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mykidisluke

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 29, 2017
15
23
I regularly use 2 Mac mini M1's - one with 8GB of RAM and one with 16GB of RAM. They are both used almost exclusively by me, and they run exactly the same productivity software. Each has 256GB of RAM + an external disk for my photo library, connected to nearly identical Dell monitors. Each machine is up-to-the-very-latest software - no differences. I've run both for over 6 months. The 16GB I've run for over 9 months. One is used in my home, the other at my office. My workload is MS Office 365 docs, large PDFs, Evernote, photos, MS Teams meetings, 2 email clients or so, 2 browsers and a handful of other productivity tasks, so nothing super punishing. I religiously update everything.

I'm posting because I hope I'll help someone trying to decide if they can make do with the 8GB RAM model. I can absolutely, confidently state that the 8GB model is less stable, has more problems with apps quitting, and other such glitchy issues. The 16GB model is more stable and seems to handle all my productivity tasks much more smoothly than the 8. The 16GB model can run for weeks without me restarting it - used hard. The 8GB model has more glitches and problems that necessitate the occasional restart or app force quit - nothing horrible and its still plenty usable but it is NOT the same experience that I have with the 16GB. Pulling up memory in the activity monitor utility - the 8GB seems always to run "yellow" whereas the 16GB model is nearly always green - again I know that yellow memory state is not awful.

I bought the 8GB unit to save money and wish I hadn't. Just sharing in case it helps someone.
 

opeter

macrumors 68030
Aug 5, 2007
2,686
1,607
Slovenia
Of course not. The 8 GB is just a marketing stunt, that this works like a miracle (hint: it won't).
Every normal person, who knows just a little bit about (computer) technology, will see in a second, that the graphics part of the Apple Silicon is also using the integrated RAM. So, how much of that 8 GB will stay for the OS and applications, if the GPU is also constantly using it? Well..?

Anyway, Apple is clever enough and knows, that even if the SSD is under heavy usage because of the swap/pagefile, the machine will last/or it should last at least 3 years (with Apple Care), up until the point the warranty/guarantee is over. Than the user needs to pay hefty money for repairs -> replacing of the logic board.

Evil stategy, but it works. For them. ;) :p
 

ascender

macrumors 603
Dec 8, 2005
5,008
2,893
And on the flip side, we have 8GB and 16GB M1 Minis here and we struggle to tell the difference between them - the only obvious benefit we have is being able to run VMs on the 16GB machine with more memory dedicated to them.

Its the same with the M1 Airs we have tbh.

Sounds like you might have a hardware or software issue with your 8GB one?

I agree with the sentiment about buying 16GB RAM if you can afford it though, its always worthwhile.
 

PeterJP

macrumors 65816
Feb 2, 2012
1,136
896
Leuven, Belgium
Exactly. Apps closing and glitches are not normal - 16GB, 8GB or even 4GB. It should run stable, even if it s slower because of swapping. I never had any of those problems on my late 2013 MBP that had 8GB and I was a power user (Windows VM with 4GB while doing MS Office and lots of Chrome tabs + development environment on macos).
 
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EdwardC

macrumors 6502a
Jun 3, 2012
532
441
Georgia
I actually traded my 8gb M1 to Apple for $520.00 a week or so ago (paid $579.00 on sale at Microcenter) because as you state 8gb is just not enough for anything. Much happier with the replacement 16gb model. Now if the new Mini if really announced looks to be a lot better with only a few hundred dollar premium this one will get returned today.
 

mykidisluke

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 29, 2017
15
23
Sure, my 8GB model has a 1TB Crucial X8 SSD. My 16GB model has 4TB external HDD. My primary use for the external storage is my photos library which is large.
 
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EugW

macrumors G5
Jun 18, 2017
14,303
12,057
Of course not. The 8 GB is just a marketing stunt, that this works like a miracle (hint: it won't).
Every normal person, who knows just a little bit about (computer) technology, will see in a second, that the graphics part of the Apple Silicon is also using the integrated RAM. So, how much of that 8 GB will stay for the OS and applications, if the GPU is also constantly using it? Well..?

Anyway, Apple is clever enough and knows, that even if the SSD is under heavy usage because of the swap/pagefile, the machine will last/or it should last at least 3 years (with Apple Care), up until the point the warranty/guarantee is over. Than the user needs to pay hefty money for repairs -> replacing of the logic board.

Evil stategy, but it works. For them. ;) :p
Nah, 8 GB is fine for 75% of computer users, at least in the near term.

