MacBook Pro 16 “and Air Trial at Apple Store – 8 vs 16 GB RAM Observations and Questions


Hello everyone:

I know there are several discussions about whether to use 16 GB or 32 GB of RAM on the MacBook Pro 2021 M1. I decided to visit my local Apple Store to simulate how I would use the systems and see how they perform to the different specs.

I made a few observations and I would like to have some comments on them.

1. I have notified the Apple Store Associate of my use cases:

  • Lightweight video editing with Final Cut Pro
  • Moderate photo editing with Lightroom
  • Leave multiple browser tabs open in Safari
  • Productivity apps – Office, Google Docs, etc.

He told me that a 16GB configuration would be sufficient and invited me to try a MacBook Air M1 with 8GB of RAM.

He opened Logic Pro, Final Cut Pro, iMovie, Photos, and Garage Band and played multitrack audio and video. I opened YouTube and played a 4K video

Observations – MacBook Air M1, 8 GB RAM:

  • Multitasking seemed pretty smooth.
  • Memory pressure was moderate

2. Impressed with what I saw, and convinced that 16 GB would be sufficient, I decided to run the same simulation on a 16 “, 16 GB MacBook Pro / 512 GB SSD.

Observations – MacBook Pro M1 Pro:

  • Multitasking worked, for the most part. There were occasional lags in iMovie
  • Memory pressure was moderate to extreme
  • High SSD swap
  • Coming out of the speakers

3. Returned to the 8GB MacBook Air to confirm that it was actually smoother overall.

  • The performances were the same as those I had observed at the start

4.Referred to another MacBook Pro M1 Pro 16GB / 512GB SSD

  • Coming out of the speakers was quite loud.
  • Some system lag

I have attached photos to show the memory pressure within 21 seconds of multitasking with the different apps.

Conclusion:

  • I left thinking that I should buy the MacBook Pro 32GB 16 “M1 Pro.
  • But something still seems unresolved. Why did testing two models of the 16 “16GB MacBook Pro seem very rough when compared to the 8GB MacBook Air?
    • Considering the noise and stuttering, I feel like something was wrong with these systems.

I am curious to have everyone’s feedback. Thank you.


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