8GB vs 16GB MacBook Pro (2021)

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Debating on if you should spend extra money to get the 16GB RAM MacBook Pro over 8GB?

Personally, I recommend going with the 16GB model if you can afford it. It’s going to make everything run much more smoothly than with 8GB.

16GB of RAM will allow you for better performance in multitasking. It will also reduce lag when using demanding tasks, like video/photo editing.

In terms of actual speed, 16GB of RAM won’t make your MacBook run faster. Though, the 16GB MacBook Pro has a better CPU, which is actually what makes it faster.

For relatively light demanding tasks, like Internet browsing, word processing, emails, 8GB will be more than enough. Although, with higher demanding software like video editing, photoshop and Blender 3D, you are definitely going to need the 16GB model.

Take note: you can’t expand RAM on a MacBook. Meaning, if you buy a MacBook with 8GB RAM, you’re basically stuck with 8GB RAM.

Right now, 8GB would be fine. But will 8GB will be enough in 4 years? A modern computer with 8GB still run okay with most programs, if it has a good enough processor to make up for the lack of RAM. But eventually, developers will write and update their apps to serve a 16GB norm.

That being said, your best move would be to get the 16GB model if you want it to stay relevant with future minimum system requirements.

Table of Contents

8GB vs 16GB (MacBook Pro)

There are two differences between these two models: the processor and the memory.

8GB

Display

13 inches

Processor

1.4GHz 8th-gen Intel Core i5

Storage

512GB SSD

Video card

Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645

Memory

8GB

16GB

Display

13 inches

Processor

2.0GHz 10th-gen Intel Core i5

Storage

512GB SSD

Video card

Intel Iris Plus Graphics

Memory

16GB

Processor (CPU)

The 8GB has an 8th Gen Intel Core i5. The 16GB model has a 10th Gen Intel Core i5.

Both models have quad-core CPUs. Though, the 16GB MacBook Pro has a better CPU, making it better to handle heavy software and handle multitasking.

Memory (RAM)

Obviously, there is the difference in RAM (8GB and 16GB).

Personally, I would choose the 16GB model without hesitation. The additional RAM is not only worth it, but very important to run heavy software smoothly (ex: video/photo editing).

The 16GB model also comes with a 10th gen Intel Core i5 CPU (which is the current gen).

This CPU has a better architecture and perform more efficiently than the 8th gen i5 (the 8GB MacBook’s CPU). Therefore, making is more reliable and optimized for productivity applications.

Advantage of MacBook Pro (16GB)

How much RAM is enough?

It depends on what you do with the laptop:

Average user

For the average user, 8GB RAM is enough. Browsing on Internet, word processing, light photo/video editing will be smooth enough.

Although, the intensity of these task will be very limited.

Like for Internet browsing, you might want to limit the number of active tabs you have, since it will definitely eat up a lot of memory.

Stick very few active tabs, and you shouldn’t experience a lot of lag.

Same with video editing, 8GB will be enough for small/medium projects. However, big projects with lots of footage will definitely make your system lag.

Productivity work

For big productivity software, like video editing, Blender 3D and Photoshop, I strongly recommend getting at least 16GB. It will make your life 100 times easier.

Not that 8GB isn’t capable of doing these stuff. But there will definitely be moments where your system will need all of its memory, and 8GB won’t be enough to perform smoothly.

16GB will also drastically reduce latency when switching windows, software. Therefore making multitasking very easy with 16GB.

Which is better for video editing?

Since video editing is a very demanding in RAM memory, the 16GB MacBook Pro is obviously better suited for video editing.

Don’t get me wrong, you could do video editing with the 8GB model. Though, you might experience some lags when working on large projects, or having a lot of footage.

The 16GB would be a lot more convenient in that case, and allow you for a smoother video editing experience.

Can you see the difference? (8GB vs 16GB)

Yes, of course you can see the difference!

A common issue I find with 8GB memory laptops is that they’re very sluggish when they have too many applications open at once. Multitasking is very hard to do, it really feels like these laptops just gives up on performance and let you suffer with the lag.

I personally have a YouTube channel, and I can’t imagine relying on 8GB of RAM to produce my videos.

It wouldn’t have the same smoothness; exporting would be slower and so on. 16GB is an absolute minimum for me.

Also, I’m pretty sure 16GB will become a standard for most applications very soon.

If you look 10 years in the past, 8GB was the standard. Even for gaming computers. Obviously, that’s because software and games were less demanding.

Nowadays, software is becoming more and more advanced. Games graphics are getting more realistic than ever.

If you want your MacBook to stay relevant, go with 16GB. You will probably save money in the long run.

When would you need 16GB RAM?

You will need 16GB of RAM for using heavy software like Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro and Photoshop.

16GB can also become handy for browsing on Chrome with lots of active tabs.

You might have thought browsing on internet is processor-based, but no. It’s actually the RAM that does most of the work.

For gaming, 16GB RAM is also very handy. Games with realistic graphics often recommend at least 16GB for smooth gameplay. And yes, the 2020 MacBook Pro 13” is capable of gaming! It can run GTA V fairly smoothly with around 60fps on low settings.

Best budget: MacBook Pro 8GB

Display

13 inches

Processor

1.4GHz 8th-gen Intel Core i5

Storage

512GB SSD

Video card

Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645

Memory

8GB

Best for productivity: MacBook Pro 16GB

Display

13 inches

Processor

2.0GHz 10th-gen Intel Core i5

Storage

512GB SSD

Video card

Intel Iris Plus Graphics

Memory

16GB

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