Amount of RAM optimal with M1 PRO MacBook Pro

Explorer ,
Oct 18, 2021 Oct 18, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

I am looking at purchasing the new 14 inch MacBook Pro with M1 Pro chip.   I use Photoshop and Lightroom Classic.   I know the adobe website has recommendations but I don't know if they consider new Apple silicon.   Since you get only one shot at how much RAM in the computer I want to get my choice right and future proof.  Will I be safe with 16 GB?  Or should I go for 32 GB?  $400 more is pretty steep.   

Right now I may use iMovie concutprrently but not other intensive programs.  
Thanks.

TOPICS
macOS

Views

7.7K

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines

correct answers 2 Correct answers

Adobe Community Professional , Oct 18, 2021 Oct 18, 2021
The simple answer is, the most you can afford. PS needs 3-5 times each file size in RAM ideally. So much depends on the size of the documents you'll edit. 

Likes

Translate

Translate
Contributor , Oct 18, 2021 Oct 18, 2021
The more RAM you add, the longer your machine will be effective. If you're plopping down the cash for a new machine, max it out. You never regret too much RAM.

Likes

Translate

Translate
Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 18, 2021 Oct 18, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

The simple answer is, the most you can afford. PS needs 3-5 times each file size in RAM ideally. So much depends on the size of the documents you'll edit. 


Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
New Here ,
Mar 29, 2022 Mar 29, 2022

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Apple obsoleted my machine, a mid-2010 Mac Pro, long before I hit the limit on hardware processing power.  So I doubt that adding un-needed RAM will actually extend the useful life of your machine.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 30, 2022 Mar 30, 2022

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

LATEST

Your computer is 12 years old, and the graphics card is pretty much the ,limiting factor now.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Contributor ,
Oct 18, 2021 Oct 18, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

The more RAM you add, the longer your machine will be effective. If you're plopping down the cash for a new machine, max it out. You never regret too much RAM.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 18, 2021 Oct 18, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

You need RAM for everything you do. And your macOS needs 8-10 GB or more of RAM just by itself.  So get 32GB if possible.

 

 

 

 

Nancy O'Shea, Adobe Product User & Community Professional
Alt-Web Design & Publishing ~ Web : Print : Graphics : Media

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 18, 2021 Oct 18, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

32GB RAM is probably the safe choice, but that is a guess until more people have a chance to run their jobs on it.

 

Both Lightroom Classic and Photoshop recommend 16GB RAM, so that is the baseline for good performance. One thing to keep in mind is that because it’s Unified Memory, RAM not needed by applications is probably available to be used by graphics; that could be a reason to get 32GB if you frequently use applications that support GPU acceleration. But if money is tight, chances are 16GB RAM will perform well enough on Apple Silicon, and better than 16GB RAM on Intel.

 

It has been a long time since it made sense to “max out” a pro Mac. Maxing out all options on just the 14-inch MacBook Pro (M1 Max 10/32/16 cores, 64GB RAM, 8TB SSD) costs US$5899. Most typical 14" MBP configurations for Photoshop and Lightroom Classic probably should not exceed $3000 unless you do a lot of work daily with large files.

 

M1 Pro and M1 Max expand the specs well beyond M1, which already didn’t work the same way Intel x86 did. This is uncharted territory. If you can wait, wait until more photographers have tried out their Photoshop and Lightroom Classic workflows and have a better idea of how well the various combinations of CPU/GPU cores and RAM work for these applications.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Explorer ,
Oct 18, 2021 Oct 18, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Thanks so much for your information and perspective.   I was looking at a $3000 configuration.   That included 32 GB RAM.   It will be instructive to see reports of actual experience with new machines.   

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
New Here ,
Oct 20, 2021 Oct 20, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

I was debating the same thing.  I use LR, PS and started using Luminar AI.   I was using a Macbook Air with an Intel processor and it was slowwwww.   I don't want any more issues so I went with the pricy 32GB in the14inch.  I'd rather have too much RAM than not enough.  I'm planning on having this for at least 5 years so I was the right choice for me.

 

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Explorer ,
Oct 20, 2021 Oct 20, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

I too want to keep the new laptop as long as possible.  And I imagine the demands of Lr, Ps, and Luminar AI will keep advancing as they use more artificial intelligence.  Becuase you cannot add memory later I am going to max it on the M1 Pro.  

FYI, I also tried out Luminar AI using it as a plug-in.  But will focus on Lr & Ps instead.  Not happy with their model of not continuing support for the product and introducting a new one that isn't backward compatible.  

