Will 8GB of RAM be enough for my rMBP?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by bowlman23, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. bowlman23 macrumors regular

    Jun 20, 2007
    I'm about to pull the trigger on a refurbed 15" rMBP with the 2.6GHz and 512GB SSD. The price is so enticing at the $2379 mark.

    My question is: do you think 8GB of RAM will be enough? I do use Photoshop, LightRoom, InDesign, Premiere fairly often.

    The RAM issue is my only hesitation. I love the fact that I'd get much more space on the SSD for a few hundred bucks less.

  2. Arnezie macrumors 65816


    Oct 10, 2011
    If your planing on keeping it for more than 3 years then I would say go for the 16 and downgrade to a 256 if you must. I have a 256 and external 1tb hard drive.
  3. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    8GB is probably enough for the use you described, but you can't add RAM after purchase. You can, however, expand storage with external drives.

    If you've been running those apps on another computer already, to determine if you can benefit from more RAM, launch Activity Monitor and click the System Memory tab at the bottom to check your page outs. Page outs are cumulative since your last restart, so the best way to check is to restart your computer and track page outs under your normal workload (the apps, browser pages and documents you normally would have open). If your page outs are significant (say 1GB or more) under normal use, you may benefit from more RAM. If your page outs are zero or very low during normal use, you probably won't see any performance improvement from adding RAM.

    Using Activity Monitor to read System Memory and determine how much RAM is being used
  4. bill-p macrumors 68000

    Jul 23, 2011
    While rMBP does indeed use more RAM than regular MacBooks, I haven't truly seen a scenario where I need more than 8GB of RAM, and I open Lightroom + Photoshop + Illustrator along with either XCode or Eclipse a lot on a daily basis. Not to mention other apps.

    Once Apple fixes those memory leaks in Safari, I bet it'll be even better.
  5. el-John-o macrumors 65816

    Nov 29, 2010
    I run 16GB in my MBP but that's because it was cheap. I'd think twice about the price point Apple has for the same in the rMBP.

    The biggest thing to consider is, how long you intend to leave this machine in 'primary service', when will you upgrade. 8GB of RAM is plenty today for most uses. I rarely use more than 6 or 7 gigs 99% of the time. 2 or 3 years from now it will still probably be enough for most things in my humble, and probably controversial, opinion. Obviously 'more is better' with RAM, so, 2 or 3 years from now, 16 gigs will be even better!

    But we have a lot of people on this forum using 5 and 6 year old MacBook's, MacBook Pro's, Mac Pro's and iMac's. If you're one of those people who is going to invest in that rMBP now, and not upgrade again for 5 years, you might want to more strongly consider the 16GB upgrade. Software is going to use more RAM, the image files you work with (whether computer generated, or higher and higher resolution digital pictures, etc.) will get bigger and thus use more RAM, and 5 years from now OS X will use more RAM.

    Let's do some use cases here. Assume 2012, not 2013, as it's only been 2013 for a few days.

    Operating System
    In 2007 (5 years ago) Apple released Mac OS X Leopard, in June. It was the latest OS 5 years ago, freshly released.

    System Requirements : 512MB of RAM (we're talking about RAM so let's just focus on that)

    Today (2012) We have freshly release OS X Mountain Lion, it's the latest OS, it's what you'll get on your rMBP.

    System Requirements: 2GB of RAM

    How 8GB and 16GB compare

    In 2007 (5 years ago) the base model MBP included 2GB of RAM. That is 4x the minimum stated by the OS. Today, the base model MBP (non Retina) includes 4GB of RAM, or 2x the minimum stated by the OS, and is frequently upgraded by owners.

    In your case, at 8GB, you are back at 4x the minimum stated by the OS.

    At 16GB, you are 8x the minimum supported by the OS, (by the way, I'm using the OS as a 'baseline', kind of a snapshot at what software requires, as that IS what Apple does with the OS minimum RAM specs, the OS itself uses much less than that), or the equivalent of a Leopard machine in 2007 running 4GB of RAM

    So the bottom is, if you were running a 5 year old machine today, would you rather it be running 2GB of RAM, or 4GB? Many would say 2GB is not enough to really get any work done, even 4GB is limiting. Although the discussions back then said that 4GB was silly! On a machine that shipped with Leopard, RAM is upgradable, so it's no big deal. On the rMBP, it's not.

    Moot point if it's going to be upgraded in a year or two, but just consider where you'll be in 5 years and make your decision there. What do you rely on your notebook for, and what kind of performance can you tolerate 3-5 years from now, knowing that it cannot be upgraded (aside from the SSD)?
  6. MikesGravity macrumors 6502

    Oct 29, 2008
    Southeast MI
    you'll be fine with 8GB. If I could add 16 myself without the giant premium going through apple I would but I got 8GB to save more $$
  7. el-John-o macrumors 65816

    Nov 29, 2010
    It's worth mentioning (my sig reminded me) that I run CS6 and other Apps on a Windows Machine with 4GB of RAM. I built it a couple years ago and only bought 4GB of RAM. It works just fine, and is plenty quick, though I do occasionally jump into virtual memory. The difference though, is that I can upgrade it any time, and I do intend to (probably to 16GB), just been too lazy to as of late! :p
  8. TofSanity macrumors 6502a


    Oct 29, 2010
    I had the 15" rMBP 2.3 with 8GB of RAM. I eventually returned it to purchase a 15" rMBP 2.6 with 16GB of RAM. I did this because Aperture was using up alot of the memory and giving me a lot of page outs. I haven't used any other photo editing software, so i can only speak to Aperture, which seems to be a RAM hog in the first place.

    I am much happier with the 16GB of RAM
  9. mcpix macrumors regular

    May 13, 2005
    I was faced with the same dilemma. A new rMBP with 16GB was $2,399 and a refurbished rMBP with 8 GB was $1,869. I finally decided that the $530 difference was big enough to choose the 8GB refurbished unit.

    Although I have 12GB on my iMacs, I only have 8GB on my 2009 MBP, and it works fine for Photoshop, Lightroom and Aperture. It's true that in 3-4 years I may wish I had 16GB, but by that time I'll probably upgrade again anyway.
  10. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    For now 8GB sounds nice, in 2-3 years maybe not.
  11. Orlandoech macrumors 68040


    Jun 2, 2011
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Thats what Im thinking.

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