Apple’s new MacBook Pro models are powered by the cutting-edge M3 Apple silicon, which promises to deliver blazing-fast performance and efficiency. But how much RAM do you need for your MacBook? to make the most of this new chip?
The base configuration 14-inch model starting at AED 6,899 comes with just 8GB of unified memory, which Apple claims is equivalent to 16GB of regular RAM on a PC.
But is that really true, and is it enough for your workflow?
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What is unified memory, and how does it work?
Unified memory is a new technology Apple introduced with the M1 chip last year. It allows the CPU, GPU, and Neural Engine to access the same memory pool, eliminating the need to copy data between multiple memory pools. This reduces latency, increases bandwidth, and improves performance and efficiency.
Apple says that unified memory is more efficient than regular RAM because it can dynamically allocate memory to different tasks depending on the demand.
For example, if you’re editing a video, the GPU can use more memory than the CPU, and vice versa if you’re browsing the web. This means you don’t need as much memory as you would on a PC, where the CPU and GPU have separate memory pools.
However, unified memory also has some drawbacks. First, it is not upgradable, so you must choose the right amount of memory when buying your MacBook Pro. Another is that it can run out of space if you have too many apps or tabs open or working with large files or complex projects.
When that happens, the system starts swapping memory to the SSD, which is much slower than unified memory- especially on the base MacBook models. This cause slowdowns and stuttering. Moreover, swapping memory to the SSD can also wear the SSD out faster, potentially reducing its lifespan.
Who needs 8GB, and who needs more?
The answer to this question depends on what kind of user you are and what tasks you do on your MacBook Pro. Here are some general guidelines to help you decide:
If you only use your MacBook Pro for basic tasks like web browsing, email, word processing, streaming, and social media, then 8GB of unified memory is sufficient. You won’t notice much difference between 8GB and 16GB unless you have dozens of tabs or apps open simultaneously.
If you edit photos using apps like Photoshop, Lightroom, or Affinity Photo, consider upgrading to 16GB of unified memory. Photo editing can be memory-intensive, especially with high-resolution images, multiple layers, or HDR.
8GB of memory might be enough for occasional or light photo editing, but 16GB or more will give you more headroom and smoother performance.
If you create content using apps like Final Cut Pro, Premiere Pro, Logic Pro, or GarageBand, then you definitely need more than 8GB of unified memory. Content creation can be very demanding on memory, especially if you work with 4K or 8K video, multiple tracks, or effects.
8GB of unified memory will likely cause frequent swapping, and 16GB is the minimum you should get. Go for 24GB or 32GB if you can afford it.
If you work with video professionally using apps like DaVinci Resolve, After Effects, or Cinema 4D, you need the maximum amount of unified memory possible. Video production can be extremely taxing on memory, especially if you work with high-end codecs, 3D graphics, or VR.
We recommend 32GB or 64GB of unified memory, and 128GB is ideal if you work with the most demanding workflows.
Is upgrading to 16GB or more worth it?
The answer to this question depends on your budget and your needs. If you can afford and need it, upgrading to 16GB or more of unified memory is worth it. It will improve your performance, productivity, and user experience and future-proof your MacBook Pro for years.
However, if you can’t afford or don’t need it, upgrading to 16GB or more of unified memory might not be worth it. It will increase your cost, and you might not notice much difference in everyday tasks.
So, how Much RAM Do You Need for Your MacBook?
The M3 MacBook Pro is a fantastic machine with incredible performance and efficiency. However, it also requires you to carefully choose how much memory you need.
Pick the one that suits you best based on your budget and the workflows we’ve highlighted above. If you’re still confused and not into high-end video editing, we recommend 16GB. Apple Silicon processors are powerful enough to last you a few years- it’s best to compliment it with the amount of RAM that also does that.
Technology Content Crafter. Helping you unbox the latest in tech trends, especially with laptops and mobile devices. A PC gaming enthusiast who loves to cook and is currently obsessed with sim games and pizza dough.