Confronting renewed disapproval about the limited RAM in its iMac and MacBooks, Apple has reaffirmed its commitment to leveraging silicon memory more effectively.
One of the alterations in design resulting from the transition from Intel to Apple silicon in 2020 was related to RAM. With Apple silicon, memory is integrated into the processor using Unified Memory Architecture (UMA), eliminating traditional bottlenecks.
Memory in Apple silicon is accessed at a faster rate than in previous designs because the RAM is integrated into the processor, negating the need for access via the conventional bus and separate chip method. While potential issues may arise, overall, Apple’s assertion of this being a significant improvement is valid.
Apple’s primary claim revolves around the idea that the improved design reduces the need for as much RAM in Macs as in the past.
“Comparing our memory to that of other systems is not truly equitable,” stated Bob Borchers, Apple’s vice president of worldwide product marketing, in a recent interview. “This can be attributed to our highly efficient utilization of memory, utilization of memory compression, and implementation of a unified memory architecture.”
He further explained, “In reality, 8GB on the M3 MacBook Pro is likely equivalent to 16GB on other systems.” “We have become proficient in its more efficient use.”
However, with the usage of large language models for AI increasing over the years of using Apple silicon, there has been a perception that Apple is undervaluing its Pro users by making RAM upgrades costly.
“So, what I would suggest is for people to attempt performing their desired tasks on these systems and I believe they will witness exceptional performance,” continued Borchers. “When you directly analyze the raw data of these systems and their capabilities, the results are truly remarkable.”
He emphasized, “This is where I believe individuals need to look beyond the specifications and delve into the capabilities, while also listening to trusted individuals, such as yourself, who have actually utilized the system.” “People must go beyond the specifics and truly comprehend how the technology is being utilized. That is the real litmus test.”
Borchers claims that it is sufficient for typical usage like browsing and light image editing. However, several professional workflows, which were highlighted in our Apple Silicon Mac Pro review following WWDC and once again in our M3 Max MacBook Pro review, require substantial RAM. His remarks are unlikely to resonate with those users.