is 16 gigs overkill?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Dammit Cubs, Jun 14, 2012.

  1. Dammit Cubs macrumors 68000

    Dammit Cubs

    Jul 31, 2007
    It's a very tough question. Because you have only one shot to upgrade to 16 gigs. I don't think I plan to do much with my Retina Macbook Pro except use lightroom and aperture to edit my RAW photos. And play some games. I have computers now that have 4GB and 8GB. They seem to be enough. I don't open alot of tabs. I dont' know how people can do that. I'm OCD and have to close my tabs when I'm done reading them.

    But I'm worried that as retina becomes the future, more internet sites will take advantage and thus everything we do will require more ram.
  2. Trey M macrumors 6502a

    Trey M

    Jul 25, 2011
    If you plan to keep this computer for like 6 years, then it would be suitable. Realistically, it's totally overkill at this point in time. Based on your list of needs, there's absolutely no need to upgrade to 16 gigs. You would have to be doing some serious stuff to utilize 16 gigs of ram, and even hardcore professionals would struggle to use over 8 at any point in time. Not saying it's not necessary in certain situations, but especially for your listed needs, you should be fine.

    And being realistic with yourself, most people on this site sell their machines 2 or 3 years in to get a newer one...if that's your case then absolutely no need.
  3. Dammit Cubs thread starter macrumors 68000

    Dammit Cubs

    Jul 31, 2007
    I look to probably change machines once very 3 years. Or when something awesome from GOD lands on this earth: in this case: Retina Display.
  4. Trey M macrumors 6502a

    Trey M

    Jul 25, 2011
    8 gigs of ram will definitely not be obsolete in 3 years. In fact, it might be a little better than average. You should definitely pick up 8, because I promise you the only place you'll notice 16 even kicking in is on the benchmarks.
  5. kiantech macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2007
    I was going to go for 8gb, but because it is soldered on I went for the 16gb (yay overpriced upgrade). I need the extra ram because I run VMs. However, normal computer tasks should be fine.
  6. macduke macrumors G3


    Jun 27, 2007
    Central U.S.
    I chose the 16GB upgrade because I found 8GB kind of low on my current machine. I wish I could have upped it to 32GB but that would have been insanely expensive. Do they even make single ram chips that large for laptops? Although I suppose the old "slots" terminology is gone with Apple attaching everything directly to the motherboard. I guess the only limiting factor is the Ivy Bridge chipset. Not sure but I believe Sandy Bridge maxed out at 16GB. This is my typical load:

    • Photoshop CS6 with 30-50 docs open
    • Illustrator CS6 with 5-10 docs open
    • InDesign CS6 with 1-3 docs open
    • Acrobat Pro with 3-5 docs open
    • Firefox with 100-150 tabs open
    • Chrome with 10-20 tabs open
    • Safari with 10-20 tabs open
    • Coda 2 with 20-30 tabs open
    • Twitter with 3 user account tabs / Trillian with Google Talk
    • Mail, iMessages, App Store, etc
    • Finder with 5-10 open windows + Forklift FTP
    • Lots of background processes / widgets / tweaks like Magic Prefs, Dropbox, Moom, Dropzone, Cloud App, smcFanControl, Growl, VPN clients, etc
    • Rdio, Pandora or iTunes playing in the background
    • Sometimes I whip together animations in After Effects CS6, a quick 3D model in Lightwave or edit a fast video in Premiere Pro CS6, but not too often. The speedy new 512GB SSD on my new machine should help with the scratch disk though.
    • Sometimes I also run Microsoft Office apps—especially if a client put all their copy in a word file, or if I'm computing costs or other figures in Excel.

