Is RAM so important in MBA?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by woodbine, Apr 13, 2015.

  1. woodbine macrumors regular

    woodbine

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    Aug 8, 2010
    Location:
    Bath, UK
    #1
    I was looking at refurb MBA on Apple Store, they have them but with only 4GB RAM. My question is how much performance hit is there with only minimum RAM plus super fast SSD, compared to old spinning rust plus minimum RAM.
    I know that when RAM is full, the OS creates virtual RAM on the SSD, but now SSD is very quick and I can imagine that would eliminate a bottleneck.
     
  2. ZBoater macrumors G3

    ZBoater

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    #2
    Depends on what your intended use is. For most folks, 4GB is more than enough.
     
  3. Dweez macrumors 65816

    Dweez

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    Down by the river
    #3
    I'll echo what Zboater said, the use cases of the general population will be fine with a 4 gig configuration. I've got 8 gig in mine as I run a single VM most of the time along with the general stuff I run daily on OSX. I give 4 gig of ram to the VM and both the VM and OSX are happy and perform very well.
     
  4. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    May 16, 2008
    #4
    There is no question that a SSD improves performance over a HDD, including improving paging performance when memory requirements exceed available RAM. Still, a SSD is much slower than RAM, so any paging activity results in somewhat reduced performance. The real question is how much RAM is appropriate for your needs, to minimize the possibility of page outs.

    This should help: How much RAM do I need in my Mac?
     
  5. Zxxv macrumors 68040

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    UK
    #5
    depends how you use it.

    Skype running in the background will cause a few freeze ups with netflix and drop youtube down to low quality. Calling notification centre from the right while playing those sites can also slow it down and make it stutter.

    No Skype is fine.
     
  6. imaccooper macrumors regular

    imaccooper

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    North Carolina
    #6
    As others have said, your use case is the biggest indication. Since you are considering an air then I assume you are not going to be doing anything too intense; therefore, I think a 4GB ram and SSD would be perfect. I have a model in the same configuration from 2011 and it still is blazing fast.
     
  7. motrek macrumors 68020

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    Sep 14, 2012
    #7
    If true, this has nothing to do with RAM anyway.
     
  8. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    Oct 10, 2013
    #8
    Here: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=19384469

    ----------

    That's some real confused gibberish.
     
  9. Zxxv macrumors 68040

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    Nov 13, 2011
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    UK
    #9
    when I switch skype to signed out everything goes back to normal. I assumed it was due to ram. So you're both saying if I had 16gb of ram it would make no difference and I'd still have to sign out of Skype to watch netflix (html5 player) without stuttering. You're both saying its due to something else.
    Ok fair enough. I thought it more ram would help.
     
  10. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    Oct 10, 2013
    #10
    I didn't really comprehend you previous post.

    If youtube automatically switches to low quality, then that is due to internet bandwidth. Maybe Skype is interfering with that. Check your internet speed.

    Netflix is behaving odd as of late. If you force buffer high bitrates, it will occupy massive amounts of RAM. However it will not lead to any problems with playback, but it will lead to a temporary lag, when you switch from netflix back to other apps. I made a thread about this here: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1863248

    On the 4gb RAM topic:
    With the recent massive price changes in europe, I'd recommend to anyone to seriously consider the cpu and ram upgrade on the 2015 mba series.
    If you can get the 'old' 2013/2014 models for the old price or live in the US, go with the base models.
     
  11. Zxxv macrumors 68040

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    UK
    #11
    a reboot sorted things out. I assumed it was ram. everything ran smooth again after. hey ho maybe the system just got bogged down. My internet connection is fine.
     
  12. bnmcj1 macrumors 6502

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    Apr 13, 2014
    #12
    4 GB is too much for most people, but people buy and want overkill specs.
     
  13. richwoodrocket macrumors 68020

    richwoodrocket

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    Hamburg, NY
    #13
    I don't see how any normal to moderate user could live with 4GB RAM.
     
