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View Full Version : 4 GB ENOUGH you Power Users Out there




chefwong
Sep 24, 2011, 09:30 AM
I've been hemming and hawing at this for awhile now.

For all you Power Users out there - is the 4GB good enough for you as a daily workhorse.

Been looking for a lighter alternative to my MBP 8GB loaded...

I run multiple windows, VMWARE, etc.
The 8GB DOES make a difference in workflow for me.

I also run into situations where I do need to hardwire via RJ45.
So making sure than USB-ethernet is always on me is another *added thing* I need to make sure I have on me at any given time.



miles01110
Sep 24, 2011, 09:33 AM
I run multiple windows, VMWARE, etc.
The 8GB DOES make a difference in workflow for me.

I also run into situations where I do need to hardwire via RJ45.

Sounds like the MBA isn't for you, as is typical for "power users."

danpass
Sep 24, 2011, 09:36 AM
No. Aperture alone takes about 3 jee bees at times. The SSD helps.

I am still in my return window and hemming and hawing.

I like the screen better than the MBP13 but the MBP with 8gb was REALLY snappy with multiple windows.

And, as you mentioned, more port selection, like FW and ethernet. Stick an SSD in the MBP and zoom/zoom :D .


But the semi-matte screen and light weight is so nice lol. I could live with 6gb and everything else the same.

chefwong
Sep 24, 2011, 09:57 AM
That's right about the 13' MBP. I bought that about 4 months ago and returned it after the 2nd day. I could not get past the screen resolution.


I've yet to research the debate on the ~screen quality~ on MBA vs. MBP, but if only they offered a 13" MBP with a hi res screen..


I digress as I've always had some variant of a Sony 11" over the years on my stash as they make ultra portables and high res screens. Build quality, Customer Service, Warranty - bottom of the barrell....it's not my daily, but I do use it for certain occasions .

Beaverman3001
Sep 24, 2011, 10:11 AM
4GB is rough sometimes. I run a few different VMs, so 4GB is definitely restricting in that department. It is doable but just annoying. Lack of RJ45 jack can also be a tad annoying, and lack of serial port (though that prob doesn't matter to most people). It is what it is, still a great machine, just not a work horse.

QuaziModo
Sep 24, 2011, 10:16 AM
I have the luxury of having both a 2011 11" Ultimate and 2011 27" iMac Ultimate bar 8GB RAM so I can put up with my VM's etc not performing great on my MBA.

To be perfectly honest if I only had the MBA as only one machine and had external monitors I could get by but it wouldn't be the greatest experience.

So overall if I had to get by with one machine or needed much more power while on the move I'd look at a 13" or 15" MBP with SSD.

But being able to write this post now so comfortably while in bed makes me happy with the 11" MBA.

chrono1081
Sep 24, 2011, 10:17 AM
It depends what you are using. I can use my Macbook Air as a 3D modeling/sculpting/video game creation machine when I travel. I can run ZBrush, Maya, Photoshop, Corel Painter and Unity 3D just fine on it hooked to an external. That being said I'm using Maya for videogame graphics not for high end 3D renders when I'm using my Macbook Pro. It actually renders fine for higher quality stuff but it is is obviously much slower to do so.

I haven't attempted any real After Effects work on it because honestly that program needs at least 8 gigs of ram to work with. I've seen it snarf as high as 22 gigs on my main machine. The Macbook air also runs Aperture and Lightroom surprisingly well. I've also used Logic Express on it without any issue.

So it all depends what you are using it for. I needed a lightweight computer for traveling to complement my tower. Both machines are in my signature and I was really surprised the way the Macbook Air holds its own. Its a lot more powerful than people give it credit for.

Also VMWare works fine on it as well. I only usually have one other VM open on it though.

chefwong
Sep 24, 2011, 10:26 AM
The Ultimate is just the fully rigged MBA right --- I bought one as a gift xmas 2010. The Ultimate is not a 8GB equipped MBA is it....

rhinosrcool
Sep 24, 2011, 02:56 PM
The Ultimate is just the fully rigged MBA right --- I bought one as a gift xmas 2010. The Ultimate is not a 8GB equipped MBA is it....