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 21, 2021 Oct 21, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Get as much RAM as you can afford for future-proofing if nothing else. I would recommend at least the 32GB upgrade. Going to 64GB requires the M1 Max which is more money, so I suspect 32GB will be the sweet spot.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
New Here ,
Dec 03, 2021 Dec 03, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Hey gang, 


I recently jumped on the 16in Pro with the M1 pro, and 16bg of memory and have had the chance to put it through extensive editing over the past month, all 50mp GFX raw files. I run the latest PS configuration and it works very good, but...big but, even with the new hardware the ram is getting maxed out and sharing memory after running photoshop for about 1 hour or so, and my workflow slows down with it. As it is only 400$ more, I think I will be returning and getting the 32gb as others have suggested. Although it hasn't given me much trouble now, it worries me to spend this kind of money only to have a clogged down macbook 3 years down the line. 

 

Two other photoshop issues I want to mention to save you the heartache when you start.

1) If you use external mouse (specifically magic mouse) the mouse communication will flake out and walk your cursor up the screen (mid-edit when you are working mouse commands fast) from your left hand hover over the trackpad while using basic keyboard commands. This was really fu***** frustrating; that they could do all of this design work and create a problem that hasn't existed in the past with their own NATIVE mouse. I tried three different magic mice before the possibility of the trackpad interfering accord to me. Solution: Turn off trackpad while mouse is connected via accesiblities. Work aroud worked.  

 

2) This is a photoshop issue that I imagine will be corrected with time and development on the new chip, but dialogue boxes such as "Do you want to save before closing?" are invisible and only respond with you press return or esc, locking you out of control. Annoying, but can be managed by knowing when they will pop up and what command is needed. 

 

We knew there would be issues with the brand new system, so far the benefits outway the cons, and the issues will likely be resloved in time BUT GET THE 32gb. 

All the best,

Justin 

 

 

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 03, 2021 Dec 03, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

quote

the ram is getting maxed out

 

By @Justin21890932tlmv

 

It will and it should. That in itself is normal. Depending on file sizes, number of open files and history states, total memory usage can be 50 or 250 GB! That's why Photoshop uses a scratch disk, a portion of your physical drive(s), to store temporary working data. Think of RAM as a cache to the scratch disk's main memory. It moves back and forth constantly, the scratch disk is always in use.

 

RAM will very quickly be filled up to the limit you have set in Preferences. The default is 70%. Don't set this too high; other processes and applications need RAM too.

 

That RAM will not be released as long as Photoshop remains open, instead it will be reused and recycled.

 

In short, there is no such thing as enough RAM no matter how much you have. As long as you have a fast scratch disk, Photoshop will be fine.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 03, 2021 Dec 03, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

D Fosse is of course correct and this has been the case since day one of Photoshop. It needs 3x5 times each open document size in RAM or it will hit scratch disk and this is why the preferences for a scratch disk are really old.

In the days when I was working with a Mac IIci, with maybe 8MB (yes megabytes) of RAM, it was necessary to have lots of fast (for the day) empty drive space for the Scratch Disk. Same today.

So again, depending on the document (and layers etc) plus the processing required, it is not at all uncommon for PS to max out the RAM as it should. Of course, it doesn't use 100% of your RAM, there are other processes that must use RAM as well. 


Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
New Here ,
Dec 26, 2021 Dec 26, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

You and D Fosse are 100% right here. Ram for photoshop is important to a point. Unless batch processing a lot of files at once, it seems 16 or 32 perform more or less the same, thanks to fast memory and super fast SSD.

 

If you were a wedding / commercial photographer who processes a tonne of images at once, then 32 seems a logical upgrade. For the rest that work on one image at a time you're not going to see a difference.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 26, 2021 Dec 26, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

You can't add RAM later and both lifespan and eventual resale value will be higher with more RAM installed. Unified RAM is used for both OS and for video, so you could see a big difference between 16 and 32GB.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
New Here ,
Dec 27, 2021 Dec 27, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Resale won't ever catch the amount spent though.

 

I have told myself a lot that my latest MacBook will be with me for years so I'll get the best I can now but reality is it never sees more than a couple or years maybe three. 

Video seems handled almost entirely by the video encoders and more memory from what I saw didn't make much difference to that either. On final cut anyway, less optimised programmed it might like resolve or premiere

 

It had a large inpact on massive file sizes in photoshop. Like 10-20gb files, I guess where the entire file is larger than the amount of memory you have. But 10gb is a massive file. I have 30 plus layer psb files that are 50mp and 16 bit and I think they are only 2-3gb. I think.

 

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 27, 2021 Dec 27, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

RAM plays a very small part in that last scenario with massive files. That's all about the scratch disk.

