Unified Memory VS RAM comparison

Main Difference Between Unified Memory VS RAM? – Detailed Explanation

When you buy a brand-new Apple MacBook laptop but are confused about its unified memory and RAM technology, it becomes a big issue!

So, Unified Memory Vs. RAM: What’s the difference? Unified Memory refers to a technology and marketing phrase for Memory (or RAM) in heterogeneous computing where it is shared across the CPU, GPU, and other accelerators. As volatile storage, RAM is used to store current applications and programs.

This article will clear you out all about this issue with all other helpful information and tips for selecting a sufficient amount of UM or RAM for your MacBook Pro.

Unified Memory Vs. RAM: Main Comparison


Here, we have figured out the main comparison of unified memory and RAM. You will be clear after going through this section.

What Are They?

Unified memory is a technology that allows multiple processors to access the same memory location at the same time. This can be useful for things like graphics processing and video encoding, where multiple cores need to access the same data at the same time. The main benefit of unified memory is that it can significantly reduce the amount of traffic between cores and memories, which can result in faster performance.

Unified Memory combines high bandwidth and low latency memory in a custom package. There is no need to duplicate data across various memory pools, significantly increasing speed and efficiency.

What does RAM stand for? RAM is an acronym for “Random Access Memory.” This is the essential part of a computer’s system memory. Your computer’s system memory serves as a temporary storage area for the data now being accessed.

Your computer’s RAM is the place to go for short-term data storage. Distinct from long-term information saved on your hard disk, which persists even after you shut down the machine.

It doesn’t matter if you play a game from your computer’s HDD or watch a drama online; the data needed by your computer’s CPU primarily stays at random access memory. It’s for performance reasons; your CPU needs rapid access to it.

Working Process

CPU, GPU, and other components all share a unified memory; thus, it’s important to reduce data duplication as much as possible.

On the other hand, speed and performance are strongly linked to the quantity of RAM installed in your computer.

Functional Usages

As well as making it possible to integrate RAM physically, the new Unified memory architecture also provides for better use of the existing memory resources.

RAM is a short-term data storage that disappears when the computer is turned off. The main drawback of RAM is that it is less efficient than Unified storage.

Role On Gaming


To play a game on your Mac with unified memory, the CPU gets all of the game’s instructions and then passes the data to your required graphics card.

A better gaming experience and shorter loading times may be had by using more RAM and making it faster.


An integrated approach to Unified Memory allows all components to share and access the same Memory, revolutionizing performance.

The processing speed increases linearly with the RAM speed. Speed up data movement between memory and other components by using quicker RAM.

Efficient Use

Having all of the Unified Memory in a single pool makes it possible for any component to increase its utilization at any time, allowing the system to distribute resources as required.

Also, the Random-Access Memory may be used to speed up retrieving previously accessible data.

8GB Unified Memory VS 8GB Ram

On the M1-based MacBook Pro (and MacBook Air), 8 GB of Unified Memory should be plenty for a regular user and is comparable to 16 GB of RAM in the Intel-based versions and Big Sur.

If you want to run many programs simultaneously, 8 GB of RAM will work enough on a laptop in 2023 if you can afford more; however, the better.

Also Read: Gmail VS iCloud

Explaining The Concept Of “Unified Memory” And How It Works?

Unified Memory

The goal of unified memory is to reduce the amount of data that has to be duplicated between separate parts of memory utilized by the CPU, GPU, etc. Copying takes a long time and consumes a lot of memory. A portion of your RAM is set aside for the GPU in a typical memory design.

A laptop with 16GB of RAM has only 14GB accessible for system functions if 2GB of the RAM is dedicated to the GPU. Apple’s Uniform Memory Allocation (UMA) helps overcome this issue by making memory allocation more fluid and enhancing performance.

Relation With GPU

The GPU cores, GPU memory, GPU RAM, and the processor have their own dedicated memory space if you have an integrated graphics chip processor. The CPU and GPU memory perform independent operations on the same data before passing the results back and forth between them.

It’s simple to understand how putting everything in the same storage space may enhance speed if you don’t need to transport data back and forth. The unified memory method dramatically transforms performance by allowing all components to access the same memory at the exact location.

On a MacBook Pro

The M1 MacBook Pro SoC from Apple is simply outstanding. Along with physical integration, the new unified-memory architecture facilitates better utilization of already available memory. With this improved RAM configuration, Windows 10 can run on the new M1 iMacs. If you put all your system’s RAM into a single “pool,” you’ll be able to allocate resources as needed dynamically.

Gaming On UM

Gaming is the most excellent way to grasp the advantages of unified memory. To play a video game on a Mac OS, the CPU first gets the game’s instructions and then pushes them over to the GPU, which receives the required data. Afterward, the graphics card uses its CPU (the GPU) and built-in RAM to process the data.

Apples Unified Memory Architecture

macbook memory

For years, the CPU, RAM, I/O, and other components have spread among numerous Macs and PCs processors. New levels of integration are achieved with Apple’s silicon chips, which merge various technologies into a single System on Chip (SoC).

To begin with, the M1 pro-MacBook has significantly faster memory than the M1 MacBook Pro 14 inch due to its use of 200GB/s unified program memory and an even faster 7.4GB/s solid-state drive (SSD). Data is transferred and stored on the SSD considerably more quickly. The new MacBook Pro’s memory performance is far superior to that of prior MacBook Pro models and the vast majority of PCs, as a result.

