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Video Demos Performance Differences Between 8GB and 16GB Apple M1 MacBook Pro

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Apr 12, 2001
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All of the M1 Mac models use the same M1 chip, so the upgrade options are limited to SSD storage space and RAM. We haven't seen many comparisons that demonstrate the difference between a machine with 8GB RAM and the upgraded 16GB RAM option, but Max Tech today shared a video highlighting the performance between an 8GB MacBook Pro and a 16GB MacBook Pro.


The video includes a series of benchmark tests, ranging from Geekbench and Cinebench to RAW exporting tests. Geekbench and Cinebench benchmarks didn't demonstrate a difference in performance between the 8GB and 16GB models, but other tests designed to maximize RAM usage did show some differences.

A Max Tech Xcode benchmark that mimics compiling code saw the 16GB model score 122 compared to the 136 scored by the 8GB model, with the lower score being better.


The biggest difference was seen in an 8K RAW R3D to 4K export, which took the 8GB MacBook Pro 13 minutes and 57 seconds to complete, while the 16GB MacBook Pro was able to complete it in 5 minutes and 59 seconds, a time on par with the 2019 16-inch Core i9 MacBook Pro with 32GB RAM.


Small differences were also seen in a 4K export test and a Lightroom Classic RAW export test, but the results were quite close, coming down to 17 seconds in the Lightroom test. The 16GB model even beat out a $2,300 iMac.


Notably, during these benchmarking performance tests, Max Tech saw low performance temperatures that didn't often require the fans to kick in, which was a huge difference when comparing the M1 MacBook Pro models to Intel MacBook Pro models.

Max Tech's video is worth watching in full for those who are trying to decide between a machine with 8GB RAM and a machine with 16GB RAM. There appear to be some minor performance differences when it comes to benchmarks, especially with system intensive tasks, but in day to day usage, the 8GB model holds up well and most people may not need the 16GB upgrade.

Article Link: Video Demos Performance Differences Between 8GB and 16GB Apple M1 MacBook Pro
 
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LeadingHeat

macrumors 6502
Oct 3, 2015
385
931
This is exactly what I was looking for, thank you MR! Was debating on getting the 16GB Mac mini but it may be good enough with just 8GB!

Second thought, might as well get the 16GB for future proofing.

But then what if I don’t actually need it and it’s a waste? Here we go again
 
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doboy

macrumors 68030
Jul 6, 2007
2,884
1,486
This is exactly what I was looking for, thank you MR! Was debating on getting the 16GB Mac mini but it may be good enough with just 8GB!

Second thought, might as well get the 16GB for future proofing.

But then what if I don’t actually need it and it’s a waste? Here we go again
Future proof a $700 device? Just buy a new one in few years :)

edit: wow, this is a popular post. Haha
 
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Jordan Klein

macrumors member
Nov 9, 2016
57
104
This is exactly what I was looking for, thank you MR! Was debating on getting the 16GB Mac mini but it may be good enough with just 8GB!

Second thought, might as well get the 16GB for future proofing.

But then what if I don’t actually need it and it’s a waste? Here we go again
More memory is almost never a waste. Consider that your use case may change over time or tools may become more bloated.
 
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EvilEvil

macrumors 65816
Jan 8, 2007
1,072
1,547
New York City
This is exactly what I was looking for, thank you MR! Was debating on getting the 16GB Mac mini but it may be good enough with just 8GB!

Second thought, might as well get the 16GB for future proofing.

But then what if I don’t actually need it and it’s a waste? Here we go again
Yeah, it's a shame you can't upgrade the ram.
 
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coolbreeze

macrumors 68000
Jan 20, 2003
1,771
1,456
UT
The base Air w/8gig is an absolute monster for the price.

Zero regrets here. It's amazing.

And I didn't want to "future proof" (lol) a rev.A machine...wanted the lowest possibly entry price and will of course buy the M3x or whatever in 2 or so years. I think I'm going to offload my Thinkpads....that's how good this machine is.
 
