[Poll] 13 inch: 8GB or 16GB?

Stay at 8GB or upgrade to 16GB?

  • Keep 8GB 2017 refurb model (US$1350)

    Votes: 12 24.0%
  • Upgrade to 16GB, 2016 refurb (+US$122)

    Votes: 10 20.0%
  • Upgrade to 16GB, 2017 new (+US$360)

    Votes: 28 56.0%

  • Total voters
    50

jason1204

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 13, 2017
13
6
Currently owned: MacBook Pro 2017 13" nTB, 8GB RAM & 256GB SSD (Refurb, under 14 days returns)

Noticed in a few occasions during my work that the memory pressure goes into orange momentarily (but never gone into red region) and comes back into the green region. I am starting to question whether I should get the 16B model instead.

I'd like to hear your opinion with these in mind:
  • No refurb model with 16GB RAM, hence need to buy new. Price difference is US$360 equivalent
  • Sometimes, there are 16GB 2016 models with price difference at US$122 equivalent.
  • I plan to keep this MacBook Pro for at least 3 years, hopefully up to 5 years
Would you get the 16GB model (2017 new, or 2016 refurb) or just keep the 8GB model and sell it off when the 8GB starts hitting the red region? If the 2016 refurb is not in stock, what would your choice be?
 

jason1204

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 13, 2017
13
6
Who cares what the graphs say, do you notice a performance hit that is hindering your work?
Not yet, but considering how I wasn't doing anything particularly demanding (just web surfing for my project research with a few tabs and PDFs open), I am wondering if that will be a limiting factor in the future (let's say 2-3 years)
 

sahnjuro

macrumors member
Jul 15, 2009
97
28
IDK I’d stay away from nTB MBP’s since they come when slower or inferior components than the genuine pro models with TB. If you want your MBP to last and that is a major consideration, pay more and go with TB models since they come with better memory and SSD components. You get cheaper and inferior parts in nTB MBP’s.
 

Hater

macrumors 6502a
Sep 20, 2017
898
867
Edinburgh, Scotland
Didn't realise your current laptop is still under the 14 days return

Yes, get a 16GB model now

Buying a brand new 8GB laptop (that is unable to be upgraded) isn't a good choice unless all you do is look at Facebook and listen to some music
 

jason1204

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 13, 2017
13
6
IDK I’d stay away from nTB MBP’s since they come when slower or inferior components than the genuine pro models with TB. If you want your MBP to last and that is a major consideration, pay more and go with TB models since they come with better memory and SSD components. You get cheaper and inferior parts in nTB MBP’s.
I thought the only differences are the CPU, touch bar and the number of fans. Mind elaborating on the difference in the memory (both are 2133MHz LPDDR3 RAM?) and SSD?
[doublepost=1509360660][/doublepost]
Didn't realise your current laptop is still under the 14 days return

Yes, get a 16GB model now

Buying a brand new 8GB laptop (that is unable to be upgraded) isn't a good choice unless all you do is look at Facebook and listen to some music
Do you think it's worth the US$360 difference though, since I'm not always in the orange region? Or do you think I may be better off just saving this money for the next MacBook Pro upgrade few years down the road?
 

New_Mac_Smell

macrumors 68000
Oct 17, 2016
1,914
1,491
Shanghai
I thought the only differences are the CPU, touch bar and the number of fans. Mind elaborating on the difference in the memory (both are 2133MHz LPDDR3 RAM?) and SSD?
[doublepost=1509360660][/doublepost]

Do you think it's worth the US$360 difference though, since I'm not always in the orange region? Or do you think I may be better off just saving this money for the next MacBook Pro upgrade few years down the road?
You'd probably be better saving for when you need it rather than spending more on guessing whether you may need it. As far as 'future proofing' is concerned, by the time you actually need that extra power, you'll be better to upgrade to a newer model as it'll come with a whole heap of other improvements.

For differences, nTB model uses lower wattage CPU and so is stressed more easily than the TB model. There's also the port limitations, but those are more obvious.
 

Hater

macrumors 6502a
Sep 20, 2017
898
867
Edinburgh, Scotland
I thought the only differences are the CPU, touch bar and the number of fans. Mind elaborating on the difference in the memory (both are 2133MHz LPDDR3 RAM?) and SSD?
[doublepost=1509360660][/doublepost]

Do you think it's worth the US$360 difference though, since I'm not always in the orange region? Or do you think I may be better off just saving this money for the next MacBook Pro upgrade few years down the road?
Yes.

When you go to sell, people won't even look at an 8GB.
 

TechZeke

macrumors 68020
Jul 29, 2012
2,361
1,969
Rialto, CA
I am now very confused which is the case...
Buy what you want/need and don't worry about resell. Worry about your own money and case, not some random person in the future's use case.

