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iHorseHead

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Original poster
Jan 1, 2021
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Hello,
I was wondering about one thing and actually I've been wondering about for awhile: On reddit and on other sites I see people constantly whining about 8GB of RAM and them blaming everybody else for getting the 8GB MBA, because some YouTubers said it's good. I've been using MacBook Air M1 with 8GB of RAM for awhile and I haven't had any issues yet and when I post screenshots of my RAM usage they are like: "Are you upgrading your machine every year?" etc. I mean… I used MacBook Pro mid 2010 for over 10 years and it served me well. It had 8GB of RAM, yet I was able to even make games for it for one company. I finished 3 games and if anything it actually taught me how to optimise the games. My main issue was when I was working on teams and the graphics card became an issue. I had to turn off all the lightning and disable particle effects, but it wasn't an issue of RAM. Also, it took me around 48 hours to export the game and I couldn't use my MacBook during exporting otherwise the whole thing would just crash, but when I checked Activity Monitor during the export it was rather the issue of CPU, not RAM per se.

Same on Windows. My coworkers were constantly about complaining about the ram on their work computers, so the management upgraded the RAM or the computers, yet I'm still using my work computer with 8GB of RAM with no issues at all. I do the same work as they do. I used to have an issue with my MacBook Air M1 where it would randomly shut down and restart itself when I first got it (running Big Sur), but that even happened when nothing was opened and I don't have any issues now. On my MSI laptop I had 8GB of RAM and yet I was able to use Visual studio and surf the web at the same time. I've never had any issues with RAM. The last time I had issues with the RAM was when I had 1GB of RAM, but even then I was able to survive.
Screenshot 2022-06-17 at 09.04.31.png



Why do I constantly see people whining about the RAM? If you're not happy with it sell your 8GB MBA and buy a 16GB one. Why blame Apple for this? I even see PCs with 4GB of RAM for sale and some of them are around $700.
 

Shirasaki

macrumors G5
May 16, 2015
13,017
7,050
1DBCA735-29E0-49D4-9EBA-7E7524B30208.jpeg
D63EB626-E63E-4442-8775-A0406B8A5E59.jpeg

Maybe this is why people saying 8GB of RAM is not enough. A google chrome tab could easy eat away 2GB for certain websites. Adobe uses 4GB sometimes even for seemingly small photos. My MacBook Pro at one point saw 23GB of swaps being used. And the machine isn’t running any “heavy” workload that YouTuber claims at all.

Apple’s dirty trick allows Mac users to not feel memory crunch as much, but 8GB of shared memory will come and bite the user dare They run anything more than a few safari window alongside background programs.
 

iHorseHead

Contributor
Original poster
Jan 1, 2021
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View attachment 2020225 View attachment 2020224
Maybe this is why people saying 8GB of RAM is not enough. A google chrome tab could easy eat away 2GB for certain websites. Adobe uses 4GB sometimes even for seemingly small photos. My MacBook Pro at one point saw 23GB of swaps being used. And the machine isn’t running any “heavy” workload that YouTuber claims at all.

Apple’s dirty trick allows Mac users to not feel memory crunch as much, but 8GB of shared memory will come and bite the user dare They run anything more than a few safari window alongside background programs.
Can you send me the url of a chrome tab that will eat away 2GB?
 

Prabas

macrumors 65816
Sep 14, 2010
1,097
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I had only this page open on Chrome it was using 500MB of RAM, open a few more and you're out 2GB, then it's background apps like Discord, Messages, Teams, Spotify etc. now you're probably over 6GB. That leaves you with 2GB left for your OS. It's not a lot. 8GB is for browsing the web while listening to music and some light productivity.

This RAM debate is like previous issue with 8GB vs 16GB storage iPhones. You could've gotten away with 8 gigs but just barely.
 

iHorseHead

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Jan 1, 2021
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I had only this page open on Chrome it was using 500MB of RAM, open a few more and you're out 2GB, then it's background apps like Discord, Messages, Teams, Spotify etc. now you're probably over 6GB. That leaves you with 2GB left for your OS. It's not a lot. 8GB is for browsing the web while listening to music and some light productivity.

This RAM debate is like previous issue with 8GB vs 16GB storage iPhones. You could've gotten away with 8 gigs but just barely.
Screenshot 2022-06-17 at 10.08.59.png

Can you tell me to open something and some websites that would use all of the 8GB?
 

