rMBP 13" - 8 or 16 GB of RAM?

rambler358

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 5, 2014
94
31
Torrance, CA
I'm trying to decide if I need to spend the extra $200 for the 16gb RAM option. I'll be doing some action cam video editing in iMovie and GPS mapping using Garmin BaseCamp software, along with all the other typical PC tasks. I might also have quite a few browser tabs open at the same time. Would 16gb of RAM be beneficial to me at all, or would 8gb suffice? Being that you can't upgrade the RAM later, I just want to make sure 8gb will be suitable for my needs.
 

Samuelsan2001

macrumors 604
Oct 24, 2013
7,682
2,103
you can't put SSDs on rMBP at least on 2015 rMBP. Our machine uses the flash storage using PCI-e slot instead of the physical SSD drive.
I think you are slightly confused here, Queen 6 is just saying that the money you would spend on upgrading RAM would be better spent on a bigger SSD when you buy.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
63,836
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Boston
8GB should be fine, but I can understand the idea of upgrading to 16 for peace of mind, i.e., future versions of software and OS may demand more resources.

Using the money towards configuring the MBP with a bigger SSD is a good idea.
 
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noles1983

macrumors regular
Aug 9, 2009
219
250
San Antonio, TX
i just bought the 8gb 256gb version, no complaints. I probably would have selected the 16gb ram version if they sold it in stores. I hate waiting. But 8gb is fine for most people.
 

BATman.Berlin

macrumors newbie
Jun 13, 2015
16
4
I went with the 8GB 2.9gHz i5 and tun VM's, Photoshop and FCP. No issues at all. I would second the suggestion to spend on a larger SSD. Went for the 512GB and it was the right decision to do.
Blazing fast machine!
 

Dark Void

macrumors 68030
Jun 1, 2011
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465
Hi,

Consider your possible usage in the future as well, and how long you expect to have the computer. If you want it to last you 4 years into the future, you could need more RAM by then as your usage changes.

I hope this helps.
 

rambler358

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 5, 2014
94
31
Torrance, CA
Thanks for all the responses. What kind of software or situations would warrant the 16gb of RAM? I already plan on getting the 512gb SSD.
 

Dark Void

macrumors 68030
Jun 1, 2011
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What kind of software or situations would warrant 16gb of RAM?
Simply multi-tasking. Hypothetical example:

Browsing with several or more tabs open, messages and mail open, iTunes open, Skype open, a video file compression happening in the background, using Photoshop to edit or render some images.

Could be anything. Other pieces of hardware may bottleneck this however.
 

simonsi

macrumors 601
Jan 3, 2014
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716
Auckland
Simply multi-tasking. Hypothetical example:

Browsing with several or more tabs open, messages and mail open, iTunes open, Skype open, a video file compression happening in the background, using Photoshop to edit or render some images.

Could be anything. Other pieces of hardware may bottleneck this however.
Nonsense. 4GB will happily run everything you list, you might need to go to 8GB IF you use Photoshop extensively. You are unlikely to <need> 16GB unless you run VMs. "Browsing with several tabs" is not where a user-case for 16GB starts.
 

Dark Void

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Jun 1, 2011
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Nonsense. 4GB will happily run everything you list, you might need to go to 8GB IF you use Photoshop extensively. You are unlikely to <need> 16GB unless you run VMs. "Browsing with several tabs" is not where a user-case for 16GB starts.
Fair enough, but it really depends. 4GB was not enough at all to do the things that I just listed, which is all I was doing - speaking from personal experience.

With 8GB, I'm usually comfortable but if I get a lot of tabs going and a lot of programs running in the background, while using a lot up in Photoshop, it gets close. I monitor it from time to time, so I am not sure how you are able to tell me that my experiences are invalid because yours are different.

In any case, I truthfully read the question as "What would warrant more RAM," to which I replied multitasking and listen an example including some of the things that I do daily.
 

Dark Void

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Jun 1, 2011
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He was specific in asking what would warrant 16GB. That is why your answer was nonsense and misleading.
I don't think it is very misleading.

What warrants more RAM? More programs running at the same time. How do you know the specifics of the usage that I listed? You looked at the word Photoshop and concluded 8GB maximum immediately - are you saying a heavy Photoshop user using Bridge to import high quality RAW images can't reach any more than 8GB of RAM while running other programs as well? If your usage is anything over 8GB, that warrants 16GB, unless you're into wasting money by buying single RAM modules for some odd, slower 12GB configuration - which doesn't even apply to situations with Apple as their soldered BTO options are either 4GB, 8GB, or 16GB typically. I wasn't suggesting you would reach 16GB, but it would warrant 16GB, because it's over 8GB, for example's purpose.

If anything is nonsense, it's saying that VMs are the only likely task to warrant 16GB of memory on a computer. I think that is misleading and generally untrue.
 
