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  • Quick question: has anyone after-marketed the latest MacBookPro to 16 gigs of RAM?

    Posted by Chris Harlan on January 22, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    Quick question: has anyone after-marketed the latest MacBookPro to 16 gigs of RAM? If so, what were the results? Did you notice any appreciable bump with either FCP7 or FXP X? Or Premiere? Or Media Composer? Any hitches?

    Chris Harlan replied 12 years, 3 months ago 10 Members · 21 Replies
  • 21 Replies
  • Daniel Frome

    January 22, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    Warning: completely personal, non scientific opinion here:

    The general rules says that every CPU core should have 1 or 2 GB of RAM. 1GB/core is usually plenty for “1 app at a time”, but 2GB/core if you really just want to splurge a bit. So… you’re talking about a quad core CPU that can run 8 threads. Not as good as 8 real cores, but better than most quad core processors too.

    Therefore, 8GB RAM is already near the very top of what your computer is going to use. 16GB … I would venture a 1-2% speed increase, with lots of applications open simultaneously. During some intense render jobs you may also get some added stability, but it may be too small to perceive.

    I had a “real” 8 core workstation, and the boost from 8GB to 16GB RAM was marginal for most video editing tasks. So…you can imagine an “8 thread” cpu would use the extra RAM even less.

    Premiere Pro CS5.5 is going to use your RAM the most – but mostly only during outputs. Avid MC6 won’t care all too much from 8GB unless you’ve got super fancy layers. FCP7 won’t care hardly at all. FCPX…I don’t know, I don’t use it enough.

  • Phil Hoppes

    January 22, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    I just upgraded my MPB (Oct 2011 version) to 16Gb using the upgrade from MacSales. This upgrade use to cost well over $1000.00. It is now price just over $300 with shipping so it was a deal for me.

    The upgrade was a snap. Just unscrew the screws on the back, pop off the bottom, pop out the old sims and put in the new ones, replace the back and I was good to go.

    On performance, you must understand why I wanted and needed it. I do mostly 3D work with “some” video editing. This Mac is running Bootcamp with Win7 on a 350Gb partition and OS 10.6.8 on the other partition. The hard drive is an Apple 500GB SSD. I spend 90% of my time in Win7 and about 10% on the OSX side. For video editing, I use PP on the Windows side and FCPX on the Mac side. Before adding the ram, running Win7, it was very common for me to have my machine sitting with about 1Gb free (8Gb total at the time) so that any new process would start paging to disk. I use network rendering for all of my 3D apps (Maya, Modo, Nuke, Vue and After Effects) I use Deadline as a network render manager. I have found that 1Gb/thread is just about the lower limit for efficiency with 2Gb/thread the most you would ever need. My laptop, when rendering before the upgrade would perform about 10% to 20% less than what I would have expected given the CPU speed and comparing it to the other nodes on my network. After the upgrade, it performs about what I would expect. My other nodes are my main workstation, which is a 3.3Ghz i7 980 Extreme (Hex Core/12 threads) with 24Gb Ram and a 2x 2.4Ghz Xeon 5645 (24 threads total) with 24Gb RAM. My workstyle is usually to have lots of applications open so I can bounce back and fourth between applications. It is not uncommon for me to have PremierPro, Nuke, AfterEffects and Maya all open at the same time and to be going from one application to the next and so fourth. You can’t work like this and only have 8gb of RAM. It just does not work.

    So…. if you are only a one application at a time working kind of person and you don’t do a lot of network rendering, you probably don’t need any more memory than the 8Gb that comes standard. If you like to work in a resource pig mode like me, there is NEVER enough RAM….. 😉

  • Chris Harlan

    January 22, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    [Daniel Frome] “I had a “real” 8 core workstation, and the boost from 8GB to 16GB RAM was marginal for most video editing tasks. So…you can imagine an “8 thread” cpu would use the extra RAM even less.”

    Me too. But I noticed a pretty big bump in rendering speed (as well as general overall better performance with multiple programs open) when I took mine up there. Maybe it was placebo, but I’d swear not.

