4GB vs. 8GB RAM Macbook Air

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by RianT, Sep 3, 2014.

  1. RianT macrumors member

    RianT

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2014
    #1
    Hey guys, I'm trying to decide if I should get a 4GB or 8GB model. I can get the 4GB model at Bestbuy for $799 before tax, while the 8GB has to be ordered from Apple and it would run about about $1000 before tax.
    I don't do anything like video editing on my laptop. Just need something to take notes, browse the web and run text editor software.
    I don't know if 4GB is enough, since my friend has a 4GB Air and the RAM seems to be maxed out in Activity Monitor and swap file was used. Would that indicate that the computer doesn't have enough memory?
    If anyone who's already been using the 4GB model for a while, I'd love to hear your opinions.
     
  2. 556fmjoe macrumors 65816

    556fmjoe

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2014
    #2
    You will not notice a difference at all. Save your $200.
     
  3. shenan1982 macrumors 68040

    shenan1982

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    #3
    Wow, I feel like this was just discussed.

    - Can you afford 10% more cost to future-proof the laptop?
    - Can you wait 5-7 days for delivery of a custom 8GB config?
    - Are you going to keep the laptop for more than a week?

    If the answer was YES to all of the above, there's ZERO logic to getting a 4GB. You'll see people responding to my post talking about how 4GB is just fine, and spouting random quips, but the REALITY is 4GB might be just barely ACCEPTABLE, but it's by no means IDEAL. For 10% increase in cost, you future proof quite a bit with 8GB RAM. 90% of Apple's MBA sales are 4GB machines, because they chose to do store models and stock configs on Apple.com that way... so you'll hear a lot of "4GB is just fine" because those 90% are going to be a lot more vocal.

    But, as someone who has had a 2012 8GB and a 2013 4GB, and now a 2014 8GB, I can personally attest that you'll be a lot more satisfied with 8 than you will with 4, and you'll get most of the $100 back in resale simply because the market is saturated with 90% 4GB models, so you have an edge when you go to resell it.

    ----------

    That's absolutely false.

    a) You WILL notice a difference.

    b) It's only $100 more to go from 4GB to 8GB


    (OP - this is what I mean when I say people who have the 4GB are psychologically inclined to defend their purchase. It's about you, not them. They chose not to spend the extra 10% and not future proof for a few bucks more, don't let them tell you it's unnecessary. You won't regret getting the 8GB, but you very well could regret getting 4GB).
     
  4. 556fmjoe macrumors 65816

    556fmjoe

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2014
    #4
    Web browsing, note taking, and text editing do not require even 4 GB of RAM and never will. Ever. It is a total waste of money to buy 8 GB of RAM for those uses.
     
  5. ashman70 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2010
    #5
    For what you say you will be using it for, 4GB will be fine, if however you begin to do more in the future, 8GB will be helpful, but not necessary. I have a 2014 13" air and I use Office 2011, surf etc, and 4GB is fine.
     
  6. shenan1982, Sep 3, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2014

    shenan1982 macrumors 68040

    shenan1982

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    #6
    Untrue. Every webpage you load goes into RAM. If you like surfing the web and using tabbed browsing, your comment is absolutely false, RAM is an absolute good use of money. We're not taking about a 50% cost increase on the Air, it's a TEN PERCENT increase in cost, for a huge step forward in future-proofing.

    Try loading 2-3 pages containing flash in Safari tabs, and watch as your system performance drops.
     
  7. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #8
    A ram thread? We haven't had one of those in a while have we? :D

    Continue discussion here please: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1756865

    ----------

    Please post an activity monitor screenshot that proofs high memory pressure caused by webbrowsers.

    Oh...you can't? Then stop spreading nonsense!
     
  8. 556fmjoe macrumors 65816

    556fmjoe

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2014
    #9
    You are drastically overestimating how much RAM is actually used for web browsing.

    Here's my RAM usage with 4 Chromium windows open with 10 tabs each. That's 40 tabs and I'm only using about 2 GB (including the entire OS and desktop environment)

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #10
    The price difference for the OP is $200.