Also, BTO upgrades are money pits when comes to resell. They won't really return the money you spent. You get BTOs because you want/need it.

I've been seeing these threads since I joined Macrumors 5 years ago. Personally, I've been perfectly fine with 8 GB, but it's ultimately up to you to see if your use case warrants it. The piece of mind of knowing you have all the RAM you'll ever need is also worth something, too.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ixxx69

EugW

macrumors 604
Jun 18, 2017
7,294
4,682
That's untrue. The average consumer doesn't care about RAM, and a lot of times the money you spend on upgrades doesn't result in a resale value that's much higher.
Try selling a Mac with 2 GB RAM. You get basically nothing for them. You get significantly more for the same Mac with 4 GB RAM. OTOH, the good news is that if you are buying such a 2 GB machine, you can get great deals on such Macs and upgrade them yourself if desired in some cases. But that's not possible with a current model.

8 GB will sell reasonably well even 4 years down the line. But if you plan on keeping your machine this long and 8 GB is relatively tight now, then it will probably be insufficient at that time.

FWIW, I got a lowly MacBook 12", and went with 16 GB, because I keep my machines a long, long time. I now own two pre-2010 machines that I have since upgraded to 8 GB. These both started at 2 GB, and then went to 4 GB, and then went to 8 GB because of performance issues related to insufficient RAM.

---

Basically, if you think you might need 16 GB at some point, then get 16 GB regardless of resale value, unless you plan on getting a new machine in the next couple of years.

BTW, I wonder if 16 GB 2017 models will show up on the refurb store in the near future. That could be the best option in terms of bang-for-the-buck when available.
 

jason1204

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 13, 2017
13
6
Basically, if you think you might need 16 GB at some point, then get 16 GB regardless of resale value, unless you plan on getting a new machine in the next couple of years.

BTW, I wonder if 16 GB 2017 models will show up on the refurb store in the near future. That could be the best option in terms of bang-for-the-buck when available.
Perhaps I will consider upgrading to 16GB then. My laptops usually last 4 years minimum and I hope to get the same or even more from the MBP. Thanks for your input!
 

newellj

macrumors 604
Oct 15, 2014
7,235
2,276
East of Eden
I am now very confused which is the case...
I think it's highly unlikely that you'll have any problems selling an 8GB machine. Most buyers are used to seeing 4GB MBA or rMBP machines and will think 8GB is more than enough - which is true for most of them.
[doublepost=1509382249][/doublepost]
Try selling a Mac with 2 GB RAM. You get basically nothing for them. You get significantly more for the same Mac with 4 GB RAM. OTOH, the good news is that if you are buying such a 2 GB machine, you can get great deals on such Macs and upgrade them yourself if desired in some cases. But that's not possible with a current model.

8 GB will sell reasonably well even 4 years down the line. But if you plan on keeping your machine this long and 8 GB is relatively tight now, then it will probably be insufficient at that time.

FWIW, I got a lowly MacBook 12", and went with 16 GB, because I keep my machines a long, long time. I now own two pre-2010 machines that I have since upgraded to 8 GB. These both started at 2 GB, and then went to 4 GB, and then went to 8 GB because of performance issues related to insufficient RAM.

---

Basically, if you think you might need 16 GB at some point, then get 16 GB regardless of resale value, unless you plan on getting a new machine in the next couple of years.

BTW, I wonder if 16 GB 2017 models will show up on the refurb store in the near future. That could be the best option in terms of bang-for-the-buck when available.
Agree with most of what you said. At least as of this morning, there were some 16GB 2017 13" rMBP refurbs on the Apple Store site, roughly US$2400-2500.
 

EugW

macrumors 604
Jun 18, 2017
7,294
4,682
Agree with most of what you said. At least as of this morning, there were some 16GB 2017 13" rMBP refurbs on the Apple Store site, roughly US$2400-2500.
Yes, but as you noted, the prices are high as currently on the Canadian and American refurb sites, only the i7 models are available. The cheaper i5 models still are only available in 8 GB configs unfortunately.

BTW, I haven't seen a 16 GB 12" MacBook of any sort yet either on the refurb stores, for those who might consider a MacBook instead of a MacBook Pro.
 

jerryk

macrumors 601
Nov 3, 2011
4,840
2,397
SF Bay Area
Yes, but as you noted, the prices are high as currently on the Canadian and American refurb sites, only the i7 models are available. The cheaper i5 models still are only available in 8 GB configs unfortunately.
That is the dilemma that many 13" buyers face. Namely that by the time you put 16GB into the unit you are pushing into close 15" price range were you get 16 GB and a Quad-core processor for just a little bit more.
 

jason1204

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 13, 2017
13
6
Yes, but as you noted, the prices are high as currently on the Canadian and American refurb sites, only the i7 models are available. The cheaper i5 models still are only available in 8 GB configs unfortunately.
My country (Singapore) had a refurb 2017/16GB/256GB sold at US$1535, which I'd have paid gladly. Sadly, it doesn't seem to be restocked (tracking site shows it was last restocked and sold in Sept).

It's a shame I won't be travelling to Japan anytime soon... apple product prices excluding tax looks so appealing, though the prices in Singapore aren't the worst compared to countries like Korea, which is ridiculously expensive.

Interestingly, it's cheaper for Koreans to book a two-way flight to Japan to buy the MacBook Pro from Japan than to buy it in their own home country. Even then, they can save about $250 on 2017 MBP TB with 256GB

That is the dilemma that many 13" buyers face. Namely that by the time you put 16GB into the unit you are pushing into close 15" price range were you get 16 GB and a Quad-core processor for just a little bit more.
Luckily (or unluckily), the price difference between 16GB 13" is still significantly lower than the 15" here, so I am not too split on this. HAHA $750 is quite a difference.
 

newellj

macrumors 604
Oct 15, 2014
7,235
2,276
East of Eden
Yes, but as you noted, the prices are high as currently on the Canadian and American refurb sites, only the i7 models are available. The cheaper i5 models still are only available in 8 GB configs unfortunately.

BTW, I haven't seen a 16 GB 12" MacBook of any sort yet either on the refurb stores, for those who might consider a MacBook instead of a MacBook Pro.
Yes, and then there's the battery life issue with the 2017 13" wTB, and adding an i7 is not going to help that (and in most cases isn't really going to speed up work, so you get the worst of both worlds by going to the i7, but that's personal opinion).
 

Elcompa

macrumors member
Oct 31, 2016
60
26
NC, USA
When in doubt....upgrade. I bet whatever you are doing w 8GB RAM that is making it feel pressure / slowing it down, will be remedied with 16 GB RAM. And if you are thinking about it, sensing it, or wanting it, just do it. For a few hundred bucks you will feel a lot more piece of mind. And if money is the issue....for me, I would simply look to cut back a little somewhere in my life so as to be happy with my laptop. JMHO...
 

scotttnz

macrumors 6502a
Dec 16, 2012
533
1,966
Auckland, New Zealand
Personally I think that 8GB will be enough RAM for the average user for years to come, so I don't think selling an 8GB machine in 3 years time will be a problem. But you are asking for opinions on a site that isn't populated by average users, many of whom do need more RAM because they are doing more with their machines than average users. (Some are also just enthusiasts, and think they need more than they really do ;) I may fall into this category myself)

Having said that, there was no way I was going to buy a machine, that couldn't be upgraded, with less than 16GB. I seriously considered getting a 27" iMac to give me the flexibility to upgrade RAM as needed, but don't have the desk space. I often run a VM or 2, and tend to have a lot of programs open at once though.
 

ZapNZs

macrumors 68020
Jan 23, 2017
2,310
1,150
Not yet, but considering how I wasn't doing anything particularly demanding (just web surfing for my project research with a few tabs and PDFs open), I am wondering if that will be a limiting factor in the future (let's say 2-3 years)
Even though tons of factors can play into this, and I am far from being a computer expert with advanced knowledge on memory, it nonetheless strikes me as being a little unusual????? - what process(es) was(were) consuming the most memory? Did you have multiple PDFs open that were hundreds or thousands of pages each? In most cases, it seems like the memory pressure should be very low when just doing these tasks.

I'm currently running Mail, Chrome (20+ tabs), Safari (10-ish tabs), Word, PowerPoint, Excel, SPSS, OmniFocus, ABBYY FineReader, PDF Expert, Paintbrush, 1Password, VMWare Fusion with a Windows 7 VM running, Activity Monitor, iCal, Messages, DriveDX, Better Touch Tool, Carbon Copy Cloner, and Little Snitch, and the system has gone into/awaken from sleep at least 20 or so times since the last restart with an uptime of about 5 days. I dare say it's about at the outer threshold where 8GB becomes a limiting factor, but there is a reasonably high amount of multi-tasking happening to reach that point.

Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 6.39.00 PM.jpg
 

bhatiak

macrumors member
Oct 25, 2017
65
17
IDK I’d stay away from nTB MBP’s since they come when slower or inferior components than the genuine pro models with TB. If you want your MBP to last and that is a major consideration, pay more and go with TB models since they come with better memory and SSD components. You get cheaper and inferior parts in nTB MBP’s.
LMAO what is this nonsense? Do you have any sources for these "inferior, slower, cheaper" components? Theres a different CPU in each MacBook, with a different cooling system. The MBP w/ TB has a CPU that is better for a more demanding workload, and to compensate, it requires better cooling.

