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jonfarr
Jan 21, 2013, 09:46 PM
I am planning on getting a MBA 13" and was wondering if 4GB of RAM is enough for basic usage and parallels desktop? I mainly surf the web, listen to music and email from my laptop. I also use parallels desktop while on the road to Remote into our company server. Would i be best off to upgrade to the 8GB of Ram or will 4GB work with Parallels running windows 7 minimally?



JoshMKB24
Jan 21, 2013, 10:05 PM
I am planning on getting a MBA 13" and was wondering if 4GB of RAM is enough for basic usage and parallels desktop? I mainly surf the web, listen to music and email from my laptop. I also use parallels desktop while on the road to Remote into our company server. Would i be best off to upgrade to the 8GB of Ram or will 4GB work with Parallels running windows 7 minimally?

I have an 11" MBA and I have run a keyboard/mouse/24" Dell monitor with no problems. I don't do a lot that would really tax the processor or ram, the most intensive thing I'd do is upload pics from a camera, not even videos. I did watch a few movies on it too.

jonfarr
Jan 21, 2013, 10:14 PM
I have an 11" MBA and I have run a keyboard/mouse/24" Dell monitor with no problems. I don't do a lot that would really tax the processor or ram, the most intensive thing I'd do is upload pics from a camera, not even videos. I did watch a few movies on it too.

Do you use Parallels to run Windows 7?

yusukeaoki
Jan 21, 2013, 10:20 PM
You can run it. Ive tried it few times but dont expect to do much from it.
Only having 4GB of RAM means you have to share that with you Windows and Mac.
Lets say 2GB Win and 2GB Mac, you can run it and do light work.
If you're expecting to do CPU and graphic intensive games/photo/video editing, it just wont work.

maxosx
Jan 21, 2013, 10:27 PM
When I buy a new Mac I focus on two things.

What I'm going to use it for today, and how much extra resources I need for unexpected future use.

8GB will be a far better choice than only 4GB.

Nothing worse than finding you're enjoying your Mac more than you expected and three years later wishing you'd spent a little bit more to have the resources you need then.

yusukeaoki
Jan 21, 2013, 10:39 PM
Also if you are thinking to run Windows 7 often on your MBA, Id suggest getting a MBP or iMac.

kohlson
Jan 21, 2013, 10:39 PM
When you run Parallels or VMware Fusion, these carve out the resources you've assigned them. They don't play nice with the Mac side of the house in this respect. So if you assign your Win 7 VM to be 2 cores and 2GB RAM, then these are essentially unavailable to the Mac side while it's running. If you're planning on doing real work on this side (like big Excel or Outlook or video editing) then you'll probably be disappointed. Note that Win 7 seems to do well enough with virtual memory, and the swap disk in this case is a fast SSD. But 4GB strikes me as too little.

JoshMKB24
Jan 21, 2013, 10:58 PM
Do you use Parallels to run Windows 7?

Nope, sorry. I do have 1 Windows machine, but its running Vista haha

araje
Jan 21, 2013, 11:06 PM
I am planning on getting a MBA 13" and was wondering if 4GB of RAM is enough for basic usage and parallels desktop? I mainly surf the web, listen to music and email from my laptop. I also use parallels desktop while on the road to Remote into our company server. Would i be best off to upgrade to the 8GB of Ram or will 4GB work with Parallels running windows 7 minimally?

I was working with 4GB RAM for a very long time and it was just painful. Normal Mac was working fine but with parallels running it was just unacceptably slow. Switching between the Mac and windows windows used to be very difficult.
I finally ended up upgrading. Got a great offer so just went to 16GB. Couple that with an SSD and you will see a totally different Mac altogether.

2IS
Jan 21, 2013, 11:28 PM
I run Parallels with W7 and 4GB. It works in a pinch, but I definatly wish I had 8GB. My MBA is a 2010 model and topped out at 4GB.

kylera
Jan 21, 2013, 11:36 PM
Also if you are thinking to run Windows 7 often on your MBA, Id suggest getting a MBP or iMac.

Not if your usage in Windows is light. I have the higher-end 13" MBA 2012 model with 8GB RAM, and when I run an office app (Hanword - Korean equivalent of MS Word) along with VNC playing a clip (non HD), I see no issues whatsoever.

jonfarr
Jan 21, 2013, 11:41 PM
Not if your usage in Windows is light. I have the higher-end 13" MBA 2012 model with 8GB RAM, and when I run an office app (Hanword - Korean equivalent of MS Word) along with VNC playing a clip (non HD), I see no issues whatsoever.

