Could the new MBA be more expensive than rMBP??

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by houssein31, Feb 9, 2015.

  1. houssein31 macrumors regular

    Jul 16, 2013
    I starting to put money aside for the new Macbook Air. Im trying to figure out how much I need to put aside. At first, I thought the price of the new Macbook Air (with or without a retina display) would remain the same as the current MBAs. But someone pointed out to me yesterday that Apple will probably price it more expensive and also keep the current gen. And it makes sense they did the same when the rMBPs came out.

    But at the same time, could they make this new retina macbook Air more expensive than the retina macbook pro??? Because at that point, ill just get a macbook pro..
  2. Keniutek macrumors 6502


    Oct 6, 2011
  3. Nee412 macrumors 6502

    Jun 25, 2010
    Sunny England!
    Not if they want to sell it.

    If the rumors are correct it would be less power with a smaller screen. Sure it would be a lot thinner and more portable, but if they priced it above the rMBP people would just choose the standard MBA instead.
  4. gpat macrumors 6502a

    Mar 1, 2011
    It's gonna be $999 for a 4GB/128GB/5Y10. The panel won't be much more expensive than an iPad one. The CPU won't be too expensive. And the mainboard is going to have a much simpler design because of no fan and ports.
    $999 is actually not cheap for those specs but they won't never go lower on a new and much hyped product.
  5. nutmac macrumors 601

    Mar 30, 2004
    Unless 12" MBA moves to ARM processor, which I don't think will happen (at least not yet), I doubt it will start with 4GB RAM. 13" rMBP has integrated graphics and GPU borrows memory from RAM.

    My guess is 8GB/128GB for entry level 12" MBA, at a starting price of $1099 (same as equivalent 13" MBA) or $1199 ($100 less than 13" rMBP). Hopefully $999 though.
  6. dyt1983, Feb 10, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2015

    dyt1983 macrumors 65816

    May 6, 2014
    edit: To remove personally identifying info not relevant to the conversation.
  7. gpat macrumors 6502a

    Mar 1, 2011

    WTF? Macs have been using integrated graphics for years, down to GMA950 with 512MB of system RAM.
    2012 11" MBA had 2GB of RAM and had to share with the graphics card as well. 2013 rMBP 13" base model had 4GB RAM, and had to power the Iris graphics for 1600p.

    It's going to be an entry level computer, a really nice one but still an entry level. It needs to be $999 with basic specs in order to lure new customers in.
    4GB on the basic model is a must, along with 128GB of SSD and the cheapest Core M available, most certainly the 5Y10, maybe 5Y31.
    They didn't put 2GB RAM on the iPhone 6, they're never going to give away 8GB on this.

    On higher configurations, or BTO, there are going to be 5Y51 and 5Y71 CPUs, up to 512 GB SSD, and 8 GB RAM. 1TB/16GB could be feasible but I think they'll leave it to Pro machines.

    And it's going to be alright for Ultrabook tasks even with entry level specs. 2560x1440 (most likely resolution) isn't that hard to push with modern GPUs. And the SSD is going to be PCIe, so even with 4GB RAM, even if it swaps the hell out of it, it won't be slow.
  8. nutmac, Feb 11, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2015

    nutmac macrumors 601

    Mar 30, 2004
    rMBPs with Iris graphics will run like a dog with 4GB RAM with heavy graphics because it borrows up to 1.5GB for video processing. 2.5GB isn't enough for OS X and more than a handful of apps. While current MBAs can also borrow up to 1.5GB as well, retina puts additional strain so it will borrow closer to 1.5GB far more often than non-retina counterparts. This is the reason why 2014 rMBPs start at 8GB.

    I hope Apple will eat some of the margin and offer 8GB/128GB for $999.

    But I wouldn't be surprised if rMBA isn't initially marketed as a replacement for MBA. I suspect MBA will remain in the line up for the time being, just like 13" non-retina MBP.
  9. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    Sure, it can use that amount of RAM but do you have any indication at all that it uses nearly that much?

    I use a Mac Mini with 4GB RAM and a 2560x1440 monitor, essentially the same resolution as a 13" rMBP.

    I don't know how to tell how much video memory is being used by I see that "wired memory" is ~1GB in Activity Monitor.

    I have enough RAM to run a tremendous amount of software at the same time no problem.
  10. nutmac macrumors 601

    Mar 30, 2004
    Run System Information, then select Graphics/Displays.

    On my 13" rMBP (I also have 15" rMBP), it consistently borrows at least 1024 MB from RAM. Of course, your mileage may vary, but that leaves only 3 GB for apps and OS.

    "kernel_task" alone consistently use upwards of 1.2 GB and even on a clean reboot, all I have left is a tad more than 1 GB for apps.
  11. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    Not sure what you're looking at in System Information. I see this line on mine:

    VRAM (Dynamic, Max): 1024 MB

    The "Max" part indicates to me that that's the maximum amount it will use, not the current amount that it is using.

    I suspect kernel_task includes a lot of wired memory and possibly the memory used for video, so I think you're likely double-counting stuff to make it seem like you have less available memory than you really do.
  12. nutmac macrumors 601

    Mar 30, 2004
    One thing for certain. On a cold reboot, without any apps running (just minimal set of 3rd party background apps like Dropbox), 13" rMBP uses 3.07 GB RAM (App Memory + Wired Memory). All I have to do is launch Safari with few tabs, iTunes, Mail, and Messages before OS X starts to page out.
  13. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    This has been discussed a million times before. OS X attempts to allocate as much physical memory as possible to whatever programs are running. That doesn't mean the memory is actually being used by the programs.

