Air 2014 x Pro 2011

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by toloko, Nov 28, 2014.

  1. toloko macrumors newbie

    Nov 28, 2014
    Hi guys,

    Today, I have this machine:
    MBP Pro 15", Late 2011, i7 2.2GHz, SSD Samsung Evo 120gb, 8gb Corsair Vengeance 1600mhz, Radeon HD 6750M & Intel HD 3000 and I replace the super drive for the 500GB HD.

    But I have the opportunity to trade my MBP for this MBA:
    MBA 13", Early 2014, i5 1.4Ghz, 4gb 1600Mhz, 128gb SSDde with Intel HD 5000.

    Things I'm thinking about:
    - my machine is amazing! After the upgrades, become very fast. But, it's HEAVY! I like the MBA because of his portability.
    - today I have more basic usage: internet (now I have 12 tabs), playing some HD vídeo on YouTube, iTunes for music, Office, very rarely I open Illustrator for cut, write something (the Photoshop I did not installed after Mavericks), and a few time ago I used to play Minecraft. Thats all.
    - the MBA space is not a problem (my ssd today have 50gb free)
    - the MBA smaller screen is not a problem (before this MBP 15", I had a MBP 13")
    - the only problem I have in my mind, is about perfomance with 4GB. With this use what I said (internet, excel, maybe playing some music, youtube), I will see the death rainbow??? I know have a lot of topics about memory. But is not only about that. Are very different machines/hadrwares.

    And the last thing: about the values, you think someone has to return something?

    Thanks for your help!

    **Sorry my english, I'm brazilian, not fluent in english.**
  2. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    With this usage I don't think you need more than 4GB.
  3. cycledance Suspended

    Oct 15, 2010
    always the same response from you. no matter what. and an instant upward vote to your post as well.

    to op: don´t go from 8gb to 4gb ram. even 8gb is not much. mavericks and yosemite will make full use of your ram almost all the time. your mbp is more powerful than then mba.
  4. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    Yup. It's always the same response because keep asking if they need 4GB or 8GB to run a set of programs that require relatively little memory.

    As soon as somebody says they're going to be running a VM or editing video or something that might actually be memory intensive, I will recommend they upgrade to 8GB.

    I love your advice that the OP go with 8GB because "even 8gb is not much." That's a super-awesome well-reasoned technical argument. I'm sure you have a PhD in computer science and work for Google, with that kind of insight.
  5. Woochoo, Nov 29, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2014

    Woochoo macrumors 6502

    Oct 12, 2014
    It's just a bit of logic. If they have enough money to get 8GB, get 8GB. Why? RAM is not an unnecesary extra, like it could be an i7 (+10% performance) to an average user. They might change their usage and do some more heavy tasks or using VM's that before they didn't think they would use. Another reason: even not having a fast grow in the HW demanding by the new software, it's more than possible that more RAM will be needed after years are passing by.
    Another: in some years, if they decide to sell it, which computer do you think will sell better in, lets say 2018-20, a 4GB RAM computer or a 8GB one?
    And the final, but also a logic reason: if you spend, let's say, 900-1000$ in a machine, why not spending a little bit more to ensure it will last as long as possible and not become obsolete earlier?

    I don't really understand the logic of people that says: if you are going to use it for A + B + C, then you only need X. You might need to use it for other things the next year, nobody knows, and that's then when you say: damn, I should had picked up more than "the minimum necessary that moment".

    So my opinion: going 8GB is not wasting money, even if you finally don't use them, because you can always resell it at a higher price than a 4GB machine.
  6. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    I understand your argument and it does make a certain amount of sense.

    But, you're making this argument from a very convenient position: it's not your money. You have nothing to lose. If the buyer gets the upgrade and DOES need the extra RAM eventually, then your advice is vindicated. If not, you only find out years after the original purchase and you can just say "better safe than sorry" and walk away with a clear conscience and it makes no financial difference to you.

    So, recommending that people buy any upgrade to anything (be it a Mac, or a car, or a stereo, etc.) is a safe and easy thing to do.

    But does it actually benefit the person buying the thing? The effective cost for upgrading memory in a MBA is more than $100, probably closer to $200, since you can find great deals on base model MBAs but less great deals on ones with upgrades. While $200 isn't as much money as it used to be, it's not insignificant. You could take your SO out to a great restaurant for that amount, or go on a road trip for a couple days, etc., rather than have it spent on tiny chips in your laptop that you don't use and that depreciate every day.
  7. cycledance Suspended

    Oct 15, 2010
    doesn´t mean anything to some here.

    it's the same 3 people all the time, who are very fast at answering to anyone that 4gb is enough, upvoting each other and being aggressive to those who say otherwise. it's a hobby to them. my suspicion is that they are stuck with 4gb in their machines.

    in addition to your arguments i'd like to add that 8gb is especially useful in a macbook air because the vram is shared.
  8. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    If you're curious, you're half right.

    I purchased a base model 2014 11" MBA a few months ago so I am definitely "stuck" with 4GB on that machine. I did this very deliberately because for the past several years I've been using a 2010 MBA with 2GB RAM and that rarely ran out of memory, so 4GB is more than enough for my needs, and if I had gone with 8GB I might as well have just set my money on fire, so I'm not exactly heartbroken that I'm "stuck" with "only" 4GB of RAM.

    My other machine is a 2012 Mac Mini which I bought a couple years ago with 4GB RAM. That machine is not "stuck" at 4GB, I can very easily upgrade it to 8GB for about $50-$60. And that's not a lot of money to me. But since I run into memory pressure so rarely, I simply don't see the point of doing the minimal amount of effort required to upgrade.

    And before you dismiss me as some kind of weird outlier who hardly uses any memory, I do all the same web browsing/mail/Skype/iTunes etc. stuff that everybody else does, along with some light web development, plus iOS app development (XCode is a memory hog BTW), plus some light PhotoShop work, plus some scientific computing.

    So if somebody tells me they use their computer for much less than I use mine and ask if they need 8GB, I'm going to give them a resounding NO. Makes perfect sense to me and I challenge you to give a coherent explanation about why I might be in the wrong here.
  9. Woochoo macrumors 6502

    Oct 12, 2014
    Thats why at the first of my post, I said "If they have enough money to get 8GB, get 8GB". It's obviously my point of view, that if you pay 1K$ or a bit more for a computer, you should be ready to pay a little bit more (and be ready to pay a lot for reparations if it gets damaged). Even in the case you are saving the exact amount of money, I'd save a lil more to get 8GB.

    But using the same argument as yours (in the opposite way), I'd say that I prefer spending a little bit more and regreating not totally using it, than spending a bit less but hating it because now you need it (because you started doing different things that might need more resources, or some stuff like that, you never know). Anyways, like I said, even if you regreat having paid more to something you won't use (which is imposible to know if you'll ever need it sometimes), you can always sell for a higher price and recover a part or the total of the plus you paid.

    But anyways, that's just my point of view based on my expiriences, the OP might still be ok in some years with 4GB, nobody knows.
  10. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    This line of reasoning is a huge pet peeve of mine. I know a lot of people look at the prices of upgrades as relative but money is money. It has a fixed, constant value.

    Consider buying a nice car for $40k and the salesman is trying to sell you adaptive cruise control as a $2k upgrade. His argument is invariably "hey, you're already spending $40k, might as well spend a small percentage extra."

    NO. That isn't how money works. So many people buy stupid upgrades for their cars that cost THOUSANDS of dollars just because the relative price is small. But they could take those thousands and buy terrific things that would be much more useful. (Or just save it.) Which do you want more, your car to slow down on the highway automatically sometimes, or do you want a brand new iPhone AND a brand new MacBook AND still have some money left over? I mean, that's the decision you're really making.

    I hate this type of reasoning with cars and I hate this type of reasoning with computers.
  11. Woochoo macrumors 6502

    Oct 12, 2014
    Yes, but the main difference as I stated before, is that 8GB ram is not a stupid unnecessary upgrade, is something more than reasonable to get because of the reasons I stated before. RAM is not like "getting leather sits in a 40k car" so don't use that kind of examples because they are not on the same league.

    You focus just on little statement (which I let clear that was my personal opinion) to throw to the trash all those arguments stated in my first post, which aren't based on mere opinions but on logic, just to justify your point of view.

    And hey, why do you take it so seriously? It's not your money, it's his money as you said. Why wouldn't he spend it as he wills even if it's spent on "stupid unnecesary things"? It's the OP that decides, we are just giving him/her our advises and opinions to help him decide. And no, take for sure that he won't decide based on my personal opinion, but on the logic arguments, so you shouldn't get on that mood.

    BTW, not gonna reply anymore following this argue, as I think it wouldn't contritube to anything from the point of view of the OP (this is what we came here for, to help the OP, not to argue like kids).
  12. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    The OP came to this forum and asked something very specific, namely, will 4GB be enough for his workload.

    I did my best to answer his question based on what I know about computers, Macs, and my personal experience. Namely, I have a workload that's much more demanding than his, I have 4GB of RAM, and I never run into problems.

