Macbook Pro 2012 13 Inch non retina RAM upgrade to 16GB is it worth it ?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by arbj, May 9, 2017.

  1. arbj macrumors newbie

    Jan 30, 2013

    I have a Macbook Pro 13 inch Mid 2012 (with DVD) non retina (bought last year). It has a 1TB hard disk, with 8 GB RAM, i7 processor.

    I want to know if upgrading to 16GB RAM will make any noticeable difference in speed ? Is it really worthwhile to increase RAM ? I don't see much lag in operation as it is.

  2. chscag macrumors 68040


    Feb 17, 2008
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Probably not an increase in speed, however, if you do a lot of video work or working with something like Photoshop, the extra 8GB will be useful. Also, if you run Windows via Boot Camp, the extra memory will help; likewise with running Windows in a virtual machine.
  3. treekram macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2015
    Honolulu HI
    As the previous poster said, if you have ample memory now, you won't notice an increase in speed. However, if the system has to swap (it runs out of memory and uses your drive to temporarily store a portion of memory), you could notice a lag, depending on how large the swap is. A good way to see if you can benefit from extra memory is to run the Activity Monitor app while you run through your normal tasks. A good explanation is in

    Click on the "Memory" button or scroll down a bit and it will explain the Memory component of the Activity Monitor app. In the graphic shown, the user will definitely benefit from more memory, especially if they have a hard disk (vs. a SSD). Red = get more memory now! Yellow = can benefit from more memory Green = You're OK.
  4. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    An SSD would be the biggest performance upgrade. You won't notice any real difference between 8GB RAM & 16GB RAM on an HDD.
  5. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    treekram's advice is on point. Look at your memory pressure. If its not green most of the time, you would benefit from RAM upgrade.
  6. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    RAM isn't going to do much for you -- I predict "little to nothing".

    What you really need is an SSD to replace the platter-based HDD.
    An SSD will TRANSFORM the MBPro -- it will feel like a entirely different (and faster) computer.

    The process of doing the drive swap is simple -- a 15 minute job IF YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TOOLS (shouting intentional). You'll need a Phillips #00 driver and a TORX T-6 driver.

    Go to to see what's involved (it's easy).

    I would also recommend that you buy a 2.5" USB3 external enclosure. They're cheap. Get one that is stated to support UASP.

    Use the enclosure to "prep and test" the new SSD BEFORE you install it into the MBPro.
    The quickest/easiest way to prep the SSD is to use CarbonCopyCloner to clone the contents of the old drive to the new one (see notes regarding size below).
    CCC will also clone over the recovery partition.
    CCC is FREE to download and use for the first 30 days.

    After you do the swap, put the old HDD into the enclosure -- it can serve as a "bootable backup", which is VERY handy to have around.

    For an SSD, I'd suggest either Crucial or Sandisk.
    You can save $$$ by buying the 480gb model.
    Keep less-frequently-accessed stuff and large libraries (like "movies") on the HDD.
    Keep the SSD "lean and clean", and it will run great.
  7. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    More RAM is only useful if you're running out of it in the first place.

    If you want a noticeable speed increase, you're much more likely to see it with a SSD hard drive rather than the spinner that is in there right now.
  8. jerryk macrumors 601

    Nov 3, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    I agree with the others. SSD first, then memory if you see memory pressure. SSD will change the machine dramatically such as applications launching and file copies going 10 times as fast.

    Also, unless you use the DVD drive a lot, you can get buy with a smaller SSD and get a holder for $20 to replace your DVD with the new SSD. That will make it cheap for you to keep your data on your older rotational drive and get the benefits of having the SSD as the drive from which you boot and run applications.

    And if you want, you can also get an enclosure to make the DVD an external USB drive for a few bucks.
  9. ZapNZs macrumors 68020


    Jan 23, 2017
    I agree as well: a SSD will make a much bigger difference than RAM if you currently have a HDD. A SSD can make a computer not like when it was new, but rather, much better than when new.

    The exception would be if your 8GB is being heavily utilized to a point where it is causing the computer to show. The easiest way to determine this is to check your Memory Pressure in the Activity Monitor.
  10. arbj thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 30, 2013
    thanks for the replies and helpful suggestions.

    I will check the Activity Monitor as suggested, I do use VirtualBox with Windows 10 as guest OS in it, there is also a guest with lubuntu on it. I have not noticed any lag when the guest OS is running.

    The idea of changing the DVD to SSD is good one, I have looked it up in ifixit and other sites.

    However I hardly ever shutdown the computer, do you think changing to SSD will make difference, I thought hard disks were most used during startup.

  11. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    An SSD makes the whole system faster, HDD technology has been the bottleneck on opening apps accessing info and general computer use for at least 15 years. It is night and day difference, system boots in under 15 seconds, apps opening within a bounce or two and the whole system just faster more fluid and reacting much faster its that simple.
  12. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    Yes it will make a huge difference. Your assumption is wrong.

    Anytime you ask your computer to do something, it reads off the drive and puts what it needs in RAM. The faster that transfer happens the "snappier" a computer seems.

    When you boot up a computer, it puts the OS into RAM, that's what's taking so long.

    When you open an app, the boucing icon means it's reading from the disk and going into RAM.

    A SSD will dramatically speed up pretty much everything compared to a spinning hard drive.
  13. ZapNZs macrumors 68020


    Jan 23, 2017
    HDDs are limited by some major issues: 1) maximum sustained read/write speeds around 70-120 MB/s for laptop HDDs [and 200-250 MB/s for the fastest 3.5-inch HDDs] -- fast SATA SSDs can read and write around 550 MB/s [and the fastest PCIe SSDs approach 3,500 MB/s], so they can move data much quicker - if your HDD is an OEM, it is likely around the 70 MB/s range; and, 2) latency - the head on the HDD must physically move to the physical location where information on the disk is stored in order to read it, and may need to move again to write - SSDs do not have to do this, as they do not have moving parts, and have virtually no latency at all.

    So, just with normal usage, such as opening programs, using multiple Apps simultaneously (that results in some caching), and creating/moving/exporting files, SSDs make an insanely dramatic difference. The time it takes to open an App once you add a SSD could be reduced to 1/10th of that it currently is now with the HDD.

    Further, where as Mac OS X does a good job managing RAM, the last few versions of OS X seem to strongly prefer having SSDs, and I find this to be especially applicable with Sierra.
  14. Toutou macrumors 6502a


    Jan 6, 2015
    Prague, Czech Republic
    If you're ready to show your MB some love, definitely get the SSD. The difference will rip your pants off. And I'm not even joking.

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13 May 9, 2017