Thoughts on 8GB vs 16GB on MBP?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by marc55, Dec 16, 2016.

  1. marc55, Dec 16, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2016

    marc55 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 14, 2011
    Looking to lower cost on a new MBP, either the 2015 or 2016 version.

    About the only things we do with it are email, surf web, Pages, Numbers, Photos, a a game or two like The Mystery of Haunted Hollow, and Youtube Video's.

    I just want to make sure 8GB will not be slow or stutter on web pages, etc.

    So would 8GB be a good fit? I know 16GB is nice to have, but am retired now, so power use is in the past.

    Insight appreciated.

    Thank you
  2. SJTrance macrumors member

    Jun 24, 2010
    I don't know he game you're referring to but for all the other things, I think that 8gb would be just fine. Apparently, with the SSD, you're not going to see much improvement for those tasks.
  3. Stephencovar macrumors member

    May 20, 2015
    Pasadena, California
  4. deliriumxy macrumors member

    Nov 21, 2016
    For the usage you describe: email, web browsing, light gaming, 8 gb will suffice. More RAM just lets you run more applications simultaneously without slowdown.

    You can always test if 8 gb is enough for you by opening Activity Monitor -> Memory tab, and doing a stress test (e.g., open all the applications you intend on using) if the Memory Pressure graph remains in the GREEN... you've got enough RAM for you.

    Keep in mind, however, that the RAM for the 2016 MBPs are soldered onto the motherboard, so you cannot upgrade after purchase. So, consider if your usage needs may or may not change over the lifetime of your purchase.
  5. CaptRB macrumors 6502a


    Oct 11, 2016
    LA, California
    Check my thread on the 13" with touchbar and 8 GB of RAM for photography.

    I'm using this machine for pro photography and pushing a 4K monitor with multiple Post processing apps running and so on. Even ran a 4K video test at the same time! This machine runs like a dream.

  6. ocgirl macrumors regular


    Feb 25, 2011
    I have the same usage as you do, but I opted for the 16 GB Ram option. Like my 2011 MBP I plan to keep it around 5 years or so, and I don't want to be stuck later on when Apple releases new software update.
    It might be overkill for my use, but I prefered to cash out 240 EUR more (50 EUR/year for 5 years) and hope it will be futureproof (and for resale value).
  7. Queen6 macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2008
    Putting out the fire with gasoline...
    You will be fine with 8Gb with the described usage, save your $$$

  8. Altis macrumors 68030

    Sep 10, 2013
    It'll be fine for those uses, for today.

    RAM will almost certainly be the first bottleneck, though. You'd quite likely get more years of use from it with 16 GB, so it might pay off in the end, and you won't have to replace it if your tasks start to require more.
  9. Fishrrman, Dec 17, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2016

    Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    I'll reckon that unless you know why you need 16gb of RAM instead of 8gb, you probably don't need it.

    I can see where a user who does "power editing" of high-megapixel photos would want 16gb, or perhaps someone editing videos.

    But for general usage (as you stated above), including editing photos in the medium-pixel-count range, 8gb should be fine.
  10. jackoatmon macrumors 6502a


    Sep 15, 2011
    Oh man you'll be totally fine with 8GB. Just remember: whenever you start seeing the spinning beachball icon often, just shut down a few programs or restart the computer (with the box unchecked "reopen windows on restart").
  11. Acronyc macrumors 6502a

    Jan 24, 2011
    You'll be fine with 8GB now, as others have mentioned, but personally I'd go with 16GB. You can always add external storage, but you can't add RAM. If you ever find yourself needing it in the future, you're put of luck unless you purchase a new machine. This is why personally the one upgrade I at least make sure to get is increasing the RAM.
  12. fs454 macrumors 68000

    Dec 7, 2007
    Los Angeles / Boston
    It's always a bad move to buy an 8GB model. Increasing the RAM isn't going to show an immediate benefit, but you're slapping an early expiration date on an otherwise long-lasting machine over a small upgrade cost at the outset.
  13. tunerX Suspended


    Nov 5, 2009
    You aren't doing virtualization. No need to up the ram past what your usual OS and applications require.
  14. evec macrumors regular

    Jun 8, 2016
    No need, if you want future proof, upgrade the SSD first.
  15. CaptRB macrumors 6502a


    Oct 11, 2016
    LA, California
    Sheesh....ignorance flies high here.

    No, 16GB will do nothing for you in most cases and the people suggesting otherwise are clueless and parroting other clueless people.

    Let's take a look. I'm a professional photographer using the highest-end DSLR cameras on the market. They use 25, 36, and 50 megapixel sensors. The 50MP is a NEW sensor and it will be three years before we see an update. The 36 MP sensor is an older Sony design and an update will likely bring on par with Canon's 50 MP sensor.

    I sometimes use ALL of the available resolution because my photos have been used for 10 foot wide displays. That's higher-end imaging than most people here will ever do. I also shoot jewelry for catalogue and do occasional portrait work. The former requires extensive PP work and color matching. I will usually work 10 files at a time.

    To do this work I use Photoshop and Lightroom. So which computer did I choose?????

    13" Touch-Bar with 8 GB of RAM!

    It not only does this work easily, it can do it ( with BOTH PS and LR running) AND with other apps running and even pumping 4K video to Dell monitors as I work. There is NO software or camera sensor coming that will exceed this systems capabilities in 3 years and probably not in 4-5 either because there won't be any sources that could do it. Stop the insanity. Apple loves to sell you on future proofing, but 99% of the time it's a waste of money. Even my Air can do this work and it's limitation is the screen more than anything to do with memory or processing horsepower.

