4GB ram, late 2013 - BASIC use, good to go?

manhattanmania

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 9, 2007
241
57
Hi - wanted to get your opinions. I'm probably going to buy the base model 13" retina macbook pro. My main concern is the 4GB RAM. Here is my particular situation:

I'm selling my 2011 macbook air to my sister so the cost to upgrade will be only a couple of hundred bucks. the air suits my needs perfectly fine, but I want a new computer simply because of that: I have the upgrade itch, I want the retina display, and it's not too much to upgrade.

my needs are VERY basic. i literally just go online, listen to itunes, use iphoto, etc. nothing intense whatsoever. 4GB RAM is plenty fine, right? the ONLY reason i am asking is because of the retina display - i don't want there to be any lag, etc. not sure that is even affected by the amount of RAM, but wanted to ask the question.

thanks in advance!
 

OTACORB

macrumors 68000
Jun 21, 2009
1,519
993
Central, Louisiana
In my opinion given what you plan to use it for, I think the 4GB will be sufficient. Most people will say the more ram the better and that is usually true. I purchased the model with the 8GB and 256 SSD, but for me that was probably overkill because I don't do much more than you do. However, I wanted to do this to future proof myself because I usually don't buy a laptop but about every 4 years. My last being a 2009 MBP. The retina display makes it all worthwhile.

Go for it!
 

Count Blah

macrumors 68040
Jan 6, 2004
3,091
2,477
US of A
How long do you intend to keep this machine? Do you see yourself doing anything more intense within that time frame?
 

Dovahkiing

macrumors regular
Nov 1, 2013
200
77
You will be fine with 4GB for your needs. There will be people commenting that it wont be enough: don't listen to them.
 

Orr

macrumors 6502
Oct 8, 2013
363
50
The base RAM is plenty for your needs now and will run fine without lag. It will however leave you very little wiggle room to grow if those needs should change down the road. Something to also consider is that if you plan on selling in several years, the resale value may be significantly lower due to the RAM constraints limiting overall system productivity. Personally, I think that 4GB RAM is barely acceptable for an Air in 2013 and rather embarrassing for anything above.
 

Meister

Suspended
Oct 10, 2013
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4,265
The base model is fine like other people here wrote.
I personaly believe 4gigs of ram will go a long long way, even in the future.
Nevertheless i bought the 8/256 config because getting double ssd and double ram for only 200,- more is almost a no brainer.
BUT: I bought a mba mid 2013 with 4gigs/256gb at the same time. Cuz the extra ram wouldve cost me 200,- extra. Havent regreted it yet.
 

manhattanmania

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 9, 2007
241
57
How long do you intend to keep this machine? Do you see yourself doing anything more intense within that time frame?
based on my current cycle, seems like i can't go 2 years without upgrading :p
really don't foresee using it for anything else anytime soon...

----------

The base model is fine like other people here wrote.
I personaly believe 4gigs of ram will go a long long way, even in the future.
Nevertheless i bought the 8/256 config because getting double ssd and double ram for only 200,- more is almost a no brainer.
BUT: I bought a mid 2013 with 4gigs/256gb mba at the same time. Cuz the extra ram wouldve cost me 200,- extra. Havent regreted it yet.
see here's the thing: i agree, the $200 extra is worth it for the 8GB, 256GB, but i'm grappling with the following:

in my gut i know i really only need 4GB ram, aka the base model, and even though i'd rather have the 256GB SSD, i plan on getting an external hard drive and using it wirelessly through my airport extreme. tiny cost for way more storage, so eyeing the base 13", hopefully best buy later this week, for $1099.

what i really WANT is the 15" base model, which takes care of the RAM and the SSD size and even gets me the bigger screen (i nabbed the $1749 deal from BH this past weekend, so AWESOME deal) but if i went for the mid-range 13", it's only a couple of hundred more for the 15", vs if i went for the base 13" - i'm saving $600, which is big enough of a difference for me to give up the bigger screen.

make sense? i am the least decisive person ever. i also have 3 ipads in various storage sizes and colors coming to me until i can decide which to keep. (dont worry, won't be opening all of them :rolleyes:)
 

richard371

macrumors 68020
Feb 1, 2008
2,338
579
The 8/256 for 200 more is a no brainer in my opinion. Btw any lag is probably because software isn't optimized. For what you will be doing you won't notice any lag difference between the 4/128 or the 16/1tb. I just think the 8/256 is by far the best deal and will be easier to sell a few years down the road when you are ready to upgrade.
 