Better memory and SSD components? Cheaper and inferior parts in nTB? Please stop speaking out of your ass if you don't know any better. Its the same components.
 

jason1204

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 13, 2017
13
6
Even though tons of factors can play into this, and I am far from being a computer expert with advanced knowledge on memory, it nonetheless strikes me as being a little unusual????? - what process(es) was(were) consuming the most memory? Did you have multiple PDFs open that were hundreds or thousands of pages each? In most cases, it seems like the memory pressure should be very low when just doing these tasks.View attachment 729293
I was quite puzzled about this too. I had the following open if I'm not wrong:
  • About 8-9 tabs in safari
  • 2 documents in Word
  • 3 PDFs, 1 which was extra large
  • One VLC player on another desktop, paused
  • PyCharm with a small code, no active processing
I was actively switching between the programs when I noticed that it went into the orange region for a short time (about the same length as your screenshot). Didn't suffer a performance hit or anything but it did confuse me a little as well.

That brought out the paranoia in me, wondering if 8GB will not be enough few years down the road. Especially since 8GB has been the norm for such a long time and most laptops are starting at 8GB. Now I'm even more confused because both the arguments for 8GB and 16GB seem to make sense.
 

New_Mac_Smell

macrumors 68000
Oct 17, 2016
1,914
1,491
Shanghai
I was quite puzzled about this too. I had the following open if I'm not wrong:
  • About 8-9 tabs in safari
  • 2 documents in Word
  • 3 PDFs, 1 which was extra large
  • One VLC player on another desktop, paused
  • PyCharm with a small code, no active processing
I was actively switching between the programs when I noticed that it went into the orange region for a short time (about the same length as your screenshot). Didn't suffer a performance hit or anything but it did confuse me a little as well.

That brought out the paranoia in me, wondering if 8GB will not be enough few years down the road. Especially since 8GB has been the norm for such a long time and most laptops are starting at 8GB. Now I'm even more confused because both the arguments for 8GB and 16GB seem to make sense.
Right, the way to think of it is get what you need, and what you can afford. 8GB is more than ample for the majority of users which is why they sell it with 8GB of RAM. RAM does very little to benefit multitasking and having multiple apps open will not do much to it. The real difference is in single applications, RAM is always used up no matter how much you have, so if you upgrade to 16GB you'll likely find you're suddenly using 12GB of RAM. This is because the OS will allocate RAM to whatever is needed and whatever is currently open/active, the rest is used as a buffer for the system. So if you have 3 apps running, it'll give 80% of the RAM to the currently active one, the rest will be a buffer for the other 2. Then when you switch apps it can quickly take you to where you were thanks to this buffer. Anything else will be coded into the scratch disk which is a slower form of RAM for instances that don't require immediate access.

Basically, the OS is very intelligent at optimising its RAM, and will use up as much as it can to give you the smoothest experience. If you are seeing it creep into the orange for a moment it's fine, it can operate just fine in the orange, it's just the system seeing if you need a little more here before taking some from somewhere else. If it is being sustained in the orange then you are approaching the limit of your machine, assuming your work doesn't change then this is likely to go unchanged and is still fine. When it starts peaking into the red it's a similar situation, except you have now approached the limit, again still fine, but you should think about more RAM as software updates in the future could add a little and push it over the edge.

So right now if you have $1000 to spend on a computer and the 8GB model is $1000, then get that and be happy. If you have $2000 then by all means get the 16GB. You won't regret getting more RAM, but get it for the right reason, get it because you are going to keep the system for a long time and your workflow may increase to use more professional applications. But 16GB is a huge amount of RAM in a modern system and is there if you do a lot of RAM intensive applications, not surfing the internet or Office apps.

If/when you come to sell the machine the specs make little to no difference on the resale value and it's a fools errand to try to spec a machine now for later sale. There's no point spending extra money on something that you will never make use of as that money is going to depreciate alongside the rest of the machine. If you sell the 8GB model in 4 years time and it cost you say $1500, expect $800 at most. If you had the 16GB model and it cost you $1900, expect $900. Macs aren't exactly rare or precious computers and the resale of these machines is increasing now they are non-upgradable, so there's no point splashing out extra for something that you never use, which gets you $50 back in the end. You may as well put that $400 aside and put it towards getting a new one.

So in short. If you can afford it and it's not going to stress you to spend that little extra then by all means, get the best you can afford. Just know it's not going to make it more valuable and it's currently unlikely you are going to make use of it. Are there other things you need such as a monitor or dock? It could be better to buy these and get the setup you want rather than the machine you think you need.

Hope that helps. You'll get opinions all over the place here with most adamant that 16GB is actually a small amount, and so 8GB is a tiny amount. Then you'll get others who think the opposite. Truth is RAM is not the same as it was 10 years ago and a lot of people hold the mentality that having more RAM = faster system, when these days it's more like having a car that goes 120MPH and adding a little extra to make it go 150MPH, do you need that?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Elise and jason1204