Can the base 13'' w/4GB RAM meet my needs for the next 4 years?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Star Nuts, Sep 4, 2012.

  1. Star Nuts macrumors member

    Jun 24, 2012
    The most intense thing I do is work with Aperture. I'm sure it'll be fine now but what about in 3 more years after the next few OS updates? I know that nobody knows, but I'm sure this has come up with different Macs. Is 8GB a must to "future proof?" I don't want to have to spend an extra few hundred on RAM. If that's the case, I'll just get the Pro and it'll be upgradeable. What do you think?
  2. flyguy206 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 5, 2008
  3. stchman macrumors 6502a

    Jul 16, 2012
    St. Louis, MO
    The upgrade from 4GB to 8GB is $100. That is well worth the cost.

    If you're going to spend $1100, $1200 isn't a huge stretch.
  4. asting macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2012
    4gb base will be fine for your needs.


    It's often $1000+tax vs 1239+tax when you're forced to buy from apple.
  5. Mike in Kansas macrumors 6502a

    Mike in Kansas

    Sep 2, 2008
    Metro Kansas City
    I'd consider the 8GB upgrade if you are running Aperture. Prior to upgrading my iMac from 4GB to 6GB of RAM, it would continuously page out when running Aperture under ML. It seems that 6GB was the magic amount, as I no longer page out. However, my iMac did have a standard 7200 RPM HDD at the time, so page outs were much more noticeable than will be with an SSD. But it's my opinion that the 8GB upgrade is probably one of the more smarter upgrades you can do as 1.) RAM will only get consumed more readily down the road as programs get more RAM hungry, and 2.) you get what you get with the MBA as far as RAM goes. If you ever think you'll need more than 4GB, NOW is the time to do it.
  6. stchman macrumors 6502a

    Jul 16, 2012
    St. Louis, MO
    I just went to and the base 13" MBA (i5/4GB/128GB) is $1138.94, the 8GB RAM upgrade is $131.04 and that increases the price to $1269.98. the base 13" MBA is $1199 and the 8GB version is $1299.
  7. elppa macrumors 68040


    Nov 26, 2003
    One important thing to remember is the graphics chip (intel HD 4000) does not have its own memory - it shares the system memory. So a portion of that 4GB will be used by the graphics.

    Thus I think if you are using a semi pro/pro tool like Aperture then it is very much worth going up to 8GB.

    In 4 years smartphones/tablets will come with 4GB or more. 12/16GB will probably be standard on laptops.

    As it is soldered down, you should get as much as you can now.
  8. fleawannabe macrumors regular

    Dec 16, 2011
    I really could not see why someone would not get the 8GB of RAM on the MBA. You can not do it in the future and it is only 100 dollars for the upgrade, less if you are a student.
  9. Ricanlegend macrumors 6502a

    Apr 21, 2009
  10. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    Some of the lower end models have been cut off from running the latest OS prior to 4 years from their time of release. It's not really a guarantee. Things can break, and requirements do change. If it doesn't run comfortably on the latest OS, run an older version. Most of the time there's no issue with doing this as applications tend to lag behind the latest OS revision. Personally I don't think Mountain Lion is any better than Snow Leopard in terms of usability. My decisions are governed solely by what best suits the applications I wish to run on the computer.
  11. wchp macrumors newbie

    Feb 21, 2012
    i agree but...

    If you have the money, yes, get the RAM. But, remember the MBA has an SSD so swapping out to "drive" is nothing like doing so on a pro with a conventional HD.
    I typically am running Win7 on Fusion with Visio and all my other office apps open on the Mac side and have never had an issue.

    Its not until I light off Photoshop that things start to get a little choppy.

    The 2012 SSD is faster than the 11 with the ivy bridge update.

    Running the 2012 MBA 13 with 4mb/256gb and currently have no regrets. Not saying I wont but I dont see it in the near term (years 1&2) and OWC will have some affordable alternative for me at some point Im sure.
  12. Bluefusion macrumors 6502


    Apr 25, 2003
    New York, NY

    And no, I don't think that system is enough. How big are your raw files? If you're shooting 12mp+, you're going to hate the integrated graphics in a year, and be furious in three years when you buy a new camera. if all you do is jpeg, with maybe 8 mp, and you really don't think you'll ever run up against the 4 gig ceiling, well... good luck!

    I would never buy any machine with less than 6 GB in it, in 2012. I have 8 GB right now... and could probably use more (but my core2duo is the real problem)
  13. efirmage macrumors member

    Apr 13, 2010
    I just got the base 13 with 8gb of RAM. Under normal use I see my free RAM go to around 1gb. I am extremely glad that I got the 8gb and don't have to second guess myself. Also consider that while 4gb may or may not be sufficient for photos now, megapixel counts are still increasing, as will the demands of the software and OS.

    Get the 8gb.
  14. iAppl3Fan macrumors 6502a


    Sep 8, 2011
  15. Ricanlegend macrumors 6502a

    Apr 21, 2009
    It's always better to have more rams then have to little. For people saying 4gb ram is enough I guess all you be doing is Facebook or twitter cause if you have to deal with alot editing of photos and videos the ram will be used to the fullest
  16. Blackberryroid macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2012
    NO. The 13 Inch Pro has insignificant performance increase and the 15 inch is annoyingly expensive and bulky.

    MacBook Air is perfect for Aperture.

    OP, sadly your 4 GB MacBook Air isn't going to last long (And so is the 13 Inch MacBook Pro). It's because of your RAM. 4GB isn't going to cut it. It's too small for a RAM, even in just a year. By then, Airs will have 8 GB of RAM as standard and 16 GB as a $150 option.

    I think that computer will last for at max, 2 years. I wouldn't expect it to go any further than that. You could extend it by adding the 8 GB RAM and it might go all the way to 3.5 years.
  17. Colpeas macrumors 6502


    Sep 30, 2011
    Prague, Czech Rep.
    If you are going to keep your Air for such a long time, 8 gigs are a must-have. And for $100 it a no-brainer. In 4 years from now, every low-end laptop will have it, and this cheap upgrade will save you from having to buy a new computer as the RAM is not user-upgradeable.
    It isn't necessary right now, but in a couple of years, you'll be glad you did go for the upgraded RAM. I have 8GB/128 Air myself, and I don't regret the money.
    Also remember, with 4gigs, the integrated GPU is only 384MB but with 8gigs, HD4000 will be able to operate with 512MB of VRAM.
  18. jmgregory1 macrumors 68000


    Jun 24, 2010
    Chicago and a few other places around the world
    As others have stated, spend the $100 and get the 8gb's of ram. It's not that a 4gb Air will be obsolete in 2, 3 or 4 years, just because it only has 4gb's of ram, but for the cost today it's worth it just in case. It may be true with an OS like Windows, that demand for extra ram will just keep growing, but I don't think Apple thinks the same way with their OS.

    Using history as a guide, I lived with an '07 15" MBP for 2 years with just 2gb's of ram. It's still running now as a backup laptop with 4gb's and I haven't had any issues. Of course it's slow as molasses compared to the Air, but that's not just the ram but the SSD that's driving that difference.
  19. mrtune macrumors 6502a

    Jun 23, 2007
    The Apple store people told me that 4gb would be plenty so I had bought one.

    The next day after setting up an account for myself and for my wife, all it took was leaving us both logged in (fast user switching), leave mail open and safari with a few tabs going, iphoto running, and itunes playing music and we were out of RAM.

    I'm sure I could have logged out of one of the accounts to free up some RAM, but that's not the point. At that moment I knew the 4GB RAM would not be enough to hold us for 4-5 years. I returned it.

    Upgrade the RAM. Do it before your buy because you won't be able to do it later.
  20. atMac macrumors 6502

    Jun 20, 2011
    I agree with most here. Get the 8GB just to be safe. I have used my 4GB for the last year, and plan to keep it at least another year. I expect 4GB to still be enough RAM then but getting to it's limits. I don't plan to buy any future laptops with out at least 6GB of RAM.

    For an example I have open Transmission, Safari(2 tabs), a second Safari windows with Netflix, Reeder, Mail, Textual, and Adium. Currently I am at 2.29GB used.

    Most of this is what I normally have open, sometimes I also have iTunes and Xcode open, I expect that in the future similar work load could be nearing 2.5-3GB of RAM as apps rarely get LESS memory hungry in future versions, not counting the load from future versions of OS X.
  21. alfmil, Sep 9, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2016
  22. ducatiti macrumors 6502a


    May 18, 2011
    I also bought a base Air strictly for web browsing and Aperture. For me it was a $300 swing to get a 8GB ram model since I bought it for $999 at Best Buy. If I went for a BTO, it would be around $1299.
  23. plymman macrumors member

    May 9, 2010
    There's another thread about the Air's capabilities by a graphic designer that I just commented on, read it, it's got some good info.

    In short, it'll be fine for you but if you can get the 8gb upgrade you should do it. I've got a 4gb 2011 i5 and use it for much more demanding tasks. 4gb was the max at the time and even though I don't need it, and haven't had the need for it, I would have got 8gb just to be safe.

    I do photo/video editing, record live music with Logic pro and run Windows 7 VM with parallel. It never struggles, never crashes and is as fast as hell. I really see no need for a MacBook Pro for my needs so you certainly shouldn't for yours.
  24. AzN1337c0d3r macrumors 6502

    Sep 13, 2010
  25. Azorro macrumors newbie

    Feb 13, 2011

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