No, 4gb max (soldered in) for all airs. There's nothing you can do about it.:(

wedge1
Sep 25, 2011, 02:27 PM
Someone should make a petition for an 8gb option for the air. I would buy it.

maril1111
Sep 25, 2011, 02:29 PM
It tends to be enough in most cases, unless you do some extreme rendering but than don't buy a mba

Kasalic
Sep 25, 2011, 03:08 PM
I appreciate it's not the same, but we were running iMacs with 4GB, using Parallels and Windows 7 Professional. I got constant complaints about slowness until we upgraded them to 12GB. Since then the feedback has been that they run smooth as silk.

eric/
Sep 25, 2011, 03:30 PM
If you consider yourself a "power user", which quite honestly is about the lamest thing I've ever heard, you should consider a desktop computer like an iMac or Mac Pro.

GGJstudios
Sep 25, 2011, 03:41 PM
If you consider yourself a "power user", which quite honestly is about the lamest thing I've ever heard,
Apparently you're not familiar with common computing terms, which would indicate that you're not a power user:
A power user (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_User) is a user of a personal computer who has the ability to use advanced features of programs which are beyond the abilities of "normal" users, but is not necessarily capable of programming and system administration.
you should consider a desktop computer like an iMac or Mac Pro.
You don't need an iMac or Mac Pro as a power user. MacBook Pros are plenty powerful enough for most uses.

reputationZed
Sep 25, 2011, 03:45 PM
Kind of depends on your interpretation of the term Power User. The title gets thrown around quite a bit without any real definition of what makes a person a power user. The term is often used as a means of justifying an investment in technology without giving any substantial reason for why that technology is required. If someone argues they need 8GB of RAM because they spend a good deal of time encoding HD video, I can see the merit of their argument. If someone tells me they need 8GB of RAM because their a Power User, my perception would be that they want 8GB of RAM, because they believe they need 8GB of RAM, but are clueless as to why they need 8GB of RAM.

Here's another way of looking at it. I would consider someone who has mastered Unix commands and spends most of their day in terminal to be a Power User because they are taking advantage of functions in the OS that may not be easily implemented through a GUI environment. Yet a great deal of what this power user would be doing on a daily basis could probably be done with less than 2GB of RAM.

A final argument is that if you do not understand how to monitor and manage system resources, and how to make a determination of your requirements from that information, than you are not a power user.

It's a bit like saying I need to buy professional quality cookware because I'm a really, really good chef, rather than buying professional cookware because it holds heat more consistently or is more durable than the consumer grade stuff.

eric/
Sep 25, 2011, 03:56 PM
Apparently you're not familiar with common computing terms, which would indicate that you're not a power user:


You don't need an iMac or Mac Pro as a power user. MacBook Pros are plenty powerful enough for most uses.


I'm familiar with the term. It's lame.

and depending on what kind of MBP you have I suppose you could be a "power user". Though it's no less comical to hear people call themselves that.

reputationZed
Sep 25, 2011, 03:56 PM
A power user is a user of a personal computer who has the ability to use advanced features of programs which are beyond the abilities of "normal" users, but is not necessarily capable of programming and system administration.

A lame definition that fails to justify why you would need more than 4GB of RAM. I agree with Eric/ that most Power users bestow themselves with that title as a means of elevating their status, or computing needs, above that of most users, without providing any quantifiable evidence of an ...ability to use advanced features of programs which are beyond the abilities of "normal" users,

eric/
Sep 25, 2011, 03:57 PM
Kind of depends on your interpretation of the term Power User. The title gets thrown around quite a bit without any real definition of what makes a person a power user. The term is often used as a means of justifying an investment in technology without giving any substantial reason for why that technology is required. If someone argues they need 8GB of RAM because they spend a good deal of time encoding HD video, I can see the merit of their argument. If someone tells me they need 8GB of RAM because their a Power User, my perception would be that they want 8GB of RAM, because they believe they need 8GB of RAM, but are clueless as to why they need 8GB of RAM.

Here's another way of looking at it. I would consider someone who has mastered Unix commands and spends most of their day in terminal to be a Power User because they are taking advantage of functions in the OS that may not be easily implemented through a GUI environment. Yet a great deal of what this power user would be doing on a daily basis could probably be done with less than 2GB of RAM.

A final argument is that if you do not understand how to monitor and manage system resources, and how to make a determination of your requirements from that information, than you are not a power user.

It's a bit like saying I need to buy professional quality cookware because I'm a really, really good chef, rather than buying professional cookware because it holds heat more consistently or is more durable than the consumer grade stuff.

This. This. This. This.

GGJstudios
Sep 25, 2011, 03:59 PM
I'm familiar with the term. It's lame.
The term itself isn't lame. Whether any particular person uses the term accurately or not is another matter.

