2012 MBA 13" 4gb vs 8gb RAM

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by jmcghee0216, Jul 29, 2012.

  1. jmcghee0216 macrumors newbie

    Jul 29, 2012
    I can get the 8gb version (with AppleCare) directly through Apple for $1,537 including tax and shipping (also comes with a $100 Apple Gift Card). Or I can get the 4gb version (with AppleCare) through B&H.com for $1,234 with no tax or shipping. Is a 4gb increase of RAM really worth the few hundred? This will be a laptop for college, and I do some multitasking like having a lot of tabs open. Thanks
  2. Matthew Yohe macrumors 68020

    Oct 12, 2006
    Are these the latest macbook airs? Because it only costs 90 bucks to go from 4 to 8GB on apple's online edu store.
  3. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    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

    Even if you're not paging out and have no need of more than 4GB of RAM now, your needs may change in the next few years. If they do, you won't be able to add RAM to your MBA, so you may want to get the 8GB to provide for possible future requirements.
  4. GREEN4U macrumors 6502a

    Mar 24, 2010
    I used to be like you. In fact, I was pretty proud telling everyone that I was not planning to get 8GB, because as a student I wouldn't need it either. But just 2 days ago when it finally came time to order, I was knocked to my senses and decided on 8. The reason is, I really want this thing to last. I thought I wouldn't need it because I've been using a Powerbook w/ standard 512mb for 7 years, but when I think about it, the last 3 years have been pretty miserable, LOL.

    Just FYI:

    Don't worry about buying AppleCare yet, plus you get another year of warranty anyway if you buy your computer with a card like AmEx, for example.

    You can always sell the apple gift card.
  5. jmcghee0216 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 29, 2012
    Yes these are the latest models. B&H.com offers the MacBook Air at a cheaper price and also offers AppleCare for only $95, while it is $183 through Apple. The issue is B&H does not offer the 13" i5 model with 8gb of memory, just 4gb.
  6. jterp7 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2011
    as someone who previously used the 2011 air for everything, I wish it had 8gb. That said, most of the time that happened was when I was using it as a desktop so to speak connected to my TB display. Using it on the go, I never ran out (probably because I multi-tasked less due to smaller workspace)
  7. Moshe1010 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 27, 2010
  8. Ceviche Lover macrumors regular

    Jul 15, 2012
    Yes they do they're just out of stock right now. They will get more in next month

    I honestly don't know why people are ordering from apple if they're just getting the base model. You can easily get a better deal elsewhere
  9. jmcghee0216 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 29, 2012
    Really? Do you remember how much it was? Yeah it's definitely cheaper, especially AppleCare being half of what Apple charges. I really would like this laptop soon so hopefully the wait isn't much longer.
  10. SurferPup macrumors member


    Aug 20, 2011
    Sunshine Coast, Australia
    More RAM = More Speed

    Go 8 Gb. I just swapped from the 4 Gb MBA to the 16 Gb MBP as one of the reasons was the multi tasking. I usually have Firefox and Safari open with multiple tabs; Stickies; Battery Health; iMessage; Outlook; iTunes and sometimes Apple Mail and iPhoto. Having a MBP a year ago I noticed the delay with the July 2011 model MBA. Worth the extra $300 if you multi task.
  11. Purple2012 macrumors member

    Jul 25, 2012
    I have the 4GB and I never use more than about 2GB.
    I currently have multiple tabs, itunes, word, day one, istudiez, evernote running. And I am using just a little over 2GB.
    I've never seen anything under page outs.
  12. GREEN4U macrumors 6502a

    Mar 24, 2010
    This thread is getting me really excited for my 8GB. I can finally listen to iTunes while surfing the web without my music skipping.
  13. korbearus10 macrumors member

    Jun 27, 2012
    Having 4GB ram shouldn't make your iTunes playback skip just because you're surfing the web at the same time.
  14. GREEN4U macrumors 6502a

    Mar 24, 2010
    True, but I plan to have several scientific articles (pdfs) open at once too. And maybe word, mail, imessage, and iphoto.

    I'm coming from 512mb RAM. 8GB will be godsend.
  15. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    I routinely listen to iTunes music on my stereo speakers while web browsing with anywhere from 5 to 30 tabs open, while simultaneously running Skype, Mail, TeamViewer, MS Excel, PDFs in Preview and many other apps, widgets and processes. I don't have page outs, iTunes doesn't skip, and I have no lag, no beachballs and no performance issues, all on 4GB of RAM. A Mac mini plays movies via Plex on an HDTV via HDMI while also running those same apps, as well as Word and Windows in a VM via Parallels, also on 4GB of RAM, with no page outs or performance issues.

    Not everyone needs 8GB or more.
  16. jbstew32 macrumors regular

    Jan 15, 2007
    I just received my new MBA 13" BTO w/8GB or RAM. I routinely hit the 5-6GB usage mark, and I'm not using photoshop or aperture or final cut pro or anything else.

    I just like to use my different virtual desktops to have multiple things running at once, e.g. Safari and Chrome with about 8-10 tabs opened on each, iTunes, messages, and the app store. That amount of use typically puts me over 3GB. I really don't like having to close all those things if I want to open Steam and play Civ V, which I can still do without hitting the 8GB limit.

    Also if you're like me, that means you can have a separate account for your girlfriend without any performance degradation :)
  17. dmelgar macrumors 68000

    Apr 29, 2005
    Of course more is better, but folks are often overstating the need for more than 4GB. That's actually quite a bit of memory. The SSD in the MBA makes swapping pretty fast so it doesn't slow down as much as a HD system.
    Folks typically get confused because Mac OSX uses available memory as a disk cache that makes them think they've run out of memory. The disk cache is a performance benefit too because it doesn't have to read files from the SSD if they're already in the cache. However, again the SSD is REALLY fast in these new MBAs. Reading files from the SSD at 450mb/sec doesn't take that long.

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