2 gigs vs. 4 gigs

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Meric, Nov 26, 2010.

  1. Meric macrumors regular

    Nov 24, 2010
    after going thru many of the threads... I still wonder if 2 gb would be enough for me...

    I'll be running safari w/ 8-10 tabs.... office ( outlook always on, excel sometimes )

    quickbooks on fusion or parallels...

    that'll will really help if some of you guys can load up the MBA with these or similar apps and print screen the activity monitor...

  2. gr8tfly macrumors 603


    Oct 29, 2006
    ~119W 34N
    If you have any doubt, get the 4GB - you can't upgrade later.

    If you get the 2GB, it sounds like you'd only continue to wonder whether or not you have enough.
  3. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Virtualization detected - Go with 4GB!

    Seriously, you can't go wrong with 4GB. Apps will use more and more RAM in the future so 4GB is a lot more "future-proof". Plus it's not upgradeable and only 100 bucks so I would get it and in fact, I did.
  4. Meric thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 24, 2010
    thats what I wanna do... but its just ordering the base model now and getting tomorrow on Amazon is appealing than a macconnection order and waiting dunno how long... or paying 33 bucks more and order today on apple store w/ BF discount....

    macconnection doesn't sell the BTOs cheaper than apple... as oppose to the base models...
  5. gwsat macrumors 68000


    Apr 12, 2008
    If you want to run Windows in either a Fusion or Parallels virtual machine on an MBA you should have 4GB of RAM. When I ran Windows under Fusion in Unity mode on my MBP with only 2GB of RAM, Windows apps were unstable and ran very slowly. Only after I upgraded the MBP's RAM to 6GB did I get satisfactory performance from Windows apps.

    I was relieved to see that the 13 inch MBA could do the same job running Windows apps the MBP does, although the MBA has only 4GB of RAM. I credit the MBA's ultra fast flash storage with a measure of its ability to handle Windows apps well with only 4GB of RAM. Whatever the reason may be, the 13 inch Ultimate MBA handles multiple Windows apps and multiple OS X apps running simultaneously very well.
  6. Meric thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 24, 2010
    just ordered the 13 with 4g ram...

    thanks for all your help. a new ERA has just started...
  7. dwd3885 macrumors 68020

    Dec 10, 2004
    I got the Air for $1039 on amazon today no tax. To me, thats about a $300 savings over just 2 extra gb, so to me, definitely the savings was more important.
  8. wirelessmacuser macrumors 68000


    Dec 20, 2009
    Don't be sucked into the lame excuses for being trapped with a measly 2GB. iCal tells me it's 2010... :)

    I ordered 4GB without a second thought. Most big kids don't mind a bit of a wait while it's BTO.
  9. Meric thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 24, 2010
    Which one did u get..?
  10. richard371 macrumors 68020

    Feb 1, 2008
    I got the ipad with 256mb of ram for web surfing. returned it for the 2gb air and the difference is amazing 8x the ram.
  11. nickpro macrumors regular

    Jun 11, 2007
    Bay Area
    what if usage includes light web surfing, word processing, itunes (music playing, mp3 transferring, occasional CD ripping) and iphoto? 2GB sounds like plenty right?

    i'm pulling the trigger on an 11 incher for my GF soon and i know for a fact that her usage will be limited to the above.
  12. mrsir2009 macrumors 604


    Sep 17, 2009
    Melbourne, Australia
    I'd get 4GB. This is 2010 man, 4GB is standard ;)
  13. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    In the long-run, you're much better off with 4GB of RAM in your investment, as it will definitely prolong the feasible life and usability of the MacBook Air.

    Over time, OS X and applications you use will require/demand more system resources. Since you're not able to upgrade the RAM to 4GB in the future, you must make the decision of 2GB or 4GB of RAM now.

    If you plan to use the MBA for a year, then resell it, perhaps you would be better off with 2GB of RAM. However, there is also the resale value, and the future use of the MBA may require 4GB of RAM for the MBA to be useful.

    If you plan to use the MBA as your primary computer, or you plan to use it longer than a year, I would strongly advise you to upgrade to 4GB of RAM. There is no downside to upgrading other than a 10% increase (or $99) in the initial cost of the MBA. While there are many advantages to upgrading to 4GB of RAM. It will make the MBA much more capable, faster, and useful over the MBA's useful lifespan.

