The 8GB RAM in the M3 MacBook Pro is What Slows It Down in Real-life

By Roze 3 Min Read
The 8GB RAM in the M3 Macbook Pro is What Slows It Down in Real-life

Apple’s decision to offer its base 14-inch MacBook Pro model with just 8GB of RAM in late 2023 has sparked a debate among users and tech enthusiasts. While Apple argues that its integrated chips with unified memory architecture make 8GB on a Mac comparable to 16GB on rival systems, real-world tests and user feedback suggest that more memory may be necessary for optimal performance.

Vadim Yuryev’s tests on two 14-inch M3 MacBook Pro models, one with 8GB and the other with 16GB of unified memory, revealed significant performance improvements on the 16GB machine, particularly under heavier workloads. The 8GB model suffered performance losses, slower completion times for tasks in Photoshop, Final Cut, and Adobe Lightroom Classic, and even crashes during certain tasks like Blender rendering.

As Yuryev’s tests demonstrate, the performance gap between the 8GB and 16GB configurations widens further when multitasking, with the 8GB model relying on its SSD swap file, leading to reduced responsiveness and potential crashes.

Apple’s memory configuration options come with a cost, with customers needing to pay an extra $200 or $400 for the 16GB or 24GB configurations, respectively. Furthermore, Apple’s machines cannot be upgraded later due to their unified memory architecture.

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This raises questions about whether Apple’s 8GB starting configuration for a $1,599 MacBook Pro in 2023 is acceptable, especially when rival laptops in a similar price range often come with at least 16GB of memory as standard. Customers may be willing to pay extra for more RAM, but some may be concerned about the cost and the lack of future upgradeability.


Ultimately, the decision to opt for 8GB or upgrade to 16GB or more depends on individual needs and budget constraints. Users with demanding workloads or those who plan to keep their MacBook Pro for several years may find it worth the investment to get more RAM upfront. However, others who use their laptop for lighter tasks may be satisfied with the base configuration. It’s essential to assess your usage and consider future needs when making a decision.

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