4Gb vs 8Gb RAM

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by chg911225, Jan 24, 2017.

  1. chg911225 macrumors newbie

    chg911225

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2017
    #1
    Hello, everyone.

    I have MBA mid-2013 i5/4Gb(First Mac machine in my life)model. I have been using this machine for almost 2 years and it has been doing great.

    I had some problems before when system just freezes(had to force power-off, nothing works) or that spinning rainbow keep stays for awhile. Whenever this happened, one thing I knew was that RAM usage is almost 100%. Even when I use safari(less than 5 tabs opened), mail, and itunes, RAM usage is almost above 75~85%.

    I was thinking about purchasing i5/8Gb logic board to upgrade my machine but I'd like to hear from you guys if there are going to be some(doesn't have to be huge) advantages if I upgrade to 8Gb.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Pugly macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2016
    #3
    When I'm just browsing and doing regular computer stuff the memory usage according to CleanMyMac is about 3.5-4GB. So 4GB seems to be good for basic computer stuff.

    When I'm doing music stuff in Logic I do go much beyond the 4GB though, I usually hover around having 1GB left. So it's beneficial to have more if you plan to anything that needs likes more ram, video editing or audio.

    Though swapping to disk memory management should be pretty fast with the ssd though, so it probably isn't noticeable... as Macgyver1's video demonstrates.
     
  3. capathy21 macrumors 65816

    capathy21

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2014
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    #4
    What does the memory pressure look like? As long as it stays in the green, you are good. MacOS uses the ram you have. You can't really go by the usage. Mine sits idle with nothing open and uses almost 3 of the 4gb available.

    As the posted video above, you can do a lot with 4gb of ram on a mac. I can run as many as 10 programs, 10-15 tabs on safari and still have my memory pressure in the green.

    If you are dead set on getting 8gb, sell your machine and purchase an 8gb model. The difference would be less than you'd pay for a logic board, and changing the board is quite a pain from what I've seen.
     
  4. MacStu09 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2009
    #5
    Without a doubt, you will see noticeable improvements. 4gb is hardly sufficient for modern operating systems, it is quickly becoming the bare minimum. For those accustomed to faster web browsing on Chrome as opposed to Safari, you'll quickly find that 4gb isn't enough for even mild use. Chrome + Mac is probably the worst memory management combination ever.

    I remember my MBP 2011 used to freeze constantly and hang/require force quits when ram would max out. MacOS can be fairly terrible at memory management sometimes, and upgrading from 4gb to 16gb was the last time I had to force shut down. The computer was a joy from then on out. Never maxed out the 16gb from general use. I think the highest I hit with just a few programs and chrome was about 12gb. But to sum it up, no modern premium laptop should have 4gb of ram on it. It's understandable for $100-299 laptops, but nothing more than that.
     
  5. capathy21 macrumors 65816

    capathy21

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2014
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    #6
    The reason your 2011 had issues was most likely due to the spinning hard drive. Pcie ssd Macs perform differently. I have a 2013 retina MacBook Pro with 4gb of ram. It handles multiple programs and multiple browser tabs without any signs of slowing down. Memory pressure stays in the green. I used to have a MB Air with 4gb and I'd say it was even better at handling things (probably due to pushing less pixels).

    Either way, 4gb of ram is more than adequate for basic uses. Is 8 better for long term? Sure. But to say that someone "needs" 8 or 16 gigs of ram to surf the web, watch videos and write papers is wildly inaccurate.

    macOS uses the ram that's available. If your machine is saying it's using 12gb's for the stuff you mentioned, it's not really accurate. Memory pressure is what you should look at. No doubt that your machine would perform just as well with 8gb of ram vs 16.

    My normal work load consists of Safari with 5-10 tabs, iTunes for music, mail, iMessage, MS word and Excel, and some basic work in Visual Studio. 4gb of ram handles all of this with ease.
     
  6. leekil macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2009
    #7
    With Sierra and 4GB on a 2011 i7 MBA, it seems to have a lot of memory issues, often freezing while swapping when I have too many Safari tabs open -- like 20, which shouldn't be "too many". If I were getting a new machine I would not want anything less than 8GB.
     
  7. capathy21 macrumors 65816

    capathy21

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2014
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    #8
    I would agree with this if purchasing new. If I'm not mistaken, all MacBooks now come with 8gb of ram minimum. However, if someone with a light usage case finds a good deal on a 4gb model, I'd say go for it. That's what I did for my wife. The 4gb model handles her work with ease.
     
  8. Saturn1217 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2008
    #9
    I have a 2013 MBA with 8gb of ram. I can be pretty heavy multitasker (Safari and Chrome open with LOTs of tabs, Microsoft Office, preview, a text editor, adobe illustrator, occasionally VMs). Prior to memory compression being built into the OS, there were still times when I would run out of ram (poorly optimized scientific software would do this to me). But since memory compression was introduced, I can't recall a time when I've felt memory pressure was an issue. I use my macbook air currently as a desktop hooked up to dual monitors while I teach myself web development. Haven't run into many performance issues except the occasional bug that nails the CPU (but extra ram wouldn't help here).

    I would say go for it if you are comfortable with replacing the logic board.
     
  9. Orka macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2012
    Location:
    Moscow, Russia
    #10
    That video is from 2013. 4gb on ML or Mavericks is not same thing 4gb on el cap or Mac OS Sierra.
     

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