Is 2GB of RAM enough for me?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by yourdream, Oct 25, 2010.

  1. yourdream macrumors regular

    Aug 16, 2008
    I'm deciding on whether to buy the 13-inch 2GB of RAM or 4GB of RAM. My local Apple store does not have the stock models in stock. The question is if 2GB of RAM will be enough for me. I already have a 2010 MacBook Pro 17-inch 2.53GHz Intel Core i5 and a 2009 iMac 3.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo. And I use my computers for web browsing, msn, watching netflix, using pages, using photoshop, and taking notes in class. I won't be upgrading to a new computer every year, so I'm wondering if 2GB of RAM will be able to help me survive and let me to update to Lion in the summer without any disadvantages. And based on other threads, the BTO models seem to take a while to ship, while the stock models ship very soon.
  2. HardLuckStories macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2010
    UK, Manchester
    In a word, no.

    My advice to any one asking the question, the reason you are asking in the first place you have doubts so simply max the spec, simples.
  3. Hankcah macrumors regular

    Jul 8, 2010
    Yes BUT if you do all of these at the same time, you may notice lag while editing photos. Get the extra GBs RAM elsewhere online. Definitely cheaper to do it yourself. Just lookup how to do it on your youtubes on day and its as easy as making pizza (horrible comparison I know) 4GB is nice tho, but just know you can always upgrade, and just look for vids on this forum for reference as well.
  4. Hustle macrumors 6502a

    Jul 29, 2007
    Erm, the ram is soldered onto the motherboard with a soldering iron...
  5. HardLuckStories macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2010
    UK, Manchester
    #5 you can't upgrade ram anytime with the new airs...hence why we are all waiting on BTO shipments
  6. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    I would HIGHLY recommend 4GB. It's the best $100 spent on an Air. My main complaint with my current MacBook Air (Rev B with SSD) is the lack of RAM. The 4GB option is exactly what I wanted. If it didn't come with 4GB, I wouldn't have ordered a new one.

    It's too bad the RAM isn't upgradeable. You need to order the 4GB model to start with if that's what you want. If you ask me, I think Apple should have limited the 2GB version to the 11" with the 64GB SSD, which is obviously a "second computer" intended to hit a price point. The others should come with 4GB standard.
  7. kernkraft macrumors 68020


    Jun 25, 2009
    I've had two MacBook Airs in the past, both with 2GB RAM. You need 4GB. It wouldn't be an issue with other models as you can upgrade the RAM in them. But with the Air, you cannot, they are soldered into the motherboard. Which is why even offering a 2GB RAM model in late-2010 is pathetic.

    That's a $100 you shouldn't save.
  8. JPSensei macrumors newbie

    Aug 4, 2010
    I guess up to 2012 and for most tasks 2gb will be okay -excluding video editing-, but well are you going to edit lots of HD videos on your MBA? Running mac and windows on parallels at the same time with only 2 gb of ram will be slow.

    2gb of ram is surf the web, watch videos instead of editing them, etc.

    I guess in a few years Apple will release an OS that requires minimum 4Gb ram, but we are talking in 3 or more years.
  9. jamespa66 macrumors 6502

    Jul 6, 2007
    Kenosha, WI
    I got the 13" 256 GB storage and 2GB RAM, I run Aperture on it with no problems at all. My Pic library is around 9 GB. I would say for a student doing what you listed 2 GB would be more than plenty.
  10. robeddie Suspended


    Jul 21, 2003

    I wonder how many of these folks who say you NEED to get 4gigs of ram actually open up 'activity monitor' and watch ram usage.

    For anyone who wants to know if they NEED extra ram, just open up 'activity monitor', use your mac like you always do, and keep an eye on your ram usage and the amount of free ram, if any you usually have.

    If you discover you always have plenty of free ram available, then you don't NEED 4 gigs of ram, no matter what anyone here tells you.
  11. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    If you plan to run anything in virtualization, you NEED 4GB. Trust me. I've tried running both Parallels and Fusion on a 2GB Rev B. It is just too slow for anything more than really light usage (such as a website that requires IE). Plus, as more 64-bit applications come out, RAM usage increases, because 64-bit applications have more overhead.
  12. fyrefly macrumors 6502a

    Jun 27, 2004
    It's also important to look at Page-ins and Page-Outs.

    I've found this quote from BareFeats (admittedly a performance-minded site) about OSX's - even in general use - gobbling of RAM:

    "2GB. That was a non-starter for me. Why? When I boot up my MacBook Pro, with no user apps running, real memory in use is at 1.3GB. Launch Safari, Mail, Preview, and Textedit. Now I'm at 1.9GB. Launch iMovie, iPhoto, and ITunes. Now I'm at 2.3GB. I'm now "under water" and starting to do virtual memory paging... Things get worse with MacBook Air with 2GB since the integrated GPU wants to "borrow" another 256MB of main memory, Does the flash storage making paging a non-issue? No, because real memory is 20 times faster than flash storage."

