I bought a new 2023 M3 Pro Macbook Pro in its starting configuration, which is 18GB RAM and 512 GB of storage. I mostly do web development and was thinking that if I upgrade my computer to a Mac with 18GB of RAM and a capable processor, I will be able to get into mobile app development, which requires some heavy tools and emulators to be running on my machine which was a little too much for my 5 years old Dell XPS 13
While the M3 Pro Macbook Pro was more than enough for mobile app development, as soon as I installed a generative AI tool locally on this computer, I realised that this computer is not enough for generative AI stuff.
I have installed Fooocus, which is a tool used to install and generate images using stable diffusion and other third party models. As soon as I start image generation using any prompt, I noticed something in the activity monitor.
The memory pressure was too high and the swap space used was even more than my total installed memory. I also noticed that the python process which is started by Fooocus is the one using up all the swap memory
I must say that even in this situation, the laptop was perfectly usable, but using this much space as swap is not recommended. Especially for Macbooks since the storage is not upgradeable, using storage as RAM means there is going to be a lot of read/write cycles and this will eat up the read/write cycle available for your storage, reducing the life of your storage and in this case, the life of your machine.
So if your usage is expected to have generative AI image generation or video/animation done by locally installed tools, my recommendation would be to buy the machine with the most memory installed. Or just go for a windows laptop with upgradeable RAM/storage or better yet, use a desktop with dedicated graphics card