What's more important processor power or RAM?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by ImLorelei, May 25, 2016.

  1. ImLorelei macrumors newbie


    May 25, 2016
    I'm looking into replacing my MBP after 6 years. It works fine for non Adobe CC apps, looks great - no marks at all, I take good care of belongings, but I find that using Adobe CC - Muse, Illustrator, Photoshop and occasionally InDesign makes it very slow. Currently have Muse open and none of the others mentioned and I'm still looking at the turning beach ball. When one of the others, i.e. Illustrator or Photoshop are open too, I may as well go and put the kettle on while I wait for a preview in Muse. Also find that resizing the breakpoints in Muse incredibly slow.
    Trying to decide on whether it is better to buy 16GB RAM or a higher spec processor. Yesterday I got to different opinions in the Apple store.
    Also using Open Office Calc, Pages, Mail, Safari, (Chrome on the odd occasion). Open Office Calc and Pages are opened as needed.
    I'd appreciate help from others that use similar programs.
  2. Qaanol macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2010
    RAM. Definitely RAM.

    I assume from your usage of professional-level media-editing apps that you will frequently require more than 8 GB of RAM, so get more.

    As long as you get a retina MBP (not an MB) you will have plenty of processing power.

    Pick the screen size you want, make sure you get enough SSD space (at least 256 GB), and since you’re using hardcore apps get 16 GB RAM.

    However, I should also note that there is a decent chance new MBP models will be announced at WWDC, in 3 weeks.
  3. ImLorelei thread starter macrumors newbie


    May 25, 2016
    --- Post Merged, May 25, 2016 ---
    Thanks Qaanol, yes been using Adobe apps for a long time and definitely an MBP (have one now), screen size is not an issue, most of the time I'm using an external screen on the desktop, with separate (Apple) keyboard and magic mouse.
    Thanks for the heads up on possible new MBP models, I might wait to see what will be available in the updates.
  4. campyguy macrumors 68040

    Mar 21, 2014
    Portland / Seattle
    Neither of your posed options. CC personal user and small company owner with about 25 CC account users chiming in.

    For PS users, make sure you're using a local, fast scratch disk. I'm still stunned at how many (almost all that I know) PS users still have no idea how more faster/efficient PS (since v. 3 as a user) can be with a fast scratch disk that isn't the OS drive. If you're using PS and not using a different scratch disk, stop reading this post (and Adobe's own recommendations) and do this.

    Regarding drives, if you're using Illy or PS, turn off or pause CC file/template/resource synching until the work session is over. Your internet connection is bogging down your application speed here if this "feature" is turned on - I've seen my own IP logs when CC synching is enabled, and RAM/processor speed isn't my bottleneck with CC apps (not by a long shot...).
  5. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    You are obviously looking at the 13 inch, the processors are all much of a muchness and are all dual core. If you want quad core power for your Adobe apps then you'll need a 15 inch which comes with 16gb ram anyway.
  6. ImLorelei thread starter macrumors newbie


    May 25, 2016
    --- Post Merged, May 26, 2016 ---
    Hi Samuelsan2001, currently there is an opportunity for a refurb 15inch with quad core and 16GB, was thinking about it, but then thought perhaps brand new is better. The one on offer is a 2015 and about $700 less than it's equivalent new. What difference would quad core make? - The people in the Apple store couldn't explain sufficiently.
  7. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Basically the quad core is 2x as fast in multithreaded apps things like rendering and Adobe etc, it's more complicated than that but that's the essence it also has far better graphics for video editing and casual gaming. Unless you want to wait for the new pro's that should be out in the next month or so then I'd go for it for your work case the extra screen real estate alone is worth it, unless portability is your most important aspect.
  8. Wahlstrm macrumors 6502a


    Dec 4, 2013
    In a nutshell, when working with Photoshop and so on:

    Running out of RAM is like hitting the breaks and the computer basically goes full stop.
    A slow CPU on the other hand will still get the job done, eventually.. :)
  9. ImLorelei thread starter macrumors newbie


    May 25, 2016
    Since posting this question/thread, I've been into an Apple Store, spoken with a tech at the Genius Bar and he has explained it all perfectly clearly. The speed of the RAM I currently have is completely different to the speed of the RAM available now. Basically even with using Adobe CC programs as mentioned earlier, it isn't necessary to get 16GB, in fact he recommended getting 8GB. I'm waiting to see if there are any announcements re a new line up of MBPs at the WWDC. If not I'll get a new MBP quickly. Thanks for your input, appreciated.
  10. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Unfortunately that is utter nonsense speed of ram is not a lot of use if you needed to load a massive image or section of video into ram. It isn't necessary but it could be a huge bottle neck to you depending on what you are doing, and if you like to keep a lot of apps and webpages open all at the same time or run VM's.