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Populus

macrumors 68000
Aug 24, 2012
1,608
1,567
Valencia, Spain.
Beware of the swap disk space!

In most of the benchmarks performed on 8GB M1 machines, if Activity Monitor is shown, the swap space usage is always between 2,5GB and 4GB or even more. In my 10 years of being a mac user, I’ve never seen such big swap space being used unless I’m stressing my machine heavily, and that usage may be aging your SSD.

I have my choice clear, 16GB, even if it’s just for future-proofing my purchase.
 
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Maconplasma

macrumors 6502a
Sep 15, 2020
998
851
This is exactly what I was looking for, thank you MR! Was debating on getting the 16GB Mac mini but it may be good enough with just 8GB!

Second thought, might as well get the 16GB for future proofing.

But then what if I don’t actually need it and it’s a waste? Here we go again
I would thank Max Tech rather than MR. The video would be on YouTube still without MR. Max Tech puts his heart and soul into amazing test videos free of charge.
 
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mikethebigo

macrumors 68020
May 25, 2009
2,133
589
I really think this is a bad video, or at least a misleading one. He never really looks at swap space, and he doesn't go over fast app switching, which is a far more common use case than the intense CPU benchmarks he uses. Beware, when your M1 Mac is using swap, there is a brief bit of lag and "pop in" when you go back to programs you haven't used in a while. I exchanged for a 16 GB model and that problem disappeared. It's not a huge deal, but I hate when active programs are doing a bunch of swapping.
 
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Macbookprodude

macrumors 65816
Jan 1, 2018
1,287
464
ЗША
These prove that while they are both faster than intel, show us real time results using ARM based code in the apps. Running x86 code through Rosetta 2 shows the M1 is not as fast as shown in these results shown above.
 
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brdeveloper

macrumors 68030
Apr 21, 2010
2,583
248
Brasil
The 16" and 2020 iMac are just embarrassing. I had high hopes for Apple Silicon but it exceeded my expectations. What has Intel been doing for the last 5 years?
Casual users are the only ones who can be early adopters. If you need MS Office, hold. If you need compatibility with your expensive VST plugins, hold. If you need running virtual machines, hold. And so on... I'm planning buying one, but I think I'll need to keep my 2012 quad Mini for VMs, legacy hardware and software.
 
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Maconplasma

macrumors 6502a
Sep 15, 2020
998
851
You buy this today tomorrow they will release new one then another new one ,goes on and on .This all waste of money and trap from Apple
I Just get top of the line current 13”2.3 GHz i7,32 Gb,1 Tb that’s it i also have 16”2.4 GHz i9,32 Gb,2 tb
Both works well and i can do whatever i wanna do with them
Plus I have loaded 2013 Mac Pro desktop
All this will let me do my job for next 5 years or more
Why should i sale my Macs to get this M1 ?
You can’t win this Apple win :) they want u to spend all your money lol
What a ridiculous post. The same can be said with Dell, HP, Lenovo and Microsoft. Your trolling isn't helpful here.
 
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az431

macrumors 68000
Sep 13, 2008
1,994
5,780
Portland, OR
Beware of the swap disk space!

In most of the benchmarks performed on 8GB M1 machines, if Activity Monitor is shown, the swap space usage is always between 2,5GB and 4GB or even more. In my 10 years of being a mac user, I’ve never seen such big swap space being used unless I’m stressing my machine heavily, and that usage may be aging your SSD.

I have my choice clear, 16GB, even if it’s just for future-proofing my purchase.

No offense, but I'll side with Apple's engineers on this one.
 
Comment

Frixos

macrumors member
Nov 17, 2020
57
66
can't wait until they release 32gb in 3 months which will undoubtedly piss of a lot of early adopters
They’re not gonna release 32gb in the MBA in 3 months so those who purchased the MBA shouldn’t care that the high end MBP offers a 32gb option since the products are not in the same category nor are meant for the same type of users.
 
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