    Even with the SSD - a 4GB upgrade is to me, a no brainer. It's $100 (less with EDU or EPP discounts).

    As a user of the Air since the Month it came out (Rev A and then RevB with SSD) - I feel the 2GB RAM cap pretty much daily, and I'm not a heavy user.
  13. Corndog5595 macrumors 65816

    Jul 16, 2010
    Do Whatever Suits You Best, But This Is Usually My Posting Strategy
    1. Read Question
    2. Educate Myself On The Topic At Hand
    3. Answer Question
  14. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    It's not 2GB, truly, all you see is 1.792 GB of RAM due to the fact 256MB are dedicated exclusively to the GPU; at this age and time, 1.792 GB of RAM is pitiful; no one should have t endure that; unless he/she can't afford more.
  15. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    It might be for now, but in the long run apps require more and more RAM. OS upgrades require more and more RAM. Feature improvements require more and more RAM.

    It is MY opinion that if anyone wants to run more than one OS, or wants to use it with Lion upgrade, or wants to use it as their primary Mac, or plans to use it more than 18 months, they should definitely upgrade to 4 GB RAM.

    There is no "do-overs" if you know what I mean. It is soldered to the board forever. The $99 price tag for the upgrade is a bargain when considering doubling the life expectancy for the MBA, and that's exactly what I believe it does.
  16. citron230 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 17, 2007
    San Diego, CA
    Also if you are a student it costs $90 to upgrade to 4GB of RAM, so if you can spare it, do it IMO.
  17. bossxii macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    Kansas City
    Anyone know if Best Buy will sell 4gig models of the new MBA?

    I'd have to agree with the go with 4gig before anything else. I hopefully can figure out a way to buy a 4gig model, currently using the 2gig until I figure out a way to get one via Best Buy or turn the store credit to cash via buying something/selling it.

    I've Googled a few times trying to find some answers as well as calling two different stores. I had/have about half the cost of the 13" MBA in a BB store credit and would love to know if any employee or someone "in the know" has a clue if Best Buy will carry the 4gig models. Currently they have 4 options, but all 2gig versions. I currently have the 13", 2gig, 256 but would swap for the 4gig just to have it.
  18. rkahl macrumors 65816

    Jul 29, 2010
    That's a really good idea. I guess if you need more ram you have 2weeks to upgrade.
  19. J400uk macrumors regular

    Apr 3, 2008
    Why are people still posting this BS about 4GB ram been essential? Its total crap!

    Once you have used the machine you will quickly realise that 2GB is more than sufficent. I realised that after getting mine today, every single post on here by people with the 2GB Air says so and so does every single review of the 2GB Air. Wake up FFS! Listen to the people that own/ have used one.

    Because of the SSD it feels very rapid and snappy, so unless you are a very demanding user, you can most likely live without the upgrade. I've thrown everything at mine today from the usual things I'd use it for (internet/ office/ music) through to photoshop and gaming and I have had no trouble with performance. It feels quicker than my old White plastic MacBook that does have 4GB, and its booting up in half the time.
  20. Corndog5595 macrumors 65816

    Jul 16, 2010
    As long as you don't use Safari, 2GB should suffice for most uses.
  21. robeddie Suspended


    Jul 21, 2003
    Thank you!

    Same here. I've been using mine since I got it last thursday and have even done some video editing (hi-def) as well as plenty of normal usage. No ram ceiling hit yet with my measly 2gigs. Not even close, in fact.

    For those who run windows in virtualization, I can see how they may need more ram. Me, I run windows 7 in bootcamp, so it's not an issue.
  22. J400uk macrumors regular

    Apr 3, 2008
    It really really winds me up that this forum is full of 'armchair experts' who have never used the machine yet feel qualified to comment on which isn't quick enough and which is. Very poor and misleading advice. I thought I'd made a huge mistake ordering the 2GB thanks to some of the people on here, but its turned out to be excellent, and as I said I'm hearing them same positive remarks from other forum members and from reviews sites that have used the machine.
  23. HelloMikee macrumors 6502a


    Jun 16, 2009
    San Diego
    That's because all you guys/gals that have it are playing with it and not posting on the forum.... leaving people who don't have it yet (and are waiting for the upgrade) to tell us it's essential.

    Great review of a stock MBA I just found:,ihnatko-apple-macbook-air-102510.article
  24. J400uk macrumors regular

    Apr 3, 2008
    Yes and plenty more like that:

    I love this quote, it really sums it up:
    Holy Mackerel this thing is fast! 46 tabs in Safari and 21 in Chrome; 18 open applications, including hogs like Safari, Mail and iTunes.

    No spinning beachballs!

    There’s no slowdown whatsoever. It’s amazing. This thing flies. It’s the $999 11-inch MacBook with only 2GBytes of RAM — the machine people said would be underpowered. But it’s not. Not by a long shot.

    It’s the fastest laptop I’ve used in years, and Apple is going to sell boatloads of them. It’s very exciting.

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