Is 4 gb RAM enough for me?

phitcharkorn

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 5, 2014
10
0
Thailand
I want to buy 2013 13" MBA. I want to save money as much as I can but i still want good performance. I decided to go with i5. I don't know how much ram I'll need. I use this as my main computer. I use it for browsing web, watch video, gaming,programming, photo and video editing(not much). I plan to run virtual machine. I already know that 4gb is enough for browsing web. I don't know is it enough for gaming and some editing. If I run virtual machine, is 4 gb enough? and I don't have another PC or Mac. I know that 8gb is better but i want to save money but can use it in good performance.:apple:
 

Scepticalscribe

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Jul 29, 2008
45,381
30,656
The Far Horizon
The advice anyone who is asked this question is to buy/get as much RAM as you can afford. Seriously, you will get double the RAM for $100/€100 more; to my mind, this is a good investment - it will improve your machine's performance, and will also serve to future proof it to some extent.

Besides some of what you have posted that you wish to do (gaming, video editing) strikes me as fairly RAM intensive. Personally, I'd recommend 8 RAM.

 

Sackvillenb

macrumors 6502a
Mar 1, 2011
572
2
Canada! \m/
Although I would not say that 4 gigs is borderline for day to day tasks, for the tasks that you are describing (e.g. programming, gaming, video work, virtual machines) I would definitely get the 8 gigs.
 

DmbShn41

macrumors 6502
Jun 22, 2009
294
1
8GB should be the new minimum, for even the lightest tasks.
If thats the best you can come up with, then you obviously don't know much about how computers works, or have yet to meet Mavericks. So here's the short version. Computers, in their very least existence, are designed to be efficient. Apple has learned a thing or two about this, and has mastered this over the years. They have stumbled here or there, but they've done it with the MBA. Enter Mavericks. Mavericks will cache RAM to the hard disk, to save RAM for current applications. Older apps in memory will store to the HD, to allow memory available to what you're doing at the moment. And if you switch back to something from some time ago, it will bring that back, quickly, and cache what you were dong previously.

4GB is acceptable, particularly when linked via 1600Mhz bus speed, and in tandem with a SSD operating at 700+ MB/sec. Maybe for regular, light duty tasks, but for most of the wannabes carrying Apple products because they need to check their email in fashion, 4GB is fine.
 

jblongz

macrumors member
Feb 26, 2013
82
3
NYC
If thats the best you can come up with, then you obviously don't know much about how computers works, or have yet to meet Mavericks.
Man where do you guys come from? Not only do I know computers, but I have a degree in CIS. Mavericks, yeah its cool, but still work to be done. The OP mentioned his intentions about video editing and gaming. If YOU thinking 4GB is enough, then I wonder where you've been. High file paging still occurs with Mavericks and not every 3rd party app is compliant. I've been down the MBA route twice and I always maxed the ram most importantly, even with my current rMBP rig. I still run out of ram, but I'm a power user.

To the OP, remember that MBA ram is NOT upgradable in the future. Shoot for 8GB now and you won't regret it. If you're in school, be sure to get the student discount.
 

MatsSkoe

macrumors member
Jul 28, 2013
57
2
Rotterdam
...video editing and gaming. ...High file paging still occurs with Mavericks ... still run out of ram. ...MBA ram is NOT upgradable in the future. Shoot for 8GB now and you won't regret it.
I couldn't agree more. I am a moderate user with 8 GB and sometimes 'Swap Used' still rises. A friend has the 4 GB and the user experience is noticeable different.
 

pro mac user

macrumors newbie
Feb 28, 2014
3
0
i use a 4gb computer for medium-usage tasks and never need more ram

i don't think 8gb is minimum for light usage for at least a few years
 

jblongz

macrumors member
Feb 26, 2013
82
3
NYC
I'm sure you've paged your disk much more than an 8GB ram system. The idea is we most likely don't want to buy another computer in the next few years as browsers and apps user more ram due to 'richer content' and fancy UI. So making 8gb the theoretical minimum prolongs device retainment.

And once again the OP takes gaming and video editing into consideration.
 

boast

macrumors 65816
Nov 12, 2007
1,369
739
Phoenix, USA
Use your current computer to measure your ram usage.

Will the virtual machine be windows xp with 1gb of ram? Or something more?
 

AnorexicPig

macrumors 6502
Dec 12, 2012
368
10
Winnipeg,Canada/New Delhi India
Man where do you guys come from? Not only do I know computers, but I have a degree in CIS. Mavericks, yeah its cool, but still work to be done. The OP mentioned his intentions about video editing and gaming. If YOU thinking 4GB is enough, then I wonder where you've been. High file paging still occurs with Mavericks and not every 3rd party app is compliant. I've been down the MBA route twice and I always maxed the ram most importantly, even with my current rMBP rig. I still run out of ram, but I'm a power user.

