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M1 Macs… how much RAM is enough ?
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: September 18, 2021 08:01PM
My late 2011 Mini is past EOL and being annoying. It’s time to grow up and join the 20’s. The Mini had 16G of RAM in it, and that made it snappy, despite the spinning disc drive.

Would the standard 8GB suffice for strictly amateurish usage for the next few years ? Apple apps, photos, some simple editing, MS Office, web apps, etc…

I’m contemplating buying the iMac to avoid all the cables that the Mini seemed to need over the years. Online backup and whatnot will rule the day. I may get a 500GB SSD model just for the space.

What say ye ?
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Re: M1 Macs… how much RAM is enough ?
Posted by: Sarcany
Date: September 18, 2021 08:21PM
Since the GPU shares memory and takes what it needs on the fly and both OS and apps inevitably grab more resources with each iteration, I suggest going for 16GB if you can do so.







Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/18/2021 08:21PM by Sarcany.
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Re: M1 Macs… how much RAM is enough ?
Posted by: AllGold
Date: September 18, 2021 08:23PM
The consensus here has been because of the way the M1 handles memory that 8GB is plenty for all but the biggest power users. Lots of reports of users here, including myself, who have 8GB M1 machines and don't want for more.

I think bumping up the storage to 512GB to have the extra space makes more sense.

The only argument for getting 16GB RAM is the extra $200 isn't much over the course of several years.



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Re: M1 Macs… how much RAM is enough ?
Posted by: N-OS X-tasy!
Date: September 18, 2021 08:52PM
ALWAYS max out RAM during the initial purchase when the option to add more later does not exist.



It is what it is.
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Re: M1 Macs… how much RAM is enough ?
Posted by: Speedy
Date: September 18, 2021 08:54PM
Quote
N-OS X-tasy!
ALWAYS max out RAM during the initial purchase when the option to add more later does not exist.

Yeah, but he only buys nice very ten years.



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: M1 Macs… how much RAM is enough ?
Posted by: jdc
Date: September 18, 2021 08:58PM
If you have been fine with a 2011 mini and a spinner -- then one would assume your usage is pretty dang small, moving to the base mini, even with 8/256 would be *more* than capable.

There are literally thousands of YT videos with photographers, video editors, hardware geeks, etc showing the performance of the mini vs anything intel, even with 8 GB ram. Its astonishing.

FWIW, ram doesn't make your mac "faster". It gives you more headroom to run more apps, without affecting performance.

Its easy enough to pickup a 1 TB external SSD (about $100) and use it for photo/movie/music storage and then a large spinner for backup. (if you don't already have one)

Its the setup I have been using for many clients now. base mini, + 1 TB NVME, + 4-5TB portable USB drive ($800 for all 3) and dual 24- 27" monitors ($300+ depending). Operation is silent. everything is snappy. Have one sitting on my wifes desk right now. She VPNs into her work PC all day.

Sure, if you have the $ to go 16/512, why not., but more than likely necessary.

oh.. think amazon has the 8/256 for $599 and the 8/512 for $855 right now. Cheapest Ive seen the 16/512 is $999? or maybe $1050. Try the appleinsider deals page.

If you go iMac, don't get the base model, move up one price point. the extra $ is worth it.

Quote
N-OS X-tasy!
ALWAYS max out RAM during the initial purchase when the option to add more later does not exist.

Solid advice, but far, far less important with M1 macs. Its pretty much thrown that to the wind.





Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/18/2021 08:59PM by jdc.
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Re: M1 Macs… how much RAM is enough ?
Posted by: clay
Date: September 18, 2021 08:59PM
I've got an base model M1 Mini. 8gb ram. I use it for a variety of basic office stuff, and a good bit of video and audio editing in FCP X and some other programs. I think I'm hitting memory limits when I have several heavy-duty non-Apple silicon apps in use simultaneously. They just aren't optimized to work as well on these machines. But for the most part, my workflow is primarily apps that are M1 optimized, so I don't really think about or notice it.

I kind of view my Mini as a stopgap machine until they release something with a bit more oomph. So I wanted to just try the entry level machine and see whether it could work for me or not. If the 16gb upgrade option was $100, I probably would have gone for it. But as it stood, there's no way it made sense to me to add ~33% of the cost of the machine just for some more RAM. Put that extra $$ towards fast external storage or other peripherals you need. At this point, you might even find used base models for less than an Apple refurb if you really want to stretch your dollar.

