Question S21 Ultra RAM size matters?

Making abstraction of internal memory size, would you buy the 16 GB RAM version of the S21 Ultra?

  • No, 16 GB RAM is overkill.

  • Yes, for overall better performance.


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katolink

Senior Member
Aug 12, 2011
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Hi All! Leaving the internal memory size apart, is 16 GB RAM worth the pocket stretch? Does it make a difference in any specific scenarios?

I am asking because, in my usage case, I don't need 512 GB internal memory, as I keep my files (including music, recorded videos etc.) backed-up in cloud and on external drives. I would consider the 512 GB version only if 16 GB RAM would bring any additional benefit (for example smoother performance, battery efficiency, future-proofing etc.).

Curious about your thoughts on this subject.
 

Maddmatt

Senior Member
Aug 10, 2010
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Highly doubt it. My gaming PC has 16GB of RAM and that's still fine lol.

I went for the 256/12GB model.

Consider the non Ultra models make do with 8GB and have excellent performance as do many phones with 6 and 8 GB.

Also the RAM on the S21 Ultra is a newer gen of RAM which has higher speeds (read/write) which has a performance benefit as well. Reviewers have subtly mentioned that although it doesn't seem to get brought up much in marketing ect. Not sure if the regular and + models have the same.
 

Virgo_Guy

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Sep 11, 2012
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If 256 GB storage is sufficient, then 12 GB/256 GB would be just fine to go with. I would say the 4 GB extra RAM will contribute to a bit more battery drain and will do nothing at all performance wise. People who need more storage should only go for the 16 GB/512 GB variant for the storage space alone.
 

Collin80

Member
Nov 14, 2018
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RAM is used simply for fast storage and retrieval of data and code while a program is running. The general advice is that adding more RAM when you are not using the RAM you already have is a total waste of time and money. So, what could you store in RAM? Well, for an Android phone the most likely answer is "more programs." Since the system doesn't necessarily actually close a program when you go to the home menu or push back it's still potentially taking up RAM. The more RAM you have, the more programs you could potentially keep in RAM and so the more programs you could potentially start nearly instantly. But, the flash memory on these phones is pretty fast anyway so I'm not sure you'd really notice the difference between a .5 second and 1.1 second start up for a program. Another thing RAM can do is cache the contents of your long term (flash) storage. That way the system can access such data more rapidly when it needs it. This is actually where most RAM goes when you're running Windows or Linux - they're passively using all the otherwise unused RAM as cache for the file system. So, more RAM could mean faster file I/O but only if you are doing a lot of file I/O.

I have 16GB of RAM in my laptop. I play all the latest games, I do software development, I do CAD/CAM work. I have never used 16GB of RAM except when running high end simulation systems. There's a system called CARLA which uses Unity to simulate a driving environment for autonomous driving systems. That uses 24GB of RAM to initially compile the simulation. That's the one and only thing I would need more than 16GB for. Now, we're really talking about 12GB vs 16GB here. So, the question is, do you need those extra 4GB for anything? No, I can't think of any real reason a phone would need more than 12GB of RAM. I'll bet I could live with 12GB in my laptop and still virtually never use it all up.

Well, maybe there is ONE thing I could see the extra RAM being used for - high speed/resolution photography. It's possible that having more RAM could allow for longer buffering of things like super slow-mo. Now, I'm about 99% sure they don't do that. But, maybe they could. You might not be able to write to flash quickly enough for some super speed or super high end (like 8K) video without significant buffering to RAM. So, maybe in that case more RAM could be useful. But, the fact that the Ultra comes with 12GB normally would suggest that they aren't likely to optimize applications just for the 1% of people who opt for the top of the line top of the line phone.