Thanks for the reply! I can afford the 8GB upgrade, I just am not certain any apple store around me will have it in stock.

kylera
Jan 22, 2013, 12:14 AM
Thanks for the reply! I can afford the 8GB upgrade, I just am not certain any apple store around me will have it in stock.

You could order it online - that way you don't have to hunt a store down.

7thson
Jan 22, 2013, 12:29 AM
Just curious as to whether you are related to the Jon Farr in His Dark Materials?

henry72
Jan 22, 2013, 12:54 AM
Is this your first Mac? I'm wondering what kind of program you will be using for Remote Desktop? Because the Microsoft Office for Mac comes with Remote Desktop.

If you have the money and you're also planning to use it for at least 3 years then more ram would be great.

However, if you don't need to run Windows, you could save the money!

yusukeaoki
Jan 22, 2013, 12:56 AM
Not if your usage in Windows is light. I have the higher-end 13" MBA 2012 model with 8GB RAM, and when I run an office app (Hanword - Korean equivalent of MS Word) along with VNC playing a clip (non HD), I see no issues whatsoever.

I mentioned that in my first post.
Powerful machine if you plan on running heavy apps and use it often.
MBA if its something light.

kylera
Jan 22, 2013, 03:11 AM
I mentioned that in my first post.
Powerful machine if you plan on running heavy apps and use it often.
MBA if its something light.

Ah, yeah, I see that now. Sorry, I only saw that quoted bit.

edricfilho
Jan 22, 2013, 05:16 AM
I run Parallels for Win7 64-bit on my MBAs. My older MBA, a 11"/4GB/128GB SSD, always impressed me how it performed very much like my rather powerful PC for the tasks I do. I am a tech translator and have to run Excel, Word and Powerpoint 2010 concurrently, a dozen PDF windows open in Reader and a somehow heavy translation memory manager app.

But I always wondered if doubling the virtual environment RAM (4GB for each OS) and spicing up the CPU would make things way faster (despite my job tasks do not demand so much speed, but a lot of memory, virtual and non-virtual, when reindexing DBs...) and I upgraded to an MBA 11"/i7/8GB/256SSD. Funny enough, the ONLY difference I really noticed it was, in fact, that 256GB SSD "slowed" things a little!!!! Although the newer system pages much less (RAM to SSD), I cannot feel that in normal work...

Coming from a PC background, I am amazed at how efficient is OSX in managing hardware resources. Bottom line: I wouldn't notice the diff between my older MBA and the new, maxed out machine, in terms of performance (for the tasks I run, of course).

Edric

gnasher729
Jan 22, 2013, 06:19 AM
I am planning on getting a MBA 13" and was wondering if 4GB of RAM is enough for basic usage and parallels desktop? I mainly surf the web, listen to music and email from my laptop. I also use parallels desktop while on the road to Remote into our company server. Would i be best off to upgrade to the 8GB of Ram or will 4GB work with Parallels running windows 7 minimally?

When you use Parallels, you want enough RAM for a Macintosh, PLUS enough RAM for Windows. 4GB is very tight for that.

Why do you need Windows to get into your company server?

nick_elt
Jan 22, 2013, 07:56 PM
Get 8gb. Its worth it. You cant upgrade later.

jonfarr
Jan 22, 2013, 08:41 PM
I run Parallels for Win7 64-bit on my MBAs. My older MBA, a 11"/4GB/128GB SSD, always impressed me how it performed very much like my rather powerful PC for the tasks I do. I am a tech translator and have to run Excel, Word and Powerpoint 2010 concurrently, a dozen PDF windows open in Reader and a somehow heavy translation memory manager app.

But I always wondered if doubling the virtual environment RAM (4GB for each OS) and spicing up the CPU would make things way faster (despite my job tasks do not demand so much speed, but a lot of memory, virtual and non-virtual, when reindexing DBs...) and I upgraded to an MBA 11"/i7/8GB/256SSD. Funny enough, the ONLY difference I really noticed it was, in fact, that 256GB SSD "slowed" things a little!!!! Although the newer system pages much less (RAM to SSD), I cannot feel that in normal work...