I came from a 32gb RAM Hackintosh, and the only thing I miss from that machine is the expansion options. The Mini is so freaking quiet, fast, and cool, and does everything I ask of it. I don't think I've ever heard the fan, and I've given it some long video encoding projects that have certainly maxed out CPU/GPU.
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Re: M1 Macs… how much RAM is enough ?
Posted by: anonymouse1
Date: September 18, 2021 09:09PM
If you're buying a new machine every 10 years, it makes sense to max out the RAM, IMHO. You can always add storage with an external drive.
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Re: M1 Macs… how much RAM is enough ?
Posted by: jonny
Date: September 18, 2021 10:22PM
Base M1 Mini + NVME.
It screams.
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Re: M1 Macs… how much RAM is enough ?
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: September 18, 2021 10:23PM
I got an 8/512 M1 MBA.

If I got a do over, it would be an 8/256, since I was coming from a 8/128 MB.

But when I get a mini, it will be 16/X.

Maybe a little overkill in the RAM dept., but I tend to hang on to Macs, and the extra 8G is futureproofing.

While most external storage won't be as fast as the mini's internal flash storage, it'll be quick enough, and especially when there will be reliable 40Gbps enclosures that don't take up a whole C-note or more.





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Re: M1 Macs… how much RAM is enough ?
Posted by: mattkime
Date: September 18, 2021 10:35PM
Quote
AllGold
The consensus here has been because of the way the M1 handles memory that 8GB is plenty for all but the biggest power users. Lots of reports of users here, including myself, who have 8GB M1 machines and don't want for more.

I think bumping up the storage to 512GB to have the extra space makes more sense.

The only argument for getting 16GB RAM is the extra $200 isn't much over the course of several years.

this.



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Re: M1 Macs… how much RAM is enough ?
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: September 18, 2021 11:03PM
.....get....RAM tough.......



_____________________________________

I reject your reality and substitute my own!
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Re: M1 Macs… how much RAM is enough ?
Posted by: freeradical
Date: September 18, 2021 11:19PM
When I got my M1 Mini, I decided that 16 GB of RAM was enough for me.
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Re: M1 Macs… how much RAM is enough ?
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: September 18, 2021 11:20PM
Thanks all !
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Re: M1 Macs… how much RAM is enough ?
Posted by: space-time
Date: September 19, 2021 08:21AM
we don't know where OS X will take us in the next few years. It could be that 8 GB M1 would not be enough in 2025, who knows. Spend the extra $200 and get 16 now, especially if you plan to use the machine for about 10 years.
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Re: M1 Macs… how much RAM is enough ?
Posted by: modelamac
Date: September 19, 2021 10:26AM
cbelt3,

Iif you plan to keep either M1 for many years, get the extra RAM, and the 512GB SSD. I have an M1 mini 8GB/512 and an 24" M1 iMac 8/512. My use will never challenge the 8GB RAM on either Mac.

The kind and number of ports is fine on the mini, but the iMac limits me to USB-C and Thunderbolt. I have a ton of USB3 AND TB2 peripherals that have to go through a hub and adapter to connect to the iMac. OWC has a nice hub-adapter combo, but the point is that the iMac is not very port friendly.

I would have waited for the 27" iMac if my wife's 2015 iMac had not started acting flakey.

Also think long and hard about the color if you lean toward the iMac. My wife's iMac is pink (her color), and so is the keyboard, the lightning charge cable, the Magic Mouse, and the power cord. The login screen is pink! It even casts a pink shadow. RollingEyesSmiley5 The box it came in was NOT pink.



Ed (modelamac)

I think I will just put an OUT OF ORDER
sticker on my head and call it a day.
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Re: M1 Macs… how much RAM is enough ?
Posted by: rz
Date: September 19, 2021 12:59PM
Quote
space-time
we don't know where OS XI will take us in the next few years.

Fixed it for you...
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Re: M1 Macs… how much RAM is enough ?
Posted by: N-OS X-tasy!
Date: September 19, 2021 01:32PM
Quote
rz
Quote
space-time
we don't know where OS XII will take us in the next few years.