    You can use the 8GB without issue for years...

    And that's assuming you own 20K in camera gear like I do. 16GB is a total waste of money for most people. Wanting a specification and needing it are to very different things.

    Now...IF you plan to mix high end pro photography with some 4K video work as well, then MAYBE the 16 GB is worth it. But at that point you should just get the 15" over the 13" as it will serve you bender for rendering duty.

  16. dark_mark Suspended

    Nov 5, 2016
    I agree with the above post. The rate of increase of RAM usage have slowed down considerably.
    I remember in the 90s you would buy a computer with 32gb ram and next year it would already be obsolete.

    Nowadays the progress in computer hardware have slowed down by a lot. New generation Intel CPU's are only increasing by 5-10% every 2-3 years. To prove this fact compare the geek bench scores of 2013 Macbook Pro and 2016. They are basically identical despite 2016 having newer generation CPUs.

    I bought into the whole "future proofing" nonsense on this board when I bought my 2013 Macbook Pro 15 and I maxed it out completely and patiently waited till the day came when 16GB would be useful. I waited and waited and waited and waited, and guess what? That day never came, I never ended up using more than 8GB until the end of the machine's life.

    The useful life of that machine has ended way before 16GB would ever be useful, because :
    1. Battery had degraded so much that it no longer held a charge
    2. The casing got so beat up with constant use that it looks like it's been in a war zone.
    3. Started having graphic issues.

    So I got rid of the machine for $950 for which I paid close to 3k. Very poor return on investment. Had I bought the base model, I would have recuperated more money and still had exactly the same experience.

    There are people here who are saying that 16GB of ram is a must for facebook usage. These are the same people who recommend buying 256GB iPhones just to have better resale value. Well these people have absolutely no clue, as they will only be able to resell their 256GB iPhones for only $50 more than 32GB a year later.
  17. CaptRB macrumors 6502a


    Oct 11, 2016
    LA, California

    Exactly right.

    One thing I will add is that Apple should have spent a few pennies and made all of the touchbar machines 16GB, though for no other reason than to add a PERCEPTION of value.

    Beyond that, if you opted for for 16GB, I'm sure Apple is grateful, but you basically bought "air" unless you have some solid video work to do.

  18. fs454 macrumors 68000

    Dec 7, 2007
    Los Angeles / Boston
    You guys are crazy. Enjoy your single-task machine 3 years from now.
  19. dark_mark Suspended

    Nov 5, 2016
    Actually you don't need 16GB for serious video work either. These guys here did benchmarks and found no benefit in video rendering performance with 16GB ram:
    --- Post Merged, Dec 17, 2016 ---
    I upgrade to new MBPs every 2 years. What's the point? In 2 years I will buy the 2018 Macbook Pro with 16GB memory by default and for cheaper and still have a brand new machine with faster and more efficient processor.
    In my case it makes absolutely no sense to buy anything other than a base model.
  20. CaptRB macrumors 6502a


    Oct 11, 2016
    LA, California

    As a professional I don't tend to hang on to old gear. It doesn't look good and it's less fun to be sure.

    That said, there's no wisdom behind your comment. I've got a 4GB Mac that my son son brings to school and it can pretty much do anything after 4 and a half years.

    Software tech is not going to suddenly require 16 GB. It doesn't even require 4GB 99% of the time!

    Red system motion pictures (Features!) have been edited on 8 GB machines, so please tell us what you're doing that requires more? Let's hear a list of your scary gear that needs 16 GB, because I do this for a living. I know there are people here who actually NEED 16GB because they are into heavy video. Few people here need that, so stop the nonsense. You are handing out bad info.

    If you need 16GB, you should SKIP the 13" because at 2K you might as well jump to the 15" and get the processor benefits and bigger screen.

    For MOST people, the abilities of a tMBP with 8GB is total overkill.

  21. Naimfan macrumors 601


    Jan 15, 2003
    Objectively, 8 GB is plenty for your described uses.

    8 vs 16 won't make enough of a difference in resale down the road to be worth doing, so go for 8 GB and invest the money you saved - you'll come out ahead.
  22. Gudi macrumors 68020


    May 3, 2013
    Berlin, Berlin
    As Bill Gates once famously said, 8GB ought to be enough for anybody! The average web page is about 2MB in size and fits in memory just fine. More RAM will do absolutely nothing to improve your browsing experience.
  23. mrex macrumors 68030


    Jul 16, 2014
    If i see correctly, adobe is using 12gb ram... so swapping or running it on ram? I choose ram rather than seeing paging all the time.

    My current mbpr has only 8gb ram and paging few gigs.
  24. dark_mark, Dec 18, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2016

    dark_mark Suspended

    Nov 5, 2016
    Your system will always have some swapping. My machine with 16GB of ram still swaps. My work desktop with 32GB of ram swaps too. It's just the way OS work.

    In the benchmarks they compared the time it took to encode video on both 16 and 8 gig configurations. It took identical amount of time for both.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 18, 2016 ---
    Here is the picture of my machine's memory pressure monitor. As you can see I have more than enough available memory and still swapped 1.1 gigs. My memory pressure monitor is alway way in the green zone.
    It's just the way OS works.

    EDIT: Removed picture due to picture showing my real name
  25. marc55 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 14, 2011

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