Suggestions needed, RAM or Storage!

jjiangweilan

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Aug 16, 2016
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I just move from Windows to Mac and going to buy the new rMBP 13" at late Oct.

I am wondering whether I should upgrade RAM to 16BG or storage to 512GB because I have a limited budget so I have to choose one of them.

I'm a computer science student. Actually, I have started to develop iOS app on Hackintosh 1 year ago because this Mac hasn't come out until late Oct ( what an ordeal to develop iOS on VM). Oh, I also will do photo editing and VM and running a server while programming on Mac.

Do you know how different is 16GB and 8GB on Mac? since I think I can use cloud and external storage to manage memory so if RAM is the priority I'd like put my money on RAM. If MacOS has nice optimization, I will upgrade storage.
After read all these articles from 4 years ago to 1 year ago, I'm kinda confused because some people say there is a big difference, but some say no. So I think I do need some up-to-date suggestions.

And if you can, cloud you please share some experiences where you open multiple apps and feel glitch?


Thanks in advance!
 
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New_Mac_Smell

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If you're on a budget I'd always pick RAM over storage. RAM may not make an immediate difference but is noticeable after a year or so of ownership. With the current MBPs having no upgradable RAM, you'd be forced to buy a new computer when it eventually becomes sluggish. With storage, it's less of a problem, you can just clean up your computer. Or use an external drive, or even better just get a NAS when you reach max capacity.

256GB should be enough for most people, you shouldn't really be storing masses of files on your system. Get an external and back stuff up. Internal HDD should really only be a working drive for apps and current project files.
 
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Trahearne

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Oct 6, 2014
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You got removable storage. You do not have upgradable RAM. TBH 256GB is plenty unless you have a huge media library and you have to take them with you anywhere.

For me an average code ninja, I still got 70 GBs free, excluding my 40GB Bootcamp partition, and many of the used space are caches or a gigantic beta copy of Xcode with a bunch of simulators. Didn't have a huge media library (like <10GB), and that's covered by iCloud Photos Library anyway. Vector arts and repositories are not going to take a lot of space either.

Running VMs takes memory. Running IDEs and instruments eat memory. Leaving apps open takes some memory. Keeping tabs open takes memory. Not saying that 8GB is insufficient - my rMBP 13 has served me fairly well with its 8GB of memory. But I'd prefer having more RAM than seeing my swap grow to multiple GBs every time I profile something in Xcode, should I look for a new Mac.
 
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JTToft

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Nobody knows how the new models will be configured. Soldered storage isn't impossible.
But we'll have to go by how it is currently. RAM is non-upgradeable. SSD is impractical to upgrade but possible.

If the choice is between 8 GB & 512 GB and 16 GB & 256 GB, get the extra RAM for the reason above.
Do not get 128 GB under any circumstances.
 

jjiangweilan

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generally or in this specific case?
I am also against 128GB option. My current surface pro4 has 256GB and I have used up 130GB.

A little media library with a 3 GB game. Another apps are mandatory. So if you go with 128GB I bet you need to clean up your laptop every week.

256 GB should be reasonable if you don't manage your media library locally
 
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mrex

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there is no only one right answer. This is why i asked, generally or in this case. (i quess jttoft means in your case 128gb isnt a good choice.)

in this case, when running vm, server etc.. 128gb might be small and as you said, i wouldnt get it either.. but in other cases, 128gb may be enough. so... i wouldnt say, generally, 128gb isnt a good choice.

at the moment i have 256gb/mbpr and in my case, im not running server/vm/... and im considering to get the new one only with 128gb because all files are stored to the cloud or a nas (terabytes of free space).
 
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leman

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Well, 8GB RAM should be sufficient for your needs for next few years. But going 16Gb is probably safer in case your usage changes. BTW, its quite possible that 16GB will be a standard in the new model.
 

JTToft

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generally or in this specific case?
- Yes, I meant mostly in this case based on the use described and the fact that he also considered 512 GB.
But I also think it's a decent general rule to not go with 128 GB. Some will be fine with it, of course, but it needs to be a very conscious choice if you go with 128, I think.
 
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Samuelsan2001

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Well, 8GB RAM should be sufficient for your needs for next few years. But going 16Gb is probably safer in case your usage changes. BTW, its quite possible that 16GB will be a standard in the new model.
I doubt that for the 13 inch, but it is quite likely 256gb SSD will be standard and a 512gb the mid range option so a 16gb 512gb may well be the same price as a 256gb 16gb for the current range.
 

mrex

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i think too that 256gb is for the base model.

but i hope they dont do the same as they did with macbook 12" - m5 is only possible with 512gb ssd.
 

