Is getting 4gb ram worth it for me?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by MilkMan4, Jun 29, 2011.

  1. MilkMan4 macrumors regular

    Jun 22, 2011
    I'm trying to decide if i want to get 4gb ram over the standard 2gb in my new air (unless the new come standard with it that is). Now i'm pretty sure that i do not really need 4gb as my tasks include web surfing with many pages at a time, iTunes, microsoft office apps, and then maybe some imovie and photoshop, with all or most open at the same time.
    First off, does all of that even take up 2gb ram if open all at once? (i think not but correct me if i'm wrong)
    and second, if it does not take up 2gb, would it still be worth it to upgrade to the 4gb ram? (once again, if it doesn't come with it already)
    And would the faster performace from the SSD and the new processors make up for any ram i was short on?
  2. jlblodgett macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2008
    How much is $100 worth to you?

    If $100 isn't that much - then yes, get the 4 GB.

    If $100 is a lot to you - then you probably shouldn't be buying the laptop in the first place.
  3. MilkMan4 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 22, 2011
    $100 is not a problem to me, but just because its not doesnt mean i want to throw it down on something completely useless when it could be used for many other things.
  4. Apple Expert macrumors 65816

    Jan 31, 2010
  5. 0dev macrumors 68040


    Dec 22, 2009
    Over time, you will regret not buying more RAM, and those Airs aren't exactly easy to open up and upgrade. I'd go for it.
  6. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2010
    More RAM is helpful for:
    • Apps that work with large files or are otherwise greedy (I think you mentioned Photoshop)
    • Multiple Browser Tabs
    • Many open applications
    • Virtual Machines

    Yes, the SSD will make page outs less painful. No, It's not the same as having more RAM.

    I use Fusion VMs pretty frequently, so I wouldn't even consider anything less than 4GB myself. I think 4GB is pretty much the 'sweet spot' for RAM right now.
  7. greenmountain macrumors newbie

    Jul 7, 2010
    I have the Rev C MBA, on which 2GB was the max available, and find today that I am often close to maxed out on RAM with less stuff running than what you describe. HD video, in particular, is a killer. Stuff on YouTube at 720p plays reasonably well, but I find I can rarely watch 1080p unless I close everything else, and even then it often stutters.

    So, yes, I'd spring for 4 gigs, especially if you plan to hold onto the machine for any length of time.
  8. Dark Void macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

    Jun 1, 2011
    2gb is not necessary for your current usage, but you might as well for the unforeseeable future. never know, you could get into something that requires more ram and you'l be thankful that you went with 4gb.
  9. trims macrumors regular

    May 11, 2011
    Nottingham, UK
    Trying to sell a top-end premium laptop for >$1000 with 2GB is a bit cheeky, frankly.

    And possibly, in the end, self-defeating - if Apple end up with a bunch of disaffected owners who find their OS / apps run slowwwlly on their hobbled (if very pretty) expensive machines . . .
  10. gdeputy macrumors 6502a


    Jul 23, 2008
    New York
  11. dw7705 macrumors newbie

    Jun 29, 2011
    Yes 4GB is worth it. SSD and the new processors are good, but won't make up for RAM. And as you can't upgrade RAM later (and I really doubt this will change) I think you have nothing to lose.

    2 GB is really minimum today and even if you don't "need" 4 GB today, maybe some day you will. And that day always comes faster than we think...

    You can always check the Activity Monitor to see how much memory you use.

    Although I wouldn't really call the basic Air a "top-end premium laptop" I really agree that 2 GB is ridiculous today. (But Apple has ALWAYS had ridiculous specs on their basic machines.)
  12. Carouser macrumors 65816

    Feb 1, 2010
    I'm in the same situation - want to make the jump to Lion, I use Word and Firefox heavily while running iTunes but don't do any video editing, rendering, etc.; and am price-sensitive. I still figure I should go with the 4GB if at all possible; since it seems to be the only bottleneck. Amortize the cost of $100 over the lifespan of the device (per year or per hour of use), and then ask yourself the same thing. It's interesting that very few people bother to say '2GB is enough', maybe a selection effect on MR.
  13. Cali3350 macrumors regular

    Feb 16, 2009
    Word / Internet isnt going to use over 2gb. It just isnt. Unless you have 20 tabs open with video and flash in all of them, but thats not really realistic.

    Photoshop on the otherhand will very quickly eat up 2gb of ram. You would want 4Gb deff if you plan to do real photo editing in it.
  14. Apple Expert macrumors 65816

    Jan 31, 2010
    4gb of ram should be standard on the next mba. Hopefully they have an option for 8gb :D. I just pray that it's not a hefty price to go with it.
  15. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    I'm in much the same position, as I, too, have the Rev C SSD (and love it).

    To the OP, you probably will not need 4 RAM now given the applications you are likely to use; however, given what will be available in a few years, it is very likely that you will need 4 RAM within the next while. In other words, in order to future proof the machine to a certain extent, or, to achieve a better price on the re-sale market, 4 RAM makes sense. However, if you believe that your current usage patterns and preferences will remain the same as they are now, then stay with 2 RAM.

  16. Cynicalone macrumors 68040


    Jul 9, 2008
    Okie land
    If the Air was like other laptops and you could add the RAM later yourself as your needs changed then I would say you would be fine with 2GB. But since the Air has the RAM soldered to the board you should take the RAM upgrade.

    The system requirements in Lion call for 2GB of RAM minimum. That should give you and idea of where Apple is headed. Soon all the Mac's will ship with 4GB standard with an option for 8GB or more.

    Running Lion on my 08 2,1 MacBook Air is terrible with 2GB of RAM. I keep hoping it gets better with each new developer preview but so far it has stayed the same. Lion is a RAM hungry cat.

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