Fixed it for you...

Fixed it for you - check out the version number for Monterey.



It is what it is.
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Re: M1 Macs… how much RAM is enough ?
Posted by: space-time
Date: September 19, 2021 02:32PM
Quote
N-OS X-tasy!
Quote
rz
Quote
space-time
we don't know where macOS XII will take us in the next few years.

Fixed it for you...

Fixed it for you - check out the version number for Monterey.

I think this is even better smiling smiley
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Re: M1 Macs… how much RAM is enough ?
Posted by: tuqqer
Date: September 19, 2021 03:21PM
My two cents: the M1 8G will be fine for your needs. As others have noted, I'd up the SSD to 512.

I have the M1 16G, and I think the only place it really needs all that is doing video editing, which it works very well (SO much better than my 2013 trashcan).

I'm still shocked at the power of the M1s. I was starting to save my money for the low end cheese grater model, around $7k. Now I never will need that monster. The M1 Mini does everything I ever wanted.

Because the price is so reasonable, I'll be in line to upgrade when Apple comes out with the M2 Mini, just because it would be fun to do that. But I think the base 8G mini will fit most people's needs.



Mac mini (M1 2020, 16G 2T) Big Sur 11.x Dual 25" Acer 1440p LCDs11" i5 MacBook Air
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Re: M1 Macs… how much RAM is enough ?
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: September 19, 2021 04:54PM
Got the M1/16/512 Mini because this will last me 7-10 years as well. I drove to the Apple store and looked at the iMac… the monitor is set too high for my tastes, so I will continue to use the wide monitor and keyboard and trackpad that I have. 2011 Mini will retire… (sssh… don’t tell it… it’s probably afraid of going to the basement where it’s ancestors sit.)
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Re: M1 Macs… how much RAM is enough ?
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: September 19, 2021 05:11PM
Quote
tuqqer
My two cents: the M1 8G will be fine for your needs. As others have noted, I'd up the SSD to 512.

I have the M1 16G, and I think the only place it really needs all that is doing video editing, which it works very well (SO much better than my 2013 trashcan).

I'm still shocked at the power of the M1s. I was starting to save my money for the low end cheese grater model, around $7k. Now I never will need that monster. The M1 Mini does everything I ever wanted.

Because the price is so reasonable, I'll be in line to upgrade when Apple comes out with the M2 Mini, just because it would be fun to do that. But I think the base 8G mini will fit most people's needs.

This is my thinking as well. My mini is the 8/256 and when I downloaded and opened Davinci Resolve, and it scrolled easily around a 25p video, I did a crazy laugh out loud.
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Re: M1 Macs… how much RAM is enough ?
Posted by: jdc
Date: September 19, 2021 05:13PM
Nice. One thing about these M1s... resale is gonna be great.

They are just as fast today as a year ago, and still faster than just about everything out there.

I can still sell the mini I bought last year for $569 for close to the same price today.





Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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Re: M1 Macs… how much RAM is enough ?
Posted by: freeradical
Date: September 19, 2021 05:17PM
Quote
cbelt3
Got the M1/16/512 Mini because this will last me 7-10 years as well. I drove to the Apple store and looked at the iMac… the monitor is set too high for my tastes, so I will continue to use the wide monitor and keyboard and trackpad that I have. 2011 Mini will retire… (sssh… don’t tell it… it’s probably afraid of going to the basement where it’s ancestors sit.)


Good choice. I think that 256 GB is just too small nowadays. It's nothing these days for an app to be multiple gigs in size. Chrome needs almost a Gig, just for a browser. My Applications, Library, and System folders take up just a bit over 100GB on my 16 GB/1TB M1 Mini, and IMHO, I don't really have that many apps installed.
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Re: M1 Macs… how much RAM is enough ?
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: September 19, 2021 05:22PM
Has anyone found 8gb too little for not-insanely-intensive tasks mere mortals may do with the machine?
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Re: M1 Macs… how much RAM is enough ?
Posted by: jdc
Date: September 19, 2021 06:02PM
Quote
mrbigstuff
Has anyone found 8gb too little for not-insanely-intensive tasks mere mortals may do with the machine?

nope. just read thru this tread with actual users?

