Performance differences between 8GB or 16GB of RAM on a MacBook Pro M1


I still don’t quite understand why an Apple Silicon cannot be expanded beyond 16 GB RAM. We agree that ARM processors manage RAM in a very particular way, without requiring large amounts of memory. We have the proof in the company’s latest iPhone 12 and iPads, which perform wonderfully well without requiring a lot of memory, but I still have my doubts.

So the dilemma is reduced in that if you think to buy one of the new Macs with M1 processor, what RAM capacity to choose, 8 or 16 GB. Terrible doubt and more knowing that this memory cannot be expanded a posteriori. Let’s see some benchmarks of the same Apple Silicon model with the two available memory capacities.

Both Mac mini and New Age MacBooks Apple Silicon that we have available in the market use the same M1 processor. So the upgrade options for all of them are limited to SSD storage space and RAM capacity. Max Tech He has just made an interesting video comparison where the performance between an 8 GB MacBook Pro M1 and a 16 GB MacBook Pro M1 is appreciated.

Geekbench and Cinebench tests

The video includes a number of benchmarks, ranging from Geekbench and Cinebench up to RAW export tests. The Geekbench and Cinebench benchmarks did not demonstrate a difference in performance between the 8GB and 16GB models, but other tests designed to maximize RAM usage did make the difference between the two capabilities clear.

The test Max Tech Xcode which mimics code compilation put the 16GB model at 122 points, compared to 136 for the 8GB model, with the lowest score being the best. The biggest difference was seen in an 8K 4K R3D RAW export, which took 13.57 seconds to complete for the 8GB MacBook Pro, while the 16GB MacBook Pro was able to complete in 5.59 seconds, a time at which gives a 16-inch MacBook Pro Core i9 from 2019 with 32GB of RAM. Great news, without a doubt.

Test 8-16 RAM M1

Small differences were also observed in a 4K export test and an export test Lightroom Classic RAW, but the results were pretty close, hitting 17 seconds in the Lightroom test. The 16GB model even outperformed a 2,300 Euro iMac.

If you plan to buy an Apple Silicon, it is worth taking a look at the video in its entirety to be clearer if you need a Mac with 8 GB of RAM or a 16 GB one. There seem to be some minor performance differences when it comes to benchmarks, especially with heavy system tasks, but in everyday use the model of 8 GB it holds up well and most users may not need the 16GB of RAM.