    In short, looking at "Memory used" in Activity Monitor is pointless and misleading. Apple has done themselves no favors here by displaying information in this way.
  14. gpat macrumors 6502a

    Mar 1, 2011
    The entry level is not always meant to be the most sensible purchase.
    Sure, I'd love Apple to give away 8GB RAM, but let's be realistic. They'll be standard on the mid range at most.
    The entry level is meant to be a flashy office and Internet machine, along with media consumption.
    Video editing? We're talking about a fanless system. Core M laptops currently throttle like crazy even for basic tasks, if Apple figures out a decent cooling solution, it's already going to be enough.
    If they want to give away something, I hope they ship in the box a USB TypeC hub for USB and HDMI, so they make the thing usable without wasting money on accessories.
    And the standard MBA is not going anywhere. Maybe they'll discontinue the 11" next year. The 13" is going to be their value for money choice.
  15. nutmac macrumors 601

    Mar 30, 2004
    Nope. As I stated, I am only counting App Memory and Wired Memory, not File Cache (which can be mostly reclaimed).
  16. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    You're not listening to what I'm saying. "App memory" only shows you how much memory the OS has allocated to the apps, not how much the apps require or are actually using.

    So it might seem like you're using almost all your memory even though you're doing very little, but if you run more software, memory gets reallocated so you run more software with basically the same amount of memory.

    Right now I'm running a ton of software and my "memory used" is 3.9 GB... more or less the same as when I reboot and open a web page or two.
  17. nutmac macrumors 601

    Mar 30, 2004
    If your logic is right, then I should be able to run a handful of apps and it shouldn't cause page out.

    Just to satisfy you, I just cold booted.
    1. Launch Terminal and type "vm_stat" to observe "Pageouts: 0"
    2. Launch iTunes, Mail, Messages, and Safari
    3. Open Gmail, Google Maps, NY Times, and TheVerge in Safari tabs.
    4. Type "vm_stat" in terminal to observe "Pageouts: 7976"
  18. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    That still doesn't necessarily mean your performance is degraded or that you would benefit from more memory.

    The memory management done by the operating system is a balancing act between many different variables.

    The goal is that if there is a demand on memory, that enough memory is available to meet that demand quickly.

    So if an app allocates some memory, it should be able to do so from a pool of physical memory that is already allocated to it. So the OS has to essentially guess how much memory each app might want to allocate in the near future.

    And if the user wants to run a new app, there should be enough free physical memory to do so without paging. So the OS also has to guess how big an app you might want to run in the near future.

    To free up physical memory to satisfy both of these goals, the OS can preemptively compress and/or swap out pages of memory that are infrequently used or not used at all. OS X does this in the background with minimal impact on performance.

    So when you see that something has been paged out, that doesn't necessarily mean your machine ran out of memory and was running slower than optimally at any point.

    It could very well mean that OS X thinks you would benefit from having more available physical memory vs. having that memory occupied by pages of data that are infrequently (or never) accessed.

    Admittedly this is a memory management strategy that has been made possible recently by multi-core CPUs that can compress memory in the background with no practical impact to performance and SSDs which can swap memory out without needing to "spin up" or make annoying seek noises, so maybe that's why people aren't very familiar with it yet.

    The critical question is, if you look at the "memory pressure" graph in Activity Monitor, is it green? If it's green, the OS "thinks" there's enough physical memory available for the computer to satisfy reasonable requests of it in the near future.
  19. nutmac macrumors 601

    Mar 30, 2004
    You may very well be right and it makes sense in theory. But in my experience, once OS X starts paging out, written pages are not are not reclaimed consistently even after quitting large apps and run "sudo purge" from Terminal.

    On Macs equipped with a hard disk as a startup volume, the effect can become very pronounced if it had substantial page outs (flash storage tends to mask the problem to a degree).

    So while your arguments are consistent with many articles I have read, in my experience, 4GB has been awfully inadequate (again, I use 2013 15" rMBP with 16GB for demanding tasks and 2013 13" rMBP with 4GB for lighter tasks). I sincerely hope the base model rMBA comes with 8GB/128GB.
  20. jamesjingyi macrumors 6502a


    Dec 20, 2011
    I agree. 4GB of RAM is plenty for most users. 8GB would be overkill and would not be needed to sell the product. The product would be aimed at low end users who do not need it for performance, rather just the portability of the product and the high res screen. The high res screen is the only high end component there and I'm pretty sure that Intel's HD Graphics chipset could sort that.


    I have 4GB of RAM in my MBA and its not at all slow. 4GB is more than enough for a low end machine mainly used for word processing and browsing the internet. Only if you are using memory hogging programs or using multiple virtual machines do you need more RAM usually. Chrome is the only exception as it uses all that it can. My MBA can run low end games such as Dota 2 on medium settings and Skyrim on low quite easily even with 4GB. It only struggles if I am trying to do two very memory hogging things at the same time which is where a MacBook Pro comes in - which the general consumer will not usually need to do.
  21. gpat macrumors 6502a

    Mar 1, 2011
    Actually the screen isn't going to be an high-cost component. It's not 5K 27" like the new iMac, it's going to be a 1440p 12" panel most likely. The cost could be slightly more than an iPad panel. Consider the easy design of the logic board, lack of most ports and fans, and it could be the Mac notebook with the lowest manufacturing cost for Apple.
  22. dollystereo macrumors 6502a


    Oct 6, 2004
    I am getting more and more tired of the apple tax.

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