KnightWRX
Sep 25, 2011, 03:59 PM
I run multiple windows

Multiple windows of what ? I run multiple windows of Terminal.app or multiple windows in XCode or multiple MacVim windows. Heck, I could run all these windows for all 3 apps at the same time on something like 512 MB of RAM. ;)

Kind of missing something here...

Anyway, I find 4 GB is plenty for XCode, VirtualBox, Terminal, Chrome, multiple IM programs, iTunes and 1 or 2 Photoshop/Illustrator projects open. I don't even saturate the RAM with this stuff.

eric/
Sep 25, 2011, 04:04 PM
The term itself isn't lame. Whether any particular person uses the term accurately or not is another matter.

Using the term in general is lame.

skyton
Sep 25, 2011, 04:07 PM
I couldn't use it to replace my main workhorse (Mac Pro)
But it is surprisingly good at tasks other, older mac laptops I had struggled with (Photoshop and Illustrator)

If you are a serious power user it think you might be best sticking with a Pro

johnhurley
Sep 25, 2011, 04:08 PM
If you consider yourself a "power user", which quite honestly is about the lamest thing I've ever heard ...

In the 1970's the power users were the managers of departments with the most keypunchers doing data entry for the IBM mainframes.

Words like that are useless unless given a specific context ... to me anyhow.

chrono1081
Sep 25, 2011, 04:37 PM
I think the OP is referring to someone who uses their computer for a lot of heavy stuff as far as the term "power user" goes.

I do understand what others are saying, some people use Photoshop and consider themselves a power user because of that (even though most machines handle photoshop fine), but in my mind when I hear "power user" I think of someone who does the same stuff I do. (I know I inadvertantly called myself a power user :P)

Generally people who run these types of programs are power users, and not just one program, multiples.

-Maya, 3Ds Max, SolidWorks, Cinema4D, Mari etc etc for 3D modeling
-Realflow, Houdini, Lagoa, or something else for simulations.
-Avid, Premier, Final Cut, After Effects, Nuke, Boujou, Motion, etc for video
-Aperture, Lightroom, Photoshop, Illustrator, Painter etc for design, photography
-ZBrush, Sculptris, Mudbox for 3D sculpting.
-Unity 3D, Unreal Engine, Hero Engine, etc for game building
-VMWare for multiple virtual machines
-Logic Studio for music

etc

The apps mentioned above are pretty CPU/GPU intensive thus requiring lots of computing power. Generally people who use these things are considered "power users".

bill-p
Sep 25, 2011, 04:40 PM
I think if "power" was the main concern, then the Macbook Air shouldn't be considered at all. In fact, anything lower than a Macbook Pro 15" would not suffice.

reputationZed
Sep 25, 2011, 05:52 PM
The term itself isn't lame. Whether any particular person uses the term accurately or not is another matter.

the lameness of the term is that the "... ability to use advanced features of programs which are beyond the abilities of "normal" users." is so vague it's meaningless.

plumosa
Sep 25, 2011, 06:39 PM
Even if you are not a "power user" its still possible to need or benefit from more than 4gb. We are sharing the MBA and to make it easier to hand it back and forth, we're running two browsers at once (firefox and safari) and multitudes of tabs each. But at least once a day we have to close one of them (usually safari) because its taking up too much memory and beach balling everything.

KnightWRX
Sep 25, 2011, 08:29 PM
I think the OP is referring to someone who uses their computer for a lot of heavy stuff as far as the term "power user" goes.

Ressource intensiveness of the apps you use have nothing to do with being a "power user" or not.

I'm a power user myself. I haven't quite really "needed" a computer upgrade in the last 10 years, upgrading mostly on a "want" basis. I could pipe awk into sed into grep back into sed and into xargs 15 years ago. I still can today. I understand some of the subtilities of bash, none of which require more than a few MBs of RAM to run.

I used to optimize my config.sys and autoexec.bat to run ****** Origin titles like Ultima that didn't play nice with EMS, prefering XMS and tons of conventional memory, yet required a mouse (or bugger mouse.com, I'd just learn the keyboard shortcuts when I was on my fifth bootdisk configuration, thank god for the appearence of high memory, LH and LOADHIGH).

I wrote code in the olden days that a IDE was written in a Curse like API and that the system calls were all interupt based. I know of Mode 13h and yet prefer the niceties of Code Page 437. I remember what the web was like on 14400 bps, and even remember what it meant to download 100k over a 2400 baud connection.

