MacBook Air 8GB Ram worth $233 extra?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by l0gikb0mb, Sep 28, 2013.

  1. macrumors regular

    Apr 6, 2012
    hey guys, so I'm stuck deciding between the two.

    I can get a base model refurb in canada for $1044 all in after tax. New with 8gb ram is $1277 all in.

    Is this difference worth it? I have a very capable desktop that I might be turning into a hackintosh as well.

    There may be times where I use the desktop exclusively for weeks. My needs are GarageBand, Logic Pro, maybe some light movie editing, lots of browsing and homework.
  2. macrumors 68000

    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    I ran GarageBand, Logic Pro and Final Cut Pro on a 2011 4gb i5 MBA for almost two years and had no problems. I now have a 2013 i7 8gb machine, and see less latency in Logic and faster rendering in Final Cut Pro. But I'm not sure that the RAM is much of a factor. Guessing that the big difference is the faster SSD (I have the 512) on the 2013 machine plus the Haswell i7.

    It makes sense to get 8gb if possible, since it can't be upgraded later. But if money is an issue (like you imply), not sure that it will result in any better performance for your uses.
  3. macrumors 604

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    8gb is worth it mostly because you can't upgrade the ram after purchase.
  4. macrumors 6502

    Mar 15, 2013
    Best Korea, North Korea.
    This rigth here is the main reason why you'll want to go with 8/16GB on MBA/rMBP, even if you don't need it right now, you don't know if you'll need it in the future.
  5. AXs
    macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2009
    That is the exact mentality Apple counts on to make their profits.

    They want their customers to upgrade CPU and/or RAM because "even if we dont need it we can't upgrade it later".

    And apple upgrades are expensive.
  6. macrumors regular

    Jul 13, 2012
    I have 4GB RAM on my mid-2012 Air, and it is enough for basic stuff, but it can get a bit frustrating at times.

    You have to be much more proactive in your RAM management. Only have the programs and windows/tabs open that you really need. (TIP: quitting browsers when you are not using them usually frees up a bunch of RAM.) Also learn the 'purge' command in Terminal, and don't be afraid to use it frequently.

    With the Air any RAM limit problem is somewhat reduced due to having an SSD (especially the current Air, which has the faster PCIe bus for the SSD). But using the SSD for default extra RAM is imposing more work and wear on it.

    I can only speak for the Australian store, but 8GB refurb Airs do not come up that often. So for your purposes it might pay in the long run to find the extra money, if you can't wait for an 8GB refurb.

    Depends a lot on how long you plan to keep the thing. If you are going to upgrade within a year or so, then it is probably not such an issue for you. Just let the SSD do the work.
  7. macrumors 65816


    Jun 29, 2012
    I have 4 gigs and keep every app I want open. This isn't 2002 when double the memory elevated your computing experience to another universe... 8gb is nice to have but IMO not necessary especially at that price.
  8. macrumors 6502a


    Nov 7, 2011
    8 GB RAM.

    Anytime you buy a A Macbook (Pro, Air, etc.) you have to upgrade/have at least an 8GB RAM imo to have the full Macbook experience. With 4GB RAM it will still be smooth but it won't give you that "ooooo" factor.

    I have the 2012 MBA 13" Air.

    Get the 8GB ram, get the 256 SSD, and 1.8GHz.
  9. macrumors 68040


    Nov 3, 2011
    If you can afford it easily go for it - 4GB will be fine if % is tight.
  10. macrumors 601

    Aug 27, 2012
    Apple loves your wallet.
  11. macrumors 6502

    Sep 6, 2013
    Mavericks is extremely memory efficient. 4GB is more than enough. If you really needed 8GB of memory you wouldn't need to even ask, you would just get it.
  12. macrumors 6502

    Jul 31, 2005
    I'm in a similar conundum myself.

    I think i'd feel safer with 8gb personally.

    Don't forget the iGPU uses 1gb of the system memory, so in effect you will only have 3 gb of accessible memory with 4gb of system memory
  13. AXs
    macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2009
    If it was the regular $100 upgrade, I'd say yea go for it even though it's not essential.

    But this is a $230 difference. It's not worth it by any means to add 4GB for $230 bucks.

    OP just wants reassurance that 4GB will be enough for regular usage... and yes, it is.
  14. macrumors 68040


    Oct 12, 2005
    This 100%.

    8GB you may not need now but a year or two then it's going to make your machine last longer. Got for the extra RAM :cool:
  15. macrumors 6502

    Mar 15, 2013
    Best Korea, North Korea.
    Yes, but you don't really have much choice if the tasks you do requires that much memory and portability is needed.

    Maybe, but I've never paid a full price for a Mac product, it's usually either refurb or education discount if I'm eligible.
  16. macrumors 68030

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Aug 5, 2001
    Logic and movie editing? Get all the RAM you can afford!
  17. macrumors regular

    Jan 15, 2007
    Yes, without a doubt!! Don't spend $1000+ just to settle. Put a bit more with it and buy what you need.
  18. macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2009
  19. macrumors 68000


    Oct 30, 2008
    Yes it is very much worth $233.

    Night and day in terms of user experience, and your SSD will last longer since virtual memory will have an easier job.
  20. macrumors 601

    Aug 27, 2012
    Good for you.

    OP implies he cannot get an 8 GB refurb at this time, hence the large differential$, so perhaps we should tell him, yes do it but wait until an 8 GB refurb becomes available.
  21. macrumors 68030


    Sep 22, 2012
    Andover, UK
    This post should not be overlooked. My mid 2012 Air with 8GB RAM is certainly more efficient with Mav. Memory compression and App Nap make a big difference.
  22. macrumors 68040


    Jun 26, 2009
    Burpelson AFB
    Memory compression in Mavericks will be a help but it won't work miracles. Go with 8GB. You won't regret it.
  23. macrumors 68000

    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    I suppose it depends on what software your using and how many applications you need open. As I posted above, I really don't notice much difference between my 4gb 2011 MBA and 8gb 2013 MBA.

    Coming from a 2008 MBP, when I switched to the MBA I learned that I didn't really need to keep a lot of applications open at the same time. The main reason I did it on the old MBP was that it took so long to open a big program. But applications launch so quickly with the SSD on the MBA, there wasn't much reason to keep them open unless actively using them.

    Now I did get 8gb when I upgraded, but that was just because I could (4gb was the max available in 2011).
  24. Tfb
    macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2012
    Refurbs with 8gb are starting to show up on the American Apple Store. If you have a working computer for now, maybe it makes sense to wait and see if the same will happen in the Canadian refurb store?
  25. macrumors 601


    Jan 10, 2005
    I find 4 GB to be barely enough these days. Didn't realise it was the case until I could no longer use my 12 GB iMac and was stuck with 4 GB MBP. If it chokes under moderate use now, image 2 years from now? O_O

    In your case, the price difference is certainly a huge factor. If the Air is not your only machine, or if you only browse the web and use Office, 4 gbs would suffice, imo.

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