    I should really be upgrading my 2008 8 core this year, but with all of the mystery over the future of Macbook Pro, I’m holding off. I’m kind of on the edge of staying in Apple land for the long run. I’m even considering sidestepping into a Dell or HP Mobile workstation, though gravity will probably keep me in Apple land for sometime longer.

  • Chris Harlan

    January 22, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    Phillip, thanks! That’s the kind of stuff I was looking for. MacSales is what I was thinking too. Yeah, I like to bop between programs, and do quite a bit of rendering. Right now, I’m thinking about a new i7 17, but I’m also thinking about a Del or HP mobile workstation which I’d use in conjunction with my current dual core i7. One of the attractive features on those are the beefy mobile Nvidia cards.

  • Phil Hoppes

    January 22, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    [Chris Harlan] “One of the attractive features on those are the beefy mobile Nvidia cards.”

    That is my biggest grip with my current MBP. It is a fantastic piece of hardware and no kidding, probably the best Windows 7 machine you can run with bootcamp, but the AMD graphics are limiting. The Mercury engine in PP does not work and one of the apps I have from the Foundry, Mari, won’t even install unless you have an NVidia card. Good luck with Dell and/or HP. My experience with both has been less than stellar. The Dell workstation Dimension laptops have real thermal issues. A friend got one and it routinely shuts down due to overheating. HP is not much better and people gripe about Apple prices?? HP is crazy with what they want, that is why I like the MBP for both Win and OSX. Apple really designs their hardware very well. At the moment I hate schlepping around an external HD. I’m strongly considering getting one of the MacSales kits to swap out the optical drive and put in a second internal HD for data. Either SSD or one of the Seagate Hybrid HD’s. You can get 750Gb for just over $200. That would be sweet!!! I currently run NTFS from OSX from Paragon This works great so my data drive can be formatted NTFS but I can Read/Write from OSX too so no need to create separate partitions.

  • Mark Beazley

    January 23, 2012 at 12:17 am

    The problem with the premise that every core gets or should get 2GB is that isn’t the way computers or software addresses memory.

    The computer does not automatically split the memory into equal parts for each core. When a process running on a core needs more memory, if available it gets it; or something gets flushed to VM and then it gets it.

    You can easily have a single threaded 64bit app use all available memory if you like.

    Apps like After Effects can benefit from extra RAM when doing previews and such. All I would suspect is that more RAM = more layers, more effects, more filters provided you have not saturated your hard drive system or the FSB of the system.

    3D apps probably benefit the most when it comes to RAM, and you are running a 64bit OS and software.


  • Christian Schumacher

    January 23, 2012 at 1:16 am

    [Phil Hoppes] “The Dell workstation Dimension laptops have real thermal issues.”

    You mean Dell Precision?

  • Phil Hoppes

    January 23, 2012 at 1:44 am

    Yes you are right the Dell Precision. Maybe the newer models are better. The previous one had LOTS of problems.

  • Jeremy Garchow

    January 23, 2012 at 1:56 pm


    It’s funny you mention putting in an extra drive in your Mbp. I am about to do the same with the MCE Tech kit.

    Do you have any direct experience with that hybrid drive? Seems like it is kind of awesome.


  • Phil Hoppes

    January 23, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    No I have no experience with this drive. The cost is hard to beat, $200 for 750Gb vs $1100 for a 1Tb SSD. My largest concern is the power dissipation. From the specifications it dissipates an average of 2.4W with 1.2W idle. I would guess, given that it’s location is right next to the back of the laptop, that the heat should be dissipated without much issue. My expectation is that my battery life will be limited from what it was previously, but I rarely use my MBP on battery only and when I do I never exceed an hours use at any one time so I don’t expect this to be an issue. I almost never need the optical drive. I’m going to spring the $40 and get the kit that converts the internal optical drive to an external USB drive. For the very few times I need it (like rebuilding the drive) that will work fine. I’ve yet to ever run into a circumstance where I “HAD” to have a DVD drive to either read or write something that could not be done with a Flash drive. Personally I’d like to see Apple drop them completely as I think they’ve become a worthless feature.

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