I actually found this helpful, thanks js!
I am, I suppose, 'an average user' when it comes to putting demands on a laptop, and having researched this quite a lot I have come to the conclusion that 8GB RAM is plenty to see me through the next 3-4 years (or more). My usage is unlikely to change in the next 4 years, so 16GB RAM is unlikely to be any more useful to me in 4 years than it is now (I think). My main reason for considering the upgrade now is because upgrades are not an option after purchase. I now think that the money would be better spent on a complete upgrade (i.e. a new laptop) in 4 years time when other aspects of the laptop might also start to stifle performance (i.e. whats the point of having lots of RAM if there are other factors (i.e. CPU, integrated graphics, etc) also holding the computer back).
For me, 16GB is the fear-driven choice, 8GB is the sensible choice.
re: CPU - it seems that a bump to the 2.8 i7 might offer about a 10% improvement in performance over the base 2.4 i5. For me, that's not worth £240 (~ $380 US) here in the UK. I might plump for the 2.6 i5 - not sure yet.
Yes, that's reasonable. It's annoying that you have to decide now. It's true that non-upgradeability means that you could waste money on something you don't need; it used to be you could just buy more fricking RAM if and when you needed it. If you think you're going to buy another laptop in three or four years, you're right that you don't need 16GB. It's also true that a 15" quad-core is a lot more "future proof."
It is mostly people like myself who stubbornly hang on to old (but nice, small) computers who may want it--as I mentioned, I'm writing this on my 8-year-old g4 12" powerbook, using TenFourFox, etc...only possible through RAM upgrades. And on computer longevity, there's this:
Again--not an issue for a computer you'll have for five years. As for the processor clock-speed--yeah, it's $$$ for not-so-much-extra. Obviously, if you have the money, go for it. Personally, I would still go for the RAM if I have to choose a single upgrade, but that is choosing ability-to-handle-multiple-large-programs-in-the-future over current speed. Actually, if you want to spend money on present-day-needs, getting the 512SSD/2.6ghz/8gb ram model is probably the best choice, since an emptier SSD is a faster SSD.
For me, 16GB is the fear-driven choice
85% of APPS havent changed in 6 years, RAM wise.
a 2007 mac mini with 2gig of RAM will run AS FAST as a current macbook Air with 8gig of RAM on MOST THINGS
excepting games (dont mess with them) and Photo and Video editing.
Ive got 8 Macs, some very old, 3 utterly new and top of the line,.....I dont notice anything on ANY of them unless I am messing with photo or video editing.
I have the late 2012 rMBP'13 with the i7 processor and 8GB Ram. Why? Actually, the i5 processor was also good though, but I have a GoPro Hero 3 Black and edit videos with FCP on my rMBP'13. In this case, and especially in terms of rendering, the i7 clearly shows his strengths & advantage of computing power over the i5's.
However, I have to say that I am suprised about the hungry RAM "consumption" of my rMBP. From the boot up it fall already from mid 6GB to low 5GB free Ram. And when opening some apps like safari, mail, and calendar, I am consistently in the 1-2 free RAM range. No idea why. Thus, I do not agree to what my presuccessor PlotinusVeritas wrote.
Propably he also still sleeps with an iPhone 1 under his pillow ..lol - take it easy buddy, just fun.
My ADVISE: If you go for a NEW rMBP'13 go for 8GB, or even better 16GB if you run with many apps & tabs simultniously. And if you know you will do some kind of editing like video or music, go for the i7 2.8Ghz. Otherwise the i5's are fine.
I really think my head just exploded after reading that. I know this is an old threat but #1 on google search. I really like the form factor of the 13 but a little iffy about a dual core.
I will be running a virtual machine a lot as well as some pentesting tools. Do you think the i7 would be good or should I bite the bullet and go with the 15in.
Tests show the 2.8 i7 is about 11% faster on multicore loads than the 2.6 i5 is.
Whether that's worth it to you depends upon your workload.
If you're going to be running virtual machines and possibly editing photo or video, you might appreciate that speed difference; if you're going to be word processing and web surfing you wouldn't.
For the machine you're considering, the #1 thing I'd recommend is the RAM upgrade to 16 GB. You literally can never have too much, as the operating system will use free memory to cache file information, meaning that if you say run Safari, then quit, if you have enough RAM the next time you launch it the program is still in memory rather than out on disk, which even with SSD takes longer to load from than previously cached disk blocks in RAM.
If you can afford the extra $200, I'd go for the 2.8 i7 as well, given that when you're already spending $1999 the extra 10% in cost is directly reflected in percentage speed improvement and future-proofing.
Though I don't think you'd be in any way disappointed with the 2.6, except perhaps having video edit renders or virtual machine operations take a 10% longer; if you did do those things regularly I think the extra $200 you invested would be quickly forgotten.