What software utilizes multiple cores?

I’ve been talking to a friend about the new 16" laptop. We both are intrigued. He has much more needs for a powerful machine as he does video and animation work. My needs are much less.

But we started talking about cores and more specifically RAM and two things came up:

  1. He had heard (not sure how recently) that optimally, you want 4G Ram per core. Can anyone substantiate that?

  2. Is there any site that lists apps that take advantage of multiple cores? The new 16" base model has 6 cores. To the unknowledgeable (me), that seems like a lot of cores for most average users. But I was wondering if something like Photoshop, Lightroom, Hindenburg and iZotope RX7 would take advantage of 6 cores.

I currently have a 2012 MBP Retina that has been pretty rock solid computing wise. But it’s 7 years old and it’s got a bunch of issues and I’ve been waiting for something like this 16" to come out as an option. I have been worried if it crashed, that I would have to get a recent MBP with the more than suspect keyboard. I was seriously considering a 13" model for weight and size but the 16" seems so good to pass up.

I currently have 16G and 512G in my MBP. I’m just debating for future-proofing if I should go to 32G.

Thanks for any help here.


Never heard of the 4GB of RAM per core (though it doesn’t sound too crazy). That being said, if you have 16GB and don’t notice your computer being very laggy, 32GB is probably overkill.

In relation to point 2 and Lightroom (at least with Classic, not sure about the Cloud version), I think that’s a bit of a moving target. it used to be the LR (Classic) didn’t get much benefit from lots of cores. Fewer cores with a higher clock speeds were more useful than more cores with lower clock speeds.
I think that’s starting to turn around though. Adobe having been putting quite a bit of effort into improving the performance of LR classic so it now makes better use of more cores and also can push more work at the GPU rather than the CPU’s.

To make it more complicated, to seems the 6 core has a higher base speed (2.6GHz) but “only” boosts to 4.5Ghz, the 8 core however has a lower base clock speed (2.3GHz) though boots higher (4.8Ghz). There’s also a version available that’ll boots to 5Ghz. Of course theres a big question mark over how long it’ll be able to sustain these boost speeds for until it starts thermal throttling.

When I was buying my MPB the options were a twin core or quad core, I played with the idea of getting the twin core MBP but ended up with the quad core version thinking that these days there’s so many back ground processes running on computers that LR won’t be the only thing it has to do, therefore the extra cores will absorb that extra work.

Regards RAM, I would think you might be able to get by on 16… however, if you’re working with huge dngs/ psd’s (stitching HDR panoramic photos taken on a 50megapixel camera?) then you’ll want all the RAM you can get. I think 32 will give you a bit more headroom, especially if you’re planning on this one lasting you another 7 years!

I remember hearing that with izotope it depends on the filter/tool being used as not all have been written for multiple cores. Multiple cores doesn’t necessarily speed up a task apparently, so it’s all a bit complicated and I stopped looking into it/worrying about it.

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This really jumps out at you on the 28-core Mac Pro, whose base speed is only 2.5GHz, and boosts to 4.4GHz. Of course not many would buy that on a whim, but for single processor software, this wouldn’t be a good choice.

Bit of a tangent, bit I think Apple is falling behind in the GPU arena. While software is increasingly using CUDA on Nvidia GPUs, Apple is sticking with AMD.

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There’s no hard and fast rule about RAM. RAM is application dependent and the apps that need a lot of it tend to be visual. Imaging, 3D, Gaming etc.

Multi-Core processing really helps when it comes to programs that can break the workload into tasks that can be run in parallel. So for example you’ve edited your video in the NLE and now need to compress the video into multiple formats. HEVC h.265 is going to make your computer whimper at high resolutions so those cores come in handy.

I’m a big fan of Multi-core because even if you have a bunch of apps that are really better on single threaded tasks the operating system can balance these apps across cores so that you still get advantages.

My next homebuilt will be a Threadripper based system so I’ll have more actual data to go off of.

Thank you all for the replies. I don’t have to buy a new laptop now (fingers crossed) but I think it’s only a matter of time. My first choice would be to get 32G just to future-proof but I have to obviously see if it’s fiscally responsible.

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