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How much RAM are you going to get in your new MacBook Air?

  • 8 GB

    Votes: 33 16.1%
  • 16 GB

    Votes: 105 51.2%
  • 24 GB

    Votes: 67 32.7%

  • Total voters
    205

EugW

macrumors G4
Original poster
Jun 18, 2017
11,582
9,062
How much RAM are you going to get in your new MacBook Air? I think the RAM options are perfect for this type of product in 2022.

8 GB - I think this is sufficient for light usage, at least for now. Think of students writing short papers, surfing, email.

16 GB - This is the new sweet spot for many moderate users, at least for a MacBook Air. eg. Heavier users of business applications, and university students, and for occasional light photo and video editing. This would also provide some future proofing for those who keep their machines a long time. It's sufficient for some developers too.

24 GB - This would be beneficial for heavier mainstream users, and would be sufficient for many developers and content creators too, although the 1 external monitor limitation may be an issue for some of them.

32 GB - Sorry, you'll have to get a MacBook Pro.
 
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kiranmk2

macrumors 65816
Oct 4, 2008
1,112
894
I dunno...the way iOS and MacOS updates are going it looks like Macs may only get 5 years of OS support now, so paying the Apple fee to 'future-proof' your MBA is probably less useful than it was. I still think 8 GB is fine for most users. 16 GB is going to be for people that know they will need it (not think they might need it) - probably people working with large spreadsheets or doing 4k video editing / large/RAW photo editing. 24 GB I can't see anyone needing on the Air until a point after this model stops getting MacOS updates.
 

EugW

macrumors G4
Original poster
Jun 18, 2017
11,582
9,062
24 GB I can't see anyone needing on the Air until a point after this model stops getting MacOS updates.
? The M2 is very close to M1 Pro 8-core in CPU speed, and M2 gains hardware ProRes acceleration like M1 Pro. If you can benefit from >16 GB on M1 Pro, then you can benefit from >16 GB on M2. eg. Video editing or music production.

Also, a developer who works with local virtual machines could benefit from 24 GB. And yes, the MacBook Air is quite commonly used by developers.


With an SSD, a larger RAM can help avoid swaps with virtual memory and reduce wear out.
In my book, 16GB is now a minimum in a laptop with anything larger a plus if I can afford it.

Same with the SSD, a larger size can reduce erase cycles and reduce its wear out.
I'm going to continue using my 16 GB MacBook for now so I won't be getting an MBA anytime soon. However, I want to upgrade my 2014 8 GB Mac mini when the M2 / M2 Pro models come out. As a business application user (as this is a work machine), I haven't yet decided if I'd go 16 GB or 24 GB. Considering 8 GB already is OK, I'm sure 16 GB is fine for the foreseeable future, but I would consider 24 GB anyway if the (education) price was right.
 
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JPack

macrumors G3
Mar 27, 2017
9,147
15,765
I think 16GB makes sense as with M1, but 24GB is a weird configuration.

If you're loading your MBA to the point where 24GB is needed, you're probably running something heavy duty. We know M1 throttles without a fan and M2 similarly due to higher peak power consumption. MBP 14 is only $100 extra and seems more balanced.
 

kiranmk2

macrumors 65816
Oct 4, 2008
1,112
894
I'm sure there are some people that would want an MBA to do those things, but when you price up a MBA with 512 GB SSD and 24 GB RAM you are getting very close to the 14" MBPs which also have larger screens, higher sustained performance, faster GPU, promotion display, SD/HDMI, dual monitor support etc.
 

EugW

macrumors G4
Original poster
Jun 18, 2017
11,582
9,062
I think 16GB makes sense as with M1, but 24GB is a weird configuration.

If you're loading your MBA to the point where 24GB is needed, you're probably running something heavy duty. We know M1 throttles without a fan and M2 similarly due to higher peak power consumption. MBP 14 is only $100 extra and seems more balanced.
I'm sure there are some people that would want an MBA to do those things, but when you price up a MBA with 512 GB SSD and 24 GB RAM you are getting very close to the 14" MBPs which also have larger screens, higher sustained performance, faster GPU, promotion display, SD/HDMI, dual monitor support etc.
??? Not even close.

13.6" M2 MacBook Air with 8-core GPU, 512 GB SSD, and 24 GB RAM is US$1799

14.2" M1 Pro MacBook Pro with 8-core CPU, 14-core GPU, 512 GB SSD, and 32 GB RAM is US$2399.

That's literally a $600 price difference, or 33%.
 

mnsportsgeek

macrumors 68040
Feb 24, 2009
3,602
4,746
I'm gonna get 16gb because our household is planning on this being our only Mac. My wife and I will each have a user and I want to be able to switch back and forth without closing out of every app. This MBA will be replacing a 2012 mbp and 2015 mba that are now both no longer receiving os updates.

Between phones, iPads, etc we just have no need for us each to have our own laptop.

The big question for me is do I spend $100 for 2 extra gpu cores or is that a total waste of money?
 

EugW

macrumors G4
Original poster
Jun 18, 2017
11,582
9,062
I'm gonna get 16gb because our household is planning on this being our only Mac. My wife and I will each have a user and I want to be able to switch back and forth without closing out of every app. This MBA will be replacing a 2012 mbp and 2015 mba that are now both no longer receiving os updates.

Between phones, iPads, etc we just have no need for us each to have our own laptop.

The big question for me is do I spend $100 for 2 extra gpu cores or is that a total waste of money?
You haven't said what you plan on doing with it. So, nobody can answer you about the GPU.

As for the memory, if you are both moderate users who never want to quit any apps, it's possible you could even benefit from 24 GB, but again it's hard to say without knowing what you're doing with it.
 

mnsportsgeek

macrumors 68040
Feb 24, 2009
3,602
4,746
You haven't said what you plan on doing with it. So, nobody can answer you about the GPU.