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johngwheeler

macrumors 6502
Dec 30, 2010
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I come from a land down-under...
I would recommend getting 16GB memory in the following circumstances:

1) If you think you will run virtual machines. Even running a single Windows 7 VM, I am glad I have 16GB (I allocate 6GB to the VM and it runs very well).

2) If you use software that can use lots of RAM, even if it is just used as cache.

3) If you currently use a Mac and see your "swap used" is > c. 100MB on a regular basis.

In my personal experience, I can always nearly use 16GB for my daily tasks - just opening a dozen large Preview or Office docs and 50 browser tabs easily gets me into the using > 12GB RAM. (i.e. all RAM used and 1-4GB used for file cache). I traded up from an MBA to a rMBP 15 with 16GB because I found 8GB to be limiting my performance, particularly for VMs.

You can't change your mind later, so you might as well hedge your bets and max out the RAM in the first place, rather than find you need to upgrade the whole machine.
 

TechZeke

macrumors 68020
Jul 29, 2012
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Rialto, CA
The problem with RAM threads and the forum in-general: Imagine if 32GB was available right now as an option."I use safari, photos, a bit of iMovie and garageband. Should get 8, 16, or 32GB of RAM?" At least one user would reply "I use 20,000 tabs of safari with 5,000 photos in lightroom/photoshop, and 4 VMs and I use 25GBs of RAM. It's un-upgradeable, so you should get 32GB of RAM to be future proof."

It sounds ridiculous, but this is every RAM thread. No matter what the user says their use is, they will recommend maxing out RAM regardless.
 
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newellj

macrumors 604
Oct 15, 2014
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East of Eden
A couple of VMs or more running would be a good reason to at least start thinking about 16gb. Ordinary browsing, productivity apps, probably not...
 

simonsi

macrumors 601
Jan 3, 2014
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Auckland
I don't think it is very misleading.

What warrants more RAM? More programs running at the same time. How do you know the specifics of the usage that I listed? You looked at the word Photoshop and concluded 8GB maximum immediately - are you saying a heavy Photoshop user using Bridge to import high quality RAW images can't reach any more than 8GB of RAM while running other programs as well? If your usage is anything over 8GB, that warrants 16GB, unless you're into wasting money by buying single RAM modules for some odd, slower 12GB configuration - which doesn't even apply to situations with Apple as their soldered BTO options are either 4GB, 8GB, or 16GB typically. I wasn't suggesting you would reach 16GB, but it would warrant 16GB, because it's over 8GB, for example's purpose.

If anything is nonsense, it's saying that VMs are the only likely task to warrant 16GB of memory on a computer. I think that is misleading and generally untrue.
You need to understand the difference between Real physical RAM and Virtual, VMs suffer badly if they are not run with enough Real RAM as the volume of swap data climbs massively. Again you answered a question he didn't ask, to justify 16GB, over 8GB, of REAL ram, you almost certainly need to be running VMs, Photoshop can work much more easily in virtual and swap - even for heavy users. Don't confuse "need" with "want". Sure there are some use cases outside VMs that warrant >8GB, hence my use of the word "unlikely", that includes there being other possibilities but without VMs they are increasingly <very> edge cases.
 
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Dark Void

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You need to understand the difference between Real physical RAM and Virtual, VMs suffer badly if they are not run with enough Real RAM as the volume of swap data climbs massively. Again you answered a question he didn't ask, to justify 16GB, over 8GB, of REAL ram, you almost certainly need to be running VMs, Photoshop can work much more easily in virtual and swap - even for heavy users. Don't confuse "need" with "want". Sure there are some use cases outside VMs that warrant >8GB, hence my use of the word "unlikely", that includes there being other possibilities but without VMs they are increasingly <very> edge cases.
I'm very aware of the difference. In any case, you are avoiding what I am saying entirely and continue to talk about VMs. I realized you said it was "unlikely" and yet still have the opinion that if that is what you believe to be the most likely reason, that is the largest bit of "nonsense" present here. What sort of statistic are you going by in order to state that without VMs being a part of your usage it is unlikely that you need more than 8GB RAM? Just your own experiences? If that is the case, how exactly is yours any more valid than mine?

You truly don't have to be telling me what not to confuse. Do you believe that I am having trouble monitoring my own usage and sharing examples and experiences? I'm capable of understanding necessities. You don't have to talk down to another user because you disagree with what they are posting about. I made a broad, hypothetical description of a usage pattern that represents close to what I do regularly and because "VM" isn't a part of the list, what I am saying doesn't hold any water? It's still the principle. More programs running = more RAM is necessary, given that any other internal components do not bottleneck the situation. What is the problem with this answer? I didn't include VMs in my post, and therefore you believe it is unlikely for someone with similar usage to what I described to need more than 8GB RAM?

I'm not saying you're wrong as far as needing more RAM for VMs, as I agree with you, but I must ask why you disagree with me, because frankly your reasoning just doesn't make sense. You continue to repeat things that I am already aware of.

Not entirely sure why you are policing this thread in the first place anyway, did I offend you by offering what you perceive as misinformation?