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Sorry Apple, turns out 8GB of memory on a Mac isn't anything like 16GB on a PC after all

 Apple 8GB.
Apple 8GB.

We reported a few weeks ago that Apple has been rather conspicuously claiming its MacBooks with 8GB were "analogous" to a PC with 16GB. Well, that claim has been tested and found to be comprehensively found wanting.

YouTube channel, Max Tech ran an 8GB MacBook Pro 14 up against a 16GB Lenovo Legion Windows laptop. And who'd a thunk it, 8GB on a MacBook is just as rubbish for serious workflows as it is on a PC.

Max Tech first did some baseline runs, then opened the Chrome browser with 10 tabs. As I type these words, I probably have about 60 tabs open, so that's a pretty light load.

And yet it was still enough to begin to see the shortcomings of 8GB on the MacBook. Indeed, it was enough to already have the Mac using 400MB of memory swapped onto the SSD, which is obviously awful for performance. That actually jumped up to 6GB of swapped data when leaving Chrome running and firing up Lightroom. Eugh.

In their Lightroom test, the Mac's performance slowed from the 1m47s baseline to 2m10s, while the Windows machine's performance didn't change. Several other tests returned similar results.

But it was the heavy duty multitasking, with several image and video editing apps open at the same time, that really demonstrated the weakness of 8GB on the Mac. There, the Mac's performance crashed from that 1m47s figure to 4m01s in the Lightroom test, while the Windows laptop barely registered the apps running in the background, increasing from 1m17s to 1m23s.

Apple 8GB
Apple 8GB

As if all this weren't bad enough, it's worth remembering that you can't add RAM to any MacBook with Apple silicon after purchase. There's a good architectural reason for that. Apple has unified memory that's built into the CPU package and there are huge benefits to that.

But they only kick in when you actually have enough memory. And 8GB is not enough memory for doing any remotely serious work. And that includes 8GB of super-special Apple memory.

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Of course, that highly integrated memory means Apple has total control over memory pricing for MacBooks. It'll cost you a ridiculous $200 to upgrade from 8GB to 16GB on the base MacBook Pro 14.

And that means the base price of the MacBook Pro 14 is really $1,799, not $1,599. Because 8GB on a laptop with "Pro" branding simply isn't good enough.

It's all a bit of a pity because Apple silicon Macs do come with some very clear advantages. For power efficiency, for instance they make any Windows laptop look totally pathetic. But this "8GB" marketing is a classic example of Apple's so-called reality distortion field. And we're happy to see it called out.