4GB vs 8GB ram

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Jensen G, Jun 11, 2012.

  1. macrumors member

    Jun 29, 2009
    I'm gonna be purchasing a new Macbook Air, and am trying to decide whether to get the 8GB ram upgrade. This would normally be a no-brainer if I were getting a laptop with a non-SSD hard drive, but because the Air has SSD, I am wondering if the performance improvements of the SSD would mean that paging won't be nearly as detrimental to performance with the Air.

    Are there any folks here with the 2011 version of the Air who have experience on what memory paging is like on the Air/SSD vs a Mac with a regular platter-based HD?
  2. Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Go with 8 since you cannot upgrade after the fact. Sooner or later you'll need more ram.
  3. macrumors 65816

    May 20, 2008
    It's only 100 dollars, just do it.
  4. macrumors member

    Nov 17, 2010
    May be stupid but...

    Will 8gb of RAM negatively effect battery life compared to 4gb?
  5. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2007
    I'll be getting one and 8GB for sure.
  6. And
    macrumors 6502

    Feb 23, 2009
    92 ft above sea level, UK
    I'm buying right now and going for the 8gb. It makes sense, things are only going to need more and more memory...
  7. macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2012
    Will 128G Airs with 8G of RAM be available at the Apple retail stores or do you have to order one online? TIA
  8. macrumors 6502a

    Jun 2, 2008
    Paging on an SSD is a lot better than paging on a rotational drive. If you only dip a little bit into swap, you could probably stick with 4GB RAM for a while. However, by the time you get to as much in swap as you have RAM, things can slow down a lot, especially if you're doing a lot of other disk activity (time machine backups, syncing home dirs, etc). When I've got swap, time machine, and portable home directories all hitting the disk at the same time, my MBA slows to a crawl.

    But remember, your RAM needs will increase over time. Newer versions of your OS or applications will likely need more RAM. I know I didn't need as much memory with Snow Leopard and Adobe CS5 as I do with Lion and CS6.
  9. macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2012
    I logged on to ask the same question! I'm presuming you have to order online but am hoping otherwise.
  10. macrumors regular

    Jan 28, 2012
    Tough to say conclusively. While they are using DDR3L now, which is lower voltage, it remains to be seen if the new Air has more NAND modules or higher capacity modules. And if they're higher capacity, are they more or less power efficient than the current ones?

    All else equal, I'd guess the difference between 4gb and 8gb RAM would be negligible.
  11. macrumors newbie

    May 14, 2008
    I have a 2011-mid Macbook air 13. 2GB gone when I turn on it. And then I open safari and open a few tab, only left, like 300MB. So, if I were you, 8GB is a must.
  12. macrumors 68040


    Mar 27, 2009
    Seattle, WA
    Given how much it costs and its potential long-term benefit, an 8 GB upgrade is really one simple decision.
  13. robdrj45, Jun 11, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2012

    macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2012
    I agree. Actually, it probably should have just been standard. If it was a $200 upgrade, I could see keeping it an option, but for $100 it's a no brainer. As you said, just for the long term benefit alone. Plus, one less configuration would make for easier retail store shopping.
  14. macrumors 6502a

    Mar 29, 2010
    I need to buy from Best Buy so I don't have a choice. 8GB would be nice, though.
  15. macrumors newbie

    Jun 15, 2012
    Better order online

    The only option at the Apple Retail Stores will be the base models themselves. For a MacBook Pro or iMac, you can have the RAM upgraded at the store itself. They won't have a computer with 8GB installed already, one of the Geniuses will take care of it. With the MacBook Air, the RAM is connected with the logic board so it can't be changed later.

    The good news is, you can have the computer shipped to your house or shipped to the Apple Store of your choice for Personal Pickup.
  16. macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    100 dollars is 10% of the price (base MBA). If you plan to sell it again in 11 months, you will be better off keeping closer to the base model price in order to minimize your losses. People tend not to pay as much extra for upgrades as you put into it. And, if you are mainly using the Internet, email, Pages, etc., then the 8GB will not give you much back. I'll probably be able to sell mine at a 10%-20% loss. I've been doing this for the last few years, and it has worked pretty well.
  17. macrumors 604


    Jul 2, 2007
    Sunny Florida
    No. Not that you would notice anyway.
  18. macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    keep in mind, the more ram you have, the larger the sleep image file is (size of your physical ram). Thus if space is an issue, more ram exacerbates it even more so
  19. macrumors regular

    Nov 26, 2004
    Coquitlam, BC
    Even if you only have say 2GB used?
  20. macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
  21. macrumors regular

    Nov 26, 2004
    Coquitlam, BC
  22. macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2012
    Providence, RI
    Have to buy from Best Buy too...

    ...due to financing options. I'm student and best buy has a new way of dealing with apple's education pricing this month as a promotion. If you go to bestbuy.com/studentdeals enter any .edu email address and they will email you a one-time use only code that will give you $100 off the price of any MacBook Pro or Air. In the case of the air, this is a better deal than Apple offers for students ($50 off) although apple also gives a $100 app store card, which best buy wouldnt match.

    Anyway, I bought the 11inch MBA w/128GB and 4GB RAM for $999.

    It pains me to think I will suffer in 6 months like I used to years ago when I didn't buy enough RAM. I'm replacing an early 2011 15" MBP 2.0 ghz quad core i7 w/ 500 hdd and 8gb ram. Mainly, I'm a writer. But occasionally I do edit a 10 minute film in final cut pro or compose music with logic and ugh... Not looking forward to the slow crawl.

    However, I really like what reviewers are saying about the quality of life- user experience of the 11" MBA. I read, critique, and write all the time and need to make it to classes in different buildings. The 15 MBP with an optical drive is too big, oxy, fragile, and kind of embarrassing set up next to the guy who just prints out his PDFs and uses real books.

    Sorry for rambling - what I'm saying is that since I have to buy from best buy, I have decided to replace m powerful machine with this newer tiny machine for $999 because I think it's a good deal and will make my student experience better despite only 4gb of ram and losing 372 Gb of hd space. But I am also a bit scared.

    However, I also have a new iPad, which makes me wonder if I shouldn't just return the Air, which I haven't even opened yet. Was planning to sell the MBP on eBay while I can still get some real cash for it - also has two years left of transferrable AppleCare.
  23. macrumors 6502a

    Nov 20, 2010
    More RAM is almost always better. Go 8
  24. macrumors regular

    Jun 3, 2012
    I am not sure if 4GB will be enough. I asked a similar question on this forum too: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=15087189#post15087189 Good luck! (I went with the 8GB ram with no CPU upgrade, purchased the macbook air today:)
  25. macrumors 6502a

    Nov 9, 2007
    Got 4GB in my 2012 and its been fine so far.

    Most stressful thing I've done is play Portal 2, Played flawlessly.

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