Prabas

macrumors 65816
Sep 14, 2010
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It won't use all of 8 gigs because you'd just crash. Have a look at the bottom mid-left side, your memory pressure is yellow and it was red for a brief moment. That's not optimal. You're even using 2.1GB swap because you ran out of RAM.

EDIT: now think about it one, two or three years later when apps will probably require like 25-50% more RAM. What would you do then?
 

iHorseHead

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Jan 1, 2021
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It won't use all of 8 gigs because you'd just crash. Have a look at the bottom mid-left side, your memory pressure is yellow and it was red for a brief moment. That's not optimal. You're even using 2.1GB swap because you ran out of RAM.

EDIT: now think about it one, two or three years later when apps will probably require like 25-50% more RAM. What would you do then?
I've survived on MacBook Pro mid 2010 with 8GB for over 10 years and even worked as a game developer with Unity. What I noticed is that the CPU became the problem, not the RAM per se.
 

TripleYoThreat

macrumors member
Sep 28, 2017
40
33
I've noticed this too lately.
I think it's just a fad where for some reason people just assume oh slow computer = ram

It's really stupid and I have no idea where this stemmed from.

Clients always ask for more ram to "make it faster"
I assume because it has always been one of the easiest to upgrade parts, it's been something people have latched on to as almost like a scapegoat.

I was wondering this recently too - of where did this idea stem from?

I will say tho, 8gb on an optimized system like mac and 8gb on windows is totally different.

Chrome too is known to be a memory hog, I'm confident that same tab in safari for Mac or even Firefox / opera may consume less ram

I believe what the backlash is about is that starting macbooks since maybe 2015 have had 8gb ram; people just wanna see some generational improvement, and they're not wrong on that front. But that is strictly looking at storage. Since then it has went from DDR3 to DDR4 and the new unified memory runs with the m1 runs at 4266 mt/s which is great. However, being unified memory as well, it means that the gpu needs some too, similar to some intel integrated graphics of the past.

With that being said, while 12gb starting or something like that would be nice, 8gb is fine for most users and so apple will keep it that way. Maybe the m2 mbp should start with 16gb ram, that would be a nice touch.

Reminds me how Apple took quite some time to raise the base iPhone storage, but everyone's glad they did.
 

Shirasaki

macrumors G5
May 16, 2015
13,017
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I find it somewhat impressive that your taskbar is filled with way more icons than mine yet I run out of 16GB easier and more frequent than your Mac.
 
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Gino uallera

macrumors newbie
Dec 30, 2015
5
23
Italy
What the OP is trying to ask is ‘is there a practical difference that a user notices when using 8GB of Ram?’. And the answer is clearly, no. You don’t need to talk about how many GB a tab uses o what red lines you see in an activity monitor. Do you notice a difference in usage? The answer is no. Except for specific cases, like video editing maybe idk, normal everyday usage is fine with 8GB. I have never had issues both on Mac and PC. I can do all I need to for work and personal stuff. I don’t even know how much Ram I’m using normally, I don’t need to look; it’s not important.
 

Shirasaki

macrumors G5
May 16, 2015
13,017
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Instead of expecting people to add more and more memory to their machines, developers should optimize their apps/websites more.
Works back in Commodore 64 days. I’m not sure about it nowadays when RAM upgrade etc is still somewhat reachable by most people, similar to a decent SSD.
 
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iHorseHead

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Original poster
Jan 1, 2021
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What the OP is trying to ask is ‘is there a practical difference that a user notices when using 8GB of Ram?’. And the answer is clearly, no. You don’t need to talk about how many GB a tab uses o what red lines you see in an activity monitor. Do you notice a difference in usage? The answer is no. Except for specific cases, like video editing maybe idk, normal everyday usage is fine with 8GB. I have never had issues both on Mac and PC. I can do all I need to for work and personal stuff. I don’t even know how much Ram I’m using normally, I don’t need to look; it’s not important.
I don't know how to edit videos, so I can't give you any feedback on that, however for Xcode + Safari at the same time it seems to be fine, then again I'm not making big apps and my games are quite small.
I've never really looked my RAM usage, because even when I opened all of the apps it still felt snappy. I just started wondering, because people are constantly complaining about RAM and saying that 8GB is for light web surfing and editing word documents, which I disagree with.
Microsoft says on it's website that 4GB Surface is for that. I constantly see posts like: "I regret getting 8GB MacBook Air" etc. Why not sell it and buy 16GB one then? Personally I thought about getting 16GB model, but then I decided to spend that money on AppleCare and for the 16GB MBP I could get a PC with 64GB.