TL;DR - No, I don't think the extra 4GB is worth the money and I didn't buy the 16GB/512GB version.
 

eyeatoma

Senior Member
Jun 18, 2011
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If 256 GB storage is sufficient, then 12 GB/256 GB would be just fine to go with. I would say the 4 GB extra RAM will contribute to a bit more battery drain and will do nothing at all performance wise. People who need more storage should only go for the 16 GB/512 GB variant for the storage space alone.
I really don't think extra ram is going to significantly affect battery performance though. If anything it would be a pretty insignificant amount.
 

blackhawk

Senior Member
Jun 23, 2020
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I really don't think extra ram is going to significantly affect battery performance though. If anything it would be a pretty insignificant amount.
The lastest memory consumes less power than the previous generation. You can never have too much ram, or storage space. My 10+ is using about 7-8 gb of it's 12 gb in normal operation.
My 10+ isn't using excessive power at idle at all.

5G or rather it's poor implementation would be the power hog I be concerned about.
 

peterg21

Senior Member
Dec 9, 2011
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The lastest memory consumes less power than the previous generation. You can never have too much ram, or storage space. My 10+ is using about 7-8 gb of it's 12 gb in normal operation.
My 10+ isn't using excessive power at idle at all.

5G or rather it's poor implementation would be the power hog I be concerned about.
Why are you continually posting about an article over 1 year ago about a SOC which is obsolete? Furthermore, battery usage on 865 Qualcomm was very good as shown by Anandtech. Whatever rocks your boat I suppose.
 
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blackhawk

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Jun 23, 2020
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Why are you continually posting about an article over 1 year ago about a SOC which is obsolete? Furthermore, battery usage on 865 Qualcomm was very good as shown by Anandtech. Whatever rocks your boat I suppose.
Yeah ancient history🤣
Try it... you'll like it.
Popcorn on standby
 

mzsquared

Senior Member
Feb 22, 2018
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Well, maybe there is ONE thing I could see the extra RAM being used for - high speed/resolution photography. It's possible that having more RAM could allow for longer buffering of things like super slow-mo.

Yes, that's when extra RAM in S21 Ultra comes into play: 8k videos, director's view(simultaneous front & back camera recording), 108MP, zooming, tripod lock, pip, single take...etc, etc.. The 16GB RAM might sound like an overkill but it will definitely help with all the multitasking load when called upon.

Sure, 12GB or 8GB would handle that too, but performance-wise 16GB RAM processor support won't suffer a sweat.
 

katolink

Senior Member
Aug 12, 2011
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Yes, that's when extra RAM in S21 Ultra comes into play: 8k videos, director's view(simultaneous front & back camera recording), 108MP, zooming, tripod lock, pip, single take...etc, etc.. The 16GB RAM might sound like an overkill but it will definitely help with all the multitasking load when called upon.

Sure, 12GB or 8GB would handle that too, but performance-wise 16GB RAM processor support won't suffer a sweat.
I am sure that 16GB RAM support won't suffer a sweat! But if 12GB would still do the job, why buy the extra RAM? I mean when recording for example (8K, director's view, you name it), you will only do that, you won't be multitasking so that you will need additional RAM for the other apps. I can hardly imagine someone shooting 8K and playing games/doing heavy photo editing at the same time. So practically no RAM swapping would come into play in this scenario.
 

mzsquared

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Feb 22, 2018
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I am sure that 16GB RAM support won't suffer a sweat! But if 12GB would still do the job, why buy the extra RAM? I mean when recording for example (8K, director's view, you name it), you will only do that, you won't be multitasking so that you will need additional RAM for the other apps. I can hardly imagine someone shooting 8K and playing games/doing heavy photo editing at the same time. So practically no RAM swapping would come into play in this scenario.
Yeah, who knows how much demand on RAM it'll put, but it's bundled w/ 1/2TB drive and that actually makes the deal somewhat cost effective, hence no extSD.
I've built a couple of PCs for my own use in the past(WindwsOS) and I'm aware of the ever changing requirements for a decent rig, and that reminds me of the same arguments about RAM when I was preparing to get the components for the first one, long, long time ago: "oh.. 2X4GB is plenty enough, 16?, yeah, but that won't be utilized, it's an overkill". Then, with the second one the build required a min. of 16 for Windows and then some more to better accommodate the CPU and the software I was running, mostly graphics/videos. I don't have the need to build computers anymore but I do check sometimes on the adds about the newest CPUs, MBs etc... totally amazed about the number of available RAM slots.
 
