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View Full Version : 2GB vs 4GB - when needed?




glen e
May 7, 2011, 05:08 PM
I have a a 11" 2GB basic from Best buy and it does everything I want - running Keynote on other iwork stuff - not a lot of multitasking - so I assume the 4gb is something you do when you multitask or have heavy demands on the processor like gaming?



johnhalsted
May 7, 2011, 05:47 PM
just get 4gb its a cheep upgrade and will make it better when selling, dont fall prey of being a cheapskate!

alust2013
May 7, 2011, 05:50 PM
It's helpful for multitasking, but if you're just doing the basics without a whole lot of multitasking, 2GB is plenty.

Satch
May 7, 2011, 06:06 PM
If you're ever going to use VMware or parallels you'll need 4GB's of ram. I've been using VMware on my old 17" iMac which unfortunately doesn't support more ram then 2GB and it horribly slows it down. The ssd in the Macbook Air probably makes it a bit more bearable but it would still advice you to go with 4GB's of ram. It's just more future proof. Maybe you can still swap your model for a 4GB version? :)

Beaverman3001
May 7, 2011, 06:27 PM
People getting 2GB models must not like reselling their machines in a few years. 2GB is barely sufficient now, imagine how it will be in 3-4 years.

glen e
May 7, 2011, 06:28 PM
It's helpful for multitasking, but if you're just doing the basics without a whole lot of multitasking, 2GB is plenty.

thank you - answers my question

entatlrg
May 7, 2011, 07:35 PM
Yes, and it's a $99 upgrade, everyone should wait and save up the extra $99 before buying.

Frankly, Apple should be embarrassed offering a 'premium' machine with only 2GB RAM .... but (huge) profits is Apple's priority, 2nd to be reasonable with their prices ...

rgs3
May 7, 2011, 08:00 PM
Yes, and it's a $99 upgrade, everyone should wait and save up the extra $99 before buying.

Frankly, Apple should be embarrassed offering a 'premium' machine with only 2GB RAM .... but (huge) profits is Apple's priority, 2nd to be reasonable with their prices ...
Really? Apple should be embarrassed for giving the people a cheaper option that works fantastically? lol

I have both 2GB and 4GB (basic/wife and ultimate/me) and for regular apps and web they both operate identically as far as I can tell. I however do use VMware fusion and Photoshop among a few other heavy apps, so I opted for the beefier one which does help in that regard.

Xgm541
May 9, 2011, 03:47 PM
Really? Apple should be embarrassed for giving the people a cheaper option that works fantastically? lol

I have both 2GB and 4GB (basic/wife and ultimate/me) and for regular apps and web they both operate identically as far as I can tell. I however do use VMware fusion and Photoshop among a few other heavy apps, so I opted for the beefier one which does help in that regard.

I think what the other poster meant was that the $99 upgrade to 4gb costs apple a mere few dollars and its apple who is being cheap here.

mouthster
May 9, 2011, 06:06 PM
I have a a 11" 2GB basic from Best buy and it does everything I want - running Keynote on other iwork stuff - not a lot of multitasking - so I assume the 4gb is something you do when you multitask or have heavy demands on the processor like gaming?

My old laptop is a 2008 MPB Pro with 2.4 C2D and 4 Gigs of ram. My current laptop is a MBA 13" with 1.8 C2D and 2 Gigs of ram. I bought it from Amazon because it was $100 off with free shipping and no tax, so I couldn't do a custom build and get the extra 2.

I multitask a lot and am usually running Mail, iCal, Coda, Photoshop CS5, Illustrator CS5 along with Safari, iTunes, Twitter, Reeder, and Evernote.

The Air, despite having 2 Gigs of RAM less, out performs my old MBP Pro in every way. I hardly ever see the beachball, but if I do, it resolves itself much more quickly. The SSD really makes all the difference.

Exana
May 9, 2011, 06:11 PM
4GB are needed when you have decided to go with 2GB. :p

It's less than 10% of the MBA price, so it's better to get them even if you don't use them now. They will help later if you keep your MBA for a long or if you sold it.

Cheffy Dave
May 9, 2011, 06:19 PM
thank you - answers my question

I know, but my thinking, always buy the most RAM you can afford, and For $100, go for it, you'll thank me later;)

dlamin517
May 10, 2011, 03:59 AM
For some people though, the 4gb of ram is actually a $200 upgrade. I bought mine from amazon for $970 total. Amazon doesnt charge tax in my state. Since amazon doesnt offer the 4gb option, I would have to buy it from apple for $1200

japasneezemonk
May 10, 2011, 04:29 AM
Unless your selling to a fairly sophisticated computer user, the amount of ram shouldn't affect your resale value too much. If anything, just get the 4GB to future proof yourself. I wish there was an 8GB option for the MBA.

LeftyHogan
May 10, 2011, 07:31 PM
Anyone have a guess as to whether the upcoming MBA will have 8 gigs of ram?

Ridley
May 10, 2011, 07:44 PM
If you're ever going to use VMware or parallels you'll need 4GB's of ram. I've been using VMware on my old 17" iMac which unfortunately doesn't support more ram then 2GB and it horribly slows it down. The ssd in the Macbook Air probably makes it a bit more bearable but it would still advice you to go with 4GB's of ram. It's just more future proof. Maybe you can still swap your model for a 4GB version? :)

Agreed, running a virtual instance of an OS benefits from added RAM.

Just to add though, all modern operating systems will use up all available RAM all of the time. Obviously programs that you are running and using need to have instructions in RAM. Also though, recently created or modified files, recently used applications, etc are all cached and will be stored in RAM until they are booted out by demand or because of newer files. If something is cached in RAM you can access it a lot faster! More RAM means higher probability what you need will be there (hit rate).