Once, when I was at school, learning to code my teacher asked: "Which one of you uses Macs?" and then he responded: "I suggest you to sell them and buy real computers". It's pretty much the same argument.
 

iHorseHead

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Original poster
Jan 1, 2021
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View attachment 2020236
I find it somewhat impressive that your taskbar is filled with way more icons than mine yet I run out of 16GB easier and more frequent than your Mac.
I think if I had 16GB I had pretty much the same results, to be honest.
My coworker has 16GB of RAM on Windows and I have 8GB and we have the same apps opened and his computer uses more RAM than mine. He just said: "Weird"
 

MajorFubar

macrumors 6502a
Oct 27, 2021
978
1,412
Lancashire UK
I can see the point in lots of RAM if you're doing one singular memory intensive process like 3D rendering or 8K video editing, but many people just like having a lot of RAM so they can be basically inefficient with resources. They'll whine and complain when their computer throttles with 200 tabs open in a browser they can't possibly need opened all at once, and half their apps open and minimised in the background.
 

iHorseHead

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Jan 1, 2021
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It shows you're dipping into swap memory which puts unnecessary wear and tear on SSD. And, depending on uptime, memory leak could rear its ugly head. I've seen WindowServer process on Big Sur and Monterey use up more than 16GB on my 16GB MBA M1.

Shirasaki Mac uses swap memory too.​

 

Prabas

macrumors 65816
Sep 14, 2010
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Anyway, when you're paying over $1200 for a new Mac and all you get is 8G/256G it just doesn't make sense. A MacBook 12 released in 2015, 7 years ago, had the same config like these new Mac today. Even iPad Air with its' limited capability OS has 8 gigs.
 

iHorseHead

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Jan 1, 2021
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Anyway, when you're paying over $1200 for a new Mac and all you get is 8G/256G it just doesn't make sense. A MacBook 12 released in 2015, 7 years ago, had the same config like these new Mac today. Even iPad Air with its' limited capability OS has 8 gigs.
The M1 processor? Faster ram? Better battery life? There are many reasons not to get 2015 MacBook. MacBooks from 2015 were quite terrible and slow, but it wasn't because of RAM, but rather the weak processor.
The difference is huge.
 

Bug-Creator

macrumors 65816
May 30, 2011
1,489
4,422
Germany
Works back in Commodore 64 days.

Sure, everyone had 64k and if your app didn't work in 64k it just didn't work.

Kinda changed a bit later, if you assumed that an Amiga had 1MB it would work on 99% of the Amigas out there and simply crash on the last 1%.

Nowadays malloc() never fails and your app can use 30GB on a system that has only 4. It will run poorly but it will run, hence you (as the developer) don't care.
 

Yebubbleman

macrumors 601
May 20, 2010
4,581
1,354
Los Angeles, CA
Your RAM is overflowing into swap, the less RAM you have, the more this happens. The more this happens, the more you wear out your SSD. You don't want to wear out your SSD.

The more RAM you have, the less that happens. This is why people "obsess" over having more RAM. You're not "feeling" it because macOS does a good job of memory compression, but that's not enough forever.

People also worry about RAM because, unlike how it was in 2010, 8GB isn't a large amount of RAM anymore and on today's Macs, you can't upgrade them after the fact. The 2020 27" iMac, the 2019 Mac Pro, and the 2018 Mac mini are the last Macs sold where the RAM was at all user-upgradable. On the Apple Silicon side of this transition, none of them will be. That sort of puts pressure on one to not necessarily cheap out up front. Then again, I have an army of base model M1 MacBook Airs and a base model M1 iMac, all at 8GB of RAM. But I also have a single M1 13" MacBook Pro with 16GB of RAM and all of those other M1 Macs are secondary and used for light browsing and app usage as well as IT testing (for which 8GB of RAM, 7 GPU cores, and 256GB SSDs are more than enough). Were it my main Mac, there'd be no way in hell that I'd want 8GB of RAM in 2022.
 
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