MacBook Pro 15" Retina - 8GB enough?

Started Jan 7, 2013 | Discussions
BelePhotography Regular Member • Posts: 373
MacBook Pro 15" Retina - 8GB enough?

I have an offer on MB Pro 15" Retina with 8GB (MC975SM). Since this is my first Mac and I have no reference what so ever I was wondering whether 8 GB is enough for PS6 and LR, or will I be left wanting more. Considering it's impossible to update I don't want to make a mistake here (which is kind of hard as I'm getting a 15% discount).

On my PC with Windows 7/8 I had 16 GB and it was always lightning fast, even when editing large D800 RAW pics. It had an SSD and a similar graphic card to the the MB Pro (Intel HD4000 + GeForce GT xxxM - not sure which one exactly anymore :-))

I'm not a fan of working with layers since I prefer Nik Software and their U-Point technology for my needs, so I believe that keeps my RAM consumptions somewhat down as well.

What's your thought? Enough? Or just barely so?

Storage is external for most part - so no problem with the 256GB SSD, or do you disagree?

Cheers,

Bele

p.s. I think Apple made a big mistake from a consumer perspective by integrating both hdd and ram into the body of the retina versions, instead of making it swappable - but I guess we all agree on that one.

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Art Jacks Senior Member • Posts: 2,690
Re: MacBook Pro 15" Retina - 8GB enough?
1

I had a late 17" MBP to which I installed 16Gb Ram as I felt the nef files from my D800 were slowing up the machine particularly  when several files were open and half processed in CS6. I have since purchased the rMBP and because of the above I got the top spec'd version with 16Gb, my thinking being that any cameras launched in the future will not be making their files smaller. Your decision will depend on the size of the files generated by your camera, i.e are you shooting raw or jpeg etc ? my nef files when imported into CS6 become 75 Mb approx and when processed and saved as a TIFF become just over 200Mb ! Not sure if the above will be of any help but that is just my experience, you will enjoy the screen irrespective of which model you get

Tom_N Forum Pro • Posts: 12,688
Re: MacBook Pro 15" Retina - 8GB enough?

BelePhotography wrote:

I have an offer on MB Pro 15" Retina with 8GB (MC975SM). Since this is my first Mac and I have no reference what so ever I was wondering whether 8 GB is enough for PS6 and LR, or will I be left wanting more. Considering it's impossible to update I don't want to make a mistake here (which is kind of hard as I'm getting a 15% discount).'

8 GB might be plenty for now, but since RAM is soldered in on this model, and upgrading RAM is one of the most cost-effective ways to extend the useful life of a computer, I'd say that custom-ordering a 15" Retina MBP with 16 GB of RAM is a no-brainer.

p.s. I think Apple made a big mistake from a consumer perspective by integrating both hdd and ram into the body of the retina versions, instead of making it swappable - but I guess we all agree on that one.

The RAM and SSD arrangements are part of the trade-off for making the machine thinner and lighter than the regular 15" MBPs (despite having a higher-capacity battery).

If you would prefer a 15" Mac notebook with user-serviceable RAM and a user-serviceable HD bay, there are the non-Retina 15" models.  Same CPUs and GPUs, more built-in ports, and on those, you have the option of a "hi-res" (1680x1050) anti-glare screen.

OP BelePhotography Regular Member • Posts: 373
Re: MacBook Pro 15" Retina - 8GB enough?

First of all - I agree - a 16GB upgrade would be better. Have to consider that.

Tom_N wrote:

p.s. I think Apple made a big mistake from a consumer perspective by integrating both hdd and ram into the body of the retina versions, instead of making it swappable - but I guess we all agree on that one.

The RAM and SSD arrangements are part of the trade-off for making the machine thinner and lighter than the regular 15" MBPs (despite having a higher-capacity battery).

That's what they'd like us to believe. If they are such great designers, they must have seen other options. I think it's a cash cow. What saved wheight and space was the removal of an optical device and the usage of SSDs only. Remove the optical bay on the old MB and you'd have place for even more batteries

If you would prefer a 15" Mac notebook with user-serviceable RAM and a user-serviceable HD bay, there are the non-Retina 15" models. Same CPUs and GPUs, more built-in ports, and on those, you have the option of a "hi-res" (1680x1050) anti-glare screen.