    Haha, and before someone tells me I don't run all this—I do. I have degrees in graphic design, photography, and marketing. I'm always overloaded with so much stuff! Furthermore I code all my sites by hand and test them in different browsers. I also have a Dell Inspiron sitting next to me running Internet Explorer so I can test in there, and sometimes I'm even running Adobe Shadow so I can test sites on my iPad 2 and iPhone 4S. I hope to cut out the Inspiron though—perhaps with this extra ram I can put together a small virtual machine running Win 7 in it's own space. That would be nice! The reason I have so many docs open in Photoshop is I usually make my website mockups in there and then pull it apart to get all the different pieces. I'm always tweaking effects on different parts, like shadows, gradients, strokes, etc and resaving for web and uploading. Then there are some parts or logos I'm tweaking in Illustrator. InDesign I sometimes have to tweak PDF files or come up with documentation and then I check them over and optimize them in Acrobat Pro. Not to mention I often do my own photography for a client, so I'm editing RAW files from my 7D in the mix. I use 8 desktop spaces to keep things organized. CS6 apps generally get their own space (except Acrobat Pro—usually in the Finder space). Then I have Coda 2 in a space, several Finder windows in another space, my "social" space that has Twitter, Trillian, Mail and iMessages, Firefox in it's own space, and then Chrome and Safari share a space for testing.

    So no, for me 16 gigs is not overkill! LOL. :D

    P.S. The 500MB/s SSD in this beast is almost like ram itself, haha! Ok I know that's a stretch, but still. Caching to that thing is going to be great. So even when the 16GB gets full it can offload to a large, speedy SSD.
  7. 88 King, Jun 15, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2012

    88 King macrumors 6502

    88 King

    Jun 18, 2011
    London, UK
    I'm happy with my choice of 8GB RAM. After looking at my currently usage, 6 GB is the maximum I use with virtual Windows 7 running. And since 2 years will be the maximum I'll be keeping the machine, 8 GB is enough for my needs till then.

    After 2 years, I doubt you will get much of the RAM upgrade money back, so if you not going to use the extra 8GB, it is a wast of money IMO. I think it's the same mentality that people hang on to their mobile unlimited data when they can save money with cheaper lower data plans.

    P.S. to OP, 4GB is good enough for the needs you listed, so with 8GB you are already further proof. Beside, most parts of the world have slow internet connection, and websites are designed to be bandwidth efficient, so 8GB RAM for internet usage is more than enough.
  8. NovemberWhiskey macrumors 68030


    May 18, 2009
    If you have the money and the need, do it because you can't change it yourself later.

    If you just browse the web, email, use word, etc., then forget about it. Check how much RAM you are using now, and if you have extra, then you don't need anymore unless you plan on running more.

    I don't even think I need 8. I just recently upgraded from 4 in the past year.

    Think about it this way: if you aren't maxing out your RAM now, will you be doubling your usage later?
  9. h00ligan macrumors 68030

    Apr 10, 2003
    A hot desert
    No. Well. Depends how long you keep machines.
  10. steve-p macrumors 68000


    Oct 14, 2008
    Newbury, UK
    In my experience even with hogs like Aperture, 8GB should be plenty for a while yet. Unless you are planning on running multiple virtual machines, but most people are not.
  11. j0ester macrumors member

    Jun 14, 2012
    16GB is very OVERKILL! 8GB is perfect. 16GB is more for servers imo or hard video editing. Even 8GB for Video editing is plenty.

    That being said, I highly doubt Retina will become the future and more and more "sites" will take advantage. This is because every picture on a website is .JPG or .GIF. If they want to do a higher picture resolution. They would need Bitmap (.BMP) but then the website would download slower because Bitmap images are 2megs+

    It seems like Retina is more for Picture and Video editing. and you to watch movies.
  12. Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

    Jul 16, 2002
    That is why every RMBP comes with a 1GB video card.

    You can never have too much RAM, but 8GB isn't a small amount. It just depends on what your wallet wispers to you at night. If you don't get 16GB, worst case you sell it in a year (Macs have great resale value) and buy the new model w/16GB.
  13. softwareguy256 macrumors regular

    Jun 5, 2010
    um i don't believe your list one bit. sorry. if you have that much stuff open most of it would be sitting in the background for minutes hours. It would take you over 1 minute to focus your attention assuming you could get meaningful work done at a rate of 1 window / sec. Even with 8 30'' monitors you couldn't fit 50 tabs on a screen, let alone a 15'' laptop screen.


    This mindset is precisely what Apple wants you to believe. It is well known that apple's RAM is significantly overpriced, much like soft drinks in a restaurant. The key to profits has always been how to package a deal so that the customer is easily led to buy the overpriced items.

