Should I upgrade and lose 8GB RAM?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by woowoodengy, Apr 15, 2014.

  1. woowoodengy macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    #1
    Hi guys, Hope someone can help. My buddy is selling his Retina Macbook pro and I'm thinking of buying it. My concern is that I currently have 16gb ram in my macbook pro and the retina is only 8gb and non upgradable. If anyone is thinking of saying hold out for the new model coming or get a newer one with the ram I need I just cant do that. My buddy is selling it to me for a super deal and I just can't afford to pay what they go for new.

    My usage can be heavy and a typical scenario is I'm running a vagrant virtualbox vm as a web server for local development. I have Photoshop, Chrome (withe a bunch of tabs open), Firefox, skype, evernote, sublime text, iterm, and various other apps open at the same time. At other times I have Final Cut X for video editing but I don't do too much video work. Mostly Photoshop.

    My current model is a 13" macbook pro 9,2
    2.5 GHz Intel Core i5
    16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
    Intel HD Graphics 4000 1024 MB
    Number of Processors: 1
    Total Number of Cores: 2
    L2 Cache (per Core): 256 KB
    L3 Cache: 3 MB
    I also have an ssd (Vertex 3 pulled from my older 2008 macbook)

    The model I'm thinking of upgrading to is a 15" Macbook Pro Retina 10,1
    2.6 GHz Intel Core i7
    8 GB of 1600 MHz DDR3
    Intel HD Graphics 4000 1024 MB
    NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M
    Number of Processors: 1
    Total Number of Cores: 4
    L2 Cache (per Core): 256 KB
    L3 Cache: 6 MB

    Does the fact that the retina macbook has an 2.6 GHz i7, 4 cores, 6mb L3 Cache and an extra NVIDIA GeForce Card make it better than my mac with 16gb ram. What would you guys do? Will it be able to handle all the software I run with just 8gigs?

    Thanks in advance
     
  2. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

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  3. Marty62 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2010
    Location:
    Berlin formerly London
    #3
    with all your normal apps/tabs running, launch "Activity Monitor"
    Click on "System Memory" down the bottom and see whats used and whats
    "free"
    If you are over the 8gb of your friends system - or even anywhere near, then
    it's a "NO GO"

    Simples :)

    EDIT - for example, I have Safari with 4 tabs and Mail open - nothing else and
    I am using over 3gb Ram at the moment, I have 5 gb Free.

    M.
     
  4. woowoodengy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    #4
    I'm currently at 11.27 GB used and I don't even have Photoshop open. Doesn't seem like it would work out I guess =(
     
  5. Marty62 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2010
    Location:
    Berlin formerly London
    #5
    SO 8Gb would not work I'm afraid.
    Is the SSD you mention external or the system drive ?

    You have a nice MBP ... stick with it :)

    M.
     
  6. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    Location:
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #6
    How about the App Memory section?
     
  7. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2011
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #7
    Tough decision. Your usage is somewhat heavy, but not extremely heavy. How much memory do you typically allocate for the virtualbox?

    Note that the "Memory used" number is not a very good gauge for how much memory you need, since the OS tries to optimise usage (in the sense that unused memory is not optimal). On my machine right now it says that 7.3 GB (of 8) are used though I only have Safari open.

    The 15'' has a quad core while your 13'' only has a dual core CPU. So very roughly the 15'' will be twice as fast for multi-core computations. The question is whether you would benefit at all from that computing power - do you ever feel that the 13'' is not fast enough?
     
  8. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

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    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #8
    Does that figure include inactive memory? If so, how much is used if you subtract inactive memory.
     
  9. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020

    MartinAppleGuy

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2013
    #9
    If it is green in the RAM pressure, you will be fine with 8Gb. With my 8Gb of RAM compression, I have used 15.14Gb of RAM on my 8Gb of RAM and still be in the green for RAM pressure.

    ----------

    Free RAM is wasted RAM. If your RAM pressure is red you have a problem. If it is using all RAM but is green you are ok. A lot of the RAM is App Cache and that can be cleared instantly. RAM can then be compressed before you run out.
     
  10. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #10
    The upgrade price to 16GB isn't that unwarranted. You might note that ram prices have gone back up since the dip into the sub $90 range.
     
  11. thundersteele macrumors 68030

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    Oct 19, 2011
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #11
    Well how should the OP find out if his RAM pressure would be green on an 8 GB machine if he is using a 16 GB?

    ... thinking of this: OP, why don't you remove one RAM bar, and see whether your work flow is affected by only having half the RAM. Alternatively you could also assign something like 10 GB to the virtual machine - this might give similar results.
     
  12. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020

    MartinAppleGuy

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2013
    #12
    By going to an Apple Store...

    With my 8Gb of RAM, I can push it to 17Gb before Swap occurs. The only thing I think the OP will have is if they use 2 or more VM's at the same time.
     
