13 inch Air with less RAM vs Pro with more RAM

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by migulic, Sep 5, 2012.

  1. migulic macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2008
    #1
    I want to buy either a 13 inch MBA or MBP for university soon. I don't use any heavy software, just Office, web browsing, that kind of things. I can get both models at a good price from a local retailer and I'm leaning towards the Air for the portability and better screen. However, I can only get the Air with 4 GB of RAM (for the 8 GB, I'd have to order directly from Apple which would make it a lot more expensive). Would that be enough for the laptop to last a few years under light use or should I opt for the Pro and upgrade RAM myself?
     
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #2
    How much RAM you need depends on your particular usage. Even using Office and web browsing can use large amounts of RAM in some cases. To determine if you can benefit from more RAM, launch Activity Monitor and click the System Memory tab at the bottom to check your page outs. Page outs are cumulative since your last restart, so the best way to check is to restart your computer and track page outs under your normal workload (the apps, browser pages and documents you normally would have open). If your page outs are significant (say 1GB or more) under normal use, you may benefit from more RAM. If your page outs are zero or very low during normal use, you probably won't see any performance improvement from adding RAM.

    Mac OS X: Reading system memory usage in Activity Monitor
     
  3. migulic thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2008
    #3
    Thanks, but I'm not really surr how that would help me since I haven't bought the laptop yet... I also don't have access to ny iMac at the moment (and it only runs Snow Leopard so the results might be different there). I'm just wondering whether the 4 GB RAM is enough to last some time or would the Air become obsolete in 2 years' time or so.
     
  4. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #4
    Again, it depends on your particular usage, but 4GB is quite sufficient for the majority of average users. If you're not sure what you'll need, going with the MBP gives you the ability to add RAM later, if you need it.
     

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