I think it's foolish to get 8 GB for a multimedia content creation machine though.


Each has 256GB of RAM
Typo
 

Fyahstarter

macrumors newbie
Aug 9, 2022
1
0
I use my 8GB primarily for Lightroom and Photoshop. I may also do a little iMovie from time to time and in all those applications, I'm completely satisfied. The key for Lightroom Classic is to turn off hardware acceleration. Once you do that, the app basically flies.
 

BishUK

macrumors newbie
Dec 21, 2020
17
18
I've had no issues with my 8GB Mini either. While I don't do anything too heavy I can have plenty of apps running along with 1 or 2 browsers with 10+ tabs open. The only time I've had to force quit an app was with Jriver media centre which went through a short spell of hanging.

Comments like "8GB is not good enough for anything" is simply untrue for a lot of users. yes 16Gb is better especially if your workflow is heavy but for many casual users 8GB will be fine. By the time I will need more than 8GB I will have upgraded the Mini.
 

Yebubbleman

macrumors 603
May 20, 2010
5,966
2,561
Los Angeles, CA
I regularly use 2 Mac mini M1's - one with 8GB of RAM and one with 16GB of RAM. They are both used almost exclusively by me, and they run exactly the same productivity software. Each has 256GB of RAM + an external disk for my photo library, connected to nearly identical Dell monitors. Each machine is up-to-the-very-latest software - no differences. I've run both for over 6 months. The 16GB I've run for over 9 months. One is used in my home, the other at my office. My workload is MS Office 365 docs, large PDFs, Evernote, photos, MS Teams meetings, 2 email clients or so, 2 browsers and a handful of other productivity tasks, so nothing super punishing. I religiously update everything.

I'm posting because I hope I'll help someone trying to decide if they can make do with the 8GB RAM model. I can absolutely, confidently state that the 8GB model is less stable, has more problems with apps quitting, and other such glitchy issues. The 16GB model is more stable and seems to handle all my productivity tasks much more smoothly than the 8. The 16GB model can run for weeks without me restarting it - used hard. The 8GB model has more glitches and problems that necessitate the occasional restart or app force quit - nothing horrible and its still plenty usable but it is NOT the same experience that I have with the 16GB. Pulling up memory in the activity monitor utility - the 8GB seems always to run "yellow" whereas the 16GB model is nearly always green - again I know that yellow memory state is not awful.

I bought the 8GB unit to save money and wish I hadn't. Just sharing in case it helps someone.

Of course not. The 8 GB is just a marketing stunt, that this works like a miracle (hint: it won't).
Every normal person, who knows just a little bit about (computer) technology, will see in a second, that the graphics part of the Apple Silicon is also using the integrated RAM. So, how much of that 8 GB will stay for the OS and applications, if the GPU is also constantly using it? Well..?

Anyway, Apple is clever enough and knows, that even if the SSD is under heavy usage because of the swap/pagefile, the machine will last/or it should last at least 3 years (with Apple Care), up until the point the warranty/guarantee is over. Than the user needs to pay hefty money for repairs -> replacing of the logic board.

Evil stategy, but it works. For them. ;) :p


I own one MacBook Pro (13-inch, M1, 2020) used recreationally for non-work/non-career personal uses and an army of MacBook Air (M1, 2020), Mac mini (M1, 2020), and an iMac (24-inch, M1, 2021) used for a mix of testing/running things that I'd otherwise run on the aforementioned MacBook Pro, but also for things related to work and my IT career.

The MacBook Pro and the Mac minis both have 16GB of RAM (with the former having a 1TB SSD and the latter having 512GB). The MacBook Airs and the iMac are both the base model with 7 GPU Cores, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of SSD.

I'm not going to sit here and tell you that there's no difference between the 16GB of RAM that I have on the MacBook Pro and the Mac minis and the 8GB of RAM that I have on the MacBook Airs and the iMac. But, what I will tell you is that, even with 8GB of RAM, the base configuration of M1 isn't all that bad for web browsing, checking e-mail, and even light Blizzard gaming. Said base configuration will handle any Sid Meier Civilization game compatible with newer than macOS Mojave and with no problem.

Would 16GB be better? Absolutely! Do I feel the difference? Depends on what I'm doing! RAM is still RAM and more of it lets me do more at once. That doesn't change from the Intel Mac era, let alone any other era of computing. But to say it doesn't work at all seems like a massive stretch.

