RAM vs Processor

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Caliber26, Oct 30, 2016.

  1. Caliber26 macrumors 68000

    Caliber26

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #1
    I'll admit I'm far from being a computer savvy person so this is why I'm hoping someone here can help me out with this. I currently own a late 2013 rMBP (2.4 GHZ i5, 8GB RAM) and I'm planning to upgrade to the new MBP with Touch Bar but I'm not sure if I should be more concerned with upgrading the RAM or the processor. If money weren't an issue I'd upgrade both things, so I'm trying to determine which one is a bigger priority for me.

    I mostly use my computer for photo editing and occasionally creating time-lapses. I'd say 90% of the time I only use Lightroom, with some very sporadic visits into Photoshop and Final Cut Pro. So far, my 2013 MBP handles these tasks well except for when it comes to exporting out a large number of JPGs, which seems to take a little longer than I'd like and I can hear the fans going off.

    So, for my use, should I get more RAM or a faster processor? The two upgrade options for processor are 3.1 GHz i5 or 3.3 i7 GHz. Is there a huge difference between the two? Will I even notice the difference, given what I do on the computer?

    Any advice you can send my way is much appreciated!
     
  2. The Bad Guy macrumors 65816

    The Bad Guy

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2007
    Location:
    Australia
    #2
    Advice? Sure.

    1. Get another brand of laptop. Your money will be better spent.
    2. More RAM is your friend when it comes to photography.
    3. Be kind to your mother.
     
  3. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Location:
    Glasgow, UK
    #3
    This likely wont help so feel free to ignore it...


    I have to be honest. For the first time I think money is better spent on a different option. For the money you can get much better processing power and a more than adequate display quality. Put it this way, my MBP from 2010 is still rocking on solidly. Thing is, I would likely spend £2500 on a new one - this is £1000 more than I spent on this one. If I get 5 years from the new one, that costs £500 a year. It is now cheaper for me to go with a £1000 PC laptop - which will get you something really tasty and replace it in the same timeframe for less outlay.

    The new MBPs have me heartbroken as the pricing (certainly in the UK) is just flat out prohibitive. I work in IT and I know they just arent worth that amount of money! the company I work for make workstation class laptops with serious graphics engines, capability to load in 64GB ram and multiple drives for less than this. Also, every iteration of the iPad or other tablets is meaning we are getting closer and closer to just using them for our needs. Each generation becoming more viable as a creation tool rather than just consumption.

    There are multiple factors that affect performance and the perception of performance.

    Speed to store files off of cards, network connectivity, CPU, RAM, HDD etc...

    Net net, I think anything will be a marginal bump from where you are today. I have to ask though, I am running a 2010 MBP with 8GB RAM and an SSD and I am having zero issues of performance so what is it that is making you want to upgrade? I was looking because I simply like shiny new things.. :) but honestly, my 2010 is plenty good enough for my needs. Obviously we are very different in how we use them and I am not questioning your judgement but curious what it is. Maybe by vocalising that you will workout what is the priority? My usage is no doubt light compared to yours, this photo stuff is a hobby for me and at most I will upload 100 images at a go.

    If it is import times as you are pulling in more images, then there is the argument for more cores but that is limited benefit as we know the likes of LR etc are not fully tuned to make use of all potential resources and you will hit the bottleneck of network or disk IO likely before you exhaust the processor...

    I have had some of my software complain at running low on ram. extra RAM is always a benefit.

    So I am going to be honest here. I recently bought a new all in one to replace my iMac same reason, apple prices. I got a HP Z1 workstation with 24GB RAM, 3.6Ghz 8 core CPU and 1440 resolution (plenty good for me). I also have an i5 Surface pro 3 which I have had kicking about - I use it to travel light for work mainly but think it is getting promoted to main mobile machine now.

    Both of these together can be had for less than the price of a pimped out MBP... so look hard at your needs and be rational - it isnt that hard to switch platform anymore.

    For years I kidded myself that I was a power user. I am not anymore. At work I live inside MS Excel and Outlook. At home I dabble in LR and PS. I am past running multiple Virtual Machines and heavy workloads. So I dont need the horsepower anymore.

    Really waffly way of saying think long and hard... but for me I would go RAM first as more and more apps are getting greedy in that respect as the latest i5 is faster than the previous one so should be fine.

    Just my opinion... like I say, feel free to ignore.
     
  4. Indydenny macrumors 6502

    Indydenny

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2002
    Location:
    Midwest
    #4
    More RAM. You won't notice much difference with processor bumps. But Lightroom (and other photography/video apps) like the RAM. I could tell a big difference when I upgraded to 16G.

    Now, I agree with the above posters who say that the new MBPs are too expensive. But I am buying an OS and I don't choose to go to Windows. Been there, done that. Windows is improving but IMHO, light years behind MacOS.

