4GB vs 8GB ram

Jensen G

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 29, 2009
41
0
I'm gonna be purchasing a new Macbook Air, and am trying to decide whether to get the 8GB ram upgrade. This would normally be a no-brainer if I were getting a laptop with a non-SSD hard drive, but because the Air has SSD, I am wondering if the performance improvements of the SSD would mean that paging won't be nearly as detrimental to performance with the Air.

Are there any folks here with the 2011 version of the Air who have experience on what memory paging is like on the Air/SSD vs a Mac with a regular platter-based HD?
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
65,906
32,238
Boston
Go with 8 since you cannot upgrade after the fact. Sooner or later you'll need more ram.
 

cnixon

macrumors member
Nov 17, 2010
52
0
May be stupid but...

Will 8gb of RAM negatively effect battery life compared to 4gb?
 

robdrj45

macrumors member
Jun 11, 2012
63
0
USA
Will 128G Airs with 8G of RAM be available at the Apple retail stores or do you have to order one online? TIA
 

AlanShutko

macrumors 6502a
Jun 2, 2008
707
73
Paging on an SSD is a lot better than paging on a rotational drive. If you only dip a little bit into swap, you could probably stick with 4GB RAM for a while. However, by the time you get to as much in swap as you have RAM, things can slow down a lot, especially if you're doing a lot of other disk activity (time machine backups, syncing home dirs, etc). When I've got swap, time machine, and portable home directories all hitting the disk at the same time, my MBA slows to a crawl.

But remember, your RAM needs will increase over time. Newer versions of your OS or applications will likely need more RAM. I know I didn't need as much memory with Snow Leopard and Adobe CS5 as I do with Lion and CS6.
 

Paul**

macrumors newbie
Jun 9, 2012
13
0
Will 128G Airs with 8G of RAM be available at the Apple retail stores or do you have to order one online? TIA
I logged on to ask the same question! I'm presuming you have to order online but am hoping otherwise.
 

kwijbo

macrumors regular
Jan 28, 2012
199
1
Will 8gb of RAM negatively effect battery life compared to 4gb?
Tough to say conclusively. While they are using DDR3L now, which is lower voltage, it remains to be seen if the new Air has more NAND modules or higher capacity modules. And if they're higher capacity, are they more or less power efficient than the current ones?

All else equal, I'd guess the difference between 4gb and 8gb RAM would be negligible.
 

jackiepie

macrumors newbie
May 14, 2008
14
0
I have a 2011-mid Macbook air 13. 2GB gone when I turn on it. And then I open safari and open a few tab, only left, like 300MB. So, if I were you, 8GB is a must.
 

robdrj45

macrumors member
Jun 11, 2012
63
0
USA
Given how much it costs and its potential long-term benefit, an 8 GB upgrade is really one simple decision.
I agree. Actually, it probably should have just been standard. If it was a $200 upgrade, I could see keeping it an option, but for $100 it's a no brainer. As you said, just for the long term benefit alone. Plus, one less configuration would make for easier retail store shopping.
 
Last edited:

pasourw

macrumors newbie
Jun 15, 2012
1
0
Better order online

Will 128G Airs with 8G of RAM be available at the Apple retail stores or do you have to order one online? TIA
The only option at the Apple Retail Stores will be the base models themselves. For a MacBook Pro or iMac, you can have the RAM upgraded at the store itself. They won't have a computer with 8GB installed already, one of the Geniuses will take care of it. With the MacBook Air, the RAM is connected with the logic board so it can't be changed later.

The good news is, you can have the computer shipped to your house or shipped to the Apple Store of your choice for Personal Pickup.
 

palpatine

macrumors 68040
May 3, 2011
3,130
45
I agree. Actually, it probably should have just been standard. If it was a $200 upgrade, I could see keeping it an option, but for $100 it's a no brainer. As you said, just for the long term benefit alone. Plus, one less configuration would make for easier retail store shopping.
100 dollars is 10% of the price (base MBA). If you plan to sell it again in 11 months, you will be better off keeping closer to the base model price in order to minimize your losses. People tend not to pay as much extra for upgrades as you put into it. And, if you are mainly using the Internet, email, Pages, etc., then the 8GB will not give you much back. I'll probably be able to sell mine at a 10%-20% loss. I've been doing this for the last few years, and it has worked pretty well.
 

dona83

macrumors 6502
Nov 26, 2004
317
47
Kelowna, BC

solsen

macrumors newbie
Jun 21, 2012
2
2
Providence, RI
Have to buy from Best Buy too...

...due to financing options. I'm student and best buy has a new way of dealing with apple's education pricing this month as a promotion. If you go to bestbuy.com/studentdeals enter any .edu email address and they will email you a one-time use only code that will give you $100 off the price of any MacBook Pro or Air. In the case of the air, this is a better deal than Apple offers for students ($50 off) although apple also gives a $100 app store card, which best buy wouldnt match.

Anyway, I bought the 11inch MBA w/128GB and 4GB RAM for $999.

It pains me to think I will suffer in 6 months like I used to years ago when I didn't buy enough RAM. I'm replacing an early 2011 15" MBP 2.0 ghz quad core i7 w/ 500 hdd and 8gb ram. Mainly, I'm a writer. But occasionally I do edit a 10 minute film in final cut pro or compose music with logic and ugh... Not looking forward to the slow crawl.

However, I really like what reviewers are saying about the quality of life- user experience of the 11" MBA. I read, critique, and write all the time and need to make it to classes in different buildings. The 15 MBP with an optical drive is too big, oxy, fragile, and kind of embarrassing set up next to the guy who just prints out his PDFs and uses real books.

Sorry for rambling - what I'm saying is that since I have to buy from best buy, I have decided to replace m powerful machine with this newer tiny machine for $999 because I think it's a good deal and will make my student experience better despite only 4gb of ram and losing 372 Gb of hd space. But I am also a bit scared.

However, I also have a new iPad, which makes me wonder if I shouldn't just return the Air, which I haven't even opened yet. Was planning to sell the MBP on eBay while I can still get some real cash for it - also has two years left of transferrable AppleCare.
 

chanyitian

macrumors regular
Jun 3, 2012
115
0
I'm gonna be purchasing a new Macbook Air, and am trying to decide whether to get the 8GB ram upgrade. This would normally be a no-brainer if I were getting a laptop with a non-SSD hard drive, but because the Air has SSD, I am wondering if the performance improvements of the SSD would mean that paging won't be nearly as detrimental to performance with the Air.

Are there any folks here with the 2011 version of the Air who have experience on what memory paging is like on the Air/SSD vs a Mac with a regular platter-based HD?
I am not sure if 4GB will be enough. I asked a similar question on this forum too: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=15087189#post15087189 Good luck! (I went with the 8GB ram with no CPU upgrade, purchased the macbook air today:)
 

mattpreston11

macrumors 6502a
Nov 9, 2007
731
0
Got 4GB in my 2012 and its been fine so far.

Most stressful thing I've done is play Portal 2, Played flawlessly.
 
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