As for the memory, if you are both moderate users who never want to quit any apps, it's possible you could even benefit from 24 GB, but again it's hard to say without knowing what you're doing with it.
I'm really not a power user. Web, email, music, photos. Might like to dabble in video/audio editing at some point but I don't see it ever being more than a small hobby. Definitely not a Mac gamer.
 

EugW

macrumors G4
Original poster
Jun 18, 2017
11,582
9,062
I'm really not a power user. Web, email, music, photos. Might like to dabble in video/audio editing at some point but I don't see it ever being more than a small hobby. Definitely not a Mac gamer.
16 GB is fine, and don't bother with the GPU upgrade.
 
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JPack

macrumors G3
Mar 27, 2017
9,147
15,765
??? Not even close.

13.6" M2 MacBook Air with 8-core GPU, 512 GB SSD, and 24 GB RAM is US$1799

14.2" M1 Pro MacBook Pro with 8-core CPU, 14-core GPU, 512 GB SSD, and 32 GB RAM is US$2399.

That's literally a $600 price difference, or 33%.

I should have been more clear. I'd suggest:

Base model MBP 14 with 16/512 for $1,999, rather than
Turbocharged MBA with 24/512 for $1,899

With the MBP, you've got much faster SSD and memory bandwidth, which should more than make up for any RAM deficiency. And obviously a whole bunch of other extras like mini-LED and TB4.

When M2 throttles in MBA, it knocks off 10-15% performance.
 

jav6454

macrumors Core
Nov 14, 2007
20,844
4,812
1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
With an SSD, a larger RAM can help avoid swaps with virtual memory and reduce wear out.
In my book, 16GB is now a minimum in a laptop with anything larger a plus if I can afford it.

Same with the SSD, a larger size can reduce erase cycles and reduce its wear out.
This old argument again? Modern SSDs, while rated for 250-300TB of write cycles per cell, the actuality and in real world testing has shown they can go up to 600TB with averages in the 400TB range (per cell).

To achieve those numbers, it means continuous writing of data at a ~2GB rate per day for 10 years.
 

Adelphos33

macrumors 65816
Mar 13, 2012
1,211
967
I should have been more clear. I'd suggest:

Base model MBP 14 with 16/512 for $1,999, rather than
Turbocharged MBA with 24/512 for $1,899

With the MBP, you've got much faster SSD and memory bandwidth, which should more than make up for any RAM deficiency. And obviously a whole bunch of other extras like mini-LED and TB4.

When M2 throttles in MBA, it knocks off 10-15% performance.

But the MBA is noticeably lighter, which is a big plus IMO
 

Steve121178

macrumors 603
Apr 13, 2010
5,880
5,676
Bedfordshire, UK
I have a M1 8GB/512 config because I got a great deal on Amazon. If I was buying a new MacBook Air today I would absolutely make sure it had a minimum of 16GB. 8GB just isn't enough when you start to push it.

It must be said that for the majority of people & students, 8GB should be fine. But if you intend to push the machine in any way then 16GB should be the minimum.
 
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doboy

macrumors 68040
Jul 6, 2007
3,433
2,267
I should have been more clear. I'd suggest:

Base model MBP 14 with 16/512 for $1,999, rather than
Turbocharged MBA with 24/512 for $1,899

With the MBP, you've got much faster SSD and memory bandwidth, which should more than make up for any RAM deficiency. And obviously a whole bunch of other extras like mini-LED and TB4.

When M2 throttles in MBA, it knocks off 10-15% performance.
Not to mention the base 14" model often goes on sale and I got mine for $1749 from Costco. Unfortunately, "supercharged" configurations are not often discounted from third parties like BB and Costco so you end up paying close to full price. This makes the 14" a much better deal (assuming one can still pick one up at $1749-$1799).
 

philrock

Contributor
Jul 5, 2015
249
141
Oxnard, CA
Well, I've been waiting for the new MBA to arrive but now it seems I may be better off waiting for a 14" MBP to go on sale somewhere. My current MBP has lasted almost 10 years, I would be happy with seven though. Not sure the MBA is designed that way though...
 

aeternitas

macrumors member
May 12, 2015
61
129
This survey just shows why they make the 8GB the base option. Apple knows you'll spend more money on extra RAM because 8GB in 2022 isn't enough. Unacceptable IMO.
 

rafark

macrumors 68000
Sep 1, 2017
1,512
2,271
This old argument again? Modern SSDs, while rated for 250-300TB of write cycles per cell, the actuality and in real world testing has shown they can go up to 600TB with averages in the 400TB range (per cell).

To achieve those numbers, it means continuous writing of data at a ~2GB rate per day for 10 years.
10 years doesn’t sound like a lot tbh. Lots of people use there Macs for more than 10 years.
 
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iHorseHead

Contributor
Jan 1, 2021
1,097
1,333
How much RAM are you going to get in your new MacBook Air? I think the RAM options are perfect for this type of product in 2022.

8 GB - I think this is sufficient for light usage, at least for now. Think of students writing short papers, surfing, email.

16 GB - This is the new sweet spot for many moderate users, at least for a MacBook Air. eg. Heavier users of business applications, and university students, and for occasional light photo and video editing. This would also provide some future proofing for those who keep their machines a long time. It's sufficient for some developers too.

24 GB - This would be beneficial for heavier mainstream users, and would be sufficient for many developers and content creators too, although the 1 external monitor limitation may be an issue for some of them.

32 GB - Sorry, you'll have to get a MacBook Pro.
You can even code and use Xcode and Unity with 8GB.
For light use 4GB is enough and to write papers and surfing, emails a much cheaper laptop would do
 
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