Is 4 GB of RAM enough?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by BaseballGeek, Jul 16, 2012.

  1. BaseballGeek macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2012
    I'm thinking about getting the 13 in MBA for college, and I was wondering if 4 GB of RAM would be enough. I won't be doing very intense things with it. I'll mainly be using Office, the internet and whatever apps I find in the App Store. I'll be majoring in something business related, but I'm not sure exactly sure what that will be.
  2. GREEN4U macrumors 6502a

    Mar 24, 2010
    I think it's enough. Ought to last 3 years just perfectly. 5 years just fine, and 8 years just pushing it. You get to choose when you stop! :)
  3. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    4GB is plenty for many users and sounds like it would be sufficient for the needs you describe. As the RAM in the MBA isn't user upgradable, many will suggest you get as much as you can afford, to accommodate possible changes in your requirements in the future.
  4. NewbieCanada macrumors 68030

    Oct 9, 2007
    How long do you plan on keeping it?

    for an additional $90 at the educational store, I'd do it just as a bit of future proofing.
  5. jena55 macrumors member

    Jan 31, 2009
    I asked the same questions a few weeks ago and I got a lot of responses saying I should go with 8, if no other reason than to future proof. However, I ended up going with just 4. I do pretty much the same things you do- office, excel, powerpoint, word, safari, itunes, spotify, twitter, facebook menutab pro, remote desktop to my work pc and other basic applications. I haven't come close to utilizing all 4 gb. Most of the time I am using 2-2.5. I use my computer mainly for fun and for online classes (i am working on my masters in a business related field). I did try to "challenge" my computer a bit and open everything I would possbily ever open all at once... and it still just barely made it to using 3 gb. Realisticly, I would never open all those things at once either.

    So, I think 4gb is great. I had been using an iMac with 2gb and it worked pretty well, but I did get the beachball (similiar to the hourglass on a windows pc) sometimes. I have not gotten the beachball on my 4gb macbook air and I have not had any page outs. I am not worried about future proofing because I don't think my usage habits will change and even if the OS takes up more space in the future I still have plenty of room.

    Hope this is helpful!
  6. BaseballGeek thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2012
    Thanks! I understand that the RAM isn't upgradable, which is why I asked. You raise a great point about thinking towards the future, so I'll have to think about that. Do you know if Apple stores sell Airs with 8 GB of RAM in stores?
  7. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Some do. Some may not. It's best to call your local store to find out what they have in stock.
  8. BaseballGeek thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2012
    I'm hoping it lasts me at least 4 years.


    Thanks! That's some excellent information.
  9. GREEN4U macrumors 6502a

    Mar 24, 2010
    Most do not. I live in the Cupertino and none of the SF Bay Area stores sell 8GB unless it's the ultimate model. So much for this area being the mecca of Apple.
  10. Barna Biro macrumors 6502a

    Barna Biro

    Sep 25, 2011
    Zug, Switzerland
    It might be enough, but having 8GB would be better.
    As others have already pointed out, the upgrade is quite cheap.
  11. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    It's tough to call. If newer OS or applications lag, run older ones if you wish to keep it longer. The futureproofing issue is overstated. You don't always know what will be the first thing to hold you back. Personally I won't touch a new computer with less than 16 at the moment. If I was "futureproofing" that number would be even higher, but I do different stuff.
  12. oneMadRssn macrumors 601


    Sep 8, 2011
    Boston, MA
    It's $90 today to bump it up to 8GB. If you keep your computer for 4 years, this is a no-brainer. Go for it. That's less than 7¢/day for double the RAM, which you will appreciate later on.

    Another pro-8GB argument is in the event you sell the computer in a year or two (when 8GB is standard), it will attract more potential buyers if it's the one with 8GB. I can't say it will get you $90 more when reselling it later as compared to 4GB, but it will definitely attract more attention as compared to 4GB.
  13. RightMACatU macrumors 65816


    Jul 12, 2012
    For me 8GB of RAM is not insurance on MY future requirements but more for Apple's. Forward to the future where MAC OS XI Beluga Whale (or whatever mammal species they’ll tackle next) requires a minimum of 4GB of RAM just to run their latest 50+GB OS :rolleyes:
  14. GREEN4U macrumors 6502a

    Mar 24, 2010
    As I've said before, I don't think it's 4gb or 8gb that will make or break your computer (literally, hehe). It more so depends on the user. You could definitely eek out 6, 7, or 8 years worth using 4gb if you have enough willpower or reason to. I'm on my Powerbook with only 512mb RAM because I made it my goal to keep it this long until I'd go to graduate school - it wouldn'tve mattered if I opted for 1GB RAM. Reaching milestones in my life is how I define how long I want to keep a computer.
  15. Idefix macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2012
    4 GB should be fine for what you're doing. You have to remember that if you start getting a lot of page-outs (check in Activity Monitor) you just have to do a restart. With an SSD that's super fast, less time than it takes to go get some coffee.

    OTOH, if money's no object, get more.
  16. OneMike macrumors 603


    Oct 19, 2005
    For $90 I say go for the 8GB.

    4GB may be enough today, but who knows how tech and your uses will change over the next 4 years.
  17. dona83 macrumors 6502

    Nov 26, 2004
    Kelowna, BC
    I have a 2010 Pro for work I had to quickly upgrade to 8GB as it was getting bogged down as opened apps. I'd even contemplate getting a 2012 to upgrade to 16.

    If you're like my wife and only need to use it for iLife stuff, word processing, surfing, e-mail, etc. 4GB is plenty. As soon as work comes into the equation, 8GB is the absolute minimum.
  18. MacBird macrumors 6502a

    Apr 1, 2010
    If it is supposed to last 4 years, I would go with 8 GB. It's $90 in the education store, which is only an additional $22.50 per year compared with 4 GB. :)

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