitching on a large scale & I can tell that it will easily eat up most of 16GB. I also use Parallels so I either don't run parallels while I'm doing that, or buy the RAM. Common sense would be for me to go 16GB, but I'm expecting the demands on RAM to increase over the next 7+ years to require more than 16GB with what I do...so up to 32GB for me.

I can't help you with videos...you just have to see what your system consumes. I also do encoding work, but that doesn't require practically any ram...but rather CPU. Also, I have a desktop I invested in exclusively for encoding so I don't need that CPU, except for maybe future proofing. In the end, I'll go with the lower temp, more efficient CPU...lower temp usually means longer life.
Thanks. I have heard that disk swaps with 2018 MBP are so fast, RAM isn't crucial. But I'm not convinced i9 is any real upgrade on i7, given all the throttling.

I have a couple of machines with 16GB and iStat never shows more than half RAM consumed, but they can grind to a halt with just a couple of apps. Older CPUs of course, that's why I'm looking for a new CPU. I'd upgrade the iMac first if there were new models, but looks like 4 months or more before iMacs get a kick… so I'm doing the portable setup this time.
 

filmbuff

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Jan 5, 2011
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You really don't need the i9 or the 32gb of RAM for what you're doing. Those fall into that category of "if you need it, you'll know". If you feel like spending the extra money either way I Would get the i9 because RAM is unlikely to be the choke point for video editing, but rendering will be faster with a better GPU (even though the i7/i9 difference is probably not noticeable).
 

Tommy c

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Sep 9, 2012
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I did not go i9, because of major heat. I probably should have went with a 2.2 i7, but went with the 2.6 and 32GB RAM. There is question if I should have went 16GB and Radeon Vega 20. But I don’t do video, I do photography however.
 

IdentityCrisis

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Sep 9, 2018
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Looking at refurbs, I can get 2018 MBP for the same price i7 32GB or i9 16GB.
I want it for photo and video editing.
Does anyone have experience to tell me how these perform and give me an idea which might be the better option?
You may want to look at Adorama or bhphotovideo as some of their deals are beating the refurb. One of them has the i9 in a certain config for $400 off. And you can use APINSIDER coupon for additional $225 off.
 
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Chancha

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Mar 19, 2014
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Depends on the nature of your tasks and specific job files. Say if you only use Lightroom for basic adjustments then 16GB is adequate. But if you use Photoshop, working with large 16bit multi-layered illustration / manipulation then the system will eat up 32GB in seconds. While it is true that with the SSD speed of modern Macs, swap / scratch disk / cache performance is admirable nowadays, but RAM is still RAM, having headroom in it leaves you more leeway pretty frequently.

Given the thermal situation of this gen's MBP, the gain of i9 over i7 isn't as significant as it can be, if I were you on a certain budget then I would go for RAM before CPU.
 

albusseverus

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Nov 28, 2007
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You really don't need the i9 or the 32gb of RAM for what you're doing. Those fall into that category of "if you need it, you'll know". If you feel like spending the extra money either way I Would get the i9 because RAM is unlikely to be the choke point for video editing, but rendering will be faster with a better GPU (even though the i7/i9 difference is probably not noticeable).
Thanks. I tend to go for base configurations as the incremental improvements of the upgrades never seem worth the money being charged. And I can save quite a bit going i7 16GB, but at refurb prices I've been considering what's on offer and whether the machine will stay useful longer for it.
The one i7 (Mac Mini) I have seems to run 20ºC hotter (and cane the fan) encoding for no appreciable gain in speed over the older iMac with i5 and GPU. What really hurts is the 2015 MacBook is about the same speed as the 2011 iMac for almost everything.
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Depends on the nature of your tasks and specific job files. Say if you only use Lightroom for basic adjustments then 16GB is adequate. But if you use Photoshop, working with large 16bit multi-layered illustration / manipulation then the system will eat up 32GB in seconds. While it is true that with the SSD speed of modern Macs, swap / scratch disk / cache performance is admirable nowadays, but RAM is still RAM, having headroom in it leaves you more leeway pretty frequently.

Given the thermal situation of this gen's MBP, the gain of i9 over i7 isn't as significant as it can be, if I were you on a certain budget then I would go for RAM before CPU.

I used to be so simple - more RAM was always the best upgrade… and CPUs got upgraded when they were 4x faster, not 20% faster. These days, especially with thermal limiting coming on so quickly, it's so hard to tell what's best.

I do some compositing of photos, but nothing fancy for video.
You may want to look at Adorama or bhphotovideo as some of their deals are beating the refurb. One of them has the i9 in a certain config for $400 off. And you can use APINSIDER coupon for additional $225 off.
By the time they ship to Australia, I'd be sunk, but thanks for letting others know where the deals are.
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Given the thermal situation of this gen's MBP, the gain of i9 over i7 isn't as significant as it can be, if I were you on a certain budget then I would go for RAM before CPU.
I hate fans. One reason I bought MacBook, proper original Mac philosophy, no fan. But if I want to do heavier (not even really heavy) lifting, there's no fan-free option… unless there's ARM Macs coming.
 

Conutz

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Oct 24, 2014
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I’d go i7 32GB over the i9 - the i9 just seems to be too much for extended load in the 2018 MBP. If you plan to keep it for 5 years or more, 32GB definitely. More RAM will also speed things along now, as mentioned by other poster.

What you didn’t seem to mention is whether you require the portability. Otherwise, an iMac or Mini may offer better value, although the iMac (non-Pro) doesn’t offer 6 cores ATM...
 

albusseverus

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Nov 28, 2007
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What you didn’t seem to mention is whether you require the portability. Otherwise, an iMac or Mini may offer better value, although the iMac (non-Pro) doesn’t offer 6 cores ATM...
This is my portable setup. I usually have a 24" display as well, if I'm away from home regularly or for a long time.

My iMac needs upgrading more urgently, but I'd really want 8th Gen CPUs (and 6-cores, you're right there) if I'm buying now & they're not available. It could be 4 or more months before Apple upgrades iMacs, but apparently worth the wait… I swapped the iMac for a 2012 quad core Mini (bought in 2014 just before Mini went dual-core only), but that's little better, sometimes worse. When iMac is upgraded, I'll look at the options there.

2017 iMac would be a world away from what I have now (2011), but in spite of the fact that it's bound to be 20% more expensive (Apple has been jacking up prices by 20% each year for the last 2 years to maintain profits), apparently I can wait for iMac upgrades, because I'm looking at MBP despite the issues (heat throttling/keyboard/and fans, I hate the sound of fans). It would be a relief to have a portable setup that's actually adequate instead of telling myself the 2015 MacBook is amazing CONSIDERING, but unable to sync audio while video editing, for example. Photos are workable, just slow, but nothing as bad as unable to sync.