MacBook Pro M1 8GB VS 16GB RAM application test
Nov 2020

Kirsten Thomas

MacBook Pro M1 8GB VS 16GB RAM application test

In the Windows x86 era, the demand for RAM is endless, and many people think that the Mac needs 16GB in recent years. However , after the introduction of the M1 chip, the processor performance of the entry-level machine is not much different from that of the high-end, so is there a big difference between 16GB RAM and 8GB RAM? YouTube channel Max Tech used 8GB RAM VS 16GB RAM version of MacBook Pro M1 for some tests, which can let us understand the gap between 16GB and 8GB RAM.

There is no big difference in running points

Max Tech used Geekbench and Cinebench to run the scores, and the results showed that 16GB RAM and 8GB RAM scores are similar, which can be regarded as no difference.

m1 mbp benchmark

XCode test

As for the XCode compilation test, the 8GB RAM version took 136 seconds to complete, while the 16GB RAM version took 122 seconds to complete. The difference is not too obvious.

mbp ram xcode

8K R3D RAW output 4K

In the 8K R3D RAW output 4K test, the 8GB RAM version took 13 minutes and 57 seconds to complete, while the 16GB RAM took less than 6 minutes to complete, which is extremely large. However, the test also found that the M1 version of the MacBook Pro 16GB RAM is faster than the much more expensive MacBook Pro i9 5500M 32GB RAM, which is only 29 seconds slower.

m1 mbp 8k r3 draw to 4k

Lightroom RAW output

As seen in the RAW test output through Lightroom, the 8GB RAM M1 takes about 3 minutes to complete, while the 16GB M1 only takes 2 minutes and 43 seconds. The iMac 2020 27-inch 16GB RAM version takes 2 minutes and 50 seconds.

m1 mbp lightroom

GPU shared main memory performance may be restricted

To put it simply, the GPU of the MacBook Pro M1 version needs to share RAM with the system. When performing work with high GPU requirements such as video editing, the GPU needs more RAM, but the 8GB RAM itself has already used most of the system, so it cannot be fully used. Keep up with the demand of GPU, so GPU speed will be limited.

m1 gpu

To sum up

From the test, 16GB RAM still has an acceleration effect in large-scale applications, and it is still worth considering for those who pursue performance. Especially work needs, time is money. If you are just casual amateur editing, and you are dealing with short films, I believe 8GB RAM and 16GB RAM are not too big respectively. Of course, if you only use textbooks, watch movies, and use a browser as your main focus, 8GB RAM is not much different from 16GB, and it can already perform quite well.