    Now don't get me wrong it may well make very little difference to what you do but ram speed does not make up for amount of ram that is just utter bull.
  11. flavr macrumors 6502


    Nov 9, 2011
    This is not true at all. I use the exact same applications you do on a daily basis and use up almost all 16GB of my Macbook Pro's RAM. I have an application that runs in my menu bar that shows me my used RAM and its all being used. Order of importance for a laptop for your use:


    You will be very sorry if you buy any computer with only 8GB RAM for the applications you are going to be using with it.
  12. Wahlstrm macrumors 6502a


    Dec 4, 2013
    Sorry but 8GB was pushing it even back in 2011, and the overall hike in photos/video resolution since then has not exactly helped..
  13. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Mar 30, 2004
    For most people, the slowest part of their computer is hard disk. So naturally, adding sufficient amount of RAM to avoid page out would be most noticeable, followed by SSD. Beyond that, newer CPU is perhaps more notable for increasing battery life (and faster frame rate if you are using integrated GPU) than dramatically improving performance.
  14. grahamperrin macrumors 601


    Jun 8, 2007
    Memory. You can probably add a poll to the topic.
  15. jerryk, Jun 1, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2016

    jerryk macrumors 68040

    Nov 3, 2011
    SF Bay Area

    How did you get $700 off for a 2015 refurbed unit? Was it really old or a demo model? Were you comparing Base with a dedicated GPU unit?
  16. ImLorelei thread starter macrumors newbie


    May 25, 2016
    This offer was on the Apple website under "refurbished". $700 here in Australia - our prices are far higher, we have to pay a lot more for our Macs than people in the USA do. It was a May 2015 one.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 1, 2016 ---
    Thanks for your reply - I also use these programs daily. I may try the 8GB, fortunately Apple have a 14 day refund policy, so if I find it's not good I can exchange it. The tech guy said he can't see that it would be worth spending the extra $357... I'm really unsure.
  17. emilioestevez Suspended


    Aug 25, 2015
    I'd take more RAM over higher clock speed in the same processor family.
  18. Count Blah macrumors 68030

    Count Blah

    Jan 6, 2004
    US of A
    Processing Power, UNTIL you run out of RAM. Then it's RAM 10000000%
  19. flavr macrumors 6502


    Nov 9, 2011
    Here is the FREE RAM program I use. Its amazing in two ways. ONE is tells you exactly how much RAM you are using right in your top menu bar. TWO it quickly lets you free up extra RAM anytime you are running low, which you'll need with only 8GB of RAM (sometimes it instantly frees up 2-3 GB of RAM). Good Luck!

  20. Eric8199 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 27, 2009
    In your OP you say you are replacing a six year old Mac. Are you going to keep this new one that long too? If so, get 16gb of Ram, or you're going to wish you had later. Remember, you can't upgrade the ram on these later. What you get is what you've got until you buy a new computer.
  21. mdlooker macrumors 65816


    Mar 7, 2011

    What app do you use to see how much RAM you're using?
  22. the-bigwig, Jun 2, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2016

    the-bigwig macrumors newbie

    May 17, 2016
    Sorry, but that's just plain stupid. Free RAM is a wasted RAM so every kilobyte of free RAM is a waste of it. Os X handles RAM memory pretty well and it should use it all. The more the better. It'll easily empty some of ram if it's needed by other app, in fraction of seconds.

    Just read this please
  23. Dave245 macrumors 603

    Sep 15, 2013
    I would wait until WWDC if i was you, it's only just over a week away now and there might be some big changes to the Macbook Pro's, from the leaks and rumours that we have seen over the past week or so.

    I'll be upgrading to a new Macbook Pro this year, from my current 2011 Macbook Pro. What do you guys think will be the biggest noticeable difference? the Retina display? SSD? the amount of Ram? or the processing power? I've currently got about 8GB of Ram, using photoshop doesn't seem to be a problem, but boot up speeds are now slower. I've heard from others on this forum that over buying RAM can be a waste (it's not upgradable later so it's either 8GB or 16GB at the moment from Apple's online store.)
  24. dallegre macrumors member


    Feb 25, 2016
    Probably the SSD for sure (assuming you're not using one now).
  25. Dave245 macrumors 603

    Sep 15, 2013
    I'm not no, the nearest I've come to using one is the Fusion drive i have in my 2012 iMac

Share This Page