    By forum rules you are required to provide proof for your claims.
    I request proof for your claim, that the OP will see a performance differnce with his usage.
     
  10. shenan1982 macrumors 68040

    shenan1982

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    #11
    The OP is comparing an old model BBY has on clearance to the current model. When comparing Apples to Apples (and Apple), it's usually quoted as price differences for the same computer when upgrading a component.

    There's absolutely no such rule that requires anyone to post proof of said claims. Otherwise this would be macfacts.com not macrumors.com ... the point of a rumor site is to talk about non-confirmed information which has no "proof" ... I really hope you're joking when you're citing a policy of having to only post comments that are supported by proof. Because saying that discredits anything else you say. I'll throw it back to you, if "4GB is just fine" ... prove it. You can't prove anything that's not an absolute.

    You: "4GB is just fine" is an OPINION

    Me: "8GB is better than 4GB" is a FACT.


    Get it?
     
  11. 556fmjoe macrumors 65816

    556fmjoe

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2014
    #12
    See here, under "Debate": https://macrumors.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/201327723-MacRumors-Rules-for-Appropriate-Debate

    I have posted a screenshot of 4 instances of Chromium with 40 tabs open and only using 1.9 GB of RAM in total. If you have proof that normal web browsing, note taking, and text editing would benefit from or require 8 GB, post a screenshot.
     
  12. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #13
    https://macrumors.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/201327723-MacRumors-Rules-for-Appropriate-Debate

    "Debate

    Guidelines: Be willing to engage in fact-based, constructive debate. Look for ways to inform and learn from others.

    Rules:
    Sources. If you claim that something's a fact, back it up with a source. If you can't produce evidence when someone asks you to cite your sources, we may remove your posts. If you started the thread, then we may remove or close the thread."
     
  13. shenan1982 macrumors 68040

    shenan1982

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    #14
    I posted links to the system requirements to both Windows and OS X. That's fact based sourcing.

    And you should re-read that statement of policy. The context is if I were to post a thread "Microsoft Buys Apple for $50" ... that's what that article is referring to. Not saying everyone has to back opinions, suggestions, and comments on fact that can be proven. Don't believe me? Escalate the post to a Mod.
     
  14. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #15
    System requirements are in no way proof of real life performance.
    Also: the system requirements are a minimum of 2gb ram. If anything they disprove your point.
     
  15. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2013
    #16
    I have done that. On my 2GB 2010 MBA. It runs fine. So does word processing, light gaming, and watching movies. And it is a 25% increase in cost, not 10%.

    I am not saying 8GB of RAM is for sure a waste of money, but it can be, especially with PCIE flash as a backup for paging. An SSD is in no way volatile memory, but it is still significantly better than an HDD, and I think people are forgetting that. With consumer programs, you won't need more than 4GB for the next few years. Before you bash 4GB of RAM, try it.
     
  16. shenan1982 macrumors 68040

    shenan1982

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    #17
    Seriously? I'm done with this topic. If you seriously are asking me to prove it's NOT advantageous to have 8GB vs 4GB, there's no point in continuing this thread. The OP should go elsewhere for advice, because nobody in their right mind would think there's no advantage to having 8GB over 4GB. Done.

    The OP can get 4GB or 8GB... great for TODAY. You have ZERO ability to know what tomorrow will bring... what app he\she might need tomorrow. I said several times yes, 4GB is acceptable, it's the MINIMUM... but it's not ideal, it's not smart if you're wanting to future proof a bit, and overall it's a great investment, as it always has been. You can whine about wanting photos and videos and screen shots, but you're just looking foolish. To suggest someone buying a computer buy the bare minimum with the idea that they want the computer for a long-term is just bad advice.

    OP - Sorry this got so off topic. The bottom line is if you get 4GB it'll be fine for you today.... hopefully... unless you need to do something that you've not thought of now. You need to be able to predict the future... you can't? Oh, well might as well forget the future and not allow yourself any overhead for possible need for more. I guess you can always upgrade the RAM - - oh wait, no you can't. But hey, go with that 4GB, I'm sure that $100 will break you, and since these two guys going from forum to forum saying they know what you'll need in a year or two know better, go with their advice. Just don't blame me if you go to run windows 9 and it requires 4GB and your minimum becomes 6GB and you listened to these two and went with 4GB. $100 won't sound so bad then when you have to replace the computer if you want to run Windows.
     