Coming from a PC background, I am amazed at how efficient is OSX in managing hardware resources. Bottom line: I wouldn't notice the diff between my older MBA and the new, maxed out machine, in terms of performance (for the tasks I run, of course).

Edric

Thanks for the post. I appreciate your input. I doubt I would be as intensive as you.

When you use Parallels, you want enough RAM for a Macintosh, PLUS enough RAM for Windows. 4GB is very tight for that.

Why do you need Windows to get into your company server?
We have company docs that are stored on our company server that multiple people need access to for editing purposes (excel files to be exact) and I need a windows based version of office to be able to open it and save it back to the server file.

For some reason, when the file is opened on in OSX version of excel, it becomes a local document and any saves are made to the local hard drive, not the server based document. We have worked with our IT tech about the issue and the only way around it is to either have a PC, or run bootcamp/VM to edit this remote file as I do a TON of traveling for work.

Robyr
Jan 22, 2013, 09:02 PM
For some reason, when the file is opened on in OSX version of excel, it becomes a local document and any saves are made to the local hard drive, not the server based document. We have worked with our IT tech about the issue and the only way around it is to either have a PC, or run bootcamp/VM to edit this remote file as I do a TON of traveling for work.

Sharepoint is your issue, for the record. Only supports live editing on a Windows based system, with proper Office support.

KPOM
Jan 22, 2013, 09:08 PM
Do you use Parallels to run Windows 7?

I'd go with 8. I used to run Windows 7 within Parallels on a 4GB 2011 Air, and it worked OK, but it paged out to the SSD a lot, and I was only able to give about 1GB of RAM to Windows. With 8 you can give Windows a little more RAM (2 or 3GB) and still have enough to run Mac programs side by side.

The performance hit is a little less noticeable with an SSD, but it is still there. RAM is faster than any SSD.

mslide
Jan 23, 2013, 09:35 AM
4GB + Windows 7 VM sucks. Definitely get 8GB. 4GB is somewhat doable but you're going to hate it in a couple/few years.

weinschela
Jan 23, 2013, 09:49 AM
4G with Win7 will be fine as long as you are not trying to do intensive work. For word processing and Excel, 4FG will work; I am running Win7 on Parallels and several year old MBA without a problem. XP ran fine also. Just do not expect blazing performance. Disappoint is a function of expectation. Obviously, if you have a chance to have 8G go for it. Memory is not that expensive and more is always better.

TheRealDamager
Jan 23, 2013, 09:56 AM
Get the 8GB. I ran parallels daily with Win 7 with 4GB or ram, and it works just fine for simple usage (Outlook, Office), but the extra RAM can only help.

jonfarr
Jan 23, 2013, 11:35 AM
Thanks for all the feedback. I really wouldn't be doing more than running safari and iTunes in OSX in tandem with excel on the VM.

My big dilemma is that best buy is offering the MBA at $100 off, while on the apple store it is full price plus the RAM upgrade making it a $200 difference. Even with the education discounts, it only saves about $60 making it a $140 difference. The other dilemma is I can pick up the one at best buy when I need it vs. the BTO option at apple and waiting a few extra days.

TheRealDamager
Jan 23, 2013, 11:42 AM
I think long term the extra memory is well worth the increased cost and a few days of waiting.

krravi
Jan 23, 2013, 12:11 PM
There will be people who say they run xyz with 1 GB RAM and then there are people who will say nothing less than 8 GB is wise.

So what do you pick? Pick the highest so when that awkward situation comes where you need more RAM because of some xyz you are running in Windows, its there.

I would say anything with VM's 8 GB is the norm. Allocate 4 GB to the VM so that your Mac programs are also zippy and are not starving while the VM is running.

wgnoyes
Jan 23, 2013, 01:28 PM
I am planning on getting a MBA 13" and was wondering if 4GB of RAM is enough for basic usage and parallels desktop? I mainly surf the web, listen to music and email from my laptop. I also use parallels desktop while on the road to Remote into our company server. Would i be best off to upgrade to the 8GB of Ram or will 4GB work with Parallels running windows 7 minimally?
It'll be tight, but you can do it. It did that pretty much same thing for a year.

