Lion running OK on 4 GB RAM Air?

puma1552

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Original poster
Nov 20, 2008
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Wife let it slip that she's interested in a 13" Air for Christmas. She doesn't care much about updates, and I know one is coming in Q1 but I doubt it will be Ivy Bridge, so I am probably fine getting her one of the current models for Christmas, her needs are pretty simple anyway.

But I'm curious, I was looking to upgrade my 2010 MBP to 8 GB RAM from 4 to run Lion, and the folks over in the MBP forum said Lion greatly benefits from 8 GB of RAM.

So, seeing as the RAM limit on the Air is 4 GB, how is Lion running? Is it a RAM hog?
 

TheRealDamager

macrumors 65816
Jan 5, 2011
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Plenty of people are running it fine with 2GB. I have 4GB and I push it alld ay every day with not an issue.
 

mofoliar

macrumors 6502
Mar 31, 2010
382
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Nevada
i also have the 2g mba but i am really considering the 4g and bigger storage.. 128 would reallly like the 256 but i cant afford the that xtra $300 on top of already gonna have to spend to get the 4g model w/128gb ssd
 

SDColorado

macrumors 601
Nov 6, 2011
4,279
4,244
Highlands Ranch, CO
I don't know that Lion itself really benefits that greatly from 8GB of RAM. It really depends on what you are running on Lion I think. Just sitting here browsing the web, with a few tabs open, I have about 1.5GB free. If her needs are simple, as in no programs that are themselves RAM hogs, 4GB should be more than fine.
 

francis21

macrumors member
May 2, 2011
72
0
Mississauga, ON, Canada
I'm currently using a 2 GB of RAM from my MBA 11" 2011, that I got a week ago. It runs smoothly on Lion, based on a normal day-to-day tasks (e.g. web browsing, reading PDF files, etc.) I can run some intensive programs such as Parallels (when using Windows 7 with 512 MB of dedicated RAM for it), and runs impressively great.

I thought I would regret of just having 2 GB of RAM, but I'm actually happy with it. I'll upgrade my SSD capacity to around 256 GB or something higher than my current 64 GB space. :)
 

eagandale4114

macrumors 65816
May 20, 2011
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The main issue of having 2 GB of ram is when you have a HDD. In that case the system will "borrow" the drive to meet it's needs. It does this on an SSD but due to the nature of SSDs (high speed read/write and high number of random access per second) the effect is negligible. However PRO apps will benefit from 4 GB.
 

puma1552

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Original poster
Nov 20, 2008
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Cool, do they still carry the "Ultimate" configurations at the store, the ones with the 1.8 GHz processor?
 

VMMan

macrumors 6502a
Mar 29, 2009
766
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My 4GB MBA runs Xcode, Safari, and Adobe CS5 Photoshop simultaneously well.
 

vitzr

macrumors 68030
Jul 28, 2011
2,766
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California
We have all the various configurations at work. Side by side tests have been quite interesting & eye opening. Lion running on a 2010 MBA with 2GB is smooth, but crawls as compared to my 4GB equipped 2011 MBA.

The real rocket, is a colleagues 15" 2010 MBP equipped with 8GB and SSD. While we naturally expected it to be fast, the huge increase in speed compared to my MBA was nearly unbelievable. We repeated the comparison over & over just laughing in amazement at how fast it is.
 

Akack

macrumors 6502a
Mar 5, 2011
685
44
USA
Have 2gb on my 2010 13" MBA and Lion is running fine. Only use the air for web browsing with lots of tabs open.
 

Xikum

macrumors 6502
Oct 19, 2011
281
1
My 2010 C2D 2GB RAM MBA runs Lion perfectly, however said Lion benefits from 8 GB is just ridiculous.

Put it this way; Apple sell 2 GB MBA's with Lion in them for a reason. If it couldn't handle it, they wouldn't do it.
 

Heavertron

macrumors regular
Jun 2, 2011
130
0
UK
My 2010 C2D 2GB RAM MBA runs Lion perfectly, however said Lion benefits from 8 GB is just ridiculous.

Put it this way; Apple sell 2 GB MBA's with Lion in them for a reason. If it couldn't handle it, they wouldn't do it.
Yes. The reason is to meet a price point. To have a low cost entry level model. 2gb will work right now for basic needs, but 4gb will give you more breathing space for future software advances.
 

Retops

macrumors regular
Feb 10, 2008
199
96
Oklahoma
No worries at all. I have an original MBA (1.6 GHZ, 2GB Ram) and it runs Lion without problem. On my 2010 MBA, it positively screams, with just 2 GB of RAM.
 

thekev

macrumors 604
Aug 5, 2010
6,783
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Yes. The reason is to meet a price point. To have a low cost entry level model. 2gb will work right now for basic needs, but 4gb will give you more breathing space for future software advances.
Part of the reason I wouldn't want the 2GB version is that it will probably never make it past Lion. Lion requires 2GB minimum. The next OSX revision will probably require more. The SSD obviously helps with faster disk paging, but there are some things that require real memory to run at all.
 

Xikum

macrumors 6502
Oct 19, 2011
281
1
Yes. The reason is to meet a price point. To have a low cost entry level model. 2gb will work right now for basic needs, but 4gb will give you more breathing space for future software advances.
Of course 4 GB is better, but it isnt 100% essential. I run an old laptop with a lightweight Linux distro on it, it has 512 MB RAM and its still perfectly usable for browsing, word processing and other everyday activities.

Apple wouldn't sell a 2 GB version if it was unusably slow; because then people would get a bad impression of their computers.
 

johnhurley

macrumors 6502a
Aug 29, 2011
777
55
So, seeing as the RAM limit on the Air is 4 GB, how is Lion running? Is it a RAM hog?
Runs just fine and I ( at times ) use a 1 gb VM and it does well enough with that going to.

Actually it runs better than fine it runs like a beast ... a very very fast beast!

Or maybe since Lions do not exactly have the best foot speed of the big cats it runs like a Lion with a jet pack on its back and rollerblades on all 4 paws.

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Yes. The reason is to meet a price point. To have a low cost entry level model. 2gb will work right now for basic needs, but 4gb will give you more breathing space for future software advances.
Totally agree ... if you are not running many things at once the 2 gb right now is quite useable ... but future proof probably not so much.
 

joneill55

macrumors 6502
Sep 11, 2007
396
81
Wife let it slip that she's interested in a 13" Air for Christmas. She doesn't care much about updates, and I know one is coming in Q1 but I doubt it will be Ivy Bridge, so I am probably fine getting her one of the current models for Christmas, her needs are pretty simple anyway.

But I'm curious, I was looking to upgrade my 2010 MBP to 8 GB RAM from 4 to run Lion, and the folks over in the MBP forum said Lion greatly benefits from 8 GB of RAM.

So, seeing as the RAM limit on the Air is 4 GB, how is Lion running? Is it a RAM hog?

No problems here. Runs like a champ all day long!
 

GekkePrutser

macrumors 65816
Aug 18, 2005
1,012
328
Barcelona, Spain
Yes. The reason is to meet a price point. To have a low cost entry level model.
I seriously doubt that. I'd be surprised if the price of 2GB extra is more than a dollar or two to Apple. Not to mention the problem of having, and designing, 2 separate mainboard models for the 1.6Ghz version. Stockkeeping 2 different SKUs costs a lot of money as well at Apple's scale. They could easily have the base model at 4GB for nearly the same price.

I'm pretty sure that it's done to stimulate people to upgrade to the high-end model, or at least to make the extra 100 bucks on the 4GB option. That's 100 dollars of almost pure profit.
 
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