PDA

View Full Version : Why are people scared of 4GB of RAM?




Kendo
Jun 26, 2012, 07:20 PM
Just like how 95% of us will never be famous actors or athletes or millionaires, 95% of us "regular folk" use a Mac for the Internet, YouTube, MS Office, movies, and music.

I see a lot of posts where people are afraid of getting 4GB RAM. Not that there is anything wrong with getting 8GB, but for the above tasks you would barely reach 2.5GB. Even in the future with a new OS release, it won't take that much more resources. The CPU and GPU would be obsolete first before it got to that point.

I can see the average person needing 8GB if they run VM Windows, but other than that, how come people immediately say 8GB is mandatory? Particularly when you see college kids who will be using their Mac for simple note taking or programming asking if 4GB is too small?



31rhcp
Jun 26, 2012, 07:22 PM
Although I do run some intensive stuff, I bought it mainly because I want my computer to last a long time. System Requirements are constantly on the rise. I wanted to be prepared for as long as possible.

stevelam
Jun 26, 2012, 07:25 PM
Although I do run some intensive stuff, I bought it mainly because I want my computer to last a long time. System Requirements are constantly on the rise. I wanted to be prepared for as long as possible.

System requirements are only noticeably on the rise for games. For regular applications, the incline is much much slower.

kodeman53
Jun 26, 2012, 07:26 PM
Answers are contained in every 4 vs 8 thread. But what the heck, another thread is always a good idea.

Stetrain
Jun 26, 2012, 07:27 PM
Because four years down the road, several OSX updates later, if you start pushing up against the 4GB you can't upgrade it without trading notebooks.

For some people that's not a big deal, but for many it makes sense if you can afford the upgrade cost.

6-0 Prolene
Jun 26, 2012, 07:35 PM
The complete absence of any upgradeability paired with the really cheap upgrade to 8 did it for me.

roxxette
Jun 26, 2012, 07:56 PM
I rock my cheap ass mba air 11 with 2gb of ram and like 50gb ssd :cool:

For everyday use and mundane stuff it goes nice, parallels works nice also :p

lonewolf604
Jun 26, 2012, 08:00 PM
I asked this question a few times but I want to ask again, for someone like me (who does what TC said), and uses garageband a lot, is 4 gb enough?

throAU
Jun 26, 2012, 08:01 PM
Just like how 95% of us will never be famous actors or athletes or millionaires, 95% of us "regular folk" use a Mac for the Internet, YouTube, MS Office, movies, and music.

I see a lot of posts where people are afraid of getting 4GB RAM. Not that there is anything wrong with getting 8GB, but for the above tasks you would barely reach 2.5GB. Even in the future with a new OS release, it won't take that much more resources. The CPU and GPU would be obsolete first before it got to that point.

I can see the average person needing 8GB if they run VM Windows, but other than that, how come people immediately say 8GB is mandatory? Particularly when you see college kids who will be using their Mac for simple note taking or programming asking if 4GB is too small?

I'll tell you why: system requirements grow.

Particularly, expect them to grow when everything is sandboxed in future Apple operating systems and apps.


Plus, 8gb is so cheap now, it is a no-brainer. you're talking something like 50-100 dollars spread over the life of the device - which will be extended by doubling the RAM. Is 20-30 dollars per year of expected usage too much to spend?

Also, virtualizing Windows (without needing to boot camp) is a lot faster on 8 gb.

if you're working with HD video (like, straight from your iphone/etc), more ram will definitely help.


Fact is CPUs were "fast enough" for most things most people do about 5 years ago (or more - just look at all the PPC die-hards). So no, I don't believe the CPU will be useless by the time people want to upgrade... I've still got a core 2 quad desktop from 2007 that runs things just fine today. If i hadn't put 4gb in it when i built it, it would be significantly less useful right now. Hell, the GF's 2010 MBA has a weaker cpu than that and is just fine...

the GPU on most macs is obsolete on ship date, if you're a heavy GPU user you aren't buying a macbook air in any case.

G-Mo
Jun 26, 2012, 08:23 PM
4GB? The argument now is 8GB vs 16 GB!

alias99
Jun 26, 2012, 08:39 PM
I have 2010 MBA and am struggling with RAM and I don't do any intensive tasks but a lot of small ones at once. Usually 6 - 8 windows open in safari, some flash videos, messages, mail, ical, iTunes etc and after a while it does slow down a bit and the RAM fills up pretty quick that combined with all the widgets and background apps = not enough.

8GB options is perfect for me and one of the main reasons I'm upgrading to 2012 Air.

islanders
Jun 26, 2012, 08:40 PM
I got the 8GB so I could forget about it. Also opens up more room for Apps that are RAM intensive, although that's not the primary use for my Air.

upinflames900
Jun 26, 2012, 08:40 PM
Open a few tabs in Chrome and check your Activity Monitor.... thats why you need 8 GB of RAM :)

tomaseriksson
Jun 26, 2012, 09:40 PM
For pure web usage even 2GB goes along way. Even though chrome eats alot of memory it swap management is so good that the computer still feel ok.

But for other tasks it's not the same. Since upgrading my DSLR and getting a GoPro HD Hero 2 and doing image video/image editing daily my 2011 Air with 4GB constantly runs out of memory and gets slow as a dog. Enormous difference if I do the same tasks on my 15" work macbook pro with 8GB of RAM.
So if you are a creative user and working with anything close to high resolution imagine/video footage: MAX OUT on memory. For web consuming: 4GB is fine.

mattopotamus
Jun 27, 2012, 08:09 AM
Because four years down the road, several OSX updates later, if you start pushing up against the 4GB you can't upgrade it without trading notebooks.

For some people that's not a big deal, but for many it makes sense if you can afford the upgrade cost.

how many people will still have the same laptop in 4 years? I always feel like most mac users hover around 3 years b.c they want the latest and greatest

KPOM
Jun 27, 2012, 08:18 AM
The main reason for switching to 64-bit operating systems was to enable better use of more than 4GB of RAM. Now that the changeover is complete, I expect that more programs will be written to take advantage of the extra RAM. Sure, SSDs make page-outs less noticeable, but RAM is still faster than flash storage, and so there are tasks where additional RAM comes in handy.

ugahairydawgs
Jun 27, 2012, 08:30 AM
Because in the grand scheme of the total cost of the laptop the RAM upgrade is an inexpensive way to 1.) help your laptop still be something that can hold up to new iterations of OS software 3/4 years down the line and 2.) improve re-sell value if you so choose to unload it. If you are sitting there three years from now and someone looking for a 2nd hand laptop has the option of one with 4GB or one with 8GB the choice of which one to buy is going to be fairly easy.

mattopotamus
Jun 27, 2012, 08:31 AM
Because in the grand scheme of the total cost of the laptop the RAM upgrade is an inexpensive way to 1.) help your laptop still be something that can hold up to new iterations of OS software 3/4 years down the line and 2.) improve re-sell value if you so choose to unload it. If you are sitting there three years from now and someone looking for a 2nd hand laptop has the option of one with 4GB or one with 8GB the choice of which one to buy is going to be fairly easy.

that is the major thing....it is only a $100 difference when you are talking about a $1000+ laptop. If you can't swing an extra $100 you should not be buying a $1000 laptop

dcorban
Jun 27, 2012, 08:38 AM
It may be "only" $100 difference, but the upgrade is not worth the extra $100 for most people. Why pay $100 for something you will never use?

barjam
Jun 27, 2012, 08:45 AM
My thoughts are that we have really hit the era of "good enough PCs". 5 years from now an i5/i7 (with an upgraded ssd) from today would still be very useable but 4gb of ram will be like 1gb of ram today.

My desktop pc has 16 gb of ram and I have no trouble using it. For me 8gb of ram is the minimum amount that I feel comfortable with. Now if I was a college student or typical office worker with no intention of keeping the machine longer than 4 years (most people fit into this category) then 4 is fine.

I don't run Mac (yet) but doesn't it use ram like a disk cache like windows? Probably less useful now that SSDS are here but ram is still way faster than disk. A heavy disk cache will make repetitive reads on a magnetic disk just as fast as ssd. For example on my development machine compiling a large java project is heavily IO read bound and is no faster on my magnetic drive than it is on ssd due to the read cache.

