Become a MacRumors Supporter for $50/year with no ads, ability to filter front page stories, and private forums.

Juanchi007

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 30, 2016
54
251
For the first half of the MacBook Pro's history, from 2006 until 2014, the base memory on Apple's premier laptop doubled five times, from an introductory 512 megabytes to a whopping eight gigabytes. In the second half of the MacBook Pro's history, from 2015 until today, the base memory has doubled...zero times. Even today, the base 13" MacBook Pro comes with the same 8 GB of memory that has been standard since 2014. Way back in April 2016, the last 4GB Mac notebook was discontinued. And yet, all these years later, the next big doubling of memory has never come.

That's not to say there haven't been improvements, Apple Silicon is a revelation, with those 8 GB of memory now integrated onto the chip and complemented by speedy SSDs. Nonetheless, this base RAM has grown too long in the tooth. Later this year, the iPhone 15 Pro is rumored to receive 8 GB of RAM, and its Mac siblings should take the hint that this standard is no longer acceptable in a full-fledged computer.

Apple should use the opportunity presented by M3 to increase their base memory to 16 GB. The M1 Pro, unveiled in late 2021, came alongside 16 GB of RAM as standard, in addition to a base storage of 512 GB. Two years and an innovative three-nanometer process later, the M3 will likely be competitive with the M1 Pro, if not running laps around it. These necessary upgrades will solidify Apple's standing in the computing space.

With the M3 Air launching later this year, Apple will have the choice as to whether keep the $999 M1 Air in their lineup or to discontinue it. If they let the M2 Air take its price, few will spend two or three hundred dollars extra simply to upgrade the specs of their chip. However, if this upgrade comes alongside an included increase in base RAM (and perhaps even more storage), the upgrade would be a no-brainer. Apple is all about price-ladders, and this one would make sense, pushing consumers towards the newest, greatest, and more-expensive model.

The earnings for the Mac sector this previous quarter were a jarring decline, and Apple is counting on a big Fall release of M3 to flip the script for the Mac in the year ahead. Though the M3 will undoubtedly be faster and more efficient, this overdue upgrade to RAM will push it from good to great. Let's see if we'll finally have the doubling we've been waiting for.
 

Analog Kid

macrumors G3
Mar 4, 2003
8,693
10,945
My advice in these things is always the same— worry about whether you can find a product you want, not whether there’s a product you don’t. All the history and curve fitting you’re trying to do doesn’t really matter in the end.
 

Scarrus

macrumors 6502
Apr 7, 2011
293
86
Though it is likely enough the base model will still come with 8Gb Ram I think there is a possibility it might possibly ship with 12Gb which most of users will find enough and be happy with.

I for one hope that an upgrade to 24Gb would be "just" 200 $/€ or whatever. That and possibly 1Tb is what I will go for.
 

Juanchi007

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 30, 2016
54
251
My advice in these things is always the same— worry about whether you can find a product you want, not whether there’s a product you don’t. All the history and curve fitting you’re trying to do doesn’t really matter in the end.
That’s good buying advice, but the history and the timing of when Apple takes the next big leap is what I’m curious about. Personally, I was lucky to find the product I want in the M2 Pro Mac Mini.
 

Scarrus

macrumors 6502
Apr 7, 2011
293
86
Performance wise it might be the biggest leap yet since the M1. Perhaps 50-60% which is not unsubstantial. To that you should also add a significant boost in battery life when doing the same tasks.
 

Analog Kid

macrumors G3
Mar 4, 2003
8,693
10,945
Performance wise it might be the biggest leap yet since the M1. Perhaps 50-60% which is not unsubstantial. To that you should also add a significant boost in battery life when doing the same tasks.
Mostly yes. But the M2 Pro Mini is a big leap if you want an inexpensive Mac desktop that can drive three monitors.
Yes, the M2 pro mini is and 3nm on the M3 will be a big leap (though I'm not sure it'll be as big as you're suggesting). A shuffling of memory configs, which this thread is about, is not.
 
