Question What is better, 16 GB RAM + an integrated GPU or 8 GB + a dedicated GPU?

Dec 17, 2019
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Time to buy a new laptop, and I have to settle for a fairly low-end machine. The ones in the price range I'm going for are unsurprisingly in many ways similar, but the starkest commonality seems to be that almost all of them have 8 GB RAM. Some of them have dedicated graphic cards (though probably not that stellar at those prices) on top of that with 2-4 GB of memory, some don't.

The problem is that my old laptop has 8 GB and it doesn't seem to be enough. I often run out of memory. I don't play games at all, but I do have a tendency to run many programs at the same time, keep dozens of tabs open in a browser window, I watch a lot of films (while doing other things), and sometimes I use photo editing software. I also sometimes connect the laptop to an external TV screen, which requires some RAM. That's why I feel I could aim for a laptop with 16 GB. I happened to find one which could just about fit my budget, and it has everything I need; a 512 GB SSD instead of a 256 one which most computers I've looked at have, a better processor than most in that price range, all the ports I need, etc. But it (curiously) lacks a dedicated graphics card.

So now they question is: which is better, 16 GB of RAM with an integrated graphics card or 8 GB with a dedicated graphics card? I know it's not that simple, that all the components as a whole is what matters, but I'm asking more in general terms. Instead of wanting to know if the laptop I've been looking for is better/worse compared to a specific other model, when comparing specs and taking into account my needs, I'd like to know under which circumstances one or the other of those two options should be chosen, sort of like guiding principles. I know you don't want to speculate without details, so I'll just add two laptops' specs for the sake of comparison, as a hypothetical example. Both are almost exactly the same price. But as I said, I'm more interested in how the two RAM options compare more generally when it comes to pros and cons.

Option 1:
CPU: Intel Core i7-8565U (1.80 GHz ; 4.60 GHz ; Cache: 8 MB ; Cores: 4/8)
RAM: 16 GB (2400 MHz, DDR4)
SSD: 512 GB
GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 620 (integrated)

Option 2:
CPU: Intel Core i5-8265U (1.6 GHz ; 3.9 GHz ; Cache: 6 MB ; Cores 4/8)
RAM: 8 GB (2133 MHz, DDR4)
SSD: 256 GB
GPU: GeForce MX150, 2 GB GDDR5 (dedicated)

Until a few days ago I was almost certain I'd go with the 16 GB version, but then I read some comments that very clearly favoured an 8 GB setup: 16 GB RAM has such a small advantage compared to 8 GB, but a dedicated GPU brings a clear benefit over an integrated one, so much so that the overall user experience will be better when the other components are about the same. That is, if all other things were approximately equal, the primary option would evidently be the 8 GB option. To me this seems like quite a bold, assertive statement. Why then would I buy a laptop with 16 GB RAM? What point does it have, and is there another reason why the dedicated GPU has been left out than cost-cutting? If one saw a laptop like option 1, what should one's initial reaction to it be when already having seen a host of other competing laptops with 8 GB RAM and a dedicated GPU? Would it be possible to go as far as to say that a dedicated GPU is such a benefit that in most circumstances a computer like option 2 is the way to go instead of option 1? What if the two options were otherwise identical, except that one had 8 GB RAM and a dedicated GPU and the other 16 and an integrated GPU. (All of this is obviously ignoring the possibility of buying more RAM in addition to the existing 8 GB.)

I have to say I'm drawn to option 1, mainly because I don't see the clear benefit a somewhat decent dedicated GPU would bring, i.e. what I would be missing by having 16 GB RAM with a subpar integrated GPU, but that's my ignorance talking. The length of this post is suggesting I'm over-analysing this.
 
I wouldn't touch any of those but if I had to take one I would take the one with the MX150 because the MX150 is like 150% faster than the UHD Graphics 620.

Are you gonna play games on this or just surfing the net?
 
Usually, you can upgrade the ram on most laptops.
That will usually be better than paying for the upgrade by the vendor.
The same applies to the ssd.
It might be smart to buy a cheaper laptop with 8gb and a HDD and upgrade to 16gb and a ssd.

You really only need a dedicated graphics chip if you will be playing fast action games.
HD620 is fine for HD movie playback.
 

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