DDGator
Jun 27, 2012, 09:11 AM
It's not always just about the $100. For me, I much prefer to buy from BestBuy because I can use and earn Rewards Points, and I can take advantage of their 15 months no-interest financing. I bought my first Mac with the Barclay Card with no interest for one year, but that ship has sailed.

Since BestBuy only carries 4GB models, I have to weigh those factors in addition to the $100 upcharge in order to justify the 8GB Air.

mono1980
Jun 27, 2012, 09:22 AM
For me it's one word. Aperture. That POS is a memory whore! Yet I still use it...

palpatine
Jun 27, 2012, 09:23 AM
I think people are not thinking clearly when they make blanket statements like: "buying 8GB is a no-brainer." Different folks and different needs.

To put it into perspective, $100 (actually, more than that in most states, because you have tax) is at least 10% of the computer's cost. That is huge, especially when a lot of people probably won't even need it.

If I understand the system correctly, you cannot special order the computers from Best Buy (for example). If you are a student, what this means is that you are going to lose a lot more money. At BB you get $150 (same as Apple, but you get it as gift cards). Use that $150 to purchase $175 iTunes gift cards. Now you just made $25. Plus, you get BB reward points worth about $20. So, you end up spending $145 less for essentially the same computer. That is about a 15% savings.

Some things are a no-brainer. This isn't one of them. Save your money and purchase something that fits your needs. If you need 8GB, that's great, but don't go around on the forums trying to claim that everyone needs it.

dyn
Jun 27, 2012, 09:24 AM
The operating system itself uses memory for caching. That way apps that you have recently started will start quicker. Also, as of Lion OS X will keep some apps longer in use in the background just like iOS does. Because of this Apple put in the option to remove the "running app" notification light in the dock. This also requires some system resources like memory.

All in all, OS X is a system that will have better performance when you add more memory to it. At the moment this is somewhere around 4 and 8GB. Since you can't upgrade memory later on like with the MacBook Pro's (minus the retina version) you better think about how much you are going to need in say 3 years time before finalising the purchase. Some people need 8GB now as well and some are going the safe route by choosing 8GB (they might need it in the future).

robvas
Jun 27, 2012, 09:24 AM
I used my 2GB, 1.4GHz Air for a lot of stuff - Xcode, Ruby, tons of browser tabs...worked fine!

kobyh15
Jun 27, 2012, 09:28 AM
I could be wrong, but doesn't OS X cache to as much RAM as possible? So if you're working for a while with different stuff open OS X is caching as much as it can to be as quick as possible when switching back to an app that's been running in the background for a while. For example, I have 8 Gb in my 2011 13" Pro. I don't do a lot of demanding stuff, but if I work in word, PowerPoint, preview, and Firefox for a while I may have 2.5-3 Gb active RAM, 3.5-4 Gb free, and only 900 or so MB inactive (not being used at all). So OS X is going to use as much RAM as possible. 100 bucks is really nothing and totally worth it to double the RAM that cannot be upgraded later.

snberk103
Jun 27, 2012, 10:14 AM
how many people will still have the same laptop in 4 years? I always feel like most mac users hover around 3 years b.c they want the latest and greatest

I recognize that we may be the exception to the rule... but... I'm using a 4 year old MBP to type this, my wife is using a 1st generation MBA (so what, 5 years old?) as I type this. She does have a 1 year old MBP for her home office... but we are using her old 1st generation MBP (so what, 6 - 7 years old?) for some light media duties. The computer is fine, but she literally wore out the keyboard on the old MBP. And my last generation iBook was, until recently, still bopping along keeping a friend's young kid happy.

kazmac
Jun 27, 2012, 10:23 AM
99% of the time I get the maxed out ram and the one time I didn't with this 2010 iMac, I've been paying for it with constant beach balls whenever I do video conversion. I'm stuck with that amount of ram because the Apple ram will not come out and I cannot get this to an authorized dealer to upgrade the ram (won't bore you with the whys.)

Adobe CS and Lion are memory hogs (as is Safari), so if you do anything beyond surfing the web, emails, light word processing and light consumption (music, movies) - you might find yourself maxed out pretty quickly.

The fact that Apple doesn't give you a choice after purchase is another reason why upgrading might be a good idea.

I'm trying to hold off on buying an Apple laptop until the battery life is much better (hopefully next year.). So regardless of what I get, the ram will be maxed out. For me, that's one less stress to worry about down the road.

Some folks don't need it and that's great, but I do. So not scared, just learned the hard way, 4gb is not enough for what I do.

Satnam1989
Jun 27, 2012, 11:01 AM
I use my computer regularly for all things light. Mostly I have the following applications running:

- Dashboard with about 5 widgets
- Skype (only to chat via typing)
- Safari
- MPlayerX because I spend most of my day watching lectures
- Preview or Adobe PDF reader X....

Free Ram = 1.26GB....So your 2.5GB claim is far below Also even right now it shows Page outs = 8MB and Swap 1.7MB....I woke up my machine from Hibernation after the battery died last night and has been on for 1Day 1hr as up-time since last full shutdown.

Once I start reaching 2-5 tabs on safari and launch "Stickies" app as well as iTunes along side my above mentioned apps (Note MplayerX isn't playing a video 100% of the time, it spends a fair amount of time in "Paused" state or no videos loaded when I haven't launched the next one yet)...I start to use about 200MB of Swap.

I think those that are getting 8GB is perfect and lucky. I didn't have the option but I sure would hop on board for the 8GB. If I were to run VMWare Fusion Win 7 right now I would be paging out about 500MB-1GB immediately. I had a MBP prior to getting my 4GB 2011 MBAir and at 8GB even though I did more intensive stuff I would still page out every now and then but it was and is much more workable without looking at readings to see whats going on where.

Because the OS also takes significant amount of Ram as well as the Graphic card taking about 384MB of Ram as well...your left with quiet less to work with and therefore in the near future the 4GB will be the new 2GB pretty much.

palpatine
Jun 27, 2012, 11:11 AM
I know people keep saying 100 is not a lot of money, but it is. It is 10% of the purchase, and depending on your situation (see my post above) it may "cost" you $145. That is about 15% of a purchase.

Apple has designed and priced their products in a way that encourages users to upgrade to products they do not need. The devices cannot be upgraded in the future, and the prices are designed to convince consumers that buying more is a better "value", so consumers buy more storage and RAM just in case. You walk in the door planning to spend 999 for a Macbook (notice that it is below that four digit barrier) and you walk out spending several hundred more, because you thought it was a better "deal" to buy the 13" ultimate. I am not knocking Apple or consumers for their behavior, but let's not kid ourselves about what is going on here. We are being upsold.

The worst part of it is that users convince themselves that they will use the computer for several years, when actual consumers probably purchase one about two years, which means you are buying a computer for a future use that will not occur. On top of that, people purchase a computer designed to perform the most labor intensive tasks of applications they might only rarely use. In my experience (subjective, of course) a lot of people would have nearly the same user experience with a machine from five years ago, because most of what they do involves Word, email, and the Internet.

In the end, you just need to open your eyes, look at yourself, look at your actual use, and buy a computer that makes sense. Unfortunately, many of our purchasing decisions really are "no-brainers" because people don't use their brains to look critically at what they are doing.

kodeman53
Jun 27, 2012, 11:31 AM
99% of the time I get the maxed out ram and the one time I didn't with this 2010 iMac, I've been paying for it with constant beach balls whenever I do video conversion. I'm stuck with that amount of ram because the Apple ram will not come out and I cannot get this to an authorized dealer to upgrade the ram (won't bore you with the whys.)


FWIW, I have an older iMac and I've used OWC memory to take it up to it's maximum of 6 gigs. It's a simple process to remove the existing RAM and add new.

GREEN4U
Jun 27, 2012, 11:35 AM
The worst part of it is that users convince themselves that they will use the computer for several years, when actual consumers probably purchase one about two years, which means you are buying a computer for a future use that will not occur.

