Amazon... only 4GB RAM?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by HeyHeyHeyy, Apr 30, 2014.

  1. HeyHeyHeyy macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2014
    #1
    I would like to get the Air off Amazon (no sales tax) but what is up with only 4GB of RAM? Why doesn't Apple send configuration options to third party vendors? Can 4GB even handle OS X?
     
  2. Dweez macrumors 65816

    Dweez

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2011
    Location:
    Down by the river
    #3
    4 gig is sufficient for (IMNSHO) majority of MBA users out there. Even if the system starts swapping, I/O to internal storage is pretty fast and (again IMNSHO) won't impact performance to the point of being noticeable.

    At least for the use cases which have been presented in this forum.
     
  3. HeyHeyHeyy thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2014
    #4
    Well I'm a Windows user getting ready to move over, but from reading around it seems like Mavericks is RAM heavy. Is there any truth to this? That's my only main concern. I would be using this computer for web development (coding), and general purpose (no Photoshop and other high end programs).
     
  4. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020

    MartinAppleGuy

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2013
    #5
    Mavericks is the opposite. Here is a little post I wrote up a while ago:

    "When having iMovie open with a large video, and Chrome with a 5-10 tabs, I am using 6Gb of my 8Gb of RAM. The system can then use another 2Gb before it hits the total, where is will start to clear App Cache, then another 2-3Gb (App Cache) before it starts compressing RAM, then another 4-6Gb before touching Swap (ie- ran out of RAM). So in this circumstance, using 6Gb of RAM is using 31.5% before I run out of RAM.

    If your RAM pressure is red and you are a Swap/Page-out larger than a few Kb then your Macbook has ran out of RAM. If it is green, and you still have a lot of cache left, you are using a tiny amount.

    With RAM compression, I had all of my applications open, iMovie doing some exporting, and 100 tabs split between Chrome and Safari (around 50/50 each) and I was using 15.14Gb of RAM with my 8Gb of RAM iMac . And it still never touched swap. And my RAM compression was green. This is due to the heavy caching OSX does (to make apps launch instantly, rather than fetching data from backing storage which is a much slower process) as well as RAM compression. RAM compression uses the WKdm compression algorithm allowing data held in RAM to be compressed and decompressed almost instantly meaning you can have a lot more running before you run out of RAM. As said above, I use using 15.15Gb of RAM (and my iMac has 8Gb). What this means, is that the data within RAM consisted of 15.14Gb (with some being compressed to make it fit on the 2X4Gb modules, but then instantly decompressed when needed).

    Another thing to note, is that when I was using this much, my iMac was still very responsive (90% as responsive when compared to not pushing it). RAM pressure was also green, meaning I could push around 17Gb of RAM on my 8Gb system.

    I hope this has helped you understand how RAM works in Mavericks. When you see "Memory Used: 7.xx", don't just think you are using all of it. Look at App Cache then add that number on to your total RAM (i.e 7.xx out of 10/11Gb of RAM used, rather than 7.xx out of 8Gb used), then look at Compressed RAM and if 0 add 6Gb again on to your total. In the end, you are using 7Gb out of 17Gb. Also look at RAM pressure: green indicated you have loads of free RAM, amber indicated you are pushing the system RAM but there is still RAM free, and red indicated you have ran out of RAM and data has to be swapped to disk."

    Basically, Mavericks uses a lot of RAM as file cache, but this heavy caching gets cleared instantly when needed. Mavericks also allows for 6Gb of data to run on a 4Gb machine due to compression techniques.
     
  5. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
    #6
    No Sales Tax? Amazon charges me Sales Tax:eek:

    But if you want more RAM and No Sales Tax - Buy from these folks:

    http://www.expercom.com/browse_by_category.html?CATEGORY_ID=311

    Very Easy to Work with.

    Lou
     
  6. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #7
    Early ram-thread season this year. Ram threads poping up here and there, and everywhere.

    Maybe its due to FSEO (forum-search-engine-oblivion).
     
  7. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020

    MartinAppleGuy

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2013
    #8
    I have created a thread on how much RAM is right for you. See what you score here to see if you would benefit from more RAM: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1730485
     
  8. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2013
    #9
    Hi HeyHeyHeyy,

    Even 2GB is plenty for most consumer tasks. The hype around RAM is outdated. With the advent of SSDs, paging onto the hard drive has little to no effect. You sound extremely skeptical. My 2010 MBA with 2GB of RAM is capable of light gaming(League of Legends, Portal 2), streaming, web browsing, and writing. Unless you can think of a task you do daily that would benefit from a huge amount of RAM, you do not need more than 4GB.

    Matt
     
  9. HeyHeyHeyy, May 1, 2014
    Last edited: May 1, 2014

    HeyHeyHeyy thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2014
    #10
    As an update. It looks like B&H has all the Macbook Airs customized by RAM and SSD. This is the first time I've seen a 3rd party vendor offer this.

    EDIT:

    So if you are maxed out on RAM with all your applications, you wont notice a difference (with an SSD paging basically instantly)?
     
  10. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2013
    #11
    For the average consumer, yes. The SSD is quick enough for momentary paging. I'm sure if your RAM is constantly capped, the SSD will not be able to sustain it, but it can compensate for a spike in tasks without creating a backlog, which happens to typical HDD systems. I personally do not have a MBA with PCIE flash, so they may be able to handle it even better.
     
  11. Meister, May 1, 2014
    Last edited: May 1, 2014

    Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #12
    paging does not always compensate for ram. Ram is higher in the memory hierachy. Its worlds apart in regards to speed. Nevertheless todays pcie ssd in the new macbooks is very fast and when it compensates for lack of ram under mavericks the speed difference is often neglectable.

    How much ram you need and if you could see a difference depends entirely on what you use your computer for.
    There is no yes or no answer.

    From my experience at least 99% of all average computer users will not see any difference with a machine with 4gb or even 2gb of ram in the foreseeable future.

    A lot of people on this forum do things that are not costum to the average computer user, like running several VMs, using macbooks as servers, mass-editing raw-files, and so on. In these cases more ram can be considered or is simply necessary.

    If you use the search function you will find that this topic is regulary discussed at nauseum.
    Also in the online apple store you are given instructions on how much ram to order when you configure your purchase.
    Keep in mind that apple wants you to order ram because their ram is overpriced so they will advise you quick to get more.
     
  12. HeyHeyHeyy thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2014
    #13
    I would be doing none of that. I would basically have Eclipse open (which is a memory hog itself), a server running for development purposes (such as Tomcat), browser, mail, and maybe a couple other things open periodically.

    It seems like most people on this forum advocate 8GB as the minimum... but they are also doing crazy video/photo editing (which I agree with you on).
     
  13. Meister, May 1, 2014
    Last edited: May 2, 2014

    Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #14
    I don't know Eclipse and I have no experiences with running Tomcat. Noone needs more than 1gb for normal web browsing and emails. I used a system with 256mb for these kinda things and still do from time to time. I also edit videos with my mac mini with 4gb of ram and an hdd! I could upgrade but its not necessary. I can easily max out 4gb, 8gb or much more ram if i put my mind to it, but if you close apps after you are done and watch what you are doing then everything is always smooth.
     
  14. skaertus macrumors 68030

    skaertus

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Location:
    Brazil
    #15
    4 GB is enough for most users. However, it may not be in a few years. So, if you want a future-proof computer, you are better off with 8 or even 16 GB.

    If you want to run Windows under Parallels, then it's better to get 8 GB. Running two operating systems consumes a lot of RAM.
     
  15. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #16
    Someone had to bring up the "future-proof" argument I guess.
    Lets all buy waterpumps! We may get pool in a few years. :rolleyes:
     
  16. skaertus macrumors 68030

    skaertus

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Location:
    Brazil
    #17
    Future-proof for some time is important. Do you want to spend money in a laptop that will become slow and sluggish within one year?
     
  17. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #18
    Why would your macbook become slow and sluggish within one year?
     
  18. Hammie macrumors 65816

    Hammie

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2009
    Location:
    Wash, DC Metro
    #19
    I thought the same exact thing. :confused:

    My wife has the Mid 2012 MBA with 4GB RAM and she has not noticed any performance degradation with her laptop. As a matter of fact, she loves it more each day. :p

    The only issue that she has ever had was with the wi-fi card. It went bad, but was replaced in a day by a local authorized apple service center two blocks from our house.
     
  19. joeblow7777 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2010
    #20
    In my experience, most users think they need higher specs (more RAM, faster processors) than they actually do. Most people aren't really doing anything more demanding with their computers now than they were 5 years ago. I seldom see a non-power user or non-gamer push 4 GB of RAM to its limit, let alone 8 or 16 GB.
     
  20. skaertus macrumors 68030

    skaertus

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Location:
    Brazil
    #21
    I don't think it will. Not in one year.

    But I want to see what Apple will bring with OS X 10.10. A revamped interface may mean a slower and more sluggish operating system, consuming more memory. Let's see.
     
  21. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #22
    :confused: you mentioned one year in your last post.

    Apple has decreased their minimum ram specs for the current rmbp line to 4gb!

    The minimum requirement for mavericks is 2gb. 4gb is double that.
    I think the minimum requirements will stay the same because the cell, tablet, laptop and desktop markets are all sorta merging. Also the trend has become to utilize ram better instead of requiring more and more.
     
  22. nexusrule macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2012
    #23
    I think many people here bring complex theories about RAM only to justify the ridicolous tiny amount Apple still put in their machines. That said, the upgrade from 4 to 8GB is not so expensive, go with it. For no other reason that if you don't get more GB now you will never get it, you can't add RAM to a MacBook Air after the purchase.
     
  23. PDFierro macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    #24
    Because Amazon only has the base models for sale. Most resellers only do that. You want a customized configuration, you're gonna have to order through Apple. Pony up for the sales tax.
     
  24. skaertus macrumors 68030

    skaertus

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Location:
    Brazil
    #25
    It was just a hyperbolic example. Do not take it took seriously.

    Indeed.

    However, Apple also dropped the price of the low-end model.

    I am not so sure of that. These markets are not exactly merging. Some products are merging, but I could not say the same thing about the market itself.

    As for RAM use, it will depend on how efficiently Apple does the new revamped interface. iOS 7 is much slower than iOS 6 was, and I hope a similar thing does not happen with OS X 10.10.
     

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