Is it Worth it to Upgrade the RAM on a 2015 MacBook Pro to 16GB?


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I was just pricing out a new MacBook Pro (the 13 incher) and noted that they really aren’t that expensive and also even though the RAM is not upgradeable on this model you can order it from Apple with 16GB vs the 8GB and I have to tell you: the prices Apple charges for RAM really isn’t that bad!

It was not too long ago that if you wanted to upgrade to 16GB from 8GB you could expect to pay a very pretty penny when you buy the ram directly from Apple, and for older Macs like 2012 MacBook Pros – one of the last MacBook Pro models that could take a user installable memory upgrade – this still seems to be the case, where Apple is currently charging over double what they should for a comparable memory part. 

But if you buy a 2015 Apple MacBook Pro and  then when you go to check out and bump up the ram to 16GB from 8GB at time of purchase, the ram price upgrade from 8 to 16GB is just $200, which is not outrageous like Apple RAM prices once were. At one time you would pay  a whole lot more money for 16GB of ram for the MBP if you were to buy it from Apple.

Take a look at the memory chart above: To upgrade to 8GB on an older 2012 and later model MacBook Pro, you will see that places like OWC  and Data Memory Systems are currently charging about  $140-$180.00 for the  16GB memory upgrade kit , but Apple charges $200 for half the amount of RAM at 8GB.

Is a 16GB RAM Upgrade from Apple Worth It?

So the question I need to ask is is it worth it to upgrade a 2015 MacBook Pro to 16gb when you buy it directly from Apple, and I have to say that this is the very first year I can say this with any sort of confidence, but yes it is.

Sure, you pay  a bit of Apple Tax on the ram upgrade compared to a 16GB kit for an older upgradable machine, but for the newest  MacBook Pros (and others) the only way to get to the maximum ram allowable for the Mac is to buy the ram at time of purchase from the Apple Store so you really only have one option anyway, and $200 for a 16GB ram upgrade is currently not that bad of a price.

The  True Cost of a $200.00  16GB RAM Upgrade from Apple

But, then there’s the question of whether a ram upgrade of 16GB is worth it for a MacBook Pro vs the 8GB they ship with for the stock configuration, and  I think the answer is yes, and Ithink that the  $200 price increase is a worthy upgrade, and here’s why:

Let’s choose the 2015 MacBook Pro with 2.7Ghz  and Retinal Display: 

Out of the box this model ships with 8GB of RAM and is priced at $1299.00, say $1300 for a round number. Add the 8GB upgrade to 16GB total and your new MacBook Pro  now costs $1500.00 with the more memory pre-installed.

Let’s assume you keep the MacBook Pro for 2 years. I think this is a very reasonable time to consider that you will stay with the same Apple computer. A 2017 MacBook Pro might be something completely different and will no doubt be faster and lighter than your once new 2015 model, but it should run most programs still and the latest operating system with ease. Unless you need to be on the bleeding edge of technology there’s no reason why you couldn’t get even more than 3 years out of it.

The Math: What a 16GB MacBook Pro Really Costs

Apple will happily finance the base model to you at $61.00 and change a month (on approved credit, etc). If you add the $200 option you are now raising  the financing cost ten dollars a month over the course of the term, which is in this example 24 months.

If you keep the MacBook Pro for 3 years, you’re paying  $500 a year to own your MacBook Pro. But that assumes your notebook has zero value at the end  of the 3 years and we know that’s not true and  it would not be hard at all to get a 50% trade in on your old Mac. This brings your costs down even further to $250.00 a year for 16GB 2015 MacBook Pro, or just over $20.00 a month for the 16GB model.

This is a current notebook with much more than three years of life in them, and all it costs is about $20.00 a month. I think this is a pretty good deal for a MacBook Pro. If you’re a professional you can easily realize more than $20.00 a month with your notebook, and  even if you’re a student or a mommy blogger you can also get twenty dollars of value with a fast portable MacBook with a full amount of memory that just works.

This is why I suggest to always, always add the maximum amount of RAM you can to your computer. Even with the cost Apple charges for the upgrade, if you keep your computer in good shape it will have a very high resale value even a few years later and the true cost of owning your maxed out MacBook Pro will really only cost about the same as a few lattes from Starbucks every month.

Buy the MacBook Pro on Sale Now

Buy RAM for your older MacBook Pro