To the OP, remember that MBA ram is NOT upgradable in the future. Shoot for 8GB now and you won't regret it. If you're in school, be sure to get the student discount.
I guess you should read your earlier post, where you said 8GB should be the 'minimum' for even the 'lightest' tasks.
 

jblongz

macrumors member
Feb 26, 2013
82
3
NYC
Yea I stand by that nutshell statement because what we consider light may become more demanding over time. So we avoid an unreversable decision that may become a limiting factor. I really wanted to get the recommendation of 8gb without going too deep. It's really the better way to go unless you want to buy a new device just for...more ram :rolleyes:
 

DmbShn41

macrumors 6502
Jun 22, 2009
294
1
My response was aimed at the '8GB should be minimum for even lightest tasks'.

Thats an ignorant statement.

I would agree that if the OP plans to do video editing and gaming and what not, 8GB would probably be more appropriate. However, I currently use a mid 2011 Mac mini, 2.3 i5, with 4GB RAM to do variety of tasks, games and video editing. I handbrake video files regularly with no issues, all the while iTunes playing, Safari with about 10 tabs open, and occasionally trying out the latest games, all at the same time. That's probably the most taxing thing I do on this system, and it doesn't stutter.

Because the software is wrote to make the hardware efficient, allowing the software to work efficiently.

I just bought a refurb 13" MBA, 4GB RAM, 128GB. And I plan on using it for at least 4 years, probable longer. 4GB is acceptable. 4GB will get by for some time. And even when the mainstream crap boxes start shipping with 16GB RAM standard, 4GB will still be fine, just may not do things as fast as they used to. Thats life.

EDIT: Canceled my order. Not going to buy a MBA until they offer a 3TB internal SSD. That should be the new minimum, for even the lightest users.
 
Last edited:

ammar17

macrumors newbie
Jun 29, 2013
12
0
Germany
If thats the best you can come up with, then you obviously don't know much about how computers works, or have yet to meet Mavericks. So here's the short version. Computers, in their very least existence, are designed to be efficient. Apple has learned a thing or two about this, and has mastered this over the years. They have stumbled here or there, but they've done it with the MBA. Enter Mavericks. Mavericks will cache RAM to the hard disk, to save RAM for current applications. Older apps in memory will store to the HD, to allow memory available to what you're doing at the moment. And if you switch back to something from some time ago, it will bring that back, quickly, and cache what you were dong previously.

4GB is acceptable, particularly when linked via 1600Mhz bus speed, and in tandem with a SSD operating at 700+ MB/sec. Maybe for regular, light duty tasks, but for most of the wannabes carrying Apple products because they need to check their email in fashion, 4GB is fine.
I have to agree with you. The point about Apple's good job at achieving efficiency through engineering is unparalleled. I have a MBA mid '11, and I use it for my daily jobs. Streaming video, checking emails, work processing, surfing the web. It is a great machine. Mavericks just makes it does what it does a little better.
 

Dweez

macrumors 65816
Jun 13, 2011
1,246
9
Down by the river
I suggestion is go with 8 if you're going to be running virutal machines along side other daily tasks. It's "only" an additional $100.
 

kage207

macrumors 6502a
Jul 23, 2008
961
8
I also say go with the 8GB of RAM. Virtual Machine eats at least 4 GB of mine most of the time. Also, get at least the 256GB of storage. I'm regretting 128GB. :/
 

Count Blah

macrumors 68040
Jan 6, 2004
3,091
2,478
US of A
Man where do you guys come from? Not only do I know computers, but I have a degree in CIS. Mavericks, yeah its cool, but still work to be done. The OP mentioned his intentions about video editing and gaming. If YOU thinking 4GB is enough, then I wonder where you've been. High file paging still occurs with Mavericks and not every 3rd party app is compliant. I've been down the MBA route twice and I always maxed the ram most importantly, even with my current rMBP rig. I still run out of ram, but I'm a power user.

To the OP, remember that MBA ram is NOT upgradable in the future. Shoot for 8GB now and you won't regret it. If you're in school, be sure to get the student discount.
Don't forget, the OP mentioned running VMs as we'll. 8, not 4 OP.
 

thekev

macrumors 604
Aug 5, 2010
6,667
1,738
I would never want to deal with VMs on 4GB of ram. You can do it, but it's not pleasant. Integrated graphics reserve a small amount of memory. VMs reserve memory. You will notice the difference far more than you would processor choice.
 

netman2004

macrumors newbie
Mar 3, 2014
1
0
Consider a MBP?

The thing to remember is that the MBA cannot be upgraded after purchase. My 2009 MBP is still running strong, thanks to a RAM upgrade (2 to 4GB, soon up to 8) and a Crucial SSD. With the performance I have right now and the remaining upgradability of the RAM and the SSD, I would not be suprised if this laptop lasts an extra 5 years. My advice if you really want a MBA over the MBP, go for the best CPU, RAM and SSD you can afford.
 

Mal67

macrumors 6502a
Apr 2, 2006
518
35
West Oz
I wish Apple would make 8gig airs more readily available to the general public through resellers. This or make an air more easily upgradeable particularly for memory. The latter is especially an issue when buying to budget now but wanting to upgrade later.