Mac Mini M2 8 GB or 16 GB RAM for development

Hi everyone,

I am about to buy an M2 Mac Mini with 512 GB disk space for development of a website (for now, maybe wanna try some iOS stuff later). This is all hobby development.

Now I am contemplating 8 or 16 GB RAM. The price jump is from around 830 —> 1100 Euro. So I am whether paying a third more for something I do not directly need now is worth it.

Does anybody here have experience with 8 GB RAM for development? And what would you suggest?

Many thanks in advance!

I think most people who “need” 16 GB RAM already know they do. Most other people can get by with 8. However, it’s your hobby. Is €270 a lot to spend for your hobby? For me it would be. For some of my clients they spend that in an afternoon. I suspect you will have a pretty good idea in the back of your mind whether or not this hobby is worth spending a lot of money on or not.

As far as development work for websites - 8 is fine. As for Xcode - I’d go with 16.

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In my opinion, for any development work that goes beyond manually crafting HTML+CSS I would go with 16GB even to the point of sacrificing disk space. Modern tools eat RAM fast.


I’m a hobbyist app developer, and I can afford it so I got an M1 with 16GB RAM.

Many years ago I bought an Intel MBA with 8GB RAM for a great price. I did my programming on it in Xcode, I used Imagemagick and Pixelmator to edit and manipulate the stickers, and I used Graphic to help me with layout designs.
The MBA coped absolutely fine with each of those; it wasn’t very speedy, but I had no issues at all for my hobby work. Zero issues.

But, I wanted to be able to have 2 of these things going at once, and that caused crashing. Basically, if I wanted to switch to work on the stickers, I had to close Xcode, etc. This was fine really and I (reasonably) happily carried on closing apps for a few months, but I chose to upgrade. Sadly, that was to a 16GB MBP with a butterfly keyboard, but that’s another story.

These days, I wholeheartedly believe that I could run at least 2 of those tasks simultaneously on an M1 with 8GB RAM without crashing (slowdown whilst switching perhaps, but I highly doubt crashing or major issues), and if I was limited for money that’s what I would buy for myself. But, I actually have 16GB so I can’t be sure of this.

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Many thanks for all replies @GraemeS @pantulis @Vincent_Ardern !

It is actually true that this kind of money is fairly quickly spent elsewhere. I am not that short of money, just stingy. So 16 GB it is.


macOS will perform your tasks in 8GB. It is very adaptable. But it will work better with greater memory headroom. A 16GB machine these days makes good use of so-called “extra” memory.

EDIT: Should have replied to the thread not to an individual user. Oops.


I don’t do development, but I do get into a lot of audio or photo work at times. I am that guy when doing research has an easy 5-6 Safari and Chrome windows open with an easy 20-30 tabs per browser. I have this bad habit of not closing anything until said research project is done. I initially had the M1, 8GB (when it first came out) mainly because the 16GB was sold out and I needed to finish a project. Big difference when I swapped out for the 16GB. But here I am a couple of years later…and my 16GB can have some slow-down (nothing huge) but enough of a minor annoyance for me.

Examples of slow-down…

  • opening a new email or replying in Spark app (app freezes for a 1-2 seconds)
  • copying a file from Finder to NAS (or vice versa)
  • renaming a file

I am not motivated enough to go to the M2 or get something higher or bigger, because all this fluctuates on what I am working on, and projects don’t last forever.

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Same experience here. 8GB to 16GB is a big, noticeable difference. I experience slowdowns, too, even after rebuilding my m1 Mini from scratch. My next one will be 24GB RAM for sure.

I typically have 4 browsers with a combined 80 tabs open at any time, so that’s taking a lot of resources and I guess that it is the culprit…

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Basic web dev is really only text editing, so it’s pretty light on resources. It’s going to depend what tools you actually use rather than what you’re doing.

Tools like sublime text or BBedit are much lighter than apps like VSCode running dozens of extensions. Again if your compiling heavy javascript apps that’s a lot different than simply writing vanilla HTML/CSS

As an example when working on dev stuff I typically have Nova app or VScode open plus Codekit to compile code and Firefox with several dev based extensions and tabs. This runs perfectly well on an 8gb M2 Macbook air and external monitor. i am probably also running mailmate and Things3 in the background.

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Thanks for sharing all your experiences. Good to hear 8 GB would also be doable. But I think 16 GB is worth the extra money for me.


The challenge that Apple has created is that you cannot upgrade the memory later so I would definitely agree that 16 GB is the way to go.

While the initial charge may be a lot if you amortize it over the five years (or 10ths?) that you’ll have that computer it’s really not that much .

If necessary, you can skimp on the hard drive space because the thunderbolt external drives are really fast and you can upgrade them as you go along

True, if considered the duration of use (5-10 years) it is fine. No need to skimp on hard drive either. 512 GB will be fine. I do not think to need more than that. :slight_smile: