Is 8GB of RAM Good Enough?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by mobile-caffeine, Jun 18, 2012.

  1. mobile-caffeine macrumors member

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    #1
    Is 8GB of RAM in the Retina models good enough to do some moderate gaming and run AutoCAD full time? I'm thinking more for the future because the RAM isn't easy to upgrade. Any thoughts...
     
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #2
    Many will say if you can afford it, go ahead and get the 16GB. To determine if you can benefit from more RAM, launch Activity Monitor and click the System Memory tab at the bottom to check your page outs. Page outs are cumulative since your last restart, so the best way to check is to restart your computer and track page outs under your normal workload (the apps, browser pages and documents you normally would have open). If your page outs are significant (say 1GB or more) under normal use, you may benefit from more RAM. If your page outs are zero or very low during normal use, you probably won't see any performance improvement from adding RAM.

    Mac OS X: Reading system memory usage in Activity Monitor
     
  3. EIGHTYTHREE macrumors member

    EIGHTYTHREE

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    #3
    Yes, IMO...I don't see why not. You do have to consider tho, Un-offically, I think most ppl who current;y have the previous models upgraded to 8GB or more for their standard ram. So if you wanna not regret your decision next year it may be wise to upgrade to to 16GB. But "today" 8 isn't bad and shall perform well.
     
  4. Ryan1524 macrumors 65816

    Ryan1524

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    #4
    Everything will become obsolete soon enough, so if it's not maxed out when you buy it, it's not good enough. At least this is my philosophy.
     
  5. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #5
    I wouldn't say if you have a certain amt of pageouts as, like you said, it's cumulative

    I have always been of the mind set that is your page in to page out ratio is less than 10:1, you could benefit from more ram
     
  6. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #6
    There is no meaningful correlation between page outs and page ins. You will always have page ins, but you may not ever have page outs. Also, you can run for weeks or months, accumulating page ins, then go through a period of intense activity for only a few minutes which produces page outs. No ratio between the two is useful. The only thing that indicates a need for more RAM is the presence of significant page outs during normal workload, regardless of the page ins.
     
  7. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #7
    a page in to my understanding is accessing the ram. A page out is accessing the hdd as ram is not availiable so I have read and always believed that the ratio was a good indicator

    however, to me, a cumulative measure of pageouts is meaningless
     
  8. catalyst6 macrumors 6502a

    catalyst6

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    #8
    Higher resolutions means more memory. Today, you may not need it, but in a "retina world," you can't have too much memory.

    Buy the 16GB.
     
  9. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #9
    Page ins occur when transferring data from the HDD or SSD to RAM. This happens every time you launch an app, open a document, etc. If you had no page ins, nothing would ever run. Page outs only occur when you've exceeded your RAM capacity and still need to page something in. A page out occurs when you write data from RAM to the drive, to make room for the needed page in. Both paging activities are at the mercy of the HDD/SSD speed, which is significantly slower than RAM. Page ins can only be avoided by leaving your computer turned off. Page outs can be avoided by having sufficient RAM to accommodate your memory requirements.
     
  10. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #10
    Isn't that essentially what I said, albeit a tad more descriptive? :)

    So why would a cumulative measure be valid? It takes into no account of time nor your ram activity. Of course, 0 page outs is ideal but having pageouts will not mean you should get a ram upgrade

    The page in to page out ratio seems to be a great indicator as it tells you how often your ram is accessed vs how often you do not have sufficient ram and must write out to the hdd. Ideally you would ant it limited soley to page ins and no page outs. This is why I feel if you are expereinceing a 10:1 in to out ratio, you could benifit
     
  11. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #11
    You're right that there are limitations to the cumulative measure. It could be you had one period of 5 minutes over the past week where you had significant page outs, and the rest of the time you had none. It could also mean you were paging out a smaller amount over a longer period of time. That's why restarting, to reset the counter, then tracking it under normal workload is effective.
    No, like the page outs, the page ins are cumulative and suffer from the same lack of indication of frequency. You could have 5GB of page ins over a week and 2GB of page outs. Those page outs could have occurred during a 4 minute window, or they could have accumulated hourly under normal use. The ratio is meaningless. You could have the same 2GB of page outs with 100GB of page ins, due to a longer uptime. The ratio may vary widely, and isn't a good indicator of the need for more RAM.
     
  12. Dankex macrumors member

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    Nov 30, 2010
    #12
    Go for maximum, if you can!

    My sluggish MacBook from Late 2007 has 4GB RAM (updated 2 years ago). I have 10GB Page out. This thing is a beast: i never reboot it, always close the lid as i dont want to loose the status of my apps and OS X does this nicely. I have lots (20) of tabs open and always other background apps.
    I'm going to buy in a couple of months the cMBP 15" as i cant afford a better one, so i'll have to upgrade to 2x8GB RAM as soon as i can... I would go with 2x16GB if i had the $. Stupid Apple should ship it with 8GB by default!

