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clutchm3

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Aug 9, 2011
493
81
For the new M1 Macbook Air, I want to get the 8 Core 512GB but Will 8GB ram vs 16GB ram really make a difference? Anyone know a review on that comparison?

I have been searching all day. To be frank, the computer is for someone that basically web browses/office suite and doesn't do anything performance wise. But more thinking for "future proof" because I don't want to upgrade this persons computer too often.

Is the 8GB enough or should I spend a bit more for the 16GB. Price is not the option, just legitimately don't know what to do. Thanks!
 

Goldfrapp

macrumors 603
Jul 31, 2005
5,355
9,537
US&A
I was going through the same dilemma. I got the 8GB to test-drive it until Jan 8 (the last day to return it). Hopefully by then, I will have made up my mind. My usage is somewhat light (plus Lightroom and Photoshop once in a blue moon).

The general advice especially for those keeping their Mac for several years: YES, get as much RAM as you can afford
 

edhchoe

macrumors 65816
Oct 28, 2011
1,323
806
If you do what you describe, 8gb is plenty.
i tested with my imac 2011 last night.
i opened all the programs i use daily at the same time. About 7 of them.
Activity monitor showed RAM use was going up to 5.3 gb at the highest peak. It has 12gb total available.
 

jclardy

macrumors 68040
Oct 6, 2008
3,697
3,102
I'd say most people will be fine with 8. The thing with this machine is the SSD is so fast that you will barely notice that swap is being used if you do go over the RAM limit. The other thing that people aren't taking into account - on prior Intel Air's the GPU reserved 1.5GB of RAM. In the case of the M1 the memory is completely shared, so in cases where you need less "VRAM" it can be used by the CPU instead (So you truly have 8GB total memory, vs 6.5 system/1.5 video)

SSD wear could be an issue 5 years down the line with really heavy usage, but I think that is likely a non-issue for the majority of people - the only time I would take it into consideration is if they maxed out the disk space constantly and continued to hammer swap space (IE 500GB of data and a constant 50 chrome tabs open for years...) forcing the SSD to write over the same locations.
 

Wags

macrumors 68000
Mar 5, 2006
1,734
1,226
Nebraska, USA
Looks like the 8GB seems to be just as fast as 16. Seems like going unused unless really pushing machine. One reviewer had the 7 core with 8gb and ran editing software great.
 

clutchm3

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Aug 9, 2011
493
81
Looks like the 8GB seems to be just as fast as 16. Seems like going unused unless really pushing machine. One reviewer had the 7 core with 8gb and ran editing software great.
Mind linking this review?
 

Fidgit

macrumors member
Mar 28, 2020
63
68
I think we might need to change our perception of what ram means in these new machines, or at least stop comparing directly with intel machines. Closely integrated memory could mean that 8gb on ‘m’ provides the same performance as 16gb on an intel based machine for example. I mean does anyone notice that the iPhone 12 has only about a third of the ram of its competitors?
 

mikethebigo

macrumors 68020
May 25, 2009
2,169
658
I think we might need to change our perception of what ram means in these new machines, or at least stop comparing directly with intel machines. Closely integrated memory could mean that 8gb on ‘m’ provides the same performance as 16gb on an intel based machine for example. I mean does anyone notice that the iPhone 12 has only about a third of the ram of its competitors?
At some point, data is data. The memory being unified doesn't mean that files will somehow magically have smaller sizes. RAM is just storing program information.

What we will see is insanely fast swap speeds, that more than anything negates the need for a ton of RAM.
 

utente__mac

macrumors member
Sep 20, 2015
38
18
At some point, data is data. The memory being unified doesn't mean that files will somehow magically have smaller sizes. RAM is just storing program information.

What we will see is insanely fast swap speeds, that more than anything negates the need for a ton of RAM.

Memory is compressed nowadays. Probably M1 gets better HW acceleration for (de)compressing memory pages too. Plus M1 doesn’t need to copy data back and forth between system memory and GPU memory.
There are many other variables involved.
For the tests I’ve seen so far 8GB M1 often easily outperforms 16-32GB Intel systems.
 

Sodner

macrumors 68020
Jan 12, 2011
2,095
52
Pittsburgh, PA
Most of the reviews from reputable Mac publishers have said 8 GB isn't showing any limitations in their use. Unless of course they so some crazy things to purposely try and bring the M1 to its knees. But, I've not seen one review state what 16 GB gives you. How much better is it?
Having worked with computers since the Apple 2e, its soooooooo difficult to click BUY on a PC with only 8 GB of RAM. I have both a 8GB and 16GB on order and hope to decide which to cancel before either ships.
 

clutchm3

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Aug 9, 2011
493
81

In short M1 8GB = Intel 16GB, 16=32 etc.
Yup, I just decided to get the 16GB to future-proof whatever I can. I would hate not too. I will eat the extra $ now in order to have more memory down the line since it can't be upgradeable.
 

DaMax85

macrumors member
May 19, 2011
88
34
I'm leaning towards ordering the base model to see if it meets my needs (basic tasks + FCP). Most of the Youtube reviews I've watched suggest 8GB is enough unless you have every Adobe program open and rendering all day every day. I don't use Chrome much (use Safari as default) and am pretty good about managing how many tabs I have open.

I've always had good luck with base models, but I do feel crazy for wanting to spend $1k on a computer with only 8GB's of ram in 2020.
 
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