    Seems like question answered, problem solved, case closed, right? But no, here comes the usual "upgrade brigade" complaining about me and my response and repeating the usual tripe about "4GB isn't so much" and "Yosemite uses a lot of RAM" and "you never know what you might need later" and "it's not upgradeable so get as much as you can" and blah blah blah.

    So that's why I'm getting upset and taking it personally. You guys are never arguing from a technical standpoint, never taking the user's needs into account, are never worried about the user potentially wasting his money, and I'm not sure you guys even know how well 4GB Macs run and what software they can run comfortably (hint: a lot). I wonder if some of you make commission every time somebody buys an 8GB MBA. (Sarcasm, but I hope you take my point.)
  13. joshlalonde macrumors 6502


    Jul 12, 2014
    Sigh another RAM thread, another argument.

    There is more to a computer than frikken RAM! Stick with the Air, the Pro is 3 years old. That's common sense. If you buy out-dated technology, you're going to have to replace it sooner down the road.

    But first of all, let's talk about RAM for all of you who seem to preach 8GB RAM as gospel.

    RAM, Random Access Memory, is a form of temporary computer storage. The data in RAM is erased on power-down, however, so RAM is not a viable long-term storage.

    Pretty obvious, right?

    Let's talk about what RAM is good for, and why we use it. Without getting into ALL the details, let's talk about the CPU (the Central Processing Unit).
    The CPU is the most important device on a computer, which is responsible for accepting input, processing, and displaying output.

    Well, the CPU can only perform ONE instruction at ANY given time. With the exception of multi-core CPUs. Anyways, so the CPU has special memory slots called registers. These registers are used for calculations, detecting conditions (FLAGS register on x86), and also hold the memory location of the current instruction being run. However, the amount of these registers is limited, and mostly, especially on the x86, they're not 'General Purpose' despite being named so. In addition, a process (set of instructions) might need to use values from registers.

    So, next, we use RAM. RAM is fast to access (MUCH MUCH faster than disk access). The reason we need RAM, among other reasons, is for a process called threading. Because CPUs can only run one instruction, we need to break up a task into multiple threads to allow for other operations to happen in between threads. When we are running a different thread, we'll have to 'Push and Pop' values of registers. Because as soon as one thread stops, the other has to resume where it left off. So, instructions get dumped into memory.

    It's not just registers, but even full programs are loaded into memory. It'll take too long to have to read the disk every time we want instructions from stored programs, so it has to be loaded into memory.

    The first one, however, is the most generally noticed. That's why you need more RAM for lots of concurrent operations.

    Okay... so great. You know how and why we need RAM. And?

    Well, I hope you appreciate what this means. It means that more programs = more RAM. It means that some software will require more RAM than others if it has more to do.

    That means, running a VM or doing photoshop work will require more RAM. Just how much RAM? Well, for reference, I run VMs on my 4GB RAM Air allotting 2GB.

    You're running a browser, word processor, etc. That doesn't require much RAM. Each tab is generally 10-500MB RAM.

    For reference, 8 bits are a byte, 1024 bytes is a KB. 1024 KB is 1 MB. 1024 MB is a GB.

    However, don't forget about compressed RAM. The same 500MB tab only uses 40MB of compressed RAM. For reference, it's also running 16 threads.

    More threads generally means more RAM.

    If anything I said was wrong, let me know but I don't think it is.
  14. 556fmjoe macrumors 65816


    Apr 19, 2014
    Internet browsing, Excel, listening to music, and Youtube will never require 8 GB or anything close to it.

    Since both machines are far more powerful than necessary, I'd get the Air, unless you need or want the optical drive, ethernet, or replaceable battery in the MBP. That MBP could eventually suffer from the GPU failures common in those models. Not only does the Air eliminate this risk, it will be lighter and will have better battery life too.
  15. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    Yes, it would be practically useful to make a list of things that require so little RAM that it's pointless to ask about them:

    - Web browsing (including YouTube)
    - iTunes
    - Office stuff like word processing, spreadsheets, presentations
    - Mail, Skype, other communications programs like this

    You can do this stuff all you want and it will run comfortably in 2GB, much less 4GB. Might as well not even mention them.

    Here's where it starts to get tricky:

    - Photoshop (4GB is almost always fine but if you're a professional photographer doing a lot of work on HUGE photos, you might need 8GB)
    - Video editing (depends on the size of your projects; many people are happy with 4GB but I'm sure others need 8GB)
    - VMs (basically divides your memory in half... might be nice to have 4GB for OS X and for Windows. I'd recommend 8GB unless you have very light workloads in both.)
    - Development -- XCode is a memory hog but 4GB is still fine unless you are working with projects with huge assets

    I don't have much experience with other stuff but what I've said so far seems like it should cover about 98% of the posts about this.

Share This Page