  13. blooperz macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2013
    #13
    That's just how mavericks utilizes memory...even if it said 16/16 gigs in use chances are you're not utilizing even half of that. Its all being used for caching. For 99% of people 8 gig is already overkill. So unless you are doing serious editing work I would def switch to the 15" . The performance increase going from a dual core processor to a quad core will far outweigh any benefit you'll see from an extra 8 gigs of ram (probably none)...especially if you are using adobe programs...if the model your your looking at has quad core, i did not check
     
  14. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #14
    I am not someone who overrates memory but with your heavy multitasking uses that you describe and VM running Id save the money and stick with your old macbook.
     
  15. Gjwilly macrumors 68030

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    May 1, 2011
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #15
    If it's really too good a deal to pass up then buy it and resell it to make some money for the machine you need.
    :D
     
  16. woowoodengy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    #16
    Thanks for the answers so far guys. Just a little more info. I allocate 2 gigs of ram to the VM and its just for development so no need to go crazy on ram for the VM. I don't usually run multiple vm's either and if I had to I could close some other programs. I recently did run out of ram on the 16gb mac but I was pushing it more than I need to by running AI, Photoshop, Final Cut X, about 20 tabs in google chrome, and many other apps like transmit, skype, airmail, sublime text etc.

    I also recently moved from a 2008 8gb macbook 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo with the vertex 3 ssd. Although it was running ok I would run out of memory a few times a week. I think the main reason was running too many tabs in chrome but I cant help that since I'm always doing development and research and need multiple tabs open.

    Would having 4 cores offset the extra 8gb ram? I'm starting to think no.
     
  17. campyguy macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2014
    Location:
    Portland / Seattle
    #17
    I own the same rMBP as your friend's, with a 512GB SSD, and use some of the same apps you've listed, including VMs and PS. I'm using a new, maxed out rMBP and now the older unit is used in the office and I'm considering selling. PS loves the RAM, and I allocate maybe 2-3GB to my VM. One question, with a point - are you using a fast scratch disk for PS? I am, and it makes a world of difference in performance. I'd used a 2TB RAID0 G-Tech RAID and now use an external Lacie Rugged SSD 256GB but a smaller one would do. Some of my friends don't use a scratch disk and they're always griping about how slow PS is, and I drink their beer while they're dumping about it.

    Keep your Mac, get a fast scratch disk, save up for a newer machine. My 2¢.
     
  18. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2011
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #18
    These things are somewhat orthogonal, and it seems that you are more likely to use up the RAM than to run out of CPU power...

    I think that you could live with 8 GB. But you could test how your system behaves by either assigning 10 GB to the virtual machine or by removing one RAM bar. That should give you a rough idea how your workflow would be affected if you only had 8 GB.

    Another question: Are you on Mavericks or an older version of OSX?
     
  19. woowoodengy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    #19
    I currently have the os on the ssd as the main drive with a second 500gb drive in place of the optical drive. I never knew that you can choose a different scratch disk but mine is already set to the ssd so i don't think an external would be much benefit. I'm actually very happy with the performance of my current macbook.

    I'm running the latest Mavericks version. I use iStat Menu to monitor ram, cpu, temp and it seems like I'm always over 8gb ram but again thats probably because the system knows it can use more and does. I sometimes have kernel_task use up to 8gb which is pretty crazy. I never seem to use up all the cpu since I got this mac but I would continuously use all cpu in the older 2008 model and thats understandable I guess.

    Heres a screenshot of istat memory and with the vm suspended and photoshop closed I have 9gb available. If I remove 8gb from my mac it's still only an i5 and 2 cores without the NVIDIA card and 3mb L3 cache so I'm not sure if I'm comparing apples to apples (pun intended)

    Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 5.29.21 PM.png
     
  20. Commy1 macrumors 6502a

    Commy1

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2013
    #20
    Your current model is a good one, it'll probably continue to function better, longer than the other one, of course that entirely depends on your usage now and later. Then again, the price might be just too good

    Just what I recommend.
     
  21. campyguy macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2014
    Location:
    Portland / Seattle
    #21
    In your case, then set up PS to use the drive that the app isn't on (and, ideally, also the drive that the file you're working on resides) as your scratch disk. I've used 3 drives at once - the OS/PS app drive, the source file drive, and the scratch disk (to which page or swap files reside). FWIW, I've done with the same thing for Windows machines that run AutoCAD, setting up a fast and small (5GB) drive for caching swap files - I've cut up to 3 hours per man hour week of XREF/BASE file rendering times in a production week for firms that I've worked with. Makes for happy clients - PS uses a similar caching scheme. Cheers.
     
  22. woowoodengy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    #22
    Well the deal just got better. He's asking $900 for the retina 15" and a 13" macbook pro exactly the same model as mine but with the standard 4gb ram and no ssd. So thats 2 macs for $900 but no chargers included since he wants to keep his for his office. What to do What to do.:eek:
     
  23. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    Mar 21, 2014
    Location:
    Portland / Seattle
    #23
    My 2¢? Quit posting to this thread and get your cash in order...
     
  24. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    Oct 10, 2013
    #24
    :eek: run and buy them! Now!
     
  25. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    Location:
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #25
    Go buy them before he sobers up and changes his mind!

    Even if you go to the Apple store and buy an 85W MagSafe 2 for the 15" (the 13" can use your current one), it's still cheaper than buying a new one!
     

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