KUguardgrl13

macrumors 68020
May 16, 2013
2,485
109
Kansas, USA
In my opinion given what you plan to use it for, I think the 4GB will be sufficient. Most people will say the more ram the better and that is usually true. I purchased the model with the 8GB and 256 SSD, but for me that was probably overkill because I don't do much more than you do. However, I wanted to do this to future proof myself because I usually don't buy a laptop but about every 4 years. My last being a 2009 MBP. The retina display makes it all worthwhile.

Go for it!
Funny, I did the exact same thing. Traded out my 2009 for the new 8/256. It's a good machine :)

OP, my uses are similar and I use 3.xgb usually. 4gb is cutting it close, but you'd be fine if you resell it in two years or so.
 

ducatiti

macrumors 6502a
May 18, 2011
932
153
The 8/256 for 200 more is a no brainer in my opinion. Btw any lag is probably because software isn't optimized. For what you will be doing you won't notice any lag difference between the 4/128 or the 16/1tb. I just think the 8/256 is by far the best deal and will be easier to sell a few years down the road when you are ready to upgrade.
I would agree to this especially if you can get one at a discounted price. I was able to get one two weeks ago for $1249 from BB (2.4/256/8). Best bang for my buck! To add x3 reward points which equates to an $80 gift card I believe.
 

kim2272

macrumors regular
Jul 23, 2010
200
21
Sunshine State
I would agree to this especially if you can get one at a discounted price. I was able to get one two weeks ago for $1249 from BB (2.4/256/8). Best bang for my buck! To add x3 reward points which equates to an $80 gift card I believe.
How were you able to get it for $1249? I bought mine three weeks ago with the education discount and didn't even get a deal like that!
 

Meister

Suspended
Oct 10, 2013
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The 4gig base model is a bargain for 1100,-.
U dont need more and dont even wanna keep it for long.
Seems like it was made for you.
 

Buck987

macrumors 6502a
Jan 16, 2010
915
83
Enjoyed that. Was nice to have a real world review. I got that the 4GB was more than enough.
"Unless you’re planning on cutting video on a daily basis (or similar), the $1,299 base configuration will suit you just fine."
Spot on. And if can get one for 1100 or 1200 this Friday it's even a better value.
 

Kevclark1985

macrumors member
Jul 2, 2013
72
3
I'd upgrade to 8gb ram and 256gb. $200 is not much in the grand scheme of the laptop cost. The SSD is faster and you have double ram and storage.

While I agree your uses may not necessarily mean you need it now, you are not leaving yourself much room for your needs/uses to change and I think the base models will not sell so well 2 years down the line. I didn't like the idea of buying an expensive laptop with 128gb SSD last year, I imagine in two years this will seem even smaller and can't be upgraded (maybe can by then, but will prob be costly).

You may find that you don't need/want to upgrade and want to keep for say 3-4 years (if your uses are not high end you may not feel a need to upgrade). I'd pay the extra, give yourself the extra options of keeping it longer and the increased resale value later on. Plus it will be a faster machine for you to use for those 2 years or more.
 

Meister

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Oct 10, 2013
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I'd upgrade to 8gb ram and 256gb. $200 is not much in the grand scheme of the laptop cost. The SSD is faster and you have double ram and storage.

While I agree your uses may not necessarily mean you need it now, you are not leaving yourself much room for your needs/uses to change and I think the base models will not sell so well 2 years down the line. I didn't like the idea of buying an expensive laptop with 128gb SSD last year, I imagine in two years this will seem even smaller and can't be upgraded (maybe can by then, but will prob be costly).

You may find that you don't need/want to upgrade and want to keep for say 3-4 years (if your uses are not high end you may not feel a need to upgrade). I'd pay the extra, give yourself the extra options of keeping it longer and the increased resale value later on. Plus it will be a faster machine for you to use for those 2 years or more.
he seems to get it for 1100,- !
thats a 300 - 400 difference.
for 200 u r right.
 

raptor402

macrumors 6502
Jun 30, 2011
399
2
Believe it or not, following the general trend, 4GB RAM will be insufficient in 3 years or so (if not less). 8 years ago, 2GB RAM was overkill. 5 years ago, most people went for 4GB if they needed their devices for anything remotely memory hogging. Now, people go for 8GB. You can't run a system on 2GB anymore. 2-3 years from now, one won't be able to run on 4GB at all.

But that's just my opinion. If you don't see yourself using the laptop for more than 2 years, or feel that it's not really worth the extra $$$, go for the 4GB by all means.

