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Amount of RAM optimal with M1 PRO MacBook Pro

Explorer ,
Oct 18, 2021 Oct 18, 2021

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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.

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

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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"

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Explorer ,
Oct 18, 2021 Oct 18, 2021

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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.

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

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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

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

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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.

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Explorer ,
Oct 18, 2021 Oct 18, 2021

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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.   

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New Here ,
Oct 20, 2021 Oct 20, 2021

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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.

 

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Explorer ,
Oct 20, 2021 Oct 20, 2021

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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.  

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 21, 2021 Oct 21, 2021

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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.

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