I’ve had a blast configuring the new MacBook Pro in Apple’s online store and a lack of 32GB RAM upgrade option immediately jumped out at me. Thirteen-inch Pros include 8GB RAM while the faster and pricier fifteen-inch machines double that to to sixteen gigabytes.
According to Apple, the new MacBook Pro cannot be configured with 32 gigabytes of RAM because doubling the memory would have a negative impact on battery life.
MacRumors reader David emailed Apple’s marketing boss Phil Schiller asking about the RAM situation on the new MacBook Pro notebooks.
“The lack of a 32GB build-to-order option for the new MacBook Pros raised some eyebrows and caused some concerns (me included),” reads David’s email.
“Does ~3 GBps bandwidth to flash storage make this a moot issue? I.e. memory paging on a 16GB system is so fast that 32GB is not a significant improvement?”, he asked.
Schiller responded that outfitting the new notebook with more than 16GB RAM would waste too much energy and have a negative impact on battery life.
Here’s Schiller’s response in full:
It is a good question. To put more than 16GB of fast RAM into a notebook design at this time would require a memory system that consumes much more power and wouldn’t be efficient enough for a notebook. I hope you check out this new generation MacBook Pro, it really is an incredible system.
The new Pros use faster 2133 MHz memory.
This shouldn’t concern the vast majority of notebook users because the 15-incher has plenty of RAM to run many apps without slowdowns. But if you’re going to be driving four external displays in 4K resolution via the new Pro to edit 4K and 6K footage and use the most resource-intensive apps, then I guess you might have a problem.
What Apple should have done, I’d reckon, is permit power users to configure their MacBook Pro with 32GB RAM because those types of customers surely wouldn’t mind doubling the RAM at the expense of battery life.
Also, if you’re going to edit high-resolution footage on this notebook you’re probably going to connect a desktop monitor to your Pro via USB-C, which also charges the notebook so battery life shouldn’t be something to worry about.
I’m guessing Schiller forgot to mention that doubling the RAM would also make the CPU/GPU and the RAM chips become too hot to perform reliably. Intel’s Skylake chips and AMD’s dedicated Radeon GPU in the new Pro already require a whole new thermal architecture to keep components cool.
In fact, the latest 15-inch MacBook Pro is rated with ten hours of wireless web use or iTunes movie playback, which is an hour improvement over the previous 15-incher.
According to Apple’s webpage, the new MacBook Pro “continuously monitors system thermal and power conditions, and may adjust performance as needed to maintain optimal system operation” so there’s that.
Does the RAM situation on the new MacBook Pro make sense to you?