    I purchased the new space grey 13" MBP this week and it is way overpriced ($1,499 at Best Buy). However, it was perfect for me. I have been using the MacBook 12" for travel and it just wasn't working. Too small and not enough power -- although you have to love the weight. The new MBP is a nice compromise for me -- easy to take when I travel but powerful enough to use at home. (I'll be selling the MacBook 12")

    I think that the older MBPs will be selling like hotcakes over the next few weeks and prices will be good, particularly for used ones. This is a good time to buy and there isn't much compelling about the new ones but size, weight (and a little better screen, speakers). The USB-C ports could be a plus or minus depending on how you use them and what dongles and adaptors that you already have.

    But I would get a minimum of 16GB of RAM on whatever you buy. (I would also make sure to get an SSD as this is an incredible speed bump!)

    Just my .02 cents.
     
  5. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #5
    Definitely go for more RAM, then more internal storage.

    @kenoh
    If you want macOS, then you have no choice but to get a Mac laptop. That's why it doesn't make sense to just compare Macs to other laptops as if they were interchangeable. They are not. If using Windows instead of macOS is acceptable, then yes, there are plenty of alternatives out there. (BTW, I use Linux, FreeBSD and for one piece of software also Windows at work, running on workstation-class hardware for the most part.)

    You bring up the example of your 2010 machine. I happen to have one like it (2010 15" MacBook Pro, upgraded to have an SSD and a hard drive, 8 GB), and the new machines are significantly better when it comes to battery life. With my 13" 2015 MacBook Pro I can now work for a whole long-distance flight (disabling wifi and bluetooth) whereas with my old machine would run out of juice half-way through. Performance-wise the new machine is definitely better, but the advances that each new generation of processors give you have gone into power savings rather than performance improvements. It sounds as if you prefer a different balance of power, weight, price and battery life, though, than what Apple aims for.

    Just to be clear: I think Apple's price hike is disconcerting for a lot, and has hit post-Brexit UK quite hard (the GBP is at a 30-year low), so that's a double whammy. I hope they will correct that by making a proper 13" or 14" MacBook soon that replaces the 13" Air.
     
  6. The Bad Guy macrumors 65816

    The Bad Guy

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2007
    Location:
    Australia
    #6
    I thought we were more honest in this subforum. :p

    But ignoring the OS Vs OS argument, the OP says he uses Lightroom 90% of the time. Lightroom doesn't care what OS it's installed on, it's the same software either way.
     
  7. Indydenny macrumors 6502

    Indydenny

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2002
    Location:
    Midwest
    #7
    I agree with you and have used Lightroom on both. But he also said that he was planning to "upgrade to the new MBP with Touch Bar but I'm not sure if I should be more concerned with upgrading the RAM or the processor." The real question seemed to be the last phrase.
     
  8. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #8
    You are having a different experience on Windows or OS X, because you actually do use a lot of other software (from Mail to all of the iOS integration that you're giving up when switching to Windows). The mac OS/iOS advantage is exactly why Apple products are so sticky: they are not just slot-in replacements for, say, Lenovo or Dell computers, because switching away from Apple means switching away from an operating system.

    The OP seems to want to stick to mac OS, otherwise the question would have beeen phrased differently.
     
  9. kenoh, Oct 31, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2016

    kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Location:
    Glasgow, UK
    #9
    Exactly.... If all you use is lightroom email and browser then the OS is not as significant.
    --- Post Merged, Nov 1, 2016 ---
    All valid points but as I said, I am not a power user anymore and my point was to open the OPs eyes to consider options before spending significant amounts of money but you seem to have missed that point.
    --- Post Merged, Nov 1, 2016 ---
    But that is the point. Don't be a sheep. For 90% of people they ARE interchangeable. Don't stick with stuff. Get what fits your needs for the best value point.

    Just accept that we have our opinion and it is quite frankly no less valid than yours.

    If the OP wants to stay Apple, cool, happy for them but nothing wrong with looking at alternatives.

    Everyone's use cases are different... And mine happens to work now regardless of what OS I am running on.
     
  10. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #10
    A preference for one OS or another is independent of whether you are a “power user” (whatever that means) or not. Even if I retired today, I would still prefer macOS to Windows.
    ???
    I'd like to think my posts were quite nuanced: I wasn't criticizing your opinion, and as I stated in my post I'm not just using Macs at work. In fact, I have a Mac Pro to my right and another non-Mac workstation to my left as I type this very post.

    But deciding whether or not to get a Mac starts with the OS for otherwise there are either no or a lot of other choices out there. And what value means also differs from situation to situation, and who judges. In many businesses, for instance, there is value in going with, say, Dell that is completely divorced from the hardware (their guaranteed service if you are paying for the proper support level). Or companies could factor maintenance into it, and there are cases where Macs turn out to be actually cheaper. In other cases specialized software or hardware needs dictate this choice. For consumers on the other hand, cost is mostly what they pay upfront at the register.
     