That’s why it’s essential to know that the new MacBook Pro’s 16GB or 32GB of RAM is not traditional RAM but rather a high-performance unified memory architecture.

RAM vs Apple MacBook M1 Chips- Main Difference

‘Random Access Memory,’ or RAM, is what the acronym stands for. This is the essential part of a computer’s system memory. Your computer’s system memory serves as temporary storage for the data being used. Files you’re viewing and files needed by macOS can be kept in system memory. Traditionally, RAM has been a long, thin stick that slides into a slot on your computer’s mainboard to store data. This is another aspect in which the M1 is revolutionary.

Since the M1 MacBook Air is a system on an M1 Max chip (SoC), the RAM is built-in. While smartphones like the iPhone 12 series have RAM integrated into the SoC, this is a novel concept for desktop and laptop computers. Faster memory access is made possible by incorporating RAM into the SoC architecture, enhancing performance.

Apple has altered how the system uses CPU memory and physically increased RAM to the SoC. Apple Mac Mini unified memory on silicon plays an important role when it comes to this.

memory ram

Windows PC vs. MacBook: How Much RAM Do You Require?

Apple’s answer isn’t all rainbows and sunshine. Due to its embedded RAM modules, the M1 cannot be upgraded once purchased. If you buy an 8GB MacBook Air, you can’t afterward increase the RAM capacity of the laptop. Updating the RAM on a MacBook hasn’t been an option for quite some time. However, the latest M1 models of the Mac Mini are unable to do so.

You can obtain an M1 Mac with 8GB or 16GB of RAM, but you can’t get any more than that in the initial batch. Putting a RAM module in a slot is no longer enough.

What kind of system RAM do you need? The prevailing consensus is that 8GB of RAM is sufficient for most everyday computing operations on a Windows PC. For “prosumer” jobs like video editing huge, high-resolution files, that should be increased to 32GB at the very least.

Latest Update: It’s Amazing, But It’s Not Over Yet

That’s all there is to it. So, why are the entry-level 1st generation Apple Silicon Macs so speedy and can accomplish it with such a tiny amount of RAM? I hope you’ll find out soon! In terms of performance, there is little doubt that the M1 Pro and M1 Max have significantly improved. An Apple Silicon iMac seems more likely, and our collective minds are blown by the possibilities of an Apple Silicon Mac Pro. Be on the lookout.

People Often Ask More

macbook questions

1. Is RAM better than unified memory?

Unified Memory Architecture does not indicate that you will require less RAM; it is only quicker and more efficient throughput between the RAM and devices that need to utilize and access it.

2. Is Apple unified memory better?

Compared to PCs without an Apple silicon SoC, the unified memory architecture and superior memory management in macOS appear to be getting significantly more out of the RAM. The faster SSD and RAM in the high-end 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models allow for even quicker memory swapping.

3. Can we get by with just 8 GB of unified memory?

For the M1-based 16 inch MacBook Pro (and MacBook Air), 8 GB of unified memory should be plenty for a regular user, much like 16GB RAM was on the Intel-based versions and Big Sur. While applications and the operating system used to require less than virtual memory of 8GB RAM, Intel considered it acceptable.

4. What is the reason for the lower RAM requirements of Macs?

Apple M1 macs have demonstrated that even with only 8GB of RAM, they can outperform PCs with twice or four times as much RAM. However, there is a limit to all optimization in a vast dataset, although, for most everyday activities a typical user will encounter, iMac Pro can get away with merely 8GB of RAM.

5. How fast is Apple’s unified memory?

girl using macbook

Allowing creatives like 3D designers and game developers to accomplish more on the fly than ever, managed memory bandwidth blazes up to 200GB/s. All of it is increased by two on the M1 Pro Chip. Up to 64GB of unified memory can be installed in your MacBook Pro; the MacBook Pro’s memory bandwidth is 400GB/s.

6. is Unified Memory used only for MAC?

Unified Memory is a feature of the macOS operating system that allows applications to share memory resources. This can improve performance by allowing multiple applications to access the same memory location simultaneously. Unified Memory is not supported by all applications, and it is not available on all Mac models. It is used in the newest Windows operating systems like Windows 8 and 10.

7. Is 8GB of unified memory enough for graphic design?

For many graphic designers, 8GB of unified memory is a minimum for their needs. However, if you work with large files or frequently switch between multiple applications, a higher amount of memory may be more beneficial.

Additionally, if your graphics hardware requires more than 8GB of memory to function optimally, it may be worth investing in a dedicated graphics card with more memory.

Final Discussion On RAM and Unified Memory On Apple’s M1?

And last, asking Unified Memory vs. Ram is akin to asking, “What’s the difference between a monitor and Samsung Odyssey G9”.

RAM is referred to as “primary memory” by Apple since it is used. The CPU and GPU share memory is referred to as “unified.” This is nothing new; Intel x86 CPUs with “integrated graphics” perform the same as virtually all current smartphones.

On the other hand, Nvidia and AMD’s specialized GPU processors have separate memory pools. It is unique in that Apple’s integrated solution can perform dedicated GPUs.

Additionally, Apple uses the same multi-chip module as the Main chip to implement its main memory RAM (SoC). The more integrated method offers several advantages in electrical efficiency and performance.

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