That my friend is a power user. That he may use a program or two that is RAM or CPU intensive has nothing to do with being or not a power user. A normal user could require more than 4 GB of RAM depending on their workflow (engineering or CAD programs, high-end visualization, mathematics, creative content creation) and a power user might need less than 128 MB (old Unix greybeard that uses screen as a "GUI" and vtys for "virtual desktops").

chrono1081
Sep 26, 2011, 03:54 PM
Ressource intensiveness of the apps you use have nothing to do with being a "power user" or not.

I'm a power user myself. I haven't quite really "needed" a computer upgrade in the last 10 years, upgrading mostly on a "want" basis. I could pipe awk into sed into grep back into sed and into xargs 15 years ago. I still can today. I understand some of the subtilities of bash, none of which require more than a few MBs of RAM to run.

I used to optimize my config.sys and autoexec.bat to run ****** Origin titles like Ultima that didn't play nice with EMS, prefering XMS and tons of conventional memory, yet required a mouse (or bugger mouse.com, I'd just learn the keyboard shortcuts when I was on my fifth bootdisk configuration, thank god for the appearence of high memory, LH and LOADHIGH).

I wrote code in the olden days that a IDE was written in a Curse like API and that the system calls were all interupt based. I know of Mode 13h and yet prefer the niceties of Code Page 437. I remember what the web was like on 14400 bps, and even remember what it meant to download 100k over a 2400 baud connection.

That my friend is a power user. That he may use a program or two that is RAM or CPU intensive has nothing to do with being or not a power user. A normal user could require more than 4 GB of RAM depending on their workflow (engineering or CAD programs, high-end visualization, mathematics, creative content creation) and a power user might need less than 128 MB (old Unix greybeard that uses screen as a "GUI" and vtys for "virtual desktops").

Thats one definition of a power user, and most people (myself included) agree with your definition, but I think most people who aren't in a computer science field consider power users to be people running resource intensive applications.

johnhurley
Sep 26, 2011, 05:19 PM
I wrote code in the olden days that a IDE was written in a Curse like API and that the system calls were all interupt based. I know of Mode 13h and yet prefer the niceties of Code Page 437. I remember what the web was like on 14400 bps, and even remember what it meant to download 100k over a 2400 baud connection.

That my friend is a power user.

I do all my coding in three way logic. Binary is so restricting.

I glued together my paper tape with matzo balls!

I added the 6 to the 5 to the zero two baby!

Sorry I could not resist!

Sean Dempsey
Sep 26, 2011, 05:41 PM
get istat widget.

monitor page ins and page outs. If your page outs are more than 5% of the page ins, you need more ram. But if you can't get more than 4gb, just see what sort of programs bump the page outs up over the 10-15% range.

All that matters with ram is pageouts.

GGJstudios
Sep 26, 2011, 05:56 PM
get istat widget.

monitor page ins and page outs. If your page outs are more than 5% of the page ins, you need more ram. But if you can't get more than 4gb, just see what sort of programs bump the page outs up over the 10-15% range.

All that matters with ram is pageouts.
There is no relation between page ins and page outs. You will always have page ins, but you may or may not have page outs. Your last statement is accurate. All that matters in determining RAM needs is page outs.

orfeas0
Sep 26, 2011, 06:38 PM
Kind of depends on your interpretation of the term Power User. The title gets thrown around quite a bit without any real definition of what makes a person a power user. The term is often used as a means of justifying an investment in technology without giving any substantial reason for why that technology is required. If someone argues they need 8GB of RAM because they spend a good deal of time encoding HD video, I can see the merit of their argument. If someone tells me they need 8GB of RAM because their a Power User, my perception would be that they want 8GB of RAM, because they believe they need 8GB of RAM, but are clueless as to why they need 8GB of RAM.

Here's another way of looking at it. I would consider someone who has mastered Unix commands and spends most of their day in terminal to be a Power User because they are taking advantage of functions in the OS that may not be easily implemented through a GUI environment. Yet a great deal of what this power user would be doing on a daily basis could probably be done with less than 2GB of RAM.

A final argument is that if you do not understand how to monitor and manage system resources, and how to make a determination of your requirements from that information, than you are not a power user.

It's a bit like saying I need to buy professional quality cookware because I'm a really, really good chef, rather than buying professional cookware because it holds heat more consistently or is more durable than the consumer grade stuff.