I agree that we are being upsold but I disagree with the above statement. I am in the camp that believes that a laptop with no upgrades does still last several years. I bought a 15" powerbook (1.5Ghz/512MB/80GB/ComboDrive) 7 years ago and it still does everything I need today. I will probably buy a 4GB 13" Air and I expect that to last several years too.

SpyderBite
Jun 27, 2012, 11:39 AM
I got 4gb of ram in my new MBP. Still ordered 16gb to support future software needs. Besides it was only $100

kazmac
Jun 27, 2012, 11:40 AM
FWIW, I have an older iMac and I've used OWC memory to take it up to it's maximum of 6 gigs. It's a simple process to remove the existing RAM and add new.

kodeman53: I tried (2x myself and a third time with a computer tech I know. He also couldn't get that Apple ram out) You're right, it's very simple but the Apple ram is jammed in so tight, no amount of released it: the plastic tabs that are supposed to make that easy were no help. I put in OWC ram in as well and the system freaked. Annoys me since I was hoping to hang onto this for at least another 2-3 years.

Thanks for the head up. :)

Back to the thread at hand, knowing me, if I go to an Apple store now I may walk out with a fully loaded MBA ... so I'm trying to avoid that. Want to see how I can handle this one class this semester, if I really need a laptop then I'll jump sooner rather than later and it'll be for the machine with the maximum ram.

palpatine
Jun 27, 2012, 11:41 AM
I agree that we are being upsold but I disagree with the above statement. I am in the camp that believes that a laptop with no upgrades does still last several years. I bought a 15" powerbook (1.5Ghz/512MB/80GB/ComboDrive) 7 years ago and it still does everything I need today. I will probably buy a 4GB 13" Air and I expect that to last several years too.

It certainly happens! I know people with old white, plastic Macbooks. I have computers from the early 2000s that I am still using every day for something or other (go XP!). So, I am not saying it is true for everyone. But, I think we are a rarity. I know many, many more people who upgrade every two years or so.

BkkChris
Jun 27, 2012, 11:47 AM
I have been using 4gb in my 2009 mbp with no noticeable issues.

On my new 2012 air 13 with 4gb, with safari, mail, excel, word and preview open I seem to be almost using the full 4gb.

Returning the comp and getting the 8gb. For $100 seems a reasonable upgrade.

mattopotamus
Jun 27, 2012, 12:17 PM
I know people keep saying 100 is not a lot of money, but it is. It is 10% of the purchase, and depending on your situation (see my post above) it may "cost" you $145. That is about 15% of a purchase.

Apple has designed and priced their products in a way that encourages users to upgrade to products they do not need. The devices cannot be upgraded in the future, and the prices are designed to convince consumers that buying more is a better "value", so consumers buy more storage and RAM just in case. You walk in the door planning to spend 999 for a Macbook (notice that it is below that four digit barrier) and you walk out spending several hundred more, because you thought it was a better "deal" to buy the 13" ultimate. I am not knocking Apple or consumers for their behavior, but let's not kid ourselves about what is going on here. We are being upsold.

The worst part of it is that users convince themselves that they will use the computer for several years, when actual consumers probably purchase one about two years, which means you are buying a computer for a future use that will not occur. On top of that, people purchase a computer designed to perform the most labor intensive tasks of applications they might only rarely use. In my experience (subjective, of course) a lot of people would have nearly the same user experience with a machine from five years ago, because most of what they do involves Word, email, and the Internet.

In the end, you just need to open your eyes, look at yourself, look at your actual use, and buy a computer that makes sense. Unfortunately, many of our purchasing decisions really are "no-brainers" because people don't use their brains to look critically at what they are doing.

15% is a lot when the amount is much higher. That just reiterates, that if you cannot afford a RAM upgrade, you should not be buying a $1000 dollar laptop. ****, if you have to finance this (not choose to, but have to) then you should not buy it.

thehumorpolice
Jun 27, 2012, 12:17 PM
Here's my activity monitor. I am not a power user but I do have itunes, Chrome, Skype, Finder, and Outlook open.

345397

mattopotamus
Jun 27, 2012, 12:19 PM
Here's my activity monitor. I am not a power user but I do have itunes, Chrome, Skype, Finder, and Outlook open.

345397

kind of like other said, lion will use the ram if it is there. Others doing the same thing with only 4gb available would say about 1.7 used doing the same tasks

Carouser
Jun 27, 2012, 12:23 PM
Prior to knowing the 2012 specs, the general consensus was "Don't stick with 2GB, get the 4GB upgrade". If asked if 4GB would work fine, the general response was "Yes, that'll do you just fine".

Now that 8GB is an option, it's "Don't stick with 4GB, get the 8GB . . . " etc. even though it's only a few weeks later.

If tomorrow there was a new model with 8GB default, we could do this all over again.

A better question, but one you won't get an answer to, is at what point people would stop recommending the RAM upgrade.

mattopotamus
Jun 27, 2012, 12:39 PM
Prior to knowing the 2012 specs, the general consensus was "Don't stick with 2GB, get the 4GB upgrade". If asked if 4GB would work fine, the general response was "Yes, that'll do you just fine".

Now that 8GB is an option, it's "Don't stick with 4GB, get the 8GB . . . " etc. even though it's only a few weeks later.

If tomorrow there was a new model with 8GB default, we could do this all over again.

A better question, but one you won't get an answer to, is at what point people would stop recommending the RAM upgrade.

that is very true, but not b.c 4gb won't do, but because it is forever. If the option is there to upgrade, it is a good idea for most since they cannot do it later. It really is about knowing yourself. If you upgrade yearly, the upgrade is useless. If you keep for 3+ years, it is worth looking into

GREEN4U
Jun 27, 2012, 12:55 PM
that is very true, but not b.c 4gb won't do, but because it is forever. If the option is there to upgrade, it is a good idea for most since they cannot do it later. It really is about knowing yourself. If you upgrade yearly, the upgrade is useless. If you keep for 3+ years, it is worth looking into

But yet again, RAM does not determine how long your computer lasts. What determines that is YOU. Whether YOU can stand not to upgrade or whether YOU spill a glass of water on it, etc. I truly believe the innards of a computer are irrelevant when you're talking about longevity. Now obviously you can say the amount of RAM *is* the driving force as to whether you can stand not to upgrade, but I firmly believe that one's natural behavior trumps one's surroundings. Put a lazy kid at Harvard, he's still going to be lazy. That is why some people (like me) will drive their computer to death - whatever it is - every time. Yet people like you will upgrade every 2 years, whatever machine you have.

mattopotamus
Jun 27, 2012, 01:31 PM
But yet again, RAM does not determine how long your computer lasts. What determines that is YOU. Whether YOU can stand not to upgrade or whether YOU spill a glass of water on it, etc. I truly believe the innards of a computer are irrelevant when you're talking about longevity. Now obviously you can say the amount of RAM *is* the driving force as to whether you can stand not to upgrade, but I firmly believe that one's natural behavior trumps one's surroundings. Put a lazy kid at Harvard, he's still going to be lazy. That is why some people (like me) will drive their computer to death - whatever it is - every time. Yet people like you will upgrade every 2 years, whatever machine you have.

i mean that is a very literal meaning of a computer lasting. For me, when i start to notice the slow down or meet the minimum requirements that is the end of that computer. Having more ram to meet that quota can extend the life :). I do see your side too, but to buy a brand new computer and a year later (possibly) just meeting the minimums would piss me off.

jperry2010
Jun 27, 2012, 01:36 PM
I upgraded to the 8 GB, and to be completely honest, I wish 16 GB had been an option on the 2012 Air.

ugahairydawgs
Jun 27, 2012, 01:43 PM
I think people are not thinking clearly when they make blanket statements like: "buying 8GB is a no-brainer." Different folks and different needs.

To put it into perspective, $100 (actually, more than that in most states, because you have tax) is at least 10% of the computer's cost. That is huge, especially when a lot of people probably won't even need it.

If I understand the system correctly, you cannot special order the computers from Best Buy (for example). If you are a student, what this means is that you are going to lose a lot more money. At BB you get $150 (same as Apple, but you get it as gift cards). Use that $150 to purchase $175 iTunes gift cards. Now you just made $25. Plus, you get BB reward points worth about $20. So, you end up spending $145 less for essentially the same computer. That is about a 15% savings.

Some things are a no-brainer. This isn't one of them. Save your money and purchase something that fits your needs. If you need 8GB, that's great, but don't go around on the forums trying to claim that everyone needs it.

Best Buy quit doing the GC promo a week ago.

----------

Prior to knowing the 2012 specs, the general consensus was "Don't stick with 2GB, get the 4GB upgrade". If asked if 4GB would work fine, the general response was "Yes, that'll do you just fine".

Now that 8GB is an option, it's "Don't stick with 4GB, get the 8GB . . . " etc. even though it's only a few weeks later.

If tomorrow there was a new model with 8GB default, we could do this all over again.

A better question, but one you won't get an answer to, is at what point people would stop recommending the RAM upgrade.

When Apple makes it user upgradable.

So....never

Carouser
Jun 27, 2012, 02:00 PM
If you upgrade yearly, the upgrade is useless. If you keep for 3+ years, it is worth looking into

Before the 2012 specs were known, if I asked "How long will a 4GB 2011 Air be reasonably good for" many would have said "A few years". If it was true 8 weeks ago, it's still true now.

If 4GB isn't enough for 3-4 years, then people should have said "Only buy an Air if you can upgrade yearly, otherwise it's not worth it and you should get something else". But no one was saying that.

In other words, there's a confusion between "8GB is a smart upgrade because of the good price and because you can only get it at point of purchase, so why not?" and "4GB is only enough RAM for a year or two".

mattopotamus
Jun 27, 2012, 02:25 PM
Before the 2012 specs were known, if I asked "How long will a 4GB 2011 Air be reasonably good for" many would have said "A few years". If it was true 8 weeks ago, it's still true now.

If 4GB isn't enough for 3-4 years, then people should have said "Only buy an Air if you can upgrade yearly, otherwise it's not worth it and you should get something else". But no one was saying that.

In other words, there's a confusion between "8GB is a smart upgrade because of the good price and because you can only get it at point of purchase, so why not?" and "4GB is only enough RAM for a year or two".

my post says it is good for 3 years...anything longer and you would want an upgrade b.c you will be hitting minimum requirements.

TyroneShoes2
Jun 27, 2012, 02:41 PM
I'll tell you why: system requirements grow...There is the key.

4 GB is plenty for even the most demanding laptop uses today, but it might not be enough if you expect demanding use in 2016.

When I got my MBA in August it did not offer 8 GB, mostly because 8 GB was unheard of. But things change, and with a MBA you get no redos on how much RAM you install.

Apple has moved everyone else including their competitors into a better world full of better tools, but they also have moved us into a "throw-away" era for these devices. It is analogous to the disappearance of the shade-tree mechanic in the automotive world. Just like they can no longer tinker under the hood, we can't add RAM or change the battery. iPad and MBP retina screens are glued down and unrepairable.

I made the mistake of future-proofing my last laptop purchase, a 12.1" aluminum PB in 2003, too much by getting all the bells and whistles. It is still running fine 9 years later, but to move forward in the Apple ecosystem I needed a new one by 8 years in. Were I not disenfranchised from an OS newer than Leopard and the app store and upgrades to iWork and iLife being unavailable, I would still be pretty happy with the PB.

I can't complain about 8 years use from a PB, especially one still going strong, but I think those days are over. We are now in the era of the disposable device, and future-proofing takes on new strategic approaches, and makes 8 GB a less intelligent choice.

mattopotamus
Jun 27, 2012, 02:46 PM
There is the key.

4 GB is plenty for even the most demanding laptop uses today, but it might not be enough if you expect demanding use in 2016.

When I got my MBA in August it did not offer 8 GB, mostly because 8 GB was unheard of. But things change, and with a MBA you get no redos on how much RAM you install.

Apple has moved everyone else including their competitors into a better world full of better tools, but they also have moved us into a "throw-away" era for these devices. It is analogous to the disappearance of the shade-tree mechanic in the automotive world. Just like they can no longer tinker under the hood, we can't add RAM or change the battery. iPad and MBP retina screens are glued down and unrepairable.

I made the mistake of future-proofing my last laptop purchase, a 12.1" aluminum PB in 2003, too much by getting all the bells and whistles. It is still running fine 9 years later, but to move forward in the Apple ecosystem I needed a new one by 8 years in. Were I not disenfranchised from an OS newer than Leopard and the app store and upgrades to iWork and iLife being unavailable, I would still be pretty happy with the PB.

I can't complain about 8 years use from a PB, especially one still going strong, but I think those days are over. We are now in the era of the disposable device, and future-proofing takes on new strategic approaches, and makes 8 GB a less intelligent choice.

solid post. Also, what year mac do you have to have to be able to run Mountain lion? 08 or 09? That makes a 3 year old laptop incapable of running the newest OSX no matter how "beefy" it is

gpat
Jun 27, 2012, 02:52 PM
Why are people scared of 4GB of RAM?

Because throwing out $1000+ on a computer is supposed to be a long-term investment.

KPOM
Jun 27, 2012, 02:57 PM
solid post. Also, what year mac do you have to have to be able to run Mountain lion? 08 or 09? That makes a 3 year old laptop incapable of running the newest OSX no matter how "beefy" it is

All Macs released in 2008 or later will run Mountain Lion, as will some Macs released in 2007. The point is still valid, though.

robdrj45
Jun 27, 2012, 03:15 PM
I went with the 8G RAM upgrade. The $100 option is about 8.3% of my Air's base price ($1199). My current and only computer (an HP laptop running XP) is approximately 6 years old, so I don't buy too often (it's hanging in there, but it feels its age). For these reasons, I felt it was a no-brainer decision. For others, it may not be. If the 8G was a much more expensive upgrade, I probably wouldn't have gone for it. My 13''/128G/8G Air should be here soon and I'm looking forward to going Mac.

bogatyr
Jun 27, 2012, 03:22 PM
Open a few tabs in Chrome and check your Activity Monitor.... thats why you need 8 GB of RAM :)

I use Xcode all day, Mail, iTap RDP, Pulp, 10-20 Safari tabs, Pages, Numbers, ForkLift, iTunes, CodeRunner, TextWrangler and MacJournal.

Sure, I am beyond 4GB of RAM - however even with the paging my computer is just as fast as one with 8GB of RAM. The small difference the 8GB of RAM will make over paging on the SSD is very minimal for what I do and what the majority of users will do.

If you run high computation applications, heavy RAM apps (I'm thinking new video games - but we are speaking of a MBA so not happening) or the like, then sure, 8GB.

Now if you had a HDD... 8GB will make a world of difference. But no MBA comes with a HDD anymore.

dukebound85
Jun 27, 2012, 03:34 PM
System requirements are only noticeably on the rise for games. For regular applications, the incline is much much slower.

Not all is about system requirements. I use matlab a lot and really, I would love a few hundred gigs in ram as my variables at times are about 100gigs apiece and running operations on them would be much faster with a lot of ram

Wild-Bill
Jun 27, 2012, 03:42 PM
Didn't see it mentioned (breezed through the thread), but the main reason people may be "scared" of 4GB of RAM is because Apple's implementation of Lion is absolutely horrible when it comes to memory management, and that is in comparison to Snow Leopard. I still run SL on my Mac Pro because I hate Lion, but that is for another thread.

SlickShoes
Jun 27, 2012, 03:42 PM
I am getting my wife one this week and have been saving up for a while for it, I can't afford to put 8GB in it, the extra 70 means another month or so of saving up again. She is a regular user, browsing, writing essays, reading, itunes and some very light games from the app store.

As far as I am concerned 4GB will be enough to let her get 3 years out of the laptop, at that point 4GB will be like 2GB is now, you could get by on it but its advisable to have 8GB.

I think 3 years of good solid use from a laptop is a great return, 3 years is also plenty of time to be putting money away for your next laptop too.

If you are going to keep an air for more than 3 years then YES upgrade to 8GB but if you are a normal everyday user and will be replacing the computer in 3 years or less then 4GB is fine.

WesCole
Jun 27, 2012, 03:50 PM
I am getting my wife one this week and have been saving up for a while for it, I can't afford to put 8GB in it, the extra 70 means another month or so of saving up again. She is a regular user, browsing, writing essays, reading, itunes and some very light games from the app store.

As far as I am concerned 4GB will be enough to let her get 3 years out of the laptop, at that point 4GB will be like 2GB is now, you could get by on it but its advisable to have 8GB.

I think 3 years of good solid use from a laptop is a great return, 3 years is also plenty of time to be putting money away for your next laptop too.

If you are going to keep an air for more than 3 years then YES upgrade to 8GB but if you are a normal everyday user and will be replacing the computer in 3 years or less then 4GB is fine.

But also think about the resale value in 3 years. Using your analogy, who would want to buy a computer today with 2GB of non-upgradeable RAM at a fair price? Don't get me wrong, it will still sell, but I think that the $100 investment in 8GB will provide a much better return in 3 years, possibly paying for itself compared to the devaluation of the 4GB model. However, I could be completely wrong; only time will tell. :)

crazyxzer0
Jun 27, 2012, 04:06 PM
only reason I would want 8GB of ram is cause I use a virtual machine.

If I didnt use virtual machine, I would be happy with 4GB.

KPOM
Jun 27, 2012, 04:13 PM
But also think about the resale value in 3 years. Using your analogy, who would want to buy a computer today with 2GB of non-upgradeable RAM at a fair price? Don't get me wrong, it will still sell, but I think that the $100 investment in 8GB will provide a much better return in 3 years, possibly paying for itself compared to the devaluation of the 4GB model. However, I could be completely wrong; only time will tell. :)

In general, base models tend to depreciate less. The RAM costs $100 now, but you'll likely get very little for it relative to the incremental cost.

only reason I would want 8GB of ram is cause I use a virtual machine.

If I didnt use virtual machine, I would be happy with 4GB.

That was my motivation, as well. The VM ran acceptably with 4GB last year, but it runs even better now that I have 8GB.

dyn
Jun 27, 2012, 04:32 PM
I could be wrong, but doesn't OS X cache to as much RAM as possible? So if you're working for a while with different stuff open OS X is caching as much as it can to be as quick as possible when switching back to an app that's been running in the background for a while.
That is pretty much how it works. Also applies to other operating systems. Even Windows seems to be doing this nowadays (of course not as good but they have to catch up with the others).

robdrj45
Jun 27, 2012, 06:48 PM
In general, base models tend to depreciate less. The RAM costs $100 now, but you'll likely get very little for it relative to the incremental cost.

That may be true, but the 8G Air will likely sell faster/easier, which is a plus.

BlakeBrattina
Jun 27, 2012, 07:03 PM
Probably because the actual cost of the upgrade in comparison to your machine when you original purchased it is 'pennies', and very useful.

Scylax
Jun 27, 2012, 07:58 PM
This kind of thing is such a personal matter. My mother, for example, usually has a couple of Safari tabs and maybe a Scrivener project open. She wouldn't notice if I upgraded her RAM from 4GB to 8 (not that that's possible on a MBA but anyway...), and I doubt if she'd notice if I somehow cut it to 2. But me... I'm a University student who uses my MBA as my main machine, for browsing, research, writing... and although people always seem to say 'oh if you're only doing that 4GB is plenty', but for me that hasn't proved to be the case at all.

For example: for my last essay I had 4 Scrivener projects, 5 Text Edit files, 4 Finder windows, 20+ PDF files, and over 80-100 Safari tabs, 10 + images, plus all the background apps and processes I use, and my page-outs were more than my RAM. And I DID notice. SSD or not, I was getting slow-downs constantly, and even a few crashes. 8GB of RAM is a *very* tempting upgrade for me on the 2012, and I will at least seriously consider upgrading my 2011 machine for the new one. The other upgrades, the USB3 and the faster SSD make it more tempting, but it's the RAM that really matters.

So I guess all my rambling really boils down to: no for some people it wouldn't be worth the upgrade, but they probably wouldn't be considering it too much anyway if their usage is *that* limited. But for many it *is* worth it, either now or because they can see their usage scaling. And IMO it's far better to drop an extra $100 now and find you didn't really *need* it 3 years later than it is to buy 4GB and find in six months that you need 8GB and can't upgrade it. And sometimes it's not just the tasks you do, but how many of them you do at once!

brentsg
Jun 27, 2012, 09:52 PM
For example: for my last essay I had 4 Scrivener projects, 5 Text Edit files, 4 Finder windows, 20+ PDF files, and over 80-100 Safari tabs, 10 + images, plus all the background apps and processes I use, and my page-outs were more than my RAM. And I DID notice.

You have to admit that your usage is on the extreme end of "browsing, research, and writing".

The Safari tabs alone are way up there.

throAU
Jun 27, 2012, 09:59 PM
If you "can't notice the difference" between 4gb and 8gb, you're either a very light user or have an SSD and don't do VM work.

4gb to 8gb in my MBP with spinning disk was night and day.... even when i'm not running virtual machines.

as stated, the price difference is minimal, and over the 3-4 year life of the machine, it is peanuts, something like 10c per day - if that.

Scylax
Jun 27, 2012, 10:25 PM
Freely admitted! :) I know that's pushing things. I only meant that sometimes its not the tasks you do that determine what you need, but the scale. And maybe just supporting the idea that a college/Uni student might find a couple of years in that whilst they are still doing the same *types* of task, the scale grows - so better to max the RAM than regret not doing so when the computer is otherwise still going strong.

Delilah14
Jun 27, 2012, 11:05 PM
Not all is about system requirements. I use matlab a lot and really, I would love a few hundred gigs in ram as my variables at times are about 100gigs apiece and running operations on them would be much faster with a lot of ram

Hi Dukebound85,

I just read that you use a Mac for Matlab.

Do you think the MBA, 13" with 8GB RAM and 128SSD will perform well with Matlab? I do a lot of image analysis (read dicoms and analyze) and I deal with 3D and 4D matrices.

Thanks!

tomtom2234
Jun 28, 2012, 12:43 AM
I'm currently using 4gb on my imac atm with barely doing anything.

skype: 387.1 mb
chrome 385.0
flash: 235.1 mb
chrome helper(wtf is that): 183.1mb
App store: 157.8mb
VLC: 132mb
and a bunch of others inbetween 1-90mb things. I'm honestly not sure how people can live with only 4gb. I'm probably going to upgrade my desktop to 16GB and if I get an air I'll be going the 8gb or if I get the MBPr the 16gb. To each his own though.

It is also always good to go for more than you "need" so it is future proof.

dukebound85
Jun 28, 2012, 02:09 AM
Hi Dukebound85,

I just read that you use a Mac for Matlab.

Do you think the MBA, 13" with 8GB RAM and 128SSD will perform well with Matlab? I do a lot of image analysis (read dicoms and analyze) and I deal with 3D and 4D matrices.

Thanks!

That should work fine though it really depends on your arrays. I know for me, I value a decent hdd as my work will easily fill up terabytes of space and with enough large matrices, 128gb is too little as a scratch disk once ram is full

How big are your arrays? For instance, I analyze multiple arrays on the order of 240x121x15x4x13000 in terms if dimensions. However a lot can be said for coding smart and clearing variables in a timely manner. Though now, having usb3 as an option for external, it is a little better/faster to work straight off an external if your internal is close to being full capacity

For smaller stuff, I had run matlab on a Mac with 8 gigs just fine, albeit slow as ram is always my bottleneck

palpatine
Jun 28, 2012, 09:27 AM
15% is a lot when the amount is much higher. That just reiterates, that if you cannot afford a RAM upgrade, you should not be buying a $1000 dollar laptop. ****, if you have to finance this (not choose to, but have to) then you should not buy it.

I can afford the RAM, but I choose not to purchase something that is unnecessary. I can afford a $25 hardcover book, but I am quite happy getting the $12 paperback, because it meets my needs.

Instead of saying users should buy a computer upgrade or don't buy the computer at all, I think it is far better to point out the pros and cons, and the use cases that justify a 4GB RAM purchase. Do you really believe that a 4GB RAM computer is completely useless? Strange, because I am having a great time with it. I had a great time with my 8GB MBP last year, but it turned out that the upgrade was wasted on me, because it was unnecessary.

mattopotamus
Jun 28, 2012, 09:58 AM
I can afford the RAM, but I choose not to purchase something that is unnecessary. I can afford a $25 hardcover book, but I am quite happy getting the $12 paperback, because it meets my needs.

Instead of saying users should buy a computer upgrade or don't buy the computer at all, I think it is far better to point out the pros and cons, and the use cases that justify a 4GB RAM purchase. Do you really believe that a 4GB RAM computer is completely useless? Strange, because I am having a great time with it. I had a great time with my 8GB MBP last year, but it turned out that the upgrade was wasted on me, because it was unnecessary.

My comment was aimed at people arguing the % the RAM upgrade cost. Not whether it is needed or not. If you are not upgrading b.c the cost, you should not be getting a mac

jmgregory1
Jun 28, 2012, 10:15 AM
My old '07 mbp worked for a good 3 years with the 2gb of ram it came with. As I started to notice slow-downs, I swapped out the 2 with 4 and that carried me through until I got the '11 13" air last year.

Even though both the mbp and the air have the same 4gb's of ram, improvements in the processor and the ssd vs hdd make the air a screamer compared to the now ancient mbp.

My point here is this. If you don't think you need 8gb's today, don't bother getting this upgrade. Yes, it's cheap (relatively speaking), but chances are much greater that a new model 3 or 4 years down the line will have other improvements that you'll want/need that will drive you to purchase new. And it's possible that ram as we know it will not be used in the same way it is now.

And I agree that if you're doing processor intensive applications, the $100 upgrade is probably a no-brainer.

SlickShoes
Jun 28, 2012, 10:18 AM
My comment was aimed at people arguing the % the RAM upgrade cost. Not whether it is needed or not. If you are not upgrading b.c the cost, you should not be getting a mac

So apple should only sell macs to people that can afford the price of the mac plus an extra 10-20% on top. Why is that? Does it make you feel better about yourself that you can afford the extra and other people can't?

Carouser
Jun 28, 2012, 10:33 AM
If you are not upgrading b.c the cost, you should not be getting a mac

What? The only reason why someone would not upgrade is because of the cost, so in your view, nobody should be buying or should have bought a 4GB Air at all.

islanders
Jun 28, 2012, 10:37 AM
Most people don't need the extra RAM and have more reasonable expectations about how long they think it will last, say 3 years.

The MBA is not a workstation either. So most professionals have a real workstation as well and if they need to accomplish anything intensive they would get a MBP or a Windows machine.

The Air is perfect for what most people do most of the time.

That being said I did get the 8GB because I'm not like most people. :D

Bigmacduck
Jun 28, 2012, 11:05 AM
I opted to buy MBA with 8GB RAM because I am using Parallels Virtual Machine with Win 7 x64. With 4GB ram the system is paging out a bit more and Parallels runs slower and MBA has tendency to run hotter.

With 8GB I experience no performance degradation compared to Win7 x65 boot camp partition.

I am very happy with how balanced the MBA 11" with 1.7GHz i5 runs under Win7 x64 Parallels VM. I am using it now since several days intensively and also the battery life is similar to Win7 under boot camp.

Because of that excellent experience, I am most probably going to delete the boot camp partition and run Win7 only as a virtual machine.

So for my usage pattern 8GB RAM was the best choice for me.

mattopotamus
Jun 28, 2012, 11:20 AM
So apple should only sell macs to people that can afford the price of the mac plus an extra 10-20% on top. Why is that? Does it make you feel better about yourself that you can afford the extra and other people can't?

What? The only reason why someone would not upgrade is because of the cost, so in your view, nobody should be buying or should have bought a 4GB Air at all.

you probably need to check your financial priorities if you are buying a $1000 laptop and cannot afford another $100. an extra 20% is a huge difference between the 9% that is really is. Again, if you cannot swing another $100 then a $1000 laptop is not your best bet. If you cannot see that, then you are probably trying to convenience yourself of owning something you cannot afford. They market to people who can afford a premium price.

wgnoyes
Jun 28, 2012, 11:37 AM
I on occasion run vmware fusion with a win7 prof guest machine and when doing that, available memory fell to around 250mg on a 4gb machine, with nothing else much running except iTunes or mail. For me it was a no-brainer, especially since a Crucial set of 2 4gb cards was all of $50. I took out the 2 2gb cards from the macbook pro and put in the Crucial ram to upgrade that machine to 8gb. Very good results; still room to breathe when running vmware. Then I took the 2gb cards and added them to my iMac (2 empty slots available), bringing THAT machine also up to 8gb. Two machines upgraded to 8gb for $50? Absolutely the most cost effective hardware upgrade I've ever experienced.

Newtype
Jun 28, 2012, 12:14 PM
you probably need to check your financial priorities if you are buying a $1000 laptop and cannot afford another $100. an extra 20% is a huge difference between the 9% that is really is. Again, if you cannot swing another $100 then a $1000 laptop is not your best bet. If you cannot see that, then you are probably trying to convenience yourself of owning something you cannot afford. They market to people who can afford a premium price.

Do you really think that people absolutely can't afford that extra $100 for ram? Even if they say "I can't afford the ram upgrade", it probably means that the person can't justify spending extra or that he has other priorities in his life than an extra ram in his computer. Think about it.

Should people not buy cars unless they get all the options and bells-and-whistles with it? Say I want to buy a Porsche Cayman, but I don't want to spend that $6000 extra for that Sports Bucket Seat. Sure the option is only 10% of the total price of the car and sure, if I wanted to I guess, I could afford it. But do I need it? No. Am I a financially incapable self-convicing fool? No.

So instead of arguing based on the cost, and implying that those people that don't get the extra ram are poor, try to give some practical justification for spending extra $100.

Carouser
Jun 28, 2012, 12:16 PM
you probably need to check your financial priorities if you are buying a $1000 laptop and cannot afford another $100. an extra 20% is a huge difference between the 9% that is really is. Again, if you cannot swing another $100 then a $1000 laptop is not your best bet. If you cannot see that, then you are probably trying to convenience yourself of owning something you cannot afford. They market to people who can afford a premium price.

Your argument amounts to "The computer is expensive so if you can't afford to pay more for it than the base price you shouldn't buy it at all, and if you can afford to pay $1000 you can afford to pay $1100 and ought to".

The whole question is whether the additional cost is worth it, depending on a buyer's needs and circumstances; I fail to see how your advice helps anybody. I could afford to buy a dozen laptops; that doesn't tell me whether the RAM is going to make any difference to me at all and whether the price/value proposition for RAM is attractive. Others have made good arguments along those lines, but the one you give isn't one.

So of course blanket statements about "If you are able to spend $1000 on a computer then you can and should also spend 10% more" are ridiculous. Apple should just inflate their prices 10% across the board if people actually made purchasing decisions like you suggest.

EDIT: What Newtype said. mattopotamus might as well tell people to max out every single Mac they buy, because hey: the additional cost of every possible add-on is only a small proportion of the price without the add-on.

jimboutilier
Jun 28, 2012, 01:54 PM
I'm not sure exactly how manufacturers arrive at a base ram configuration. I imagine at Apple its a calculation that involves the least ram that will give their target customer a good user experience. As Apple is known for providing a good user experience, one could expect their base configuration to be adequate for the majority of their target market.

But a minority of users will be above the sweet spot that base configurations target either because their immediate needs are higher or because they will keep the machine longer than expected.

Given the Air's lack of upgradability and the fact that its in the ultra small and light category (which limits its computing power) you really have to buy a configuration that will not only meet your immediate needs, but any perceived need to the end of its service life.

The key here is know thy self. Past experience tells me I'm seldom happy with a base configuration. Current experience shows my routine use is typically in the 6gb range. So 8gb is a no brainer for me.

Its my belief that 4gb is adequate today for routine use, but that RAM requirements will likely grow with Mountain Lion and the latest versions of software for ML. Apple may be anticipating this which is why their base config went from 2gb to 4gb. But if an extra $100 now allows me to remain happy with the machine for say an extra year, I'd have to think about it.

So I don't think people are so much "afraid of 4gb" but wonder about current and future needs when purchasing a non upgradable machine. I'd say 4gb might be ok for light to routine use for a year or two, but heavier use or longer service would have me recommending 8gb (think about resale value too).

robdrj45
Jun 28, 2012, 02:13 PM
The argument is pointless, there are too many user variables involved. I think some here took the "it's a no brainer" expression too seriously, as if those that wrote it were implying that the RAM upgrade is almost a necessity and that not getting it is foolish. If you're concerned about exceeding 4GB of RAM, future-proofing or you're an infrequent buyer, then I think the 8G upgrade is pretty much a no brainer at $100. That doesn't mean it's a must for everybody.

mattopotamus
Jun 28, 2012, 02:40 PM
Do you really think that people absolutely can't afford that extra $100 for ram? Even if they say "I can't afford the ram upgrade", it probably means that the person can't justify spending extra or that he has other priorities in his life than an extra ram in his computer. Think about it.

Should people not buy cars unless they get all the options and bells-and-whistles with it? Say I want to buy a Porsche Cayman, but I don't want to spend that $6000 extra for that Sports Bucket Seat. Sure the option is only 10% of the total price of the car and sure, if I wanted to I guess, I could afford it. But do I need it? No. Am I a financially incapable self-convicing fool? No.

So instead of arguing based on the cost, and implying that those people that don't get the extra ram are poor, try to give some practical justification for spending extra $100.

Your argument amounts to "The computer is expensive so if you can't afford to pay more for it than the base price you shouldn't buy it at all, and if you can afford to pay $1000 you can afford to pay $1100 and ought to".

The whole question is whether the additional cost is worth it, depending on a buyer's needs and circumstances; I fail to see how your advice helps anybody. I could afford to buy a dozen laptops; that doesn't tell me whether the RAM is going to make any difference to me at all and whether the price/value proposition for RAM is attractive. Others have made good arguments along those lines, but the one you give isn't one.

So of course blanket statements about "If you are able to spend $1000 on a computer then you can and should also spend 10% more" are ridiculous. Apple should just inflate their prices 10% across the board if people actually made purchasing decisions like you suggest.

EDIT: What Newtype said. mattopotamus might as well tell people to max out every single Mac they buy, because hey: the additional cost of every possible add-on is only a small proportion of the price without the add-on.

ok, yet again....that was to the people who said they wanted the 8gb of RAM, but could not afford it! there were about 3 or 4 in this thread. I think I made it pretty clear i was not saying to just buy it. I have a 4gb air and an 8gb air and both work just fine

Delilah14
Jun 28, 2012, 11:39 PM
That should work fine though it really depends on your arrays. I know for me, I value a decent hdd as my work will easily fill up terabytes of space and with enough large matrices, 128gb is too little as a scratch disk once ram is full

How big are your arrays? For instance, I analyze multiple arrays on the order of 240x121x15x4x13000 in terms if dimensions. However a lot can be said for coding smart and clearing variables in a timely manner. Though now, having usb3 as an option for external, it is a little better/faster to work straight off an external if your internal is close to being full capacity

For smaller stuff, I had run matlab on a Mac with 8 gigs just fine, albeit slow as ram is always my bottleneck

My Matrices ain't as big as yours now that I see it. My 4D matrices are on the order of 64x64x10x256, the 3D's would be about 256x256x128 or 64x64x1536
I do constantly clear variables as I progress through the code.
My biggest matrix would be ~15000KB in size.

I have about 6GB of data + codes for the past 10 months I was in grad school. So far saved on my laptop (320GB, 4 yr old hp) and a portable HDD

Do you think the 2.0GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 (turbo boost up to~3.2GHz) will be able to handle this?

Clearly, I am trying to stay with a MBA (portability) :)
Thanks for your help!

dukebound85
Jun 29, 2012, 01:35 AM
Yea I think it would be more than fine:)

Adidas Addict
Jun 29, 2012, 02:59 AM
My only reason for bumping to 8GB on the MBA would be for re-sale to all the people that are sure they need 8GB. I upgrade every year and think the 60 spent would make it much easier to sell down the line.

dcorban
Jun 29, 2012, 06:42 AM
ok, yet again....that was to the people who said they wanted the 8gb of RAM, but could not afford it! there were about 3 or 4 in this thread. I think I made it pretty clear i was not saying to just buy it. I have a 4gb air and an 8gb air and both work just fine
This thread isn't about people who want 8GB and can't afford it. It is about whether 4GB is enough. It has clearly proven to be enough for most people, so purchasing the extra RAM is a poor decision. The value for that $100 is extremely low, despite it being "only" $100.

mattopotamus
Jun 29, 2012, 06:45 AM
This thread isn't about people who want 8GB and can't afford it. It is about whether 4GB is enough. It has clearly proven to be enough for most people, so purchasing the extra RAM is a poor decision. The value for that $100 is extremely low, despite it being "only" $100.

holy trolls. It was a post in reference to another post inside this thread. I have made many post about the 4gb vs 8gb and if it is worth it. That single, individual post...that keeps being brought up, was in regards to the person who said they cannot afford 8gb. Reading comprehension....5th grade

more specifically this post

"I am getting my wife one this week and have been saving up for a while for it, I can't afford to put 8GB in it, the extra 70 means another month or so of saving up again. She is a regular user, browsing, writing essays, reading, itunes and some very light games from the app store.

As far as I am concerned 4GB will be enough to let her get 3 years out of the laptop, at that point 4GB will be like 2GB is now, you could get by on it but its advisable to have 8GB.

I think 3 years of good solid use from a laptop is a great return, 3 years is also plenty of time to be putting money away for your next laptop too.

If you are going to keep an air for more than 3 years then YES upgrade to 8GB but if you are a normal everyday user and will be replacing the computer in 3 years or less then 4GB is fine."

thuchu1
Jun 29, 2012, 07:18 AM
Open a few tabs in Chrome and check your Activity Monitor.... thats why you need 8 GB of RAM :)

That's for sure. I'm about to get my girlfriend 8GB of ram for her pro because it's so horrible using it when she has about 25 tabs open.

Delilah14
Jun 30, 2012, 07:00 PM
Yea I think it would be more than fine:)

Thanks so much for your help Dukebound :)

dyn
Jul 1, 2012, 07:43 AM
This thread isn't about people who want 8GB and can't afford it. It is about whether 4GB is enough. It has clearly proven to be enough for most people, so purchasing the extra RAM is a poor decision. The value for that $100 is extremely low, despite it being "only" $100.
Some people really do need the 8GB of memory. If you want to use a memcache to speed up compiling stuff than 8GB is better than 4. If you want to do virtualisation the 8GB is a better idea, especially if you want to run multiple vm's, Windows, and/or a Window vm with Visualstudio. Just to name a few.

Purchasing the extra ram for those is clearly a very good decision. Sticking with the 4GB would be a very very poor one (maybe even masochistic).

There are however also a lot of people that simply have no idea what their memory requirements are or how long they will last with the machine. For them getting the extra 8GB is also a good decision. Not getting it can lead to problems later on but it may not. Upgrading provides some security that you won't run into memory problems that easily in the future. You can't put a price tag on that kind of security. If they want to resell it than they can also sell it to people who need 8GB. Maybe the 8GB is the base config for machines when they are reselling the then old MBA 2012. Makes it a lot easier to sell because it is more attractive. This can be seen as some sort of security as well and thus putting a price tag on it is yet again rather difficult.

Think of it like a car insurance or health insurance. Most people won't need it because there is nothing wrong with their car/health but when something happens they at least have something to fall back to. If you haven't got it you can run into heaps of financial problems resulting in you being bankrupt. That is also why in quite a lot of countries certain kinds of insurances are mandatory. If you haven't got them you'll be fined when they discover it.

Btw, let's not forget that a computer still is somewhat of a luxury item. In your point of view pen and paper is enough for the majority of people and thus buying a computer (any kind, any config) is a poor decision anyway so if you're going to buy one it makes no difference if you get the 4 or 8GB mem config ;)

TraceyS/FL
Jul 1, 2012, 05:39 PM
I have 8 in my 2011 mini, and it can only stay up about a week before I have issues. I don't consider myself a power user - but I guess when I think about what I'm running daily I am.