  14. markp99 macrumors member

    Jun 14, 2012
    New Hampshire
    16GB mandatory for large database manipulation.
  15. surjavarman macrumors 6502a

    Nov 24, 2007
    16gb is definitely too much. I am using 4gb right now and even with a virtual machine and chrome with 20 tabs open, I still have buckets to spare.

    Save yourself the $200 even if you are planning to use your notebook for 5 years. Better save that money towards to purchase of your next notebook. What can change in 5 years that we suddenly need 16gb for? Not even a new OS X is going to be that demanding. And if it is you are probably more worried about the other components in your notebook rather than the RAM
  16. leenak macrumors 68020

    Mar 10, 2011
    No website is going to use 8GB RAM, let alone 16GB. I went with 16GB because it seemed like a cheap upgrade and why not. I also want to do VMs which will take a bit more memory. 8GB will do you fine. It will not be obsolete in 3 years (that is just crazy talk).
  17. ugahairydawgs macrumors 68030


    Jun 10, 2010
    It is overkill for the vast majority of people. Sure, there are some that have several VM windows open at the same time while they are doing 3D rendering or encoding or something along those lines. In those cases it makes some sense to hang the extra $200 to upgrade the RAM.

    But most people will never even sniff full use of 8GB....much less 16.
  18. apolloa macrumors G4

    Oct 21, 2008
    Time, because it rules EVERYTHING!
    On the flip side of this though is in 3 years time 16GB may be more relevant and the machine will fetch a higher resale value and more interest with that 16GB because you can't change it yourself.

    I mean, if you put 8GB in a Mac like I did, you instantly see a benefit in things running a little more smoothly, so who knows how much impact 16GB will make in the OSX released in 3 years times?
  19. corvus32 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 4, 2009
    If you have to ask yourself whether you need 8GB or 16GB, I'm pretty comfortable recommending 8GB of RAM.

    Most people that need more know it, and it's not really a question for debate.

    Buying 16GB of RAM doesn't really future proof your computer either. Things change, people change, so just buy what you want and don't worry about it. And, buying electronics for their resale value 3-4 years from now is never a good idea. If someone wants a higher spec'd computer, let them go buy it.
  20. MacBird macrumors 6502a

    Apr 1, 2010
    I chose 16 GB RAM. My 2008 MBP with 8 GB RAM often runs out of memory when I use Bridge reading a 32 GB CF card and PS at the same time.
  21. Geekbabe macrumors 6502a


    Nov 20, 2011
    IMHO a lot depends on how long you typically keep a computer & if you intend to sell it when you are done with it. Those of us sitting here are trying to make sure our devices are somewhat future proof, people looking to buy a used Mac are going to be thinking in much the same way. I say go with 16GG if you can afford it, you'll be covered if your needs increase & it'll be more attractive to a prospective buyer when you are ready to upgrade
  22. Tibits macrumors regular

    Feb 23, 2011

    Precisely. 18 months ago, people were asking if 8GB was overkill.
  23. stevelam macrumors 65816

    Nov 4, 2010
    sorry but your workflow sounds horrendous.
  24. KPT, Jun 15, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2012

    KPT macrumors newbie

    Jul 13, 2009
    It all depends on what you plan on doing with it. If you're largely a consumer software user, then it *may* be overkill. If you fall into the habit of not closing programs, or files/windows within programs, then you will benefit from the extra space assuming OS X's swap algorithms would be happy not paging to disk.

    If you do a lot of graphics editing, it will allow you work with larger and larger files, or keep more history around without having to store to disk temporarily.

    And, finally, if you are a CS student or software developer, there is no such thing as overkill for RAM, as there are applications out there that will call for hundreds of gigs of RAM, if not more.

    It all depends on how you plan on using this. If you're not a power user (the latter two), it's highly suspect that it will make a big difference. Keep in mind that even if you have more memory, you have to fill it with *something*. If you don't have things that are sufficiently large to fill it with, it will make very marginal differences and if anything, will negligibly increase your power consumption.


    Also, keep in mind that it's OK to "run out of memory" from the OS X/UNIX point of view -- that simply means that your OS is trying to use it as much as possible to be as efficient as possible. Free space w.r.t RAM is wasted space. The only time you've really run out of memory is when things become extremely sluggish, or switching programs causes a noticeable delay.
  25. Acevesx macrumors regular

    Jan 15, 2008
    how is that even productive?

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