Is 4G MBA 11.6 model worth the wait?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by mcdonaldtosh, Nov 22, 2010.

  1. mcdonaldtosh macrumors newbie


    Nov 22, 2010
    Ive been scouting the web for about 48 hours trying to find a solution to my problem on deciding if the 4GB is worth the wait versus the basemodel MacBook Air 11.6 2GB 64SSD?

    The greatest tip along the way has been this video

    Which is a 13.3 with 2GB, but of course it has a 1.86 CPU making his performance about 33% faster by clock speed. As a avid Photoshop user, my main concern is about just doing levels, curves and small retouching regarding spots, speckles and details disturbing the image. Of course all my files are RAW, both compact and SLR. Since an Atom 330 PC with 2GB RAM handles it above bearable, I have faith in that the Macbook Air also will sustain my patience whenever I drag and drop a slider to adjust my image.

    I also do alot of webwork, I love TextMate, which is a killerapp because of the layout and crispness. Old seller arguments like Expose in OSX makes me ignore the slickness of the computer, as long as the GUI responds fast and keeps feeding my mind with what I want. I also want to have FontExplorer X running with 5000+ fonts, three browserwindows full of tabs, maybe some InDesign if I need to sketch out a productsheet. Is it possible with 2GB RAM?

    By the way, I dont give a d4mn about startup times, its just boring. Of course I like to get my programs started, but my biggest concern is actual use, which none of the farmers on this forum seem to care about. They are either a PC geek with an enthusiast outlook on hardware or somebody holding his new mac up in the air like a trophy, but is anybody using it?

    Facebook will never kill your CPU, max out your RAM... Im just curious, why do most people upgrade? To brag on forum, twitter or anything else. What I hate the most is people reviewing their new products on Youtube, dont get me wrong, I love information, but people have a tendency to talk about how much their dog love the design for 1 minute in a 1:30 clip, and nobody has the decency to actually equalize out the raw info I want to want. Final Cut is a brilliant name, and is Mac exclusive, how cant anybody with a Mac actually make a Final Cut?

    The video on the top, does a decent job and it doesnt throw away too much of your time, but I would love to know more. Not a white background promotional video with the engineer praising his own work, I want editing, excellent videos that are actually CUT, not a long monologue, I believe we got books for that kind of thing, and even those guys have editors to cut out your tongue when it gets long.

    Give me benchmarks, test, videoproof, smooth writing, or I will do it myself when I get my Macbook Air, if its capable of delivering.
  2. pfjellman macrumors regular


    Mar 18, 2010
    I recommend the 4GB for one main reason: futureproofing your computer. You cannot (easily) upgrade the RAM after purchase, so might as well max it now. Also, if you plan to work with anything Adobe and especially you're working with RAW images, you will benefit greatly from the 4GB of RAM.

    it's not about bragging rights, it's about honest-to-goodness real life usability, and ensuring your investment will age with grace.
  3. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    For me, one of my main criticism of the Rev B that I used for 2 years was its limited 2GB RAM. It was fine in 2008 but in 2010, with more 64-bit applications, it was a limit, even with the SSD. True, the SSD in the new MacBook Air is faster, and the CPU throttles less, but RAM is still one of the best and cheapest ways to improve performance and futureproof a computer. I figure that the MacBook Air already has an aging processor. Why hinder future performance even further by limiting it to 2GB when 4GB is just $100 more?

    Also, the more that memory pages out to the SSD, the faster the SSD will wear out. Performance of an SSD tends to slow over time as it has a limited number of writes, and because of the way that SSDs erase and rewrite space.
  4. jayo123456 macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2010
    getting a little worked up over a computer, are we.
  5. mcdonaldtosh thread starter macrumors newbie


    Nov 22, 2010
    On which fields, applications and operations did you feel frustrated by the lack of memory?
  6. Seawolf8080 macrumors newbie

    Nov 6, 2010
    If spending $100 extra on a computer you're already spending about $1200-$1300 (give or take) on already is this agonizing for you, you must be a real piece of work IRL.
  7. lucashungaro macrumors member

    Nov 20, 2010
    São Paulo, Brazil
    Go with 4 Gb. On any computer you'll always want to avoid using Swap, even with flash storage. Swap slows you down badly.
  8. mcdonaldtosh thread starter macrumors newbie


    Nov 22, 2010
    Its not about the cash, but about three weeks waiting. Called all the stores in my side of the country, and they all confirmed it. So its more about getting back to I can become a real piece of work ;)
  9. The Final Cut macrumors 6502

