8GB necessary if only 50MB of pageouts for whole day? (MBA 2013 11")

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by killblues, Sep 15, 2013.

  1. killblues macrumors newbie

    Sep 15, 2013
    Hey guys,

    Apologies since I know this has been brought up a lot, but thought I have enough of a twist on it to ask. Hope you don't mind.

    Basically -- bought an 11" 2013 MBA two days ago, i5/256/4gb. I've been battling whether or not to get the 8GB because of the following factors:

    - This is my first upgrade since the mid-2009 MBP, 13". I intend to have this last until three years from now (essentially when I finish school). Speaking of which:
    - I'm using it mostly for school -- e.g. PDFs, email, lots of word processing and Evernote.

    I've been over and through these threads re 4gb vs 8gb RAM, and thoroughly understand future-proofing (did it myself for my MBP--upgraded it from 2gb to 4gb after market) but thought I'd check for myself. I bought this unit to try it out and so far, honestly, I was wondering if you guys thought it was necessary given my usage.

    I tried it out today -- restarted my laptop to reset pageout count in the Activity Monitor. Used the MBA through the day as I would (wifi browsing, reading, typing up a paper, book notes) and after a full day's work I only have 51.6 MB of pageouts.

    So question -- for someone like me (little to no gaming, little to no use for Parallels; probably consistent laptop usage over time while I'm in school), do you think this means I should still return the MBA? (My original idea was to play with this and if it slows down, return it while ordering the BTO online). It's not too big a deal -- and cost, for me, is negligible since I'm spreading that cost over 3 years -- but would rather not go through the hassle if unnecessary.

    Thanks in advance!

    PS -- for those of you wondering, this little guy's lasted me about 10 hours of work so far. I started timing my battery/pageout usage at 12:15PM today; 10:44PM now. I'm still at 30%, 2:55 battery remaining.

    TL,DR: 2-day old MBA 11" i5/4gb/256. Went through daily routine, and pageouts are only at 56MB for the day. Necessary to return/upgrade to 8GB still, if I want to keep this for 3-4 years?
  2. powerslave12r macrumors 6502a

    Sep 19, 2010
    I wonder how upgrading to Mavericks (and subsequent) operating systems will affect RAM usage. Anyone with concrete numbers wanna weigh in?

    That said, it all depends on what courses you're going to take over the course of the next 3 years. I would get the 8 either way. (And I did.)
  3. ItHurtsWhenIP macrumors 6502

    Aug 20, 2013
    I don't know what pageouts are...I probably use mine about as hard as you do yours, I still went 8GB because it was in my budget.

    I wanted the best I could afford and got exactly that. I don't regret it one bit. Get what you can, adapt if you run into issues.
  4. powerslave12r macrumors 6502a

    Sep 19, 2010
    Simply put, you have run out of RAM, and your OS decided to 'Swap' out some inactive 'Pages' to the storage to make room for active programs instead. This is unfavorable as HDD's are not as fast as RAM. You want no/minimal page outs.
  5. ItHurtsWhenIP macrumors 6502

    Aug 20, 2013
    Gotcha. Mine shows 0, but I've never checked it before so I'll check again in a day or two or before my next reboot..it's not like I can add any more, but I'll still check it out for the heck of it.

    So, him having 50MB of page outs means he needed more RAM than what was available? Even if it's WAY less than an additional 4GB?
  6. powerslave12r macrumors 6502a

    Sep 19, 2010
    0 Pageouts are good. That's what I have as well. With normal usage, given today's applications, it would be kinda hard to get pageouts with 8GB RAM. It's possible, but not as likely. (Purely depending on usage of course)

    Yep. It means he went over 4GB and so the OS wrote 50MB to the SSD to make room for some active program. (It's not so straightforward, but basically this is what happened.)

    Also, no, an SSD is MUCH MUCH slower than RAM, so that won't work. :)
  7. ItHurtsWhenIP macrumors 6502

    Aug 20, 2013
    Must be a communication mixup on that last part..I don't think I mentioned SSD, but if I did it was unintentional.

    Bottom line, is his 50MB (which could end up being more if he starts using the computer even more than he does now) something worth upgrading to 8gb of RAM for? Might as well get him the answers he's looking for, as I believe both of us have already decided on 8gb.
  8. richfromroch macrumors newbie

    Feb 14, 2011
    Rochester, NY
    I only yesterday ordered a 13-inch MBA with 8GB of memory. Why? Because an Apple tech said it would be a good idea, especially if you plan to keep it more than two years. The upgrade and delivery takes about 10 days so you need patience. I suspect most folks try to talk themselves into four gig because they want to walk out of the store with an MBA in the bag. I left empty-handed but I feel more at ease knowing 8 gig will be on board when it arrives.
    Rochester, NY
  9. powerslave12r macrumors 6502a

    Sep 19, 2010
    Sorry, you did not say SSD, I was just acting smart by assuming you may ask about an SSD not being all that slow in case of Pageouts and gave that answer.

    Yup, within 3 years, all apps are more or less going to take up slightly more (if not a lot more) memory, perhaps including osx processes itself, so assuming he does not increase his usage of number of apps (doubtful), with the same set of apps, he is still likely to encounter lots of pageouts later.

    8GB sounds like a good thing to invest in for OP's case.

    Good call!
  10. ItHurtsWhenIP macrumors 6502

    Aug 20, 2013
    Haha, I don't know nearly enough to argue that...this is the first computer I've owned with an SSD.

    Sounds like I agree...yes to 8GB for the OP.
  11. powerslave12r, Sep 15, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2013

    powerslave12r macrumors 6502a

    Sep 19, 2010
    Indeed, can't go wrong with 8 GB at all. Moreover, think about the number of people who would be willing to buy your computer with 4 GB three years down the line? (If you decided to sell it.) That's like buying an MBA with 2GB today, would you do it? ;)

    OP: Check this out, although I still recommend 8Gigs.


    For anyone interested in more about this:

  12. killblues thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 15, 2013
    Hey guys, thanks a lot for the responses!

    I think you're right, I should just go for it. I'm going to have this guy for 3 years minimum so a couple more days of wait shouldn't be a big deal. (Plus, $90 over three years is $30/yr, $3/month...totally worth it for peace of mind).

    Now the harder question is whether I switch up to a 13" when I do the BTO lol. I honestly went into the store thinking I would pick that up but left with this one instead. And so far, not regretting it one bit...(honestly, to those who think it's too small -- that's what pinch to zoom out is for! Heh)
  13. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Aug 27, 2012
    That's what I say.

    You want a blessing but I don't give them, is gonna be the usual Up To Your Preference.

    Just note the Air's 13" footprint is larger than a Pro 13"
  14. halledise macrumors 65816

    May 7, 2009
    Hamilton Island, Whitsundays, QLD Australia
    what you've got is more than enough for your stated present usage and will be for the next few years :)
    I'd stick with it if I were you
  15. killblues thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 15, 2013
    Argh, and just when I was so set! ;)...

    To be honest, still thinking about it. Definitely leaning towards the return, but it's still up in the air (so to speak).

    I know this probably belongs to another thread but a couple of thoughts/impressions:

    - Still pleasantly surprised by the battery, despite it being the 11" (which really was my biggest concern). Consistently getting roughly 10 hours of work on it. And pleasantly shocked by how fast it charges up. (I didn't expect that!)

    - The portability is beginning to change my usage patterns. I'm beginning to use it as an ultra-iPad, rather than a shrunken MBP...I don't know if it's the weight, or the size, or something else, but altogether I'm finding myself carrying it around/using it in situations I wouldn't otherwise have used my 13" MBP, but would've used my iPad, for. (E.g., walking around the library looking for the right book with the catalog info on my screen).

    - Magic Trackpad. Can't stress it enough. I'm getting used to the slightly smaller keyboard (in terms of the wrist area), but the trackpad was a little too small for my taste, especially for extended use. Magic Trackpad was a bit of an investment, but with BetterTouchTool it seriously changes everything.

    Overall, while still undecided on the 8gb...definitely leaning more on keeping this than going back to a 13"! (Can't emphasize enough how the Magic Trackpad has changed my usage of it, especially since zooming in/out, plus full screen, seems to be the key...I wouldn't be surprised if my productivity is actually increased by having to single-task!)
  16. cyclotron451, Sep 17, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2013

    cyclotron451 macrumors regular


    Mar 16, 2005
    Well I'm also happily using a 2GB MBA on Mavericks

    Well I'm also happily using a 2GB MBA on Mavericks but I haven't checked the page outs, I'll have a look for the hard data. As ever, more RAM is better, if you can afford it!

    slightly off topic - a colleague just mentioned that his university bought a PC with a terabyte of RAM...
  17. AXs macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2009
    Mavericks is designed to use even less RAM via memory compression.

    That's why 2GB is enough to run Mavericks. 4GB is plenty. Whoever said "more and more RAM is needed in the future" is wrong, or have no idea what they are talking about.

    it's all about efficiency now, and that's why Apple put 4GB in their Air as default. It's enough to run anything thrown at us by apple due to newer software using LESS resources, and not more as is common internet myth.

    But of course... the more RAM the better.... But that being said, 4GB is plenty for OS X Mavericks.

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