More memory or bigger hard drive? What's more important to you?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by lambertjohn, Apr 24, 2017.

  1. lambertjohn macrumors 6502a

    Jun 17, 2012
    I'm sure this topic has been talked about before, so accept my apologies in advance for bringing it back from the dead, if in fact, that's what I did. Couldn't find much in the forums, but in all honesty, I didn't look too hard.

    When refurbished MacBook Pro's pop-up on Apple's refurb website, some have 16gb of RAM and a 256GB hard drive, and some have 8GB of RAM and a 512 GB hard drive. Case in point, the 2016 13" Macbook Pro nTB. I'm curious what you Apple users value more in your notebook: more RAM and less hard drive space, or less RAM and more hard drive space. Basically, which would you choose, more storage space or more memory? Keep in mind, this question only pertains to the MacBook Pro's on Apple's refurb site because these notebooks are already configured with whatever hardware they were originally sold with. But I guess you could apply this question to any other computer sold as a refurb by Apple...

  2. Fancuku macrumors 6502a


    Oct 8, 2015
    PA, USA
    On the 13" I would choose the 16ram/256storage because moar RAM is always better :D, plus 256GB is the sweet spot for my storage requirements so that makes it an easy decision.
  3. Mr. Dee macrumors 68000

    Mr. Dee

    Dec 4, 2003
    In an ideal world, it would be more RAM and Storage.

    If I had to choose though, it would be more RAM. I run a lot of VM's in addition to your average desktop apps.
  4. ryguy92000 macrumors regular


    Sep 20, 2014
    Salt Lake City, UT
    remember: Ram on newer models is PERMANENT and CANNOT be upgrade once purchased. I would encourage getting as much (and more) ram than you need. It is easy to get new SSD's on pre 2016 macs up to 1tb
  5. tubeexperience macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2016
    On model prior to 2016, the SSD can be upgraded, but RAM can't.

    So I would say RAM.
  6. IHelpId10t5 macrumors 6502

    Nov 28, 2014
    It simply depends on what your particular use needs are for the computer. If you are not a professional media creator then 8 GB is all the RAM you will need. Only you know your computing and storage needs. However, as others have stated, it's important to evaluate your needs before the purchase because many current Macs are no longer upgradable in the ways that they were in the past.
  7. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    You have to evaluate your own needs. If you need lots of RAM for 100's of web pages open at a time or running 5-6 intensive apps concurrently or editing 4k video then that is the priority. If your comuter is used for general office use and storing yopur media then the drive size is more important.

    In short there is no answer to your question everyones needs are different and what you buy should reflect your usage.
  8. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    What is your usage? Does your workflow depend more on ram or storage?

    For me, I can get by with 8GB of ram, if that allows me to get more storage (and I need the next size up).

    Other random thoughts, you can always buy an external drive but you cannot upgrade the ram, so getting more ram may be a better choice.
  9. irontiger82 macrumors member

    Sep 2, 2011
    I'd want more hard drive space. I've been getting away with 8GB of RAM for my photoshopping design professional and personal work. I have a Macbook Prow with 13" with 512GB.
  10. cheezeit macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2010
    Dallas, TX
    I had same dilemma and got the 16gb ram 512 ssd. Rather pay a little more now to have what I need than try be stuck not having enough down the road.
  11. icymountain macrumors regular

    Dec 12, 2006
    The answer to this question really depends on usage.

    On the latest generation of notebooks, you can upgrade neither by yourself, so the choice is important.
    In general, I would tend to favor RAM over internal storage (e.g., if the budget is limited and allows to increase only one), as it is most often possible to make up for lower internal storage with external solutions but you cannot do this for RAM.

    For my use RAM is important to run VMs. I also need disk space to store pictures (as I shoot a ton of pictures in RAW format), but I long ago came to the conclusion that internal storage is irrelevant for my use (when the storage required is more than one Tb, even getting 2Tb at a crazy price is not a future proof solution, so why even bother since I will have to have external storage solutions in place anyway). I think there is a pattern here: if you really have need for a lot of storage (photo, video, etc), internal SSDs will not cut it, so one has to be prepared to have some external solution and that makes internal storage a less critical issue.
  12. ZapNZs macrumors 68020


    Jan 23, 2017
    For me, it's RAM - I can utilize an external SSD to get the same speeds as the internal flash (and even a "slower" SATA 6.0 external SSD is still pretty darn fast), where as I can't utilize external RAM. Further, 8 GB is a limiting factor for usage. However, my smaller MB is base-everything because the price of upgrades were not acceptable to me, so I use the 15-inch for certain RAM-heavy tasks.
  13. Brenna macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2018
    So I have a refurbished Mac that says I have 4gb of memory and a startup disk of 160gb for storage.

    That storage is full and is causing me issues when it comes to my work. What is your suggestion on this?
  14. Hadron macrumors regular

    Apr 13, 2010
    Personally I need more storage more than I need more RAM. But my next laptop will have more of both.
  15. lec0rsaire macrumors 65816

    Feb 23, 2017
    I would go for memory first! You can never upgrade that. You can buy external SSDs for $128 (Samsung T5 500GB) that are 10Gbps or essentially TB1 performance. USB-C so no dongle! But I would wait for the quad core i5s if I were you. They most likely will be released in October and will offer close to 15” i7 performance in the 13” model. It’s a big performance boost. Probably the biggest since Sandy (2nd) and Ivy Bridge (3rd gen).
    --- Post Merged, Jun 26, 2018 ---
    When hard drives are almost full performance is degraded. It’s always ideal to leave 15-20% of your internal storage free. You can either replace the internal drive or supplement it with external ones. I’m sure you can upgrade the memory since every Mac that came with 4GB should have the possibility to upgrade the memory to 8 or even 16 depending on the year.
  16. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Get an external drive

    Clean up what's there, i.e.,
    Download and use OmniDiskSweeper. It will provide a sorted list of what's consuming your space.
  17. Ulenspiegel macrumors 68030


    Nov 8, 2014
    Land of Flanders and Elsewhere
    RAM as it is not upgradable.
    External SSD, though can be a solution to extra storage needs.
  18. Erasmus macrumors 68030


    Jun 22, 2006
    Hiding from Omnius in Australia
    As others have said, get the RAM.

    Then, throw 100 bucks at something like a Sandisk Ultra Fit 256GB, stick it in one of the USB ports, and leave it there.
  19. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    What kind of apps do you run?
    I've never had a problem with 8gb of RAM.

    256gb is fine so long as you don't load up the drive with lots of seldom-accessed stuff that just "sits there taking up space".

    That's what EXTERNAL drives are for.

    So, my preferred choice would be 8gb of RAM and a 256gb drive, because that's "enough for me".
    If the only choices I had were those above, I'd probably just flip a coin... ;)

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