Is a RAM upgrade necessary?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Joedesi, Jun 17, 2012.

  1. Joedesi macrumors newbie

    Jun 16, 2012
    Wow...those rMBP are expensive! So much so that Ive decided to get the 13" MBA instead - seems like such good value - relatively of course.. The best option for me appears to be the 256GB SSD version with 1.8 i5 and 4GB RAM.

    I only really need it for meetings, MS Office work, browsing the net and emails. Lots of you guys have advised upgrading to 8GB that necessary for my needs do you think?

    Relative newbie to all this.

    Also - this may be a relative short term purchase as the dream machine for me would a retina version of the MBA so may sell up in a year or two if that becomes available.

  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    If you'll be running more then one app at a time, I think you can make a case for 8gb. The issue with the MBA (as with the retina mbp) is that the memory is hard wired onto the logic board. Don't risk cutting yourself so short in the future. Perhaps you'll want to run VMware, and office at the same time or some other apps are a little more bloated then they used to be.

    Getting 8gb guards you against such things
  3. ugahairydawgs macrumors 68030


    Jun 10, 2010
    If those tasks are all you'll be using the laptop for, then don't really need the RAM upgrade.
  4. Joedesi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 16, 2012
    Those pretty much are the tasks that I'll be using it for. It may be silly to ask but my 2009 iMac with 4gb ram seems to be quick enough although it runs a 3 ghz processor. Not sure if you can really compare the two....apples n oranges etc

    I think it's the ssd that really makes the MBA feel quick for normal run of the mill applications
  5. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    If you're happy with what you have, and think you can run within 4gb, then there is no reason why you should.

    I personally recommend the 8gb in part with an eye to the future, but I can understand where you're coming from.
  6. magbarn macrumors 68000

    Oct 25, 2008
    Unless you're planning on reselling your MBA in 1-2 years, just do it. I'm quite sure many who got the prior 2gb versions of the MBA are regretting 'cheaping out'. There were many here who claimed that Lion would run just as well on 2gb as SL. Not even close... Even on re-sale, the price gap on fleabay between the 2gb and 4gb models is more than the $100 initially invested so you can see the perceived value of the higher ram machines.
  7. 6-0 Prolene macrumors 6502

    Feb 11, 2010
    The RAM is not user-upgradeable in the MBA. Buy as much as you can up front.
  8. mattopotamus macrumors G5


    Jun 12, 2012
    Ram upgrade is a must IMO....especially with ML coming soon. The last thing you want is to have your ram bog you down
  9. bit density macrumors 6502

    Mar 5, 2004
    If you are not running Parallels, or VM Fusion, or running really large media through your machine, you'll likely just be fine. It is really hard to make the case for 8 gigs with "normal" every day computer use. If it is an issue, it is likely you're using the wrong computer.

    If it is your only computer, then your SSD size will more likely be the thing that will hang you up. If you start buying and collecting media and images you can chew through that storage.

    Yes, you can't upgrade your machine. I have run 4 gigs for the last 6 years, and it has always worked just fine. And I am a fairly heavy user. The biggest wall was somewhere between 2 and 4.


    Why do you think that ML is going to require more memory?
  10. Belgrano macrumors member

    Jun 23, 2011
    Asking a question like this on a forum like this will result in most people encouraging the upgrade. Most MacRumors users are more savvy and picky than the average buyer.

    Personally, I went for the 8gb upgrade on my 13" 2012 Air, but many don't need too. For example, I'm currently typing this on a 2006 Macbook on Lion, with tons of tabs and programs open, etc. -- and I've only got 2gb of old-timey DDR2. It's working fine.

    Your circumstances just don't require the upgrade. You'll be using it casually, and you may be using it shorter-term.
  11. Saturn1217 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 28, 2008
    I restarted my computer just yesterday and I am only doing some light web browsing with iCal and text edit open in the background.

    I am using almost 4gb of ram right now according to activity monitor.

    My point is that unlike too much hard drive space or a superfast processor that you don't need you almost certainly will use extra ram if it is available. That isn't to say that for your uses 4gb will be slow. But if you put 8gb in your computer the os will use it. The upgrade is pretty cheap so I would just get it. Having too little ram is the quickest way for a computer to become obsolete (IMHO)

    Unless you only plan to keep your computer for a year I would say get the ram. There is nothing worse than coming to regret a large purchase a couple months later because you decided you didn't want to spend $100 more. (I speak from personal experience).
  12. jameswdmb macrumors member

    Jun 4, 2012
    Look at it this way, for 1/15th of the price you are paying for the machine you can upgrade something that is not upgradeable in the future. The RAM upgrade is well worth the money in my opinion. I expect to get a new machine in 3 years or so, but by going w/ 8 GB RAM I dont expect to be in a position where I "need" a new machine because I spent $100 extra now. As a IT professional I can honestly say that if I went with 4GB now, then I would either be forced to upgrade in 2/3 years or have a machine that is limited on what it will be able to do in the future. Internal storage can be worked around with many different options (cloud storage, usb3, SD card, ect) and the benchmarks on 1.8 i5 to 2.0 i7 IVY do not show a huge performance difference, especially for what most people are doing on these machines. Just my opinion, but I see RAM as the most valuable upgrade available.
  13. AlanShutko macrumors 6502a

    Jun 2, 2008
    Historically, most OS X upgrades have used more memory than the OS preceding it. Snow Leopard did not. Whether that's enough to put you over an edge into needing more RAM depends on your usage.
  14. Joedesi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 16, 2012
    Great advice. I see where most people are coming from in advising the upgrade to future proof the MBA for a little longer and it may help with resale value. Also ML may use more ram than previous version.

    Guess I'll go for the upgrade. However for the record in the uk we have to pay £80 to upgrade which is more that ur 100 bucks.....
  15. bobr1952 macrumors 68020


    Jan 21, 2008
    Melbourne, FL
    When I buy my next computer--probably sometimes during the next few months--be it one of the fancy RMBPs--or perhaps a MBA, I do plan to max out the RAM just to be safe. I doubt I will need more than 4GB (in the Air) but it seems a safe investment--I know I can get by fine with 256GB of storage since I store a lot of stuff on external drives, but with the hard wired RAM--the relativey small investment seems worth it. I only have 2GB on my iMac and get by fine but that machine is over 4 years old and I'd rather start off with more RAM on my new machine. :)
  16. lonewolf604 macrumors newbie

    Jun 15, 2012
    Guys, does someone like me need 8 gigs?

    I'm a normal usage guy (web surfing, notes, songs/movies), and will most likely be using garageband, since I'm an amateur musician. I'm not a heavy duty guy.
  17. tigres macrumors 68040


    Aug 31, 2007
    Land of the Free-Waiting for Term Limits

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