Home Forums Apple Mac + Windows PC How much RAM does an Apple Mac need?

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  • #4370 Reply
    Roland Waddilove
    Keymaster

    Apple Silicon Macs are here and this is a brand new architecture that is completely different to the previous generation of Macs that are based on Intel processors.

    After looking at the specification of the models that are available, some people have complained that they don’t have enough RAM. There are only two options, 8 GB and 16 GB and for some people, 16 GB is not enough. Is that a drawback of these new Macs? Will it be difficult to work with large applications or large files?

    Only having 16 GB of memory on an Intel Mac is a serious limitation for some people, such as those that work with very large images in Photoshop for example. They can easily use more than this and then the Mac starts paging memory to and from the disk, which slows things down. They need 32 GB or sometimes even more.

    Right now, benchmarks and real world usage is unknown, but if you are reading this a month or more from now, we may know the answer to how much RAM an Apple Mac needs.

    I suspect that you cannot compare RAM usage between Intel and Apple Silicon Macs. They use RAM more efficiently and less may be needed. Compare iPhones with Android phones for example, iPhones run well with much less RAM than Android phones because they use RAM differently and more efficiently.

    The same will probably be true of Apple Silicon Macs. Although they max out at 16 GB, they may run as well as an Intel Mac with 20 or 24 GB of RAM.

    In addition to this, Apple Silicon Macs can access the SSD storage much faster than Intel Macs, so if memory does need to be paged to disk, it will do so far quicker and it will be less of a performance hit.

    We will have to wait until people get their hands on these Macs, but I suspect most people will find 16 GB of RAM is fine. With its greater memory efficiency, someone like me would probably find 8 GB plenty.

    If you get one of these new Macs, let me know how well they work and if RAM is a problem.

    #4408 Reply
    tim

    I saw something on the web about this and someone tested the 8 GB M1 Mac and a 16 GB M1 Mac. There wasn’t a lot of difference in the speed. The Mac with 16 GB of RAM was faster, but not that much faster and the 8 GB Mac coped very well with the tests. This suggests that 8 GB may be OK for most people and only power users need a 16 GB M1 Mac. It is early days of course, and more information and tests are likely to appear.

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