macbook air 13 vs 11 and 4gb vs 8gb ram

jordanj23

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 6, 2014
3
0
Hi, planing buy macbook air tomorrow in UK and have 2 questions.
1. 4gb ram or 8gb ram ? im using web browsing,films and microsoft office.
2. 11 inch or 13 inch? i going use in home,university,train sometimes.
i prefer 13 ,but is not to big for travelling?
 

Zxxv

macrumors 68040
Nov 13, 2011
3,563
1,079
UK
I got the 13" 4gb 128gb air the other day. Reading the forums i expected it to beach ball and slow to a crawl. I am SO surprised how fast it is and how it doesn't do any of the things I expected. netflix, iTunes streaming, browsing, twitter, writing airplay mirroring, I have 3 desktops open all the time, encoded a 14 minute video and exported in iMovie just to see whilst secure deleting 4000 odd files and importing photos from iPhone at the same time, fans came on, only time, still it did it, no beach balls, slight stuttering. You should try it under your own conditions because if I went by what the forums said I'd have bought more. I thought I may have had to return and upgrade but haven't.

Im not travelling and using outside (coffee shops etc) at the moment but if I was I'd consider more buying an 11" as the 13" is quite big. Still fits in a 8 litre bag easy but still is big depending on what you want to do. Its about the size of an A4 book.
 
Last edited:

talmy

macrumors 601
Oct 26, 2009
4,703
266
Oregon
1. Everybody will say 8GB because you can't add more later. However we've got an original 11" MBA with 2GB of RAM that does web browsing, office apps (Pages here), and videos just fine running Mavericks, so in reality, 4GB is just fine.

2. The 11" is really small making it best for travel, 13" is nicer to use, so it is a personal preference. Play with them in the store.
 

Steve121178

macrumors 601
Apr 13, 2010
4,943
3,990
Bedfordshire, UK
13" / 8GB

4GB if you only ever plan to surf the internet & consume media.

4GB if being limited to what you can do in the future doesn't bother you.

4GB if you ignore the fact it's 2014 and modern apps & even web browsing can utilise high amounts of RAM.

4GB if you like the number 4.
 

alphaod

macrumors Core
Feb 9, 2008
22,047
1,106
NYC
You should fine with the 13" base; you'll appreciate the additional screen real estate especially if it's your only/main computer.
 
  • Like
Reactions: AppleFanatic10

jordanj23

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 6, 2014
3
0
i going buy via internet , i heard that you can return 14 days.so maybe buy first 11 inch ,if going be to small ,then buy 13 inch ? or try 13 inch first?

----------

You should fine with the 13" base; you'll appreciate the additional screen real estate especially if it's your only/main computer.[/QUOi i never used mac os ,i have asus 14 inch laptop ,but its very slow and heavy 2.3kg .so apple macbook going be main computer. i watching films at home via hdmi on tv.
 

jmoore5196

macrumors 6502a
May 19, 2009
739
252
Midwest US
You may want to search around these forums a bit; there are numerous threads debating the merits of the 11" MBA versus the 13" machine.

My last three MacBook Airs have been the 11" model. There's only one reason: Portability.

I just upgraded last week to an "ultimate" 2013 11" and could not be happier. The machine has handled everything I've thrown at it thus far without a hiccup. CC and CS6 apps run like oil ... no problem with beach balls and speed is sufficient for my needs.

If you're going to be spending more time at your desk than on the road, go ahead and order the 13" MBA. It's a beautiful machine. If, on the other hand, you can see travel demands outstripping at-home time behind the screen, the 11" is hard to beat.

And yes, get 8GB of RAM.
 

Meister

Suspended
Oct 10, 2013
5,455
4,265
I got the 13" 4gb 128gb air the other day. Reading the forums i expected it to beach ball and slow to a crawl. I am SO surprised how fast it is and how it doesn't do any of the things I expected.
Yeah this is what some of the people in this forum cause ... :rolleyes:
Of course no new macbook is going to stutter. Why would it? Ram does not make your machine faster.
99.99% of the population is actually fine with 4gigs and will continue to be fine for the next half decade.
(I possess a crystal ball and I do tell the future :D )
 

xanotos75

macrumors newbie
Nov 25, 2010
27
5
Bell, California
Well, I have a 11" i5, 256SSD with 4GB of ram and trust me, it's more than enough. I've had it for a few months and throw quite a few programs and games into it and everything works as smooth as butta!!!

Sure everyone tells you about futureproofing, but do you see yourself owning this computer for 5 or 10 years?
I also had this delimea, but got a great deal on my 11" and enjoying it instead of thinking if I did the right decision.

Plus with Maverick. it does some ram magic that can double your ram.
Just know that whatever you buy, it will eventually get old and will need replacing.

Enjoy your new computer :)
 

jordanj23

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 6, 2014
3
0
i think i decided to 8gb ram and 13 inch ,if going be to big ,return and take 11inch. 1210 pounds ,worth price?
 

BJonson

macrumors 6502a
Aug 26, 2010
829
108
So if the hard drive gets 730mbs read speed and you exceed the 4gb of memory and have to dip into the hard drive for memory is that essentially like having 800mhz sdram instead of 1600mhz? If that is the case then 4gb should always be good enough. My mac pro has 800mhz ram and I never feel