Last edited:

Gudi

Suspended
May 3, 2013
4,591
3,264
Berlin, Berlin
That’s good buying advice, but the history and the timing of when Apple takes the next big leap is what I’m curious about. Personally, I was lucky to find the product I want in the M2 Pro Mac Mini.
The skill of Apple is to not get into meaningless spec races. If you can live without support for x86, 32-bit, more memory and storage etc. the design team will purposefully cut all these features out in order to build a smaller, lighter, more efficient system with longer battery life and more performance per watt. So neither the competition, nor the market price of components will convince Apple that "it is time" to upgrade the entry level. As long as 8GB/256GB is still enough for basic computing tasks, Apple might as well stick to that configuration in perpetuity. They'd rather further increase the speed of memory and storage alongside the M3 than the size. Because that's something which will improve the experience of every customer.
 

leman

macrumors Core
Oct 14, 2008
19,041
18,638
We know practically nothing about M3 or what kind of memory it will use. I think it makes sense to look at the rest of the market for trends. Most premium laptops still start with 8GB. But the recently announced Samsung Galaxy Book 3 starts with 16GB even on its consumer-oriented model. This might indicate that 16GB is becoming a new standard. Apple is traditionally very slow in catching up here (because it eats into their revenue) but at some point they won’t have much choice.
 

dmccloud

macrumors 68030
Sep 7, 2009
2,893
1,593
Anchorage, AK
I'm not convinced there is currently a need on either the Mac OS or Windows side to make 16GB the new baseline for RAM. Many people aren't using their machines for anything other than email, web browsing, and watching streaming media, none of which would really benefit from 16GB of RAM at this time. You can still find Windows machines at retailers such as Best Buy and Office Max that ship with only 4GB of RAM, and I think that that will continue until Microsoft makes 8GB the absolute minimum amount of RAM needed to run Windows.
 

sam_dean

Suspended
Sep 9, 2022
1,262
1,090
8GB RAM & 256GB SSD for base models started in 2012. It's time for an upgrade 11 years later.

Below is the specs of standard Mac SKUs. I doubled the RAM & SSD but kept the same price, SoC, CPU cores & GPU cores.

I hope it does change in 2024 with the 3nm M3.

Mac modelMSRPChipCPU (Core)GPU (Core)RAM (GB)SSD (TB)
iMac 24"$1,699M188161
iMac 24"$1,499M188160.5
iMac 24"$1,299M187160.5
Mac mini*$1,299M2 Pro1016321
Mac mini$799M2810161
Mac mini$599M2810160.5
Mac Studio$3,999M1 Ultra20481282
Mac Studio$1,999M1 Max1024641
Mac Studio**$3,999M2 Ultra24601282
Mac Studio**$1,999M2 Max1230641
MBA$1,499M2810161
MBA$1,199M288160.5
MBA$999M187160.5
MBP 13"$1,499M2810161
MBP 13"$1,299M2810160.5
MBP 14"$3,099M2 Max1230642
MBP 14"$2,499M2 Pro1219322
MBP 14"$1,999M2 Pro1016321
MBP 16"$3,499M2 Max1238642
MBP 16"$2,699M2 Pro1219322
MBP 16"*$2,499M2 Pro1219321
MB 12"***$699A16 Bionic658256GB
Mac nano***$299A16 Bionic658256GB

Note:

*If RAM & SSD were increased my choice would be the $1299 Mac mini M2 Pro if there was no iMac 27" replacement & the $2499 MBP 16" M2 Pro. Both of which would have 32GB RAM & 1TB SSD.

**My guess on the CPU core & GPU core count of the future 2023 Mac Studio M2 Max & M2 Ultra SKUs.

***iPhone chip-based Mac. If M1 & M2 can be used in an iPad Pro & iPad Air why not use iPhone chip in a cheap laptop & desktop? "Mac nano" uses the 2022 Apple TV 4K enclosure as to make it 0.27L instead of 1.39L of the Mac mini. This reduces shipping cost as you can pack in more "Mac nano" per shipping pallet.
 

unrigestered

Suspended
Jun 17, 2022
879
838
The skill of Apple is to not get into meaningless spec races. If you can live without support for x86, 32-bit, more memory and storage etc. the design team will purposefully cut all these features out in order to build a smaller, lighter, more efficient system with longer battery life and more performance per watt.

LOL?
Apple is leaving every single piece of crap background activivity in the memory, even when completely disabled.
sure most of them are just a couple of 10's of MB, but those are dozens and quickly accumulate to quite some bit if you are just on 8GB.
sure, 8GB are still good for most lighter to moderate tasks, but it could be much better for those users if Apple didn't waste so much RAM for stuff some people wouldn't even want to use.
 

spnc

macrumors regular
Nov 19, 2021
159
116
I have the opposite concern funnily. I'm not too concerned about the minimum of memory the M3 will come with.

I'm concerned with its maximum. Hopefully it will be higher than the current 96TB RAM limitation so as to align with the Mac Studio maximum (128GB RAM) and bring it closer to the Mac Pro maximum (1.5TB RAM).

