Mac Book Air, RAM considerations

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Jambalaya, Nov 1, 2013.

  1. Jambalaya macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2013
    Max RAM available in MBA is 4GB, is this really sufficient and with the SSD's is RAM as big an issue ? My girl friend has a 2012 rMBP and 4GB doesn't seem enough in that. With the non-upgradability getting it right first time is essential.

    Was in Apple store checking out a few things and I noticed the new rMBP's are much lighter and sleeker so that advantage to MBA is reduced. My daughter is due an upgrade (my old 2006 white MB is literally falling apart!). Usage is web, email, streaming movies/tv plus normal student stuff so not hugely taxing.

    Choice is 8gb/256SSD rMBP (or possibly 4gb/128 SSD rMBP) vs 4gb/256SSD MBA

    She'll get a student discount so reducing the price differentials.
  2. FoxFifth macrumors 6502

    Oct 18, 2012
    The max RAM in a MBA is 8GB. see the Tech Specs tab at:
    I have a 2012 Air with only 4GB and have no problems with that. Similar usage as described for your daughter.
  3. dean1012 macrumors regular

    Jul 10, 2008
    MacBook Air

    I have a 2013 MBA with 4 GB of RAM and 256 GB SSD.

    I'm a software engineer by hobby and system administrator by trade...

    My MBA supports these tasks (mostly at the same time, not separately) without issues so I definitely recommend the MBA:

    * Corona SDK / XCode (game development)
    * Tiled (game development)
    * iTerm2 (SSH)
    * Pages/Numbers/Keynote
    * iTunes
    * TexturePacker / PhysicsEditor (game development)
    * VirtualBox (virtual machines)

    I can even play WoW in my off time on lower settings without issue.

    In short, the MBA will do the job and then some. However, if you have the money and she's happy with the rMBP then by all means get it; it won't be any worse.

    Another note... since the HDD is an SSD, even swapping isn't noticable.
  4. Jambalaya thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2013
    I thought this too but on the website and in-store they have only 4GB

    Thanks, this is what I wondered.
  5. FoxFifth macrumors 6502

    Oct 18, 2012
  6. push/pull macrumors newbie

    Oct 31, 2013
    2 questions:
    :apple:If she is in any major that requires graphic software a good video card and screen resolution will be essential(rMBP).
    :apple:If she will commute on a bicycle the lighter the better(MBA).

    More ram means more apps open at the same time without bogging the system down. 128GB ssd is a little small for a system that will hopefully last through a 4 year program.

    If you can afford more ram and a larger ssd might as well get it now.

    Buy it on line and ship to store if you want that on-site experience (i think this is a new option).
  7. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    Always get the 256 ssd.
    Its faster then the 128.
  8. Jambalaya thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2013
  9. Tfb macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2012
    Ah yeah, in store you basically have only the base and (sometimes) the ultimate model. For anything else you have to order online and it takes a bit longer.

    I think your daughter will be absolutely fine with the base mba, and if you want to upgrade, the i5 (mega battery life) with 256gb (faster) and 8gb (why not) will be a dream. For her use, the only upgrade of the mbpr would be the screen. The heavier weight and shorter battery might be bigger downsides than you realize. Women carry weight differently, and carry a greater variety of bags, including smaller ones, than men. The weight difference might be more meaningful to her than you realize, especially if she will be basically walking everywhere.
  10. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    Yeah 128gb is very little storage it will be full in no time.
    From 128 only 120 are useable.
    Just installing all apps will take 35 - 50 away.
    Extending with usb and sd later is really slow.
    More RAM never hurts but there are usually offers on the base models.
    This was the reason why I only got 4gigs of RAM.
    Makes no difference, but I think 128ssd could get very annoying.
  11. dean1012 macrumors regular

    Jul 10, 2008
    Also note you should always look at backup solutions; doubly so for a student. She doesn't want to redo her 50 page research paper from scratch if the worst happens!

    You can use a time capsule or a regular hard drive for this. Or, perhaps a cloud service like drop box.

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