 

The tipping point isn't the document size. It's the size of your entire open file history, for as many files as you have open, plus overhead, which can be significant for smart objects. For a 10 GB-on-disk document, you could be talking about 300-500 GB total memory requirement, or even more.

 

When you're working with large files, RAM is just a cache, holding only the most immediately current data. The real action is in the scratch disk. Data move back and forth continuously.

 

With modern superfast NVMe drives, the scratch disk isn't the bottleneck it once was. And the amount of RAM nowhere near as critical as it once was.

 

 

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
New Here ,
Dec 27, 2021 Dec 27, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

I see, that is interesting. Maybe the speed difference was more the fact that one machine was 1TB SSD and the other was 512, maybe? So less room on the scratch disk for the large file?

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 27, 2021 Dec 27, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Photoshop will still use scratch disk regardless of the amount of RAM.

 

I have 256GB of RAM installed here (I built my PC for 3D work including running RAM hungry physical simulations). On opening Photoshop, no documents open at that stage, PS immediately opens a 5.5GB scratch disk file.

On opening a multilayered PSD, Photoshop is using 9GB of RAM and has increased the scratch disk file to 8GB

Opening a second image alongside the first, RAM use went up to 10GB and scratch disk rose to 8.5GB. Running the lens blur filter did not alter RAM usage but pushed scratch disk up to 8.7GB

 

I closed those two images and used Photomerge to combine , align and blend 14 TIF images. During that process RAM use peaked at 16GB. The scratch disk also rose to 16GB

 

I say this only to emphasise the points made earlier in the thread, that scratch disk speed and use is as important as RAM.

 

Dave

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 27, 2021 Dec 27, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Well that sailed right over your head. Video as it "what shows on the screen." Video RAM. All that display stuff. It uses the same RAM as the rest of the computer. One RAM to rule us all.

BUY.MORE.RAM.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
New Here ,
Dec 27, 2021 Dec 27, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Ok I see what you mean...

 

Rams 's importance is nothing like it was before so yeah sure it's better to have more, like it is more storage and better cpu gpu but when value taken into account ram for most tasks is becoming less and less important. 

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 26, 2021 Dec 26, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

I'm gonna disagree with both of the marked correct answers and say there are lots of Photoshop use cases where 64GB of unified memory is not a good value, especially after seeing how much less memory the early M1s needed for high performance compared to Intel Macs. You have to take into account how large your images are and how many applications you run at the same time. (I have a 32GB M1 Pro.)

 

Although maxing out is necessary for the low-end Macs because the limits are so low, some time ago the pro Macs passed the point where maxing out was a reasonable option for photographers. Today, the (very expensive) maximum configuration of Unified Memory, or storage, or CPU/GPU is designed not for photo editing, but for video and 3D editing. The max configuration is usually overkill for photo editing.

 

Maxing out a Mac today does not really make it last longer, especially if you maxed out only one spec. If you have to sell your Mac in 3 or 4 years because for example, the single core CPU performance is no longer adequate (remember, the M1 Pro/Max do not improve on the M1 in that area), but you maxed out to 8TB or SSD of 64GB memory that you never really needed, you threw out that money on the upgrades.

 

Also, maxing out a current Mac typically won’t make it useful longer than about 7 years, due to the limits placed on system and application upgrade eligibilty placed by both Apple and Adobe. There is a hard limit to “future proofing” that did not exist for earlier Macs, and no amount of additional money dumped into the Mac will future proof it any further.

 

If you have any kind of limit on your budget, configure to what you expect to need for about 5 to 7 years. I hav a strong feeling a lot of people who maxed out these first M1 Pro/M1 Max models are going to kick themselves in a few years when they realize they want the improvements in a later model (M2? No notch? HDMI 2.1?, FaceID?), but they sunk too much money unnecessarily maxing out the last one they bought.

 

I’m not saying never max out a Mac, because some need to, but you need to have a really good reason and maxing out should never be the default approach. 

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 27, 2021 Dec 27, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Lots of current computers ship with 8GB of RAM and that's nowhere near enough today. However, I used to run Photoshop 4 on a PowerBook 5300cs with 24MB of RAM and it worked. System requirements change, and maxxing out RAM is a great idea for future-proofing if you can afford it. Since RAM can't be added later, don't cheap out. RAM is the first thing I would increase if I was buying a new M1 Mac.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 27, 2021 Dec 27, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

I remember running Photoshop 1.07 on 16MB of RAM (or was it 8MB; 1990 was so long ago). Mac IIci. Waiting five minutes to rotate a 15MB image two degrees; ah the good old days.

Yes that's megabytes of RAM.

A year or so later, that 1 thousand megabyte array (2 500MB HDs) really sped up the scratch disk. 


Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines