Bigger SSD or more RAM for MacBook Pro (15-inch mid 2018)?


I get to choose a computer for my new job. I want to stay within ‘reason’ so I’m pondering whether to get more RAM or a bigger SSD for performance?
It’s going to be the 15 inch model for sure, at one of the two options below:

  • 512GB SSD + 32GB RAM
  • 1TB SSD + 16GB RAM

I’ve tried going lower for an SSD before at 256GB and it’s always a struggle to keep enough free space.
This is most likely going to be my home and only laptop as well.
I’m asking because I think I recall hearing a discussion, possibly by MacSparky, about SSD size affecting performance more than before, if not as much as more RAM.

I work in digital marketing, my most problematic consumers would be large spreadsheets (Chrome, Sheets, Excel, Numbers), and multiple Safari tabs.
In personal use, Logic Pro has always been the toughest one for my computer to handle.
Based on what little research I’ve done my hunch is to try to go with 32GB of RAM instead of 1TB SSD. What are your thoughts?

I also might (hope to) get an LG Ultrafine 4K display at the office. Tested one at home a while ago and it was a pleasant experience!

On a similar note, slightly related, Has anyone used the iPad Pro 2018 + Luna Display + Mac mini setup?
I’m a bit intrigued to have it at least at home (got the 12.9 iPad recently). I’ve used an iPad Pro 2018 + MacBook Pro 15inch 2017 + Luna Display setup briefly; while its the most responsive of such setups I’ve tried, the experience navigating on the iPad portion of the screen is still slightly inferior to navigating on the Macbook portion fo the screen (even with a USB-C cable connected), so I’m wondering what the experience is like with an iPad + Mac mini?

I guess ideally, a setup of

  • personal iPad Pro to carry around even to the office, being able to plug it into a
  • LG ultrafine 4K at home and at work, along with
  • a Mac mini at home and at the office, along with
  • being able to remote access a Mac mini from the iPad

I currently have a 13 inch 2018 MacBook at my current job. Again I’ve proven to myself that I can’t work with a smaller laptop screen for hours on end (same goes for all non Retina monitors, ugh), though the same doesn’t seem to apply to a 12.9 iPad somehow…

512GB storage will probably become a bottleneck before 16GB RAM. I agree 512/16 is the absolute minimum you want to buy.

Hmm, as far as performance?

I have zero issues running Logic, or using Xcode, with 16GB. For your other uses 8GB would be fine (I use an 8GB 13” MBP at work, 16GB at home). I wouldn’t pay for more than 16GB.

Then again, 512GB is probably plenty if you tend to use an external drive for Logic, but my gut feeling would be get the big SSD.

1 Like

You can always add external storage. Can’t add RAM down the road.


If you intend to run any virtual machines, my advice would be to go with the 32GB.

1 Like

16Gb RAM is probably the baseline for comfortable computing if you aren’t running lots of tabs in Chrome (which is a memory hog, with memory leak issues). Chrome is my main browser on the Mac, I regularly have a dozen tabs open at a given time, and I only stopped getting read/write-to-disk slowdowns when I upgraded my iMac (in one fell swoop to 40Gb RAM).

You can always connect a fast external SSD to a MacBook fairly cheaply these days, but you can’t add RAM after the fact.

1 Like

Thanks for all the replies!
I think ill go with the 32gb ram. Will be interesting to see how it affects the experience. That and the six cores. Haven’t had more than 16gb on a laptop before, though I did have 24gb in my iMac previously

1 Like