Danish Kapoor
Danish Kapoor

8 GB of RAM is not enough. Not even with Apple Silicon

Three years ago, Apple columnist Jason Snell published an article in MacWorld in which he explained that with Apple Silicon, the chips with ARM architecture in the Macs and the unified memory being part of these, memory was no longer what it had been before, and it was necessary to change the way of thinking about it compared to what we had at the time when Apple used x86.

Snell came to say that the move to unified memory and ARM had caused much better performance with 8 GB of memory, the minimum amount delivered by Apple in these devices, than what 8 GB of RAM would have in a Mac with an Intel chip.

Apple accepted the same thing a few days ago, emphasizing that, according to them, 8 GB of memory on a Mac with Apple Silicon is equivalent to 16 GB of RAM on a PC. AND They are right for certain types of tasksespecially for those for which the current M chip is specialized, such as video editing, 3D rendering or augmented reality.

But that doesn’t mean that 8 GB is acceptable for everyone. And less depending on what prices.

Problems with eyelashes

A great comparison of Max Tech on YouTube facing the new MacBook Pro 14″ M3 with the same chip but different memory (8 GB vs 16 GB) helps to understand where is the problem (and where not) with the 8 GB. Although some tasks hardly present any differences, thus highlighting the fantastic performance of the basic model, such as exporting video in ProRes, Apple’s own codec; when the format changes the difference is triggered.

In ProRes, the 8GB model took 1:30 minutes to export the video. The 16 GB, only five seconds less, 1:25. On the other hand, for heavier tasks, such as an export without its own codecs or a multitasking export, with more background applications, the 8 GB model took much longer to complete the job. In one of the examples shown by Max Tech It went from five to twenty minutes.

This is important because in real life we ​​often have to continue working, and it is not an option to walk away from the computer and let it complete the task without asking you anything else in the meantime. When opening Photoshop, in fact, the 8 GB model interrupted the export.

There is no need to go to examples of a specific type of professional, who edits heavy photos or video clips. Tab management is something universal… and another aspect where the 8 GB model clicks. An open tab? Great. Five tabs? Manageable. Twenty, thirty tabs open? The problems begin.

From the speed of the computer itself and its ability to keep content open in the background until the moment when we need to execute a heavy task without closing those tabs.

Of course we could save that list of tabs (browsers are making it easier each time) and close everything to isolate the work on the application that we really need at that moment. Or of course we could close almost all the applications completely, as a habit, and open them only when we really need to use them. But That is not what we expect from modern computers, especially if they cost more than 2,000 euroslike the basic MacBook Pro M3 and its 2,029 euros.

Besides, A computer is not bought thinking about what we need today, but rather about what we will need for the coming years., and that is where 8 GB pales even more. The need for resources always grows, operating systems are updated with more background functions and in general we need more memory.

The alternative is to adopt a minimalist approach to using our computer, leaving only the tabs and applications open that we absolutely need at all times. But a computer should not be extra work or an additional worry. In fact, It should mean exactly the opposite.

And that’s where we are. 8 GB is enough for those who use their computer soberly. And surely, therefore, you will only need equipment with a certain budget. But in computers no longer from 2,000 euros upwards, but from 1,500 euros upwards, especially when they carry the last name ‘Pro’, we cannot expect only 8 GB almost in 2024.

8 GB is what the iMac had in 2012, eleven years ago. At that time, the iPhone (5) had 1 GB of RAM. Today the iPhone 15 Pro comes with 8 GB of RAM. iMac, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and Mac mini, also with 8 GB. An anomaly.

Also an anomaly is the price of memory expansions when we buy a Mac: 230 euros for each jump (from 8 to 16 GB, from 16 to 32 GB…), which does not cost more than 50 euros on the market. It is so true that Apple does not use loose plates, but rather integrated into the chip; Like, even with that nuance, this difference doesn’t sound reasonable.

Featured image | Applesphere.

Danish Kapoor