Anything below 100GB RAM is so 2010s lol come on Apple step up your game!
 

unrigestered

Suspended
Jun 17, 2022
879
838
Apple is cutting the speed of the SSDs, (my guess to protect their profit margins). I highly doubt they'll basically double the ram for the base unit for free.

oh, i think they will.... when 8GB has become completely unworkable and everyone else will have 16GB or more even on their cheapest base models

and i actually don't think it is awful that most are still selling 8GB base models, it's just Apple's insanely overpriced memory and storage upgrade paths way above anyone else that irk me
 

maflynn

macrumors Haswell
May 3, 2009
73,307
43,129
oh, i think they will.... when 8GB has become completely unworkable and everyone else will have 16GB or more even on their cheapest base models
Most PCs of similar class to Apple have been configuring their machines with 16 GB for some time. Yes, you can easily find 8GB laptops, but by and large most seem to start off with 16

I'm not sold that will do this anytime soon, they have had a long history (even before PPC Macs) to underspec their Macs with ram.
 

unrigestered

Suspended
Jun 17, 2022
879
838
well, Apple's base MBPs (at least the 14 and 16" versions) are coming with at least 16GB, the base Max configuration even has 32GB.
yes, they are expensive, but nothing out of the ordinary compared to high end laptops from other brands.
it's quickly getting silly again though if you are planning to go for some of their higher end configurations
 

sam_dean

Suspended
Sep 9, 2022
1,262
1,090
well, Apple's base MBPs (at least the 14 and 16" versions) are coming with at least 16GB, the base Max configuration even has 32GB.
yes, they are expensive, but nothing out of the ordinary compared to high end laptops from other brands.
it's quickly getting silly again though if you are planning to go for some of their higher end configuration setups
It's 2023 and it is shameful that Apple pushed such little RAM onto those Macs.

Just shameful. It should be double.
 

leman

macrumors Core
Oct 14, 2008
19,041
18,638
8GB RAM & 256GB SSD for base models started in 2012. It's time for an upgrade 11 years later.

That’s hardly a good argument though. You’d need to demonstrate that 8GB is not adequate anymore if you want to argue that the base RAM should be increased. The reason that the capacity remained unchanged is simply because software RAM needs trend has leveled off. Maybe now we’ll need more RAM because if all the ML stuff.

BTW, it’s not like there was no progress in these ten years. The memory bandwidth has improved by a factor of 3 to 4. Dual-channel PC3-12800 in 2012 gave you around 25GB/s. Now we have 100GB/s in the M2.

Most PCs of similar class to Apple have been configuring their machines with 16 GB for some time. Yes, you can easily find 8GB laptops, but by and large most seem to start off with 16

I dunno, I was curious about this and had a look a week ago. Premium laptops from Dell, Lenovo, MS, HP all start with 8GB RAM.
 

sam_dean

Suspended
Sep 9, 2022
1,262
1,090
That’s hardly a good argument though. You’d need to demonstrate that 8GB is not adequate anymore if you want to argue that the base RAM should be increased. The reason that the capacity remained unchanged is simply because software RAM needs trend has leveled off. Maybe now we’ll need more RAM because if all the ML stuff.

BTW, it’s not like there was no progress in these ten years. The memory bandwidth has improved by a factor of 3 to 4. Dual-channel PC3-12800 in 2012 gave you around 25GB/s. Now we have 100GB/s in the M2.
The cost of NAND flash memory and RAM chips have dropped over a decade so they should increase it for the purpose as shallow as marketing.
 

maflynn

macrumors Haswell
May 3, 2009
73,307
43,129
That’s hardly a good argument though. You’d need to demonstrate that 8GB is not adequate anymore if you want to argue that the base RAM should be increased. The reason that the capacity remained unchanged is simply because software RAM needs trend has leveled off. Maybe now we’ll need more RAM because if all the ML stuff.

BTW, it’s not like there was no progress in these ten years. The memory bandwidth has more than tripled.



I dunno, I was curious about this and had a look a week ago. Premium laptops from Dell, Lenovo, MS, HP all start with 8GB RAM.
Dell XPS. With the filter I see 30 laptops that offer greater the 8GB and only 5 with
1675515563191.png


HP, looking at laptops at a price point of 1000+ dollars and above (to try to get to an apples to apples comparison) and all of them at 16GB of ram if not more. Yes, 300, 600 dollar laptops will have 8gb, but Apple offers a premium brand and so using similar price points to get as close to the type of laptops that apple sells shows 16gb

Lenovo, they shockingly sell a laptop with 4GB, clearly a horrible option, regardless of what price point we're talking about. I think most of the 8GB models on lenovo are sub 1,000 laptops, but I did find 2 or 3 that were over that 1,000 price point
1675516100377.png


Comparing Mac Mini price points, there are consistently more 8gb machines, so from that perspective I was wrong.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.