  14. bnmcj1 macrumors 6502

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    Apr 13, 2014
    #14
    Well. My MBA 2015 with 4 GB ram can handle 3 (haven't tried more) 4K YouTube videos in different Safari windows, Word, iMessage, Google Drive and Photoshop at the same time. No stutter, no lag. I had 8 GB MBA 2012 before and while the system says it used all of them, it did not. It just reserves it and it just seems like it is used. Performance and multitasking is exactly the same with the things I am doing. Would gladly take a 2 GB version as I never have 3 videos at the same time. It was just testing.
     
  15. Zxxv macrumors 68040

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    Nov 13, 2011
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    UK
    #15
    similiar exepeeinces. 5 desktops open, calender, iTunes running, Skype, only times I encountered stutter was as I posted above, netflix open and Skype, quite Skype and all was fine, reboot and slept can run at same time, so something was hogging or bogged down in memory. The 4gb air is an amazing computer. Who knows how long that will last? I have no idea.
     
  16. bnmcj1 macrumors 6502

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    Apr 13, 2014
    #16
    It will be plenty for the next 5 years. Microsoft just released a Surface 3 with 2 gb base. They could because of brilliant optimization as Apple also have. My budget was up to the point of 15" rMBP, but I make logical purchases based on what I need for my usecase. I am a heavy user with Photoshop, Illustrator and all, but with smaller file sizes. I just know that I do not need more and I would be happy if I could have ordered a 2 gb - because I know it will work. Also, I change my laptop every 2-3 years.
     
  17. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    Oct 10, 2013
    #17
    What is that supposed to mean?
     
  18. motrek macrumors 68020

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    Sep 14, 2012
    #18
    Sounds like you haven't tried it, because it works great.
     
  19. bubulol macrumors 6502

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    Mar 7, 2013
    #19
    In every mac forum, i ve seen people suggesting to pick biggest amount of ram no matter what users do with their Mac and most likely toward bigger specs overall
    Future proof
    I actually regret more about hard drive size than RAM :confused:
     
  20. Woochoo, Apr 14, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2015

    Woochoo macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2014
    #20
    I temporary use it for music production with various heavy workload. It can perfectly handle it (in CPU and RAM terms), never reaching more than 30% aprox. of memory pressure while producing and even less with other stuff. And yeah, I'm using quite heavy stuff, not native DAW plugins.

    Funny tho, that when using Safari with multiple tabs (40-60) or Firefox with similar amount of tabs (various youtube vids open at same time, because of tutorials and other stuff) it easily reaches yellow memory pressure (never red tho). But hey, appart from me, who really uses browsers with 60 tabs open at same time? That's my usage problem :D

    P.S: I'm comming from a 2010 MBP with 8GB, using a 2014 13" Air with 4GB & i5 until new 15" MBP Skylake comes out.
     
  21. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    Oct 10, 2013
    #21
    You are listening to the wrong people.
     
  22. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    May 16, 2008
    #22
    Exactly! Not everyone in forums knows what they're talking about, and far too many assume that everyone else uses computers the same way they do. The fact is that many users can operate with ease with 4GB of RAM, which is plenty for average web surfing, emails, listening to music, watching movies, etc.
     
  23. bubulol, Apr 14, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2015

    bubulol macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    #23
    I know that why i picked my 4 GB MBA :p
    And people kept stating 4 Gb wont be enough in near future
    As if next updates of OSX will require 8/16 GB of ram lol
    But struggling with only 128 GB of SSD :mad:
     
  24. motrek macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    #24
    You can use a shareware utility called Disk Inventory X to give you a good idea of what's taking up space on your drive. Maybe you have files you forgot about or weren't expecting and don't need.
     
  25. bubulol macrumors 6502

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    Mar 7, 2013
    #25
    i was planned to using bootcamp + OSX
    otherwise, 128 GB would be fine for my use ;)
    I am not the guy who would pick 512 GB because on Mac forum, people suggest to pick the maximum options :p
    Besides, i have a lot of external hard drives such as SSD, hard drive and NAS
     

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