Would I recommend that anyone buying a Mac for themselves get an M1 Mac with only 8GB of RAM (especially if it's their flagship or only Mac)? Not at all. Go for a 16GB M1 always. But if it's a secondary machine and/or a Mac you got on eBay (which all of my aforementioned M1 Macs, except for the aforementioned MacBook Pro, are), it'll be perfectly fine.

I'm typing this on the aforementioned iMac and right next to it is a MacBook Air (Retina, 13-inch, 2019) with that god-awful Amber Lake Core i5-8210Y and 16GB of RAM that I'm trying to wipe and get reconfigured. That thing is a joke, even with double the RAM. It's all about perspective.
 
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vasim

macrumors regular
Mar 12, 2017
137
66
I am running Mini M1 8GB and M2 Pro 8GB and everything I read about these machines are untrue! I do a lot of heavy work (Android studio - PHPStorm - 3 Email clients - Xcode and many more most of the times at the same time) and no problem is appeared to me. I must be from another planet...
 

phrehdd

macrumors 601
Oct 25, 2008
4,376
1,363
M1 Mini 512/16 - I believe this could be more than enough if Apple handled the unified memory better. I find it frustrating that having a couple of minor apps open and then a browser with 3 tabs was enough to consume sufficient memory to impair my photo program (Affinity Photo).

I bit the bullet and got a Studio Max with substantially more RAM and for the most part happy and for the RAM issue, very satisfied with this option. I think I might have been happy if the Mini had a 32g RAM option or at least found it relatively acceptable.
 

ResPublica

macrumors regular
Jun 12, 2011
177
52
If you have the money, investing in 16GB of RAM makes a lot of sense. But personally I just can't get my MacBook Air M1 with 8GB RAM to feel slow. Even when I ran Windows 10 in Parallels, it was difficult to really feel the machine slowing down. I can have countless tabs open and thanks to Apple's optimisation and the lightning-fast SSD, I really can't notice any slow-downs. My machine is also very stable. For most casual users and students, investing in a 512GB SSD will impact their experience much more than investing in 16GB RAM.
 

Kaikidan

macrumors regular
Jul 3, 2017
182
168
Will only replace my Mini M1 8gb when apple launches the ARM v9 chips and/or 16gb become the stock model. the 8gb one runs really fine here, the only times I had problem with RAM was with buggy apps causing huge memory leaks, or electron apps. I learned to stop babysitting the activity monitor and just do things, if the computer hangs up, then I would need more RAM (SPOILER alert: it never did, still runs fine) and if something happens to the SSD because of the paging and SWAP, it has applecare until 2025, and until then I would probably have upgraded already to the ARM9 M3, and keep this one as a secondary machine/server.
 
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BishUK

macrumors newbie
Dec 21, 2020
17
18
M1 Mini 512/16 - I believe this could be more than enough if Apple handled the unified memory better. I find it frustrating that having a couple of minor apps open and then a browser with 3 tabs was enough to consume sufficient memory to impair my photo program (Affinity Photo).

Out of curiosity what were you doing in Affinity for you to notice an issue? I've had a several apps open and 2 browsers with about 15 tabs between them and never had issues running Affinity at the same time. Also I only have the 8GB M1 Mini.
 
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phrehdd

macrumors 601
Oct 25, 2008
4,376
1,363
Out of curiosity what were you doing in Affinity for you to notice an issue? I've had a several apps open and 2 browsers with about 15 tabs between them and never had issues running Affinity at the same time. Also I only have the 8GB M1 Mini.
About 7 layers in, and I could be using the cloning tool or any of the spotting tools etc.

Often, this is when Affinity is opened after the rest. As for me , often Safari and Firefox may be opened along with messages, VPN app, perhaps Amazon Music.

I only have Macrumors up in 3 tabs and mem diag says - Safari is using 1.89 gigs. I have other apps open but you can see that Safari among some other apps can indeed take up lots of RAM.
 
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yellowhelicopter

macrumors regular
Jun 5, 2020
198
111
Hmm, I've been using 8GB model for 3 weeks now and not once it showed any problems or case of instability. If the 16GB model cost just 50$ more, like if it was an additional RAM for PC, there wouldn't be question. But as it stands now, the choice should depend on given user case, i.e. planned tasks for the machine. IMO, 16GB in case of M1 currently is absolutely unnecessary for average home use.

I had like 10 instances of VLC player opened with videos and Chrome with 5-8 tabs and the most Mac used was about 6.8 GB of RAM. Actually, only few times I noticed it used swap file, it was after I run some games, and the swap file was under 1GB. Most of the time my Mini uses around 5-5.5GB of RAM (mainly Chrome).
 
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