So chose the lower level model to receive user upgrade possibility - and how is that consumer friendly. Not speak of how overpriced the upgrades actually are (in both cases).

Not only is the upgrading an issue on the retina versions. Should a memory or ssd module be faulty, the whole machine has to be replaced and honestly - Apple isn't known for their great warranties.

But - they do make beautiful hardware and software and I might be somewhat biased

Regards,
Bele

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Tom_N Forum Pro • Posts: 12,688
Re: MacBook Pro 15" Retina - 8GB enough?

BelePhotography wrote:

The RAM and SSD arrangements are part of the trade-off for making the machine thinner and lighter than the regular 15" MBPs (despite having a higher-capacity battery).

That's what they'd like us to believe. If they are such great designers, they must have seen other options. I think it's a cash cow. What saved wheight and space was the removal of an optical device and the usage of SSDs only. Remove the optical bay on the old MB and you'd have place for even more batteries

If the RAM was socketed and user-upgradable, the machine might have needed to be thicker to accomodate the sockets and a way of accessing them.  There might have been layout issues for other components (have you seen the teardown articles showing just how packed components are in that machine?)  You still wouldn't gain maximum RAM capacity:  the unofficial limit (16 GB) on the non-Retina 15" MBPs is the same as the custom-order limit (16 GB) on the 15" Retina ones.

Yes, 8 GB of RAM for a non-Retina MBP costs $40 to $50 from a third party, vs. the $200 that Apple wants on a Retina MBP.  The $200 price may be annoying, but if you're in the market for a 15" Retina MBP, the difference of $150 isn't all THAT much in the grand scheme of things.

If you would prefer a 15" Mac notebook with user-serviceable RAM and a user-serviceable HD bay, there are the non-Retina 15" models. Same CPUs and GPUs, more built-in ports, and on those, you have the option of a "hi-res" (1680x1050) anti-glare screen.

So chose the lower level model to receive user upgrade possibility - and how is that consumer friendly. Not speak of how overpriced the upgrades actually are (in both cases).

The 15" non-Retina MBPs are not "lower-level" models in terms of computing power; and they have more features (internal upgradability; Gigabit Ethernet, Firewire 800, optical drives) than the Retina models in some respects.

They aren't "thin and light", but that's an engineering tradeoff for the extra onboard components.  And they don't have the Retina screen, but if they did, you'd either be looking at shorter battery life, or at a machine that had to be larger and heavier (to accomodate the extra battery cells).

Jen Yates Senior Member • Posts: 1,414
Re: MacBook Pro 15" Retina - 8GB enough?

BelePhotography wrote:

That's what they'd like us to believe. If they are such great designers, they must have seen other options. I think it's a cash cow.

But they still produce the older format of macbook pros with user upgradeable RAM. Apple produce a premium thin and light machine and get knocked for ripping people off because it costs more money.

Oh, and one final thing. It's Apple - Who know a thing or two about turning a profit. Everything they sell is a cash cow. The more they sell the more profit they make.

vfontjr Regular Member • Posts: 112
Re: MacBook Pro 15" Retina - 8GB enough?

I have 16Gb on my 15" rMBP and run an app called Free Memory. The app shows how much memory is in use. When I'm doing simple office related work, I generally have about 10Gb free RAM at any one time. If I'm working with CS6, I'm usually only left with 3-4Gb free RAM which means I'm using 12Gb. I'd go with the 16Gb model.

David M. Jenkins Regular Member • Posts: 182
Re: MacBook Pro 15" Retina - 8GB enough?

First, let me say I am not a power user but I am finding 8GB quite sufficient on my rMBP15. I use Aperture with RAW files from 30D & G15 Canons with additional processing in Perfect Photo Suite 7: I occasionally use Pixelmator if I want to do some Photoshop type things.

I'm wondering if the SSD makes the issue of additional memory somewhat moot as any swapping to VRAM should be faster than with a physical HD. Perhaps someone with more technical knowledge than me could comment?

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