Help configuring macbook air

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by SestoElemento, Oct 22, 2014.

  1. SestoElemento, Oct 22, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2014

    SestoElemento macrumors newbie

    Apr 10, 2014
    I am a university student and I've been using windows laptops for as long as I remember. My current configuration is a core i7/8gb/1TB windows machine. I want to buy a macbook air but I'm worried if it would be enough as I have never used a machine below 8gb's of ram. Furthermore if I am to upgrade to an 8gb ram it would cost me around $125 dollars and I would have to wait for 3 - 4 weeks to get one (This is because there is no apple store and only official apple authorized re sellers). I don't play games. The laptop will be used mainly for word, excel, powerpoint, watching movies and surfing but I open many tabs 15+ along with a few word documents during assignments. Office for mac seems to be not as good as the windows version so I'm assuming I'll have to use parallels a bit. I have 2 external hard drives so hd space isnt a problem.

    Would the base model suffice or should I upgrade the ram? Is the ram upgrade worth it for that price and time delay?

    Any help is greatly appreciated!
  2. Satori macrumors 6502a


    Jun 22, 2006
    For the usage you suggest, 4gb ram will be fine. However, if you can afford it the 8gb option is a sensible upgrade which should give you computer a bit of extra longevity.

    Office for Mac is fine but quite different to the PC version. I doubt that you'll need parallels once you are used to the Mac version.
  3. Carlos840 macrumors member

    Nov 5, 2013
    I have just gone through the exact same thing as you last week.

    I first bought the base model MBA, what i really wanted was the base model with 8gb of ram, but it was not available at the apple store so i got the one with 4gb of ram.

    I tested it by opening every single app on the laptop and browsing a little and it still ran great.

    I then started to wonder if it was a mistake and if i should have ordered the 8gb of ram model, but every thread on macrumors is full of people saying that 4gb is more than enough, which reassured me a bit, but it was still in the back of my mind...

    After a week of use i gave up, sent it back and am now typing this on the 8gb of ram model. I am happy i did the swap.

    Yes, 4gb is probably enough if you have very little open at any given time, but even with my basic use, which is dashboard, calendar, mail, itunes, firefox and skype opened all the time, i was running at 3.5gb of ram used with one firefox window. (admittedly 1gb of ram usage was file cache)

    By the time you have 3 or 4 windows, with a few tabs each, a few youtube videos, and you are using 3.99gb, with little to no file cache left, and some ram compression happening.

    Memory pressure is still green, but i didn't like the idea of a brand new laptop already struggling to keep up when for a little more i could get double the ram.

    To sum it up, 4gb does work fine, but you will have to keep an eye on what is open. 8gb gives you the ability to not have to care about what is open.

    Is that worth the upgrade money to you?

    Also, 3 or 4 weeks sounds very long, mine got to me 4 days after ordering, shipped from China to London

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