Is 8GB of RAM enough for your MacBook? Find out now!
Intro to 8GB RAM MacBook, is it enough?
Apple launched the 13-inch M series processor MacBook Air and MacBook Pro some time ago but many people facing a dilemma between the 8GB or 16GB RAM model.
The latest M2 MacBook Air 15-inch comes with a standard 8GB RAM as well.
Deciding between these options might impact your computer’s performance and may come with an additional cost of RM800 but is it truly worth spending more money if the performance difference isn’t substantial?
Wait, what does RAM do actually?
Having more RAM is comparable to having more desk space to put more books; it allows your computer to handle multiple open applications, documents and files simultaneously without any lag.
However, it’s important not to compare your past experience with Intel-based processor computers, which often had a 30-50% speed lag when compared to Apple M processor computers.
An Apple M1 computer with 8GB RAM can deliver performance akin to an Intel i7 computer with 16GB RAM.
Comparison between 8GB & 16GB RAM MacBook
A reputable YouTuber named Max Tech conducted a 20-minute deep-dive comparing the performance difference between 8GB and 16GB of RAM on an M1 MacBook Pro.
His experiments focused on Xcode, video exporting and Adobe Lightroom. In all three tests, the 8GB version fell behind its 16GB counterpart, with the 8K export to 4K being the most significant difference.
In that particular scenario, the 8GB M1 took eight minutes longer to complete the task compared to the 16GB model. If you frequently engage in heavy video editing work, opting for 8GB might cause issues. However, if video work is your bread and butter, it’s likely that you’d prefer nothing less than 16GB.
For more detailed insights, feel free to watch the video below.
Connecting an external display
The M1 MacBook Air with 8GB RAM has 7 cores, while the 16GB RAM version comes with 8 cores. However, for most people connecting to an external display monitor, the 7-core configuration should be sufficient. It can still handle multiple YouTube videos with high resolutions without dropping any frames.
The MacBook Air with an M1 processor supports connecting a single external display at a time, alongside the internal display, with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz. Monitors like the Pro Display XDR function well with this configuration. In comparison, the 2020 MacBook Air with Intel allowed connecting up to two 4K displays, one 5K display or one 6K display through its Thunderbolt 3 ports, in addition to the internal display.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro equipped with an M1 processor also supports connecting only one external display simultaneously, working in tandem with the laptop’s screen and supports up to 6K resolution at 60Hz, similar to the MacBook Air. Conversely, the Intel 13-inch MacBook Pro enabled connecting two 4K displays, one 5K display or one 6K display using its four Thunderbolt 3 ports, alongside the built-in display.
Pro Tip 1
Apple Silicon-based Macs can handle only one external monitor through a Thunderbolt 3 port, except for the Mac mini, which has an additional HDMI port. If you need to use multiple external monitors, consider opting for the MacBook Pro 14-inch or 16-inch models.
Conclusion can you really live with 8GB of RAM?
For basic tasks, paperwork, office work and YouTube, an 8GB MacBook Air or Pro should be sufficient. However, if you require a Mac that can handle multiple programs simultaneously, heavy audio-video editing, coding or programming, we recommend going for the 16GB RAM model or higher for MacBook Pro models.
It’s worth noting that Apple has optimized the swap process to the extent that it’s hardly noticeable. Even though medium to heavy users may quickly consume 8GB of RAM, the efficiency of Apple’s SSDs and SoC in creating and using virtual memory means you probably won’t even notice when you run out of RAM.
The RAM component in Apple’s SoCs is not physically a part of the chipset. Instead, it is connected through the same substrate, which means the unified memory relies on an interposer substrate (a layer of silicon) for the same task. This design results in much faster performance!
As a student, is 8GB of RAM sufficient?
The answer varies depending on the course and subjects you are studying. Your specific requirements will determine which Mac model and RAM capacity are necessary to ensure your study experience is not disrupted.
Is more RAM equivalent to a faster Mac?
RAM is indeed an essential factor influencing a Mac computer’s speed. However, the new M processors MacBook Pros have demonstrated exceptional efficiency in utilizing virtual RAM, thanks to their SoC and high-speed SSDs. As a result, you probably won’t notice a significant difference.
Is RAM upgradeable after purchase?
We recommend upgrading your RAM during the purchase on the Apple official site. Although upgrading later is possible with certain modifications from us, it’s worth nothing that the price is not cheap.
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