I hope this helps.

Regards
Raptor
 

Meister

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Oct 10, 2013
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Believe it or not, following the general trend, 4GB RAM will be insufficient in 3 years or so (if not less). 8 years ago, 2GB RAM was overkill. 5 years ago, most people went for 4GB if they needed their devices for anything remotely memory hogging. Now, people go for 8GB. You can't run a system on 2GB anymore. 2-3 years from now, one won't be able to run on 4GB at all.
so you are telling me that the 2008mba with ssd and 2gb is useless?
have you used one of those machines?
u r either full of it or I must be hallucinating :cool:
 

PeterJP

macrumors 6502
Feb 2, 2012
421
242
Leuven, Belgium
Believe it or not, following the general trend, 4GB RAM will be insufficient in 3 years or so (if not less). 8 years ago, 2GB RAM was overkill. 5 years ago, most people went for 4GB if they needed their devices for anything remotely memory hogging. Now, people go for 8GB. You can't run a system on 2GB anymore. 2-3 years from now, one won't be able to run on 4GB at all.
I think you're right to point out the trend towards more memory. But the trend is certainly slowing. When I bought my first PC in 1992 (4MB!), I had to double the memory 2 years later. But when I bought my previous PC in 2004 (1GB), I only upgraded the memory to 3GB several years later. As a matter of fact, one of the 1GB banks broke and it continued service with 2GB until this year. My current PC has 16GB of memory of which I usually use 2-3GB.

I think 4GB will get you 2-3 years. With the memory compression technology, maybe 4. 8GB should get you to the later years of this decade, particularly with the memory compression in Mavericks.
 

Kevclark1985

macrumors member
Jul 2, 2013
72
3
he seems to get it for 1100,- !
thats a 300 - 400 difference.
for 200 u r right.
Sorry never picked up on that, also I'm in UK so not 100% with US prices but saw it mentioned it was $200 more (which in my head is ~£110 extra and well worth it).
 

raptor402

macrumors 6502
Jun 30, 2011
399
2
so you are telling me that the 2008mba with ssd and 2gb is useless?
have you used one of those machines?
u r either full of it or I must be hallucinating :cool:
I have, in fact, used a 2008 MBA (on Lion, last year). With just Safari and VLC running, the RAM was maxed out. The system was excruciatingly slow. Also, I have a 2009 white MacBook with 2GB RAM. Similar experience.

Perhaps I exaggerated a bit. But nevertheless, 2GB is quite definitely far too little regular use. Heck, my 8GB running pro boots up with over 2GB memory used right away, and that too without any memory hogging boot apps. During regular (non-pro) usage, I often cross 4GB.

I think you're right to point out the trend towards more memory. But the trend is certainly slowing. When I bought my first PC in 1992 (4MB!), I had to double the memory 2 years later. But when I bought my previous PC in 2004 (1GB), I only upgraded the memory to 3GB several years later. As a matter of fact, one of the 1GB banks broke and it continued service with 2GB until this year. My current PC has 16GB of memory of which I usually use 2-3GB.

I think 4GB will get you 2-3 years. With the memory compression technology, maybe 4. 8GB should get you to the later years of this decade, particularly with the memory compression in Mavericks.
I agree with you, Peter. The trend definitely is slowing. But 4GB has been in for a lot longer than the previous "flagship" configurations had been. Nevertheless, I suppose only time will truly tell.

In any case, I personally prefer future proof such investments, in this case by going for 8GB RAM.

Regards
Raptor
 

Count Blah

macrumors 68040
Jan 6, 2004
3,091
2,477
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Enjoyed that. Was nice to have a real world review. I got that the 4GB was more than enough.
"Unless you’re planning on cutting video on a daily basis (or similar), the $1,299 base configuration will suit you just fine."
Do you plan on having a browser with several tabs constantly open? If so, good luck with the 4Gigs of RAM.

At least that is my real world experience on an iMac that is stuck at 4Gigs of RAM.
 

TacticalDesire

macrumors 68020
Mar 19, 2012
2,286
23
Michigan
For basic use 4g is fine. The demands of email and the web have been pretty stagnant as of late. A few tabs in chrome and running itunes is not justfication for 8gb. I don't know what the hell people are doing on their machines but for what the OP wants 8gb is overkill. Now if he were running aperture, vms or final cut I would agree, 4gb is too little. But for everyday tasks, its fine.

How long do you plan on using this machine? Because even after all I said above, something to keep in mind is that the ram in the new pros is not upgradable.