Would you be "ok" with the phrase "I need to buy a professional quality cookware because I'm a professional chef"? Or would he need to justify WHY he is a professional chef?

With your thinking, you can't say someone is beautiful. You have to state every little thing making them beautiful.
A power user is a computer user who requires more than the average computing capabilities.
And calling a term lame, is lame, which is a stupid meaningless word.

Crikey
Sep 26, 2011, 07:24 PM
4GB isn't enough for me. I want a MacBook Air, but I'm holding off and hoping next year's Air has an 8GB option.

KnightWRX
Sep 26, 2011, 08:06 PM
Thats one definition of a power user, and most people (myself included) agree with your definition, but I think most people who aren't in a computer science field consider power users to be people running resource intensive applications.

Most people outside of computer science like to think they know our lingo and redefine it all the time. It doesn't make them right nor does it mean we need to bow to popular pressure.

I will never accept any other definition of power user.

----------

A power user is a computer user who requires more than the average computing capabilities.

Only for a very wrong definition of power user. Again people, app ressource utilization has nothing to do with being a "power user".

If you don't know what the computer science people's lingo means, don't even meanings out of thin air.

It's bad enough we lost "hacker" this way, we're not going to lose anymore terms.

brand
Sep 26, 2011, 09:25 PM
Most people outside of computer science like to think they know our lingo and redefine it all the time. It doesn't make them right nor does it mean we need to bow to popular pressure.

I will never accept any other definition of power user.

----------



Only for a very wrong definition of power user. Again people, app ressource utilization has nothing to do with being a "power user".

If you don't know what the computer science people's lingo means, don't even meanings out of thin air.

It's bad enough we lost "hacker" this way, we're not going to lose anymore terms.

And your definition of computer science is? Here is the Wikipedia article on Computer Science (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_science#Information_science) if you need help. The term Power User is not specific to Computer Science like you think.

WillMak
Sep 27, 2011, 06:11 PM
I am still using an iMac with 1 GB....It's so slow! Put in an order for 6 GB

raftr
Sep 27, 2011, 09:56 PM
4GB isn't enough for me. I want a MacBook Air, but I'm holding off and hoping next year's Air has an 8GB option.

Have you actually used the latest 4GB Air? 4GB isn't enough for me on my old MB Pro but on the Air the fast SSD might just be the thing to make the swaps unnoticeable—this is what I have been hearing so far from graphic designers using the new Air. They say it's flying with Adobe CS5.5 and Parallels.

iliramove
Sep 28, 2011, 01:53 AM
The final factor when deciding the purchase is down to "want" or "need". I always buy based on "want" and figure that I "need" it later on... Hahaha!

bill-p
Sep 28, 2011, 11:15 AM
And your definition of computer science is? Here is the Wikipedia article on Computer Science (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_science#Information_science) if you need help. The term Power User is not specific to Computer Science like you think.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_user

Power user can also be a marketing term referring to a computer user who seeks and uses products having the most features and the fastest performance.
Self-identified power users, males in particular, will often label themselves as power users if asked, even when they are less than fully competent. In one study, self-identified power users refused to read any instructions, made wrong guesses, and repeatedly became so lost they were unable to complete the test.

I don't suppose you took the time to read about how Wikipedia slanders the "other use" of power user?

Sean Dempsey
Sep 28, 2011, 10:59 PM
power users tarball fprots all day.


Power users are required to have a complete knowledge of all bash commands.

mrsir2009
Sep 28, 2011, 11:37 PM
I run multiple windows

I run multiple windows on my iBook G3 which has 256MB of RAM.

xkmxkmxlmx
Sep 29, 2011, 01:34 AM
I use spotify while making gifs in my pirated photoshop cs5 for Tumblr while posting about it on twitter and fb while my Diablo 3 beta is running in the background. I am a mother-****** power user! Yeeeeeeha!

:rolleyes:

johnhurley
Sep 29, 2011, 07:05 AM
The final factor when deciding the purchase is down to "want" or "need". I always buy based on "want" and figure that I "need" it later on... Hahaha!

Sounds about right!

maflynn
Sep 29, 2011, 07:11 AM
With Lion, I'd say 4gb is a tight fit to run VMware and other apps at the same time. For me my MBP really started performing well with 8gb of ram. I typically keep 1 or 2 VMware VMs running at any given time, along with MS office, Safari, bento and Lightroom.

Am I a power user, I don't know, and I don't care in that sense. I just figured that for my needs 8gb works better then 4gb.