Macs with Apple M1 processors have a 16 GB RAM limit


At the “One More Thing” event, Apple introduced three new Mac computers with the brand new M1 chip with an ARM-based customized system design. Despite the performance and efficiency gains made possible by the M1 chip, there is a considerable limitation on the memory side. According to Apple, customers considering purchasing a new Mac should opt for older, Intel-based models if they want more than 16GB of RAM. As of now, the M1 does not support more memory capacities.

This will not please some professional users considering the upgrade to ARM-based notebooks or the new Mac mini. It is possible to use 32 GB of RAM in older Intel-based models. Four years ago, when the new version of the MacBook Pro came out, there was a similar limitation on the memory side, and Apple said restrictions in memory options were imposed on battery life.

This limitation on the memory side suggests that future Macs may need newer ARM-based processors. We cannot expect Apple to sell a new iMac, a 16-inch MacBook Pro or a Mac Pro, that is, models that are more appealing to professional users, with a 16 GB RAM restriction. By the way, we know that Apple is working on new Mac models such as iMac, Mac Pro and so on, using the new ARM-based chip.

There are other important limitations to be noted regarding the M1. According to Apple, Macs with the new chip will not work with external GPUs. This will be a major restriction, especially for the new Mac mini. Some users have the opportunity to use Mac mini models released in 2018 and earlier, as well as earlier Apple laptops, with more powerful graphics processors and external GPU packages. Apple also says the RAM in M1 models is not upgradeable. RAM is integrated into the on-chip system and you will not be able to add another RAM to a model with 8 GB of RAM.

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All of this suggests that there are good reasons to choose the Intel-based MacBook Pro and Mac mini models that Apple is still selling now. Only MacBook Air is available with Apple M1 processors only. Models with Intel processors may not be at the level of M1 processor computers in terms of performance and efficiency, but they will offer the possibility to use more RAM and more flexibility. We can also say that there are more port options for some products. However, as time passes and Apple Silicon matures, the restrictions on the RAM and external GPU side will be lifted.


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