4 GB vs 8 GB RAM, what would you do in this situation?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Jonny Craig, Dec 9, 2012.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Dec 9, 2012
    I'm trying to decide here, it's kind of driving me crazy

    The 4 GB MBA from Best buy will probably cost me around $1170 after taxes if I use my reward points.

    If I get the 8 GB RAM model from an online store like B&H it will come out to $1299 flat since they don't charge shipping or tax

    So it's a $130 differential

    Basically what I do:

    -Web browsing with an average of 4 tabs open at a time, streaming NBA games
    -Movies and Music (itunes, VLC, etc)
    -PDFs, powerpoint, word processing
    -Minor video editing occassionally

    Basically I am pretty sure 4 GB would be fine for this. My concern is that 2-3 years down the road when software and OS requirements start to increase the 4 GB will struggle to keep up. I have a short fuse for laggy computers so it makes me worry. What would you do in this situation? Is it likely that the 4 GB will indeed cause me issues within the next few years? The laptop I'm using right now has 4 GB of RAM and I got this thing in 2009 so the thought of using a 4 GB RAM laptop in 2015-2016 kind of turns me off :(
  2. macrumors 603


    Mar 22, 2010
    If you have any doubts, upgrade to 8GB.
  3. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 27, 2012
    If there's anything you're gonna notice in the next couple of years it's the missing RAM. Personally, that's what I always maximize when I buy a new computer. And it holds true especially for the MBA whose RAM cannot be upgraded once purchased.
  4. macrumors member

    Nov 28, 2011
    go with the 8GB. :apple:
  5. macrumors member

    Nov 17, 2012
    4GB will likely be fine for quite awhile. 2GB has been enough to get most people by for a long time and many are still having no issues with it right now. I honestly think you would be fine, however, if you have the cash and don't mind spending it there is no harm in getting more and future proofing it a little more. It was only earlier this year that 4GB was what everyone was saying to get in the MBA to keep it future proof.
  6. macrumors 603


    Apr 29, 2005
    San Francisco
    Absolutely get the 8GB. I didn't even read your post, that's how obvious of an answer this is.
  7. macrumors 6502a

    Jun 28, 2012
    That's why I went with 8 GB. I knew it was a wise move when, this fall, I doubled the RAM in my 2008 iMac to 4 GB and saw an enormous performance improvement. I wouldn't have that option with my 2012 MBA, so I chose to spend the money upfront.
  8. macrumors 6502


    Oct 22, 2011
    8GB. Just do it.
  9. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 9, 2012
    Yeah I think I'll just go with the 8 gb. It would suck to regret getting the 4 GB a year from now. Thanks :apple:
  10. macrumors 6502a


    Dec 9, 2010
    51 degrees North
    *rolls eyes* ANOTHER "how much RAM can we all argue about" thread
  11. macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2012
    At a hundred bucks, the 8G RAM is a worthwhile future-proofing upgrade. When I bought, it was an easy decision. That said, if buying the base Air is already stretching the budget, then skip the upgrade. It's not 100% necessary.
  12. macrumors regular

    Jul 28, 2011
    8GB, it's well worth it. :)
  13. macrumors member

    ME Nick

    Jun 15, 2009
    8 gb
  14. macrumors 65816

    Nov 30, 2010
    Amen to the 8 GB crowd !

    I wanted a machine with 8 GB first and then the 256 GB SSD next. After configuring a new one with the above specs, the price difference between a new 256 GB and a refurb 512 GB was like 100 or so dollars. So went with the refurb.
  15. macrumors 6502a

    Nov 11, 2010
    Parts Unknown
    8GB because you have to either do it now or never.
  16. macrumors member

    Feb 26, 2011

    I have a 2012 MBA 13" i7, 8GB, 256GB version and my twin has the 2012 MBA 13" i5, 4GB, 128GB version. Obviously mine is faster on paper but for day to day use I can't tell the difference.

    2-3 years from now yes 4Gigs is going to get a little slow. I used to have the base 2010 MBA 11" and at the time 2GB was standard and at the time it ran fast. Fast forward to 2012. It still runs well but it stutters on streaming video and loads apps slower than I would like. So my answer is 4GB is fine but with time 4GB is going to show signs of being slow, plus most good computers whether PC or Mac come standard with 6-8GB Ram anyways
  17. macrumors newbie

    Dec 5, 2012
    Believe or not , once u go for higher RAM, u would never roll back at all.
  18. macrumors 6502

    Feb 26, 2011
    I went with the 11 inch base model with 4G RAM and 64gb SSD because of the price. I only did this because I had already purchased a 2012 Mini. If it were my main machine, I would have gone with 8Gb, 256. That was the key distinction for me. For what I want the Air to do (word processing, web browsing, etc.), the base model will be good for years.

    I might upgrade the storage later on with a pulled SSD from EBAY or the OWC model (although the threads on here have me second guessing that option). However, with Back to my Mac and iCloud, I don't even think I'll need to do that.
  19. macrumors 68040


    Mar 27, 2009
    Seattle, WA
    8 GB. Definitely.
  20. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2007
    I'm looking for new machine and very surprised how many good deal I'm finding locally but they all with 4gb config. :rolleyes:
  21. macrumors regular

    Jul 13, 2012
    I got 4GB because they were on special at a reseller and it would have cost an extra $285 (Australian) to get the otherwise identical 8GB version from Apple.

    That is waaay too much for an extra 4GB of RAM just to future proof a machine that is 1) only going to be used for basic browsing and watching videos, etc, and 2) which I plan to replace after Apple upgrade the screen quality of the Air, then I will get an 8GB version and hang onto it for longer, (probably be my Xmas 2013 present to myself :) ).

    But if you want to be doing much more than basic stuff, or plan to hang onto it for 2-3 years, then get the 8GB. If the price difference for me had been the same as for you, I would have got the extra RAM.
  22. macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2009
    Down the rabbit hole
    Sounds like you don't need a machine right away. If cost is major sticking point, you could configure "refurb.me" to let you know when an 8GB model becomes available. In my mind, the minimum will never be lower than 8GB.
  23. macrumors 6502

    Salty Pirate

    Oct 5, 2005
    kansas city

    I just traded out my 2011 w/4GB RAM for the 2012 with 8GB. Night and day better.

    I never have to worry about open programs anymore.
  24. macrumors member

    Nov 17, 2012
    In this case there is more at play than the amount of ram. The ram itself is a faster speed ram, the ssd drive is way faster on the 2012 than the 2011 and the graphics processor is a major improvement as well. You would see a pretty big bump even with a 2012 with 4GB of ram.
  25. macrumors 6502a


    Dec 9, 2010
    51 degrees North
    We should make the topic of RAM topic a sticky....

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