Samuelsan2001

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i think too that 256gb is for the base model.

but i hope they dont do the same as they did with macbook 12" - m5 is only possible with 512gb ssd.
To be honest the differences between the 28w chips are not worth worrying about even the i7's aren't worth the money for the performance increase.
 

chasonstone

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To the OP: Really depends on personal preference but generally speaking RAM is forever with no workarounds, storage is sort of forever with the ability to get external drives and whatnot. If I wanted both but had to choose I'd probably go with RAM.

Now for a question that's semi-related. What are we thinking the storage tiers will be, I'm looking to replace my 2010 MacBook Air (256GB) with a new MacBook Pro. I'd realllllllly like to get at least 512GB, wondering if a TB would be ridiculously expensive. The current lineup is $1,299 128GB, $1,499 256GB, and $1,799 512GB [then the option to get a TB for $2,299]. Would it be unreasonable to think they may shift the tiers and a TB be at the $1,799 price point?
 

Samuelsan2001

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Oct 24, 2013
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To the OP: Really depends on personal preference but generally speaking RAM is forever with no workarounds, storage is sort of forever with the ability to get external drives and whatnot. If I wanted both but had to choose I'd probably go with RAM.

Now for a question that's semi-related. What are we thinking the storage tiers will be, I'm looking to replace my 2010 MacBook Air (256GB) with a new MacBook Pro. I'd realllllllly like to get at least 512GB, wondering if a TB would be ridiculously expensive. The current lineup is $1,299 128GB, $1,499 256GB, and $1,799 512GB [then the option to get a TB for $2,299]. Would it be unreasonable to think they may shift the tiers and a TB be at the $1,799 price point?
Certainly not unreasonable, and I am hopeful it will happen but I wouldn't bank on it either.
 

jerryk

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To me it depends on what the base storage configuration is. If it is the current 128 GB I would definitely upgrade to at least 256 and then consider going from 8 GB of RAM to something larger. My graduate degree is in Computer Science and I do a lot of Data Science and Machine Learning, which are going to be part of any Comp Sci program these days. In this classes it is not unusual to get a 20GB datasets to work with. Add to that some photos and video and storage goes pretty fast.

So I would ensure whatever you get has 256 GB of storage and as the budget allows, 16 or more, GB of memory.
 
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Fishrrman

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Feb 20, 2009
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JTToft wrote above:
"Nobody knows how the new models will be configured. Soldered storage isn't impossible.
But we'll have to go by how it is currently"


Fearless prediction:
We will NEVER see a MacBook Pro with user-replaceable RAM again, ever.

What you buy will be "what you get".
 

jjiangweilan

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Original poster
Aug 16, 2016
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To me it depends on what the base storage configuration is. If it is the current 128 GB I would definitely upgrade to at least 256 and then consider going from 8 GB of RAM to something larger. My graduate degree is in Computer Science and I do a lot of Data Science and Machine Learning, which are going to be part of any Comp Sci program these days. In this classes it is not unusual to get a 20GB datasets to work with. Add to that some photos and video and storage goes pretty fast.

So I would ensure whatever you get has 256 GB of storage and as the budget allows, 16 or more, GB of memory.
So if storage is not the priority, go RAM.

Again, I checked my storage usage, SSD+SD card. In total I used 150GB including a 20 GB virtual disk for MacOS.

So I think 256GB can be reasonable and external storage can keep my disk clean
 

mrex

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Again, I checked my storage usage, SSD+SD card. In total I used 150GB including a 20 GB virtual disk for MacOS. So I think 256GB can be reasonable and external storage can keep my disk clean
just wondering... if large amount of that used space is just files i would really considering a nas. if you compare current prices, the difference is 300dollars just for extra 256gb. that sounds pretty bad to me.

if you are considering to spend 300dollars for an extra 256gb storage, why not add 200 more and buy a decent nas with 8tb space (2x4tb) - even when running it raid1 it gives you still 4tb free space and you can used for time machine backups too and accessing those files with your other devices too.
 

jjiangweilan

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Original poster
Aug 16, 2016
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just wondering... if large amount of that used space is just files i would really considering a nas. if you compare current prices, the difference is 300dollars just for extra 256gb. that sounds pretty bad to me.

if you are considering to spend 300dollars for an extra 256gb storage, why not add 200 more and buy a decent nas with 8tb space (2x4tb) - even when running it raid1 it gives you still 4tb free space and you can used for time machine backups too and accessing those files with your other devices too.
I will definitely consider nas according to your opinion, thanks!