    My advice: if you can have more RAM, then get it. My MacBook is a true laptop, i just open/close the lid...it is always on (it is my "home desktop" as well...) and i always restart when the uptime command indicates > 20 days - by tthat time, either you restart or you stress out to death --'

    Go for the maximum you can!
     
  13. mobile-caffeine thread starter macrumors member

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    #13
    Thanks. I'll check later. Right now I'm running the 2009 15" MacBook Pro with 2.8GHz C2D, 4GB RAM and ATI Radeon 9600M w/ 512MB VRAM. I haven't felt the need to upgrade my RAM, yet. I guess my next hurtle is the size of the hard drive and is the jump in price to the higher end Retina model worth the price for the bigger hard drive and better processor. I don't care for the faster processor, just the larger space. Decisions, decisions...
     
  14. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #14
    You are right in that the ratio may remain inflated if you largely don't use ram intensive processes but when you do for a brief period of time, you could benefit from more ram regardless of the ratio. Though what necessitates the need for a ram upgrade? If those events are infrequent enough, I would not say that one would need ram irregardless if page outs are being written

    Perhaps the best indicator if one needs more ram is how often they experience the beach ball while they use their computer lol
     
  15. surjavarman macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 24, 2007
    #15
    16gb is definitely not necessary now or in the next 3-4 years. In fact I am not even fully utilizing 4gb on my current mbp even with multiple apps and virtual machines running.

    You are much better off by putting that extra $200 on a savings account towards the purchase of the next mbp. By that time 16gb will become standard although I doubt it will even be necessary
     
  16. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #16
    If the page outs are infrequent, the user may be fine with, for example, 4GB of RAM for 95% of their workload. Buying additional RAM to accommodate a temporary spike in memory demands may not be worth it to the user. I'm sure some users would prefer to have so much RAM that they never see page outs, while others may be content with frequent page outs and slower performance.
    Except beachballs are caused by a variety of factors, many of which have nothing to do with memory usage.
     
  17. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #17
    This whole discussion of pageouts is meaningless to the OP's question.

    He's asking about the amount of RAM in a computer he doesn't have yet, which he will most likely use in a manner not identical to his current use, and which does not have user-upgradeable RAM. Once he buys it and uses it and counts the pageouts, it's too late to do anything about RAM.

    OP, I'm guessing that you mean you plan to run AutoCAD OR some "moderate gaming," since I can't imagine why you'd want to do both at the same time. What I can tell you is that AutoCAD will run on however much RAM you give it, that more is almost always better, and that with 8 Gb you're probably more likely to stress your GPU before your RAM anyway.
     
  18. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #18
    Oh I am in the former company lol
    While true, it sure eliminates most of the ones I encounter if there were frequent

    Now the other main source of beach balling is whenever I have external drives hooked up
     
  19. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #19
    Where did the OP indicate that they're not running games and AutoCAD on their current computer, or that they plan to use the new computer differently than their current one? I missed that.
    Which is why my first sentence was that many will say if they can afford it, get the 16GB.
     
  20. M5RahuL macrumors 68020

    M5RahuL

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    #20
    For the Retina MBP, max out the RAM because you will not be able to upgrade it later on!

    8GB might suffice right now.. even 6 months from now.. but may not do so after 1.5 yrs.. Unless you're looking to upgrade to a new MBP in 1.5 - 2 yrs, get the 16GB RAM !!
     
  21. mobile-caffeine thread starter macrumors member

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    Apr 13, 2010
    #21
    You're right, I won't be doing anything differently than what I do now. I'm currently running AutoCAD 2013 (I only work in 2D) but I've been too busy lately to play games but I already purchased a copy of Diablo 3 a month ago and haven't had the chance to break the seal on it. I know that right now 4GB is enough on my current 2009 MacBook Pro but I'm only concerned that the retina display might require more RAM and as games and apps progress will 8GB be enough in a couple of years?
     
  22. Nielsenius macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    16 GB is overkill unless you're doing some pretty hard-core stuff. Some guy said he frequently has 150+ windows/tabs open. He needs 16 GB. You probably don't. 8 GB isn't even close to the norm these days. Most laptops are lucky to have 6 GB and the majority have 4 GB. You'll be fine with 8 GB.
     
  23. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #23
    The retina display isn't going to more than double your RAM requirements. If you're not paging out now, it's extremely unlikely you would page out with double the RAM you have now. I'd say you're safe going with 8GB for the foreseeable future (2-3+ years), unless you make a significant change in the apps and processes you run.
     
  24. surjavarman macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    So the conclusion is that you are getting much better value for the dollar with 8gb and that that $200 is better used towards the purchase of your next mbp
     
  25. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #25
    if your current machine is meeting your needs, then it's a waste of your money to upgrade.

    Unless, of course, you will be using the new one differently. People generally do.
     

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