  11. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2002
    Location:
    Cascadia
    #11
    To answer your original question, it sounds like you are considering upgrades to a 13" MacBook Pro.

    If you can afford it, I would upgrade to the 15" model. It comes with 16 GB of RAM by default, and a quad-core CPU, which will help increase performance far more than the slight boost in speed of the dual-core 13" CPU upgrade options.
     
  12. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Location:
    Glasgow, UK
    #12
    Lol you saw the IBM article too...

    A Power User is a hangover from the old days where someone who has a specific requirement that dictates a particular solution.

    Came from the Lotus 123 early Excel days when one was better than the other for different things. Macros, 123, more complex math formulae, Excel.

    So if you were a power user, you were driven down a path due to your needs.
     
  13. thestrider macrumors newbie

    thestrider

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2016
    #13
    I want to buy new macbook pro 13(late 2016). I'm stuck with a decision whether to add more ram(8gb to 16gb) or choose faster processor i5(2.9)/ i5(3.1)/ i7(3.3) or Stick With Stock Base Line Model while customising?
    I do light gaming, watch YouTube, web browsing and very NON- PROFESSIONAL VIDEO EDITING on my 2014 dell xps. Please help me choose a good confi.
     
  14. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #14
    I'd add more RAM, that makes a bigger difference.
     
  15. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #15
    Bear in mind that the 2015 version of the MBPro remains in the lineup, still a very nice laptop, and prices on it are coming down.. and will probably decrease more now that it's "last year's model"...
     
  16. bxs macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2007
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #16
    Your concern is when your laptops fans are running hard. This is because things inside (the CPU, Memory, Disk/SSD) are getting or are hot (high temps). This is a clue that these pieces of hardware collectively are being used intensively. Without some observations using say macOS Activity Monitor is hard for any of us to say which of these hardware components are under stress. My guess would be it's the CPU(Processor) and Memory(RAM).

    With this in mind you should go for the new low-end 15-inch MBP. It has faster CPU(Processor), bigger and faster Memory(RAM), and in addition has an internal PCIe-based SSD that provides enormous i/o data rates of 3100 MBytes/sec. That speed is close to 60% of what Memory(RAM) can sustain. This 15-inch MBP model will help you tremendously IMO as well as providing additional screen real-estate for you if you're upgrading from a 13-inch screen.

    Good luck with your decision.
     
  17. thestrider macrumors newbie

    thestrider

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2016
    #17
    Spending 2400 on macbook pro with radeon pro 450 which is less powerful than gtx 960 "m" in 2016-2017.. man Wtf is wrong with apple
     
  18. sevichenko macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2016
    #18
    Ram for good workflow
    Processor (+GPU) for filters
     
  19. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    Atlanta
  20. Freida macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2010
    #20
    Keep the 2013 and wait for 2017 model which will hopefully be cheaper or at least will offer more. This 2016 model is just pure daylight robbery
     
  21. mtbdudex macrumors 68000

    mtbdudex

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    Location:
    SE Michigan
  22. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #22
    Let's rephrase what you just wrote: "Should I double the RAM or increase the CPU speed by 10%"

    Now if they allowed you to DOUBLE the CPU speed, I might suggest to go for it but all they offer is 10%.

    What does the extra RAM do? It is basically a cashe of the disk. Speed of access to any data is The speed of RAM times the (probability the data is in ram) plus the speed of the disk times 1/(probability the data is in ram)
    If you double the ram size you almost double (probability the data is in ram)

    You can do the math and see why I'd prefer to double the ram over a 10% CPU speed boost
     
  23. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    Location:
    SLC
    #23
    SSD>RAM>CPU.

    I had a quad core i7 2011 MBP. was way fast (i have a 2008 15" maxed out prior to that). Sold it and then tried out a base 13" MacBook (i think before they were called "PRO"). Had a dual core i5 (which the 13" macBook "PRO" still has), and 4GB of RAM i think. was too slow for back then.

    Returned it and went with a mid 2011 iMac base model, but had a quad core i5. Threw 16GB of RAM in it, and it was much better, and served me for 5+ years. Now i have a mid 2015 MBP with 2.5GHZ and it is much faster than my iMac (should be, 5 years newer). Fits my needs just fine.

    I got mine for $1999 with AppleCare until 02/19 - same price as a maxed out 13", but twice as fast. :)
     
  24. phoenixsan macrumors 65816

    phoenixsan

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2012
    #24
    --- Post Merged, Dec 1, 2016 ---
    If you work too much with RAW data, then get more RAM
    If you apply filters and do intensive work on the data associated to the images, then use a more powerful processors
     

Share This Page