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Virgo_Guy

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I really don't think extra ram is going to significantly affect battery performance though. If anything it would be a pretty insignificant amount.
Yeah I'm not at all saying it'll drain significantly more, and I would still consider it as a minus even when the drain is a hair bit more and isn't doing any favour to the phone performance wise.

My whole point is that one shouldn't waste more money going for the more RAM variant if 256 gigs storage suffices one's need.
 
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mhw100

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Oct 28, 2010
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Are there any stats on how much the extra 4gb drains a battery? Is it imperceptible or something larger like a few extra percent each day?
 

katolink

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Aug 12, 2011
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Are there any stats on how much the extra 4gb drains a battery? Is it imperceptible or something larger like a few extra percent each day?
Not that I know of. As far as I know, the S20 Ultra was the first Samsung phone to come in 12GB and 16GB versions. Considering that S21 phones are still in pre-order phase and have not reached consumers, maybe people who own S20 Ultras are in the position to say something about this (if they read this thread by any chance).
 
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blackhawk

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Jun 23, 2020
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Are there any stats on how much the extra 4gb drains a battery? Is it imperceptible or something larger like a few extra percent each day?
At ldle my guess is not even 1% difference. This is the latest generation ram; about 20% more efficient than the Note 10+ and faster.
I have the 10+ 12 gb ram variant. It runs cool and fast. It never even entered my mind the 8 gb variant gets better battery life; doubt it does.
 
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mhw100

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Oct 28, 2010
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Their pricing makes it compelling to add another 4/256 for $140 when you're already spending a ton of money on the device.

It won't be recovered when reselling it but gives some future proofing if the idea is to keep it a few years.

Also as dex is developed maybe the ram will become more important.
 
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blackhawk

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Their pricing makes it compelling to add another 4/256 for $140 when you're already spending a ton of money on the device.

It won't be recovered when reselling it but gives some future proofing if the idea is to keep it a few years.

Also as dex is developed maybe the ram will become more important.
No SD card, no sale. Worthless overpriced junk to me... no matter how much bloody ram it has.
 

katolink

Senior Member
Aug 12, 2011
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I don't use DeX so much, therefore its future development does not concern me that much. Also, I never have more than 3-4 apps opened simultaneously, to which I switch alternately. Also, most of the time I tend to clear unused apps from memory (pressing the "recent apps" button and closing them). It is all about battery efficiency and smooth experience for me, this is what matters most. If the extra 4GB RAM has nothing to do with that, then I'll pass.

One thing that could be relevant is the future Android major updates (i.e. Android 12, 13), since I plan to use the phone for at least 2-3 years. Would extra RAM benefit me? I personally doubt that next Android versions will need that much RAM, but who knows? :unsure:
 
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Aeorsyn

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Feb 28, 2017
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when i got the note i was pretty convinced i wouldnt upgrade phones until one met 2 criteria of simply 1. more ram, and 2. any other reason making me want to buy it.

no its not needed at all for phone calls and texting... but you can have open a huge confrence call BDM, another game, and web browser and a terminal running some linux install your also connected to with on vnc.. and you know what... you can do all this already with 12gb... sooo

ill get it if and when i get it(it is however a very nice device with 512 and 16.. even the 256 and 12 and other variants anyone using them wouldnt have speed complaints with any of them and can record in 8k.. if you have the option in life for 16.. why not, especially if your ending up paying monthly)
 
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tfn

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May 31, 2010
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I Initially wanted to go for the 12gb/256gb as I feel the 128gb would just not cut it for photography or videos, but decided to go for the 16/512gb as I got it around the same price as the 12gb/256gb with employee discount.

I also went crazy as since my S9+ didn't get excited about any other samsung phones than this one.

Also as google wants to stop free google photos upload to cloud it made sense to go for the higher tier.

I have my Pixel4XL to supplement the S21 Ultra :)



On a side note, I love the fact the S21 ultra can go from Macro to Space Zoom to wide angle which on Paper looks like the Army Swiss knife of photography.