So more RAM means a higher hit rate of instruction sets, but at the cost of a higher latency. I know C2D doesn't support 8 gigs of RAM, but hypothetical if it did, i would think twice about that upgrade for the added latency, which would be exacerbated by a weaker processor. Also having a fast SSD disk makes a RAM miss less of an issue on the MBA.

Anyway i'm not really saying anything here, I just thought i'd explain a little how things worked so people could decide what they wanted.

negatv1
May 11, 2011, 02:35 PM
Anyone have a guess as to whether the upcoming MBA will have 8 gigs of ram?

I have a guess. That guess would be no, but hopeful for the opposite as a likely overpriced option.

parapup
May 11, 2011, 05:44 PM
Don't buy a MBA if you are going to need more than 2Gb of RAM. Rule of thumb :-)
I mean it is designed to do light weight single tasking stuff like web/email and for that 2Gb is OK.
Sent from my Xoom using Tapatalk

TRUCRACKER
May 11, 2011, 06:08 PM
Weather you need it or not shouldn't matter in this case. When you're spending this much money, 4 gigs should be standard.

albestar
May 11, 2011, 06:44 PM
the big catch here is that OS X is not iOS, in other words the environment is not 'sandboxed' and many devs do not fine tune for leaks or other ram related optimizations. Fact is, sooner or later you can encounter apps managing hefty resources (esp. audio or video) that, not for a developer fault but maybe just because were tested mostly on a well equipped macpro, will really spike up the ram usage graph. Well ok, maybe you're not using Nuke or Maya on the go on your mbair but weird leakages can be experienced even on mundane browsers like chrome or safari. :D

Or you may prefer the short answer, if you play games like dead space or mass effect on your trusty Win7 partition 4 GB is better :cool:

entatlrg
May 11, 2011, 07:13 PM
I think what the other poster meant was that the $99 upgrade to 4gb costs apple a mere few dollars and its apple who is being cheap here.

Thank you.

entatlrg
May 11, 2011, 07:19 PM
Don't buy a MBA if you are going to need more than 2Gb of RAM. Rule of thumb :-)
I mean it is designed to do light weight single tasking stuff like web/email and for that 2Gb is OK.
Sent from my Xoom using Tapatalk

That's ridiculous.

My Air does all kinds of heavy tasks very well, editing photo's/video/vector drawings.

With 4gb and ssd it's a surprisingly capable computer and a 'main computer' for a LOT of people.

japasneezemonk
May 11, 2011, 10:46 PM
I think many users underestimate the power of a Core 2 Duo. I use a 7,1 iMac with similar specs to the MBA on a daily basis and I can comfortably multitask. I tend to run Ai, Safari, Excel, Omnifocus, Accountedge and iTunes constantly and the iMac does just fine.

I must say though that the one upgrade that made a huge difference was swapping the old HD with a Barracuda XT ST33000651AS. My next project will be swapping the optical drive with an SSD and I expect this next upgrade will further extend the life of my iMac by another 4 years.

AWallen90
May 11, 2011, 10:57 PM
I think what the other poster meant was that the $99 upgrade to 4gb costs apple a mere few dollars and its apple who is being cheap here.

The ram itself is fairly inexpensive but it does have to be soldered to the board, maybe manufacturing equipment has to be changed out? IDK just throwing suggestions on why it is so high.

AWallen90
May 11, 2011, 11:00 PM
Agreed, running a virtual instance of an OS benefits from added RAM.

Just to add though, all modern operating systems will use up all available RAM all of the time. Obviously programs that you are running and using need to have instructions in RAM. Also though, recently created or modified files, recently used applications, etc are all cached and will be stored in RAM until they are booted out by demand or because of newer files. If something is cached in RAM you can access it a lot faster! More RAM means higher probability what you need will be there (hit rate).

So more RAM means a higher hit rate of instruction sets, but at the cost of a higher latency. I know C2D doesn't support 8 gigs of RAM, but hypothetical if it did, i would think twice about that upgrade for the added latency, which would be exacerbated by a weaker processor. Also having a fast SSD disk makes a RAM miss less of an issue on the MBA.

Anyway i'm not really saying anything here, I just thought i'd explain a little how things worked so people could decide what they wanted.

The 2010 C2D's support 8GB

Scottsdale
May 11, 2011, 11:04 PM
I know, but my thinking, always buy the most RAM you can afford, and For $100, go for it, you'll thank me later;)

Have to agree, and the biggest thing many forget is that while 2GB of RAM seems sufficient now, LION is just around the corner. The easiest thing to improve the usable life of the MBA is to upgrade the RAM. I would say it will take it from two years and definitely be stuck at Lion with only 2GB RAM. With 4GB RAM, it will be marching years into the future with probably five useful years or more. With Lion so close to being released, it is almost ridiculous that Apple hasn't moved these to 4GB RAM standard... and I do expect that with the update whether it's in June of 2011 or June 2012.

AWallen90
May 11, 2011, 11:05 PM
Last consecutive post I promise.

I know a few people who recently bought the new MBA's at Best Buy and were told that they needn't worry about upgrading the ram when they buy it because it can be upgraded later. What makes this worse is I used to work at Best Buy and know the guy that told them false information. He is a fairly arrogant person. I will be returning with one of the guys that was told this and seeing what Best Buy will do to compensate him for what I will try to prove is a loss to him and to the future value of the MBA.

DarwinOSX
May 12, 2011, 07:19 PM
You really want 4 GB for just about any use. It makes no sense to me at all that Apple even ships a 2GB laptop.

japasneezemonk
May 12, 2011, 09:01 PM
If your that worried about ram, then just get an MBP.