Again, thousands of videos on YT. spend 30 minutes over there watching a few.





Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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Re: M1 Macs… how much RAM is enough ?
Posted by: Robert M
Date: September 19, 2021 06:59PM
Hi everyone,

I think the question in the subject is wrong. It shouldn't be "How much RAM is enough?" It should be how much will be enough 2, 3, 4 or even 5 years down the line?

You don't buy a machine with just enough for right now unless you know you're going to get rid of it relatively quickly. In that case, save the bucks. Otherwise, make sure the machine has enough RAM to handle the immediate usage and what might be required X number of years down the road. Although the game has changed a bit with the advent of the M1 Macs, I don't think it has changed enough to stop using that rule of thumb.

If I were to buy an M1 Mac, it'd have 16GB of RAM and a high capacity SSD. That I'd plan to run the machine off an external (as long as Apple allows it), has no bearing on the matter. I still want a machine that has enough RAM for now and enough RAM to account for the changing requirements of both the OS and applications. In my experience, over time, the OS and apps _always_ seem to require and/or want more RAM.

Robert
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Re: M1 Macs… how much RAM is enough ?
Posted by: jdc
Date: September 19, 2021 07:34PM
Quote
Robert M
Hi everyone,
I think the question in the subject is wrong. It shouldn't be "How much RAM is enough?" It should be how much will be enough 2, 3, 4 or even 5 years down the line?
Robert

I get that thought process.

But a large part of me thinks we have reached peak use, until everything is a hologram? or thought driven ;)

even applying to my own workflow, which is heavy print graphics... its stagnant. 300 DPI photos from 10 years ago are the same as 300 DPI photos today. Nothing has changed. 120 page magazines in Quark 15 years ago take the same amount of power as they do today.

Part of the rationalization for keeping your mac for 4-5-6 year is the pace of progress.

My 2014 27" iMac is as good as example as any. Still runs pretty fast compared to a 2020 iMac. i5 chip is only a few clicks here and there slower. GPU is better, but not unless using an app (gaming?) that gobble GPU. Sure, my drive has been lapped (450 MB/s vs 2500+ new), but I run out of advantages after that.

So moving from a decent 2014, 15, 17, 19 iMac to a 2020 seems like wasted effort.





Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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Re: M1 Macs… how much RAM is enough ?
Posted by: space-time
Date: September 19, 2021 07:57PM
Once again (here we go)

Robert M hit the nail on the head.

You can ADD storage. No internal storage, but you can store files on External SSD, in the cloud, etc.

You CANNOT add RAM to these Machines. Spend $200 more today and also buy AppleCare and sleep well tonight and for the next 4 years. Even if you sell the machine after 4 -5 years, $200 more spread over all that time is nothing.
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Re: M1 Macs… how much RAM is enough ?
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: September 20, 2021 05:29PM
Quote
jdc
Quote
mrbigstuff
Has anyone found 8gb too little for not-insanely-intensive tasks mere mortals may do with the machine?

nope. just read thru this tread with actual users?

Again, thousands of videos on YT. spend 30 minutes over there watching a few.

Well... If you read the thread, I'm one of the respondents saying that I bought the base model. I'm curious if anyone here with the 8g model has encountered any situations where 8gb is struggling. I'm not interested in how many windows and applications can be open at once.
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Re: M1 Macs… how much RAM is enough ?
Posted by: AllGold
Date: September 20, 2021 06:40PM
Quote
mrbigstuff
Quote
jdc
Quote
mrbigstuff
Has anyone found 8gb too little for not-insanely-intensive tasks mere mortals may do with the machine?

nope. just read thru this tread with actual users?

Again, thousands of videos on YT. spend 30 minutes over there watching a few.

Well... If you read the thread, I'm one of the respondents saying that I bought the base model. I'm curious if anyone here with the 8g model has encountered any situations where 8gb is struggling. I'm not interested in how many windows and applications can be open at once.

For about five minutes I thought mine was struggling after getting a camera with much larger files. Then I remembered the software I was using (PhotoMechanic from Camerabits) is not M1 native and that it was emulated CPU not RAM that was slowing me down.



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