I'm "just" a student, online at that.

But I have to run my school stuff in firefox - about 5-10 tabs at a time, word and XL for it too, then Fusion running XP for stuff that won't run correct in safari & firefox, then safari with 8 or so tabs, mail, Devonthink Pro, newsrack, preview, plex server....

I'm probably forgetting something too.

I guess my 11" will have 8gb when I order it. Which I'd planned anyway, when I graduate a year from now I will pass it to my daughter who is using my 2007 MBP (I think, the one before the Santa rosa machines), prior to that she was using my late 2003 iBook.

I will buy not planning on selling anytime soon, so it makes more sense to me to buy the ram.

jksu
Jul 1, 2012, 06:32 PM
Wirelessly posted

just running a browser, word, excel, iTunes and iPhoto ... my typical apps I'm at around 4 depending on the number os sites (ie YouTube, etc)

with SSD the performance hit isn't as bad if you start to go over but for $90, I got 8

FluJunkie
Jul 1, 2012, 06:38 PM
Just like how 95% of us will never be famous actors or athletes or millionaires, 95% of us "regular folk" use a Mac for the Internet, YouTube, MS Office, movies, and music.

I see a lot of posts where people are afraid of getting 4GB RAM. Not that there is anything wrong with getting 8GB, but for the above tasks you would barely reach 2.5GB. Even in the future with a new OS release, it won't take that much more resources. The CPU and GPU would be obsolete first before it got to that point.

I can see the average person needing 8GB if they run VM Windows, but other than that, how come people immediately say 8GB is mandatory? Particularly when you see college kids who will be using their Mac for simple note taking or programming asking if 4GB is too small?

Because "regular folk" is a meaningless statement.

And because I regularly see my memory usage rise over 4GB doing things that are not *that* fancy.

Acorn
Jul 1, 2012, 06:52 PM
I chose 8gb ram because it boosts video ram from 384 to 512.

and i run alot of linux systems on virtualbox.

robvas
Jul 1, 2012, 09:05 PM
Here's my activity monitor. I am not a power user but I do have itunes, Chrome, Skype, Finder, and Outlook open.

345397

You have 3.89 GB free - 'inactive' is free.

hhyy6623
Jul 1, 2012, 11:26 PM
Not upgradeable is the main reason for people to get 8GB ram, they want their air lasts longer:)

brimorga
Jul 2, 2012, 12:12 AM
My thoughts are that we have really hit the era of "good enough PCs". 5 years from now an i5/i7 (with an upgraded ssd) from today would still be very useable but 4gb of ram will be like 1gb of ram today.



This is why Apple is smart to push the retina display. Higher resolution video seems to be the one thing that can push the computer requirements for the masses forward.

drjsway
Jul 2, 2012, 02:53 AM
MHO,

no pro apps:

2gb = runs everything a casual user would ever need if they are not too bad about closing windows after they are done using them. This is just barely enough for casual use but will probably not be in a year or two.

4gb= they can now be much more relaxed on how many apps they keep open. In 3-4 years, 4gb will feel like 2gb today. You can still run everything you need, but you gotta be a tab nazi again.

8gb = little perceivable difference. Only buy if you don't like the tab nazi feeling towards the computer's end of life. Those keeping the computer less than 2-3 years have even less reason.

At least one pro app:

4gb = runs every pro app on the market and your project will be completed, but there will be times you wished you had more. Minimum for pro users.

8gb = ideal. Apps will runs more comfortably and your machine more future proof.

16gb = you might perceive a difference and there might be occasions where it is beneficial but I wouldn't get this unless I had money to burn.

throAU
Jul 2, 2012, 03:02 AM
Where "money to burn" is as little as $100 if you have a non-retina MBP...

urkel
Jul 2, 2012, 08:06 PM
Just like how 95% of us will never be famous actors or athletes or millionaires, 95% of us "regular folk" use a Mac for the Internet, YouTube, MS Office, movies, and music.

I can see the average person needing 8GB if they run VM Windows, but other than that, how come people immediately say 8GB is mandatory? Particularly when you see college kids who will be using their Mac for simple note taking or programming asking if 4GB is too small?
Here's a real world example.
http://i47.tinypic.com/1g39kj.jpg
I got my mom a $1500 stock Air 2012 256GB model and am teaching her how to make a movie using iPhone footage and the iMovie. 4GB was plenty for most tasks, but when you start hitting these messages while using the INCLUDED software then it should be easy to see how this is a problem.

The easy answers to this used to be "just upgrade your memory" but what if a user is beyond their return policy? It's now their fault for not knowing that bundled software will have higher system demands than what is provided?

Im fine with them locking in my battery, gpu and taking away my ports. But installing memory upgrades in relatives computers has saved them thousands in unnecessary full system upgrades so its understandably sucky for end users who get blindsided by memory intensive apps.

throAU
Jul 2, 2012, 09:21 PM
I'll add this: if you're running more than 1 virtual machine (to do any sort of serious workload), you'd be insane not to spend the extra for 16gb of ram, if it is available in your chosen machine. 8gb is usable, but more is better.

Otherwise, well... its simple math:

RAM needed for you = RAM needed for each and every VM + RAM needed for OS X.

OS X on a spinning disk runs like crap these days on 2GB. 2gb is about the minimum usable for a Windows 7 VM to do much at any sort of decent speed.

So thats 4gb to run 1 VM with the rest of the machine running like crap, before you start. Want to run 3 VMs (say, a Linux web server, Windows XP and Windows 7 - to test your website on all common platforms - not an uncommong workload)?

1gb for XP + 2gb for Windows 7 + 1gb for Linux + 4gb for OS X to run half decently = 8gb. And thats before running any other memory intensive apps under OS X.


How about simulating a network with GNS3 and a couple of VMs?

Well, GNS3 needs a few GB to simulate a few routers (lets be generous and call it 2gb), 2 Windows VMs on each side of a network = 2gb, plus 2gb for your Mac to continue working = 6gb

And thats a very basic network.


Don't even get me started on editing HD video (off your phone) or playing with ableton live, etc.

And that's TODAY

Requirements will only go up over the next couple of years - when 16gb of RAM is running you $100, you can bet that optimising for RAM usage will go out the window (relatively speaking) and developers will be using more RAM for caching (optimising for speed), sandboxing (security), etc.


Oh sure, you can swap to SSD to make OS X not run like crap (after all, this is the MBA forum and they all come with SSD), but SSD wears out. It has a limited number of writes. Minimise the writes to it, buy more RAM. To get an SSD big enough for that sort of thing is prohibitively expensive, anyway. Better off buying a hybrid or spinning disk and throwing RAM at it.



Its not so much that 8gb is mandatory - but buying 4gb (or less!) and future-crippling your machine, when 8 or 16 is like... 5-10% more money is well.... stupid.


edit:
and before people say "buy a workstation for that!"

it isn't needed.

none of those tasks need masses of CPU power or GPU. a laptop will do those tasks just fine, FAR more cheaply by just putting some RAM in it. I know this, because it's what I use my MBP and work PC laptop for.

And even if they did need CPU, the mobile i7s are just as fast as the workstations from a couple of years ago anyway. They're not slow.

dyn
Jul 3, 2012, 06:38 AM
It highly depends on what kind of vm you are running (think of OS, application(s) used, etc.). Some don't need 512MB, they'll work fine with 256MB while others require at least 4GB (think CAD, maybe even VisualStudio).

The biggest problem with the Air is that you need to know how much RAM you'll be using now and in the future because you can't change it afterwards. This causes a lot of problems because quite a lot of people have no idea how much they'll need in the future; the now isn't that hard, you look at your current machine. Look at the costs. When you need more memory you need to sell the old and buy a new one. This in most cases is more expensive than upgrading to 8GB right now. On the other hand, if you did the upgrade and never use it you have wasted money. Since nobody knows what the future holds you simply are taking a gamble and that is what makes people scared. Being scared of the unknown. Very normal human behaviour if you ask me.