    I strongly advise you to spend the $99 for the upgrade, as it will expand the usability of the MBA now and in the future. It will allow the MBA to run more apps, run apps better, run the OS better, and capable of handling growing demand for RAM over time when upgrading apps/OS X or adding more apps to the MBA, and allow the MBA to run multiple OSes simultaneously via a virtual machine; with 2GB of RAM, the MBA will not efficiently run multiple OSes simultaneously using a VM (Parallels, Fusion, or Virtual Box).

    Good luck with whichever path you choose.
  14. Appleind macrumors regular


    Nov 12, 2010
  15. dwd3885 macrumors 68020

    Dec 10, 2004
    Sorry, the 2gb version. It's for my wife, who isn't a power user and only does web browsing, email, etc. Not any video, very little photo stuff as well. But it saved $300 to opt for the 2gb. That's a good chunk of savings.
  16. jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816


    Feb 11, 2010
    Congratulations. You won't be sorry.
  17. jimboutilier macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2008
    While OSX doesn't perform badly under 2gb, as soon as you add virtual machine use you want more than 2gb.

    I did some experiments at one point with 1,2,3,&4gb of ram on a conventional MB. I found 1gb downright slow, 2gb was pretty good, 3gb was even faster and 4gb did not seem to add much for routine work. With a vm you are allocating resources to the other OS and you would not want to take what's available for OSX to less than 2gb (closer to 3 is better).
  18. sjinsjca macrumors 68020


    Oct 30, 2008
    Always jam as much RAM in as a machine will hold. Always. PC, Mac, Linux, I don't care, any OS will benefit.

    Especially if you're doing virtualization! Yow.

    Let "Jam the RAM" be your purchasing mantra!
  19. gwsat macrumors 68000


    Apr 12, 2008
    Exactly right! My MBP struggled with Windows 7 and Fusion until I upgraded its RAM from 2GB to 6GB. Consequently, I wasn't absolutely sure that an MBA with 4GB of RAM could do the job. Fortunately it can, thanks to a 1GB swap file that is managed with the MBA's ultra fast flash storage. Although I now get a significant number of page outs with 4GB of RAM, but had none with 6GB, the MBA's flash storage keeps those page outs from being noticeable. I should add that I have 2GB of RAM and one processor core dedicated to the Fusion VM.
  20. cleric macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    For $100 it really doesn't make sense not to upgrade the ram I think thats half the reason most of us bought the new one.
  21. gwsat macrumors 68000


    Apr 12, 2008
    +1! As many longtime posters here know, I had wanted an MBA for a looong time before the current model was released. Unfortunately, though, the old MBA with its 2GB of non-upgradable RAM would have been inadequate for my needs. Only after Apple offered a 4GB option did I decide to take a chance on it being able to run all my apps as I wanted to run them. Fortunately, it could.
  22. bowlerman625 macrumors 68020


    Jun 17, 2009
    Chicago, IL area
    Do yourself a favor and get 4GB!
    You'll be glad you did.
  23. dwd3885 macrumors 68020

    Dec 10, 2004
    But keep in mind that not everybody has an extra $300 to spend. The MBA 2gb is $1139 on Amazon and if you add ram from Apple it may well be $1400 (was for me). That's over 25% price increase from 2-4 gb. Sure, it might be better and last a little longer, but the ssd in the MBA is so fast that if it is used as virtual RAM, you will hardly notice a difference. And if you look at the 11-inch Air for what it is (a glorified netbook) then 4gb might not be worth the extra money. Sure if you don't care about price, then get 4gb, but if you didn't care about price, you wouldn't have asked the question in the first place.

    And don't buy extra ram for future proofing. That never works. IF you don't need 4gb ram now, by the time you do you will want a new computer anyway.
  24. barmann macrumors 6502a

    Oct 25, 2010
    Indeed, the SSDs on the MBA are not very fast, and virtual memory always is a hog.
    It is true the MBAs are netbooks, but going from 2GB to 4GB RAM can still make a difference when one does even just a little more than mail and surfing.

    It is good advice to only buy what you need - if there is an upgrade path.
    The MBAs can't be upgraded, so you have to decide now .
  25. bniu macrumors 6502a

    Mar 21, 2010
    get a base MBP and do an aftermarket SSD install and up the thing to 8GB of RAM. I was going to get a MBA on black friday, but when I saw 128GB SSDs going for $200 and 8GB RAM going for $99, figured it was a better idea to just spend $300 upgrading the Pro. Now the thing is so fast, it's like I bought a new computer!

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