Acorn
Jan 23, 2013, 01:36 PM
My 2012 macbook air has 8 gb of ram and i set 4gb for osx and 4 for windows and it works a treat. I even play some torchlight 2 in the virtual machine with no slowdowns.

I really recommend you go for the 8gb.


lately I realized I only use windows 7 maybe a few times a month so im considering installing windows 7 on a thunderbolt drive i can just disconnect from my laptop when im not using. That to me is the best compromise in terms of space.

groovyone789
Jan 23, 2013, 03:10 PM
I run Parallels with Windows 8 on my 2011 MBA 13" i7 4GB/256GB. Works fine. Sometimes its a little slow booting up but that's about it.

I generally keep Outlook, Word, iTunes, Safari, Messages, and Preview open on the OSX side. Then I use Windows 8 to run a charting program, SAS Editor, or Excel.

RAM gets basically used 100% but it works and I don't have issues with large Excel files or SAS running.

Biggest thing would be making sure you've got enough HD space. Windows 8 with all the programs uses close to 42GB.

donuttakedonuts
Jan 23, 2013, 05:10 PM
B&H photo usually has pretty decent prices on the MBA - basically pays for the ram upgrade. 99% of the time it's better to not give apple any money for their ram and upgrade it yourself (i.e. apple wants $100 for 4 more Gb, when 8gb ram is ~$50 on the open market) but the air isnt upgradable. If you can afford it, go 8gb absolutely - 4gb will hurt resale value and performance down the road.

WMuntean
Jan 26, 2013, 11:03 AM
I run Parallels with Windows 8 on my 2011 MBA 13" i7 4GB/256GB. Works fine. Sometimes its a little slow booting up but that's about it.

I generally keep Outlook, Word, iTunes, Safari, Messages, and Preview open on the OSX side. Then I use Windows 8 to run a charting program, SAS Editor, or Excel.

RAM gets basically used 100% but it works and I don't have issues with large Excel files or SAS running.

Biggest thing would be making sure you've got enough HD space. Windows 8 with all the programs uses close to 42GB.

FWIW:

I run the same apps, except that I run on Windows 7 (didn't think that SAS was 100% compatible with Win 8) on a 2010 13" MBA with 2GB ram. I've never had any _major_ issuesójust some minor annoyances with the fan blazing and some lag when waking from sleep.

That said, the MBA is not my main laptop and it's getting upgraded when the 2013 comes out.

jonfarr
Jan 26, 2013, 08:44 PM
I ended up taking advantage of the Best Buy sale and got a 13" Air w/ 256GB SSD. Pretty pumped on that price point and it works great. Plenty fast and it does everything I need it to.

It also is not my main computer. I am getting a 21" iMac w/ 16GB of Ram and the fusion drive. These 2 machines replaced my 15" retina that I just sold. Loved the retina, but for the cost and the worry of it being my only computer and the cost of repair if damaged, I decided to get rid of it and got these 2 computers for less than the price of the retina.

Thanks for all the advice.

yusukeaoki
Jan 26, 2013, 08:59 PM
I ended up taking advantage of the Best Buy sale and got a 13" Air w/ 256GB SSD. Pretty pumped on that price point and it works great. Plenty fast and it does everything I need it to.

It also is not my main computer. I am getting a 21" iMac w/ 16GB of Ram and the fusion drive. These 2 machines replaced my 15" retina that I just sold. Loved the retina, but for the cost and the worry of it being my only computer and the cost of repair if damaged, I decided to get rid of it and got these 2 computers for less than the price of the retina.

Thanks for all the advice.

So you're sticking with the 4GB RAM since BB did not offer the 8GB upgrade?

Drharrington
Jan 26, 2013, 09:21 PM
I've found virtual box to be much cleaner and less taxing on RAM resources.

----------

But I'd get the 8 GB

jonfarr
Jan 27, 2013, 05:16 PM
So you're sticking with the 4GB RAM since BB did not offer the 8GB upgrade?

Yes, and it is just fine.

Beanoir
Jan 28, 2013, 05:41 PM
4GB is plenty for what you need, plenty. Don't fall for the RAM upgrade trick like so may others do....if you don't need it don't by it.

designs216
Jan 28, 2013, 05:56 PM
It's gonna be tight. I gave Parallels 4GB and it just crawled. I might get you by but I believe it will be a frustrating experience.