  17. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #18
    :D still no proof. :D
     
  18. shenan1982 macrumors 68040

    shenan1982

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    #19
    I have a MBA with 4 and a MBA with 8. I'm quite qualified to give first-hand impressions on the overall performance differences between the two.

    Speaking of qualified, you're saying the OP won't need more than 4GB for the "next few years" ??? Where did you get that? So you think Windows 9 and Windows 10 will still require only 2GB of ram? Good to know. Would love to see your proof, since apparently I'm told nothing can be said here without factual evidence. PS - when can I get a couple Win 10 screen shots? Since you've got proof.
     
  19. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2013
    #20
    You are correct that the above statement is a fact, but you are leaving off something important. What you are really saying is this. "8GB is better than 4GB of RAM, so you should get that one". That is an opinion.When somebody makes a recommendation, that is an opinion, independent of the facts that back up that recommendation.

    8GB of RAM may very will be better than 4GB of RAM, but the question we are addressing is if it is worth an extra $200. Just because 8GB is better doesn't progress the debate any further. We already knew that.

    Edit: Also, the 4GB model is not an old, clearance model. It is the 2014 edition, so we are comparing apples to apples.
     
  20. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #21
    Where does the OP say he is running windows? This is a mac forum. i am soley speaking about mavericks.

    ----------

    8gb is only better than 4gb if you actually need it. Otherwise there is no performance advantage.
     
  21. shenan1982 macrumors 68040

    shenan1982

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    #22
    The sun comes up every morning. Do you need proof?

    If you said he sun doesn't come up every morning, I'd say prove it.

    You keep asking me for proof. My comment is that 8GB is better than 4GB. There's nothing to prove. You're saying it's not. You're basically saying "Prove that $10 is better than $5" ... it's common sense. If you ask me to prove the sun comes up every morning, I'd look at you and say "are you an idiot?" ... just like when someone says that 8GB isn't better, and more future proof than 4GB.

    It's been nice chatting.

    ----------

    This is a Macbook Air forum, not a OS X forum. MANY people run windows.
     
  22. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #23
    I have not asked you to proof that 8gb is "better" than 4gb.
    I have asked you to provide proof for this:
    And various other statements you made. You are not providing proof, instead you are trying to engage in arguments about VMs, and Windows, and 8gb is better than 4gb.
     
  23. 556fmjoe macrumors 65816

    556fmjoe

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2014
    #24
    For the usage stated, we do know what the future will bring and 4 GB will be fine long into it. Text editing is one of the oldest uses of personal computing and still only requires kilobytes of RAM, maybe a few megabytes if you use a heavier text editor.

    If 40 Chromium tabs only uses 2 GB (though it's less than that), it is safe to assume that 80 or so would exhaust 4 GB. Assume conservatively that my estimate is off and that 70 tabs would break the 4 GB barrier. Assuming you browse with 7 tabs open, that means that the average web page would have to consume about 10 times as much RAM as it does now for 4 GB to be a problem.

    How long will it take for the size of an average web page to increase tenfold (if ever)? Longer than that computer will last. It just doesn't require ever increasing amounts of RAM in the orders of magnitude necessary to exhaust 4 GB to serve a web page in normal usage. Same goes for text editing and word processing.

    And finally, none of this accounts for RAM compression on OS X, which can have a great effect on RAM usage. It also doesn't account for fast SSD storage, which greatly speeds up paging to swap files.
     
  24. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2013
    #25
    I don't remember the OP mentioning using Bootcamp/Parallels. Like I said, I have a MBA with 2GB of RAM and a MBA with 4GB of RAM. I also have an iMac with 8GB of RAM. They all run exactly the same for all of my use scenarios. They have for the last 4 years. 2GB of RAM will be fine for maybe another year, so you are right that RAM usage will go up over time. Based on my past experience, 4GB of RAM should be good for another 4-5 years. Just my opinion though based on 4 years of using 2GB of RAM.
     

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