Vincent A Saulys' Blog
Is 16gb a meaningful ram limit?
Tags: programming javascript
April 21, 2021

With the release of the new M1 processor for Apple computers, People are concerned that the RAM is soldered and maxes out at 16gb.

Is this actually a concern though?

On an ubuntu machine (XPS 13 9350 specifically) that maxes out at 8gb of RAM, Docker + Emacs + Firefox all run well below 6gb. Granted, linux is different from MacOS and this machine tops out at 1080p but its difficult to see where one would need the extra space.

Usually the culprit is tab heavy browsing with Chrome. Personally, there's never more than 8 tabs open for me so perhaps I can't relate. But even the worst offenders don't have that many tabs open no?

After all, hard disk swapping is common now. Applications not in use on MacOS will be silently swept to disk and called back into RAM if the user reactivates the application. This is probably enough in practice. Users are unlikely to switch between more than three applications at a time.

Consider me skeptical if RAM issues are an issue for a common or even power user. Aside from gaming and specific development (e.g. computer graphics, machine learning workloads), its probably more than fine.

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