    Sep 5, 2009
    I love how people spending this much on ultra portable are worried an extra $100, especially those who know there doing intensive tasks. Well I have to admit I was one of them, debated for a couple days:D
  10. 1chocolate1 macrumors newbie

    Jun 30, 2007
    New Jersey
    Since you can't add the RAM later, and Ram always improves performance I opted for the 4gb. I took mine on vacation and used it to back up all my photos and video clips. Had no problems with showing slideshows and video. I have no regrets.
  11. dmelgar macrumors 68000

    Apr 29, 2005
    Folks get all worked about about having the fastest computer.

    The important speed differences are not where most people think. Manufacterurs like to push numbers. Higher gigahertz CPU must be better.

    But other aspects can have a much bigger effect on speed.

    The options for faster CPU increase speed by 10-15%. Not noticable in most cases.

    Having a SSD instead of a typical hard drive can increase effective throughput and therefore speed by 10x, as in 1000%. That is a HUGE difference and very noticable.

    Likewise, where most machine cave in and become practically unusable because they've slowed down so much is regarding memory. In todays systems you don't typically run out, it ends up using the hard drive and swaps memory in and out. This can reduce effective speed many times, maybe up to 100x slower before you eventually give up and reboot or kill programs.

    More memory is better. Its best to avoid having to swap programs you're actively using. Mac OSX is great at managing memory, but it has its limits.

    That said, the SSD drive on the MBA is so fast that accessing the swap file is much faster.

    It comes down to how much memory the programs that you actively work in may require. For many light apps, text editors like TextMate etc, 2GB is probably fine. If you're loading up big images in Photoshop, running giant development environments based on Eclipse, need to interact between a bunch of different programs, or need to run Windows or Linux in virtual machines, 2GB may not be enough.

    If you later decide that you're swapping too much and need more memory, there is no way to do that on the current MBA. You'd have to sell the machine and buy a new one with more memory. It is not expandable.

    Given the dire consequences to performance by running out of memory, and no way to get around the problem, $100 for 4GB of memory is cheap insurance to make running out of memory much less likely.

    I agree shipping times are long to get a 4GB machine. I wish Apple offered in store a 4GB model that wasn't the ultimate. They may change their mind if they see a high percentage or orders for 4GB machines.
  12. mcdonaldtosh thread starter macrumors newbie


    Nov 22, 2010
    It seems like a marketing strategy, which they do with all their devices. Add some eyecandy, so the system makes it feel slow.

    Well, I dont care about the extra dollars, but if anybody have any field examples on where the 2GB RAM machine gets trapped in a corner.

    At least I have 36 hours before I am able to pick up the base model, but three weeks really puts a pile of work on my desk. Thinking about a Mac Mini and dual monitors instead ....
  13. Saturn1217 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 28, 2008
    i'm no expert and I don't have a macbook air so of course I can't comment on how the ssd effects things but I will say this.

    I am not a pro user although I do use my macbook pro for just about everything and during the course of a normal session (browser, word, excel, mail, preview and perhaps some other odd programs open) I ALWAYS exceed 2gb of ram. Seriously I keep my activity monitor open all the time because i'm a little ocd that way and the only time i would not have been paging out with only 2gb of ram is when I am restarting the computer.

    The point is OS X snow leopard is one wonderful operating system but it is certainly NOT stingy with ram. In fact I frequently wish I had more than 4gb and like I said I multitask a lot but don't do any one thing that is very computer intensive)

    My advice: get 4gb.
  14. neteng101 macrumors 65816

    Jan 7, 2009
  15. entatlrg macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
  16. Kenrik macrumors 6502

    Dec 21, 2004
    Ram upgrade is only $90 with student discount...
  17. ReallyBigFeet macrumors 68030


    Apr 15, 2010
    Why are you being quoted a 3-week waiting period for a CTO rig? Not sure of where you live but I ordered my most recent CTO purchase on a Monday afternoon at 4PM local US time, had it delivered on Friday morning at 10A. That was from Shanghai to Chicago.

    If its 36 hours to pick up the base model.....I had a CTO in just over twice that time. But definitely not 3 weeks.
  18. potentpotable macrumors regular


    Oct 22, 2010
    Like most other people, I upgraded to 4GB to futureproof. I don't do things like Photoshop or Aperture right now, but who knows what demanding apps I'll use in a couple years?

    The moment you complete the order for your Air, it's already too late to upgrade RAM since it's soldered on.
  19. snorkelman, Nov 22, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2010

    snorkelman macrumors 6502a


    Oct 25, 2010
    When these first came out dual booting to Windows XP was (and still is officially) unsupported. That left me with two options

    A run XP in a VM something I didn't want to do in a machine with 1.75Gig of RAM

    B Dual boot with a pared down install of win 7 something else I didn't want to do on a machine with 1.75 gig of RAM

    As it stands there are sufficient drivers available to get Win XP dual booting so I no longer need the extra 2 gig for that side of things, and I already know that most of my XP based portables get along just fine on a couple of gig.

    even with that guaranteed in advance I'd still have had a second reason for opting for the extra 2 gig. Quantifying my current usage patterns on the mac side where all our desktop boxes have at least 8 gig

    I can do that with storage space easily enough: take current storage usage on desktop box and deduct music, videos and the apps I'd only ever use on desktop machine = minimum I'd need on a mac portable.

    But I cant do the same for RAM, with 8 gig to play with on the desktops Ive never had a need to keep an eye on it. So the only way to get a realistic usage pattern would be to monitor it over a period of time to see if 1.75gig would be sufficient for the various permutations of stuff I might be running at any given time

    Time I could just as easily spend waiting for a 3.75 gig BTO to be delivered and with far less effort involved. For sake of 10 percent of the asking price I chose the no-brainer option.

    I'd rather have 80 quid going to waste on unnecessary RAM (that I'd be blissfully ignorant of), than a no upgrade after purchase 850 quid machine going to waste thanks to a lack of it that I'd be only too aware of.
  20. halledise macrumors 65816

    May 7, 2009
    Hamilton Island, Whitsundays, QLD Australia
    order with 4gb thru Apple Store online and you'll have it within 1 week rather than 3.
    mine came in 5 working days :D

    and by the way, the 1.86 vs 2.13 is bugger-all difference.
    I say that because you really do want to go with the 13" model - 11" misses out on too much.
    too 'slow' by comparison and too … well, tiny.

    (I went for the 128gb flash rather than the 256gb as I offload to external storage as needed)
  21. Truffy macrumors 6502a


    May 9, 2005
    somewhere outside your window...
    I feel your pain. Why is it that tech reviews focus on meaningless (to me, anyway) metrics like frame rats in games rather than real-world usage? I don't play video games and I'm not interested in how well a card renders Crysis/whatever in full-screen mode, but I am interested in lag in Aperture. Etc.

    That said, the only reason that I'm upgrading my computers (mobile and desktop) is because they're PPC, and 5-8 years old now. I can't upgrade Aperture and FCP until I upgrade my hardware!

    Thanks for the tip on Textmate BTW, I use BBEdit but sometimes it seems like overkill.
  22. jaeguyoon macrumors regular

    Apr 20, 2010
    I got the base 13 inch with 2gb ram. I would've got the 4gb but I got it as a gift, so didn't really have a choice.

    But, honestly...I don't even think about it. I had a white macbook with 4gb memory, and this thing blows my macbook away.

    I'm really not a intense computer user. There are couple things I do on the computer and that's it. 1. Web browsing. 2. Watching movies 3. Syncing my iPhone 4. Instant Messaging 5. Word Processing/ Excel/ Powerpoint

    So to me having 2gb's really doesn't impact me a lot if not at all.

    Oh and most likely I'll get another laptop in a year or a year and a half so I'm not too worried.
  23. wirelessmacuser macrumors 68000


    Dec 20, 2009
    Do yourself a big favor and stop laboring over the decision. Just buy 4GB. I did.

    Now I can do anything I want, including my photography work, no problems.

    If we were talking about any other model of Mac everyone would laugh at the thought of a measly 2GB of ram. This is not a cheap Dell or brand x netbook.

    Apple got cheap and shipped them with 2, don't fall for it.

    Long after you've forgotten whatever wait is involved, you'll be so glad you did the right thing. I know I certainly am.
  24. mcdonaldtosh thread starter macrumors newbie


    Nov 22, 2010
    Seems like I have to take my time. Im from Norway, and we are not top priority in the Apple system. The iPad isnt yet available, you can picture the scenario. We have no Apple stores, just a couple of retailers called the Eplehuset and Humac.

    The beauty about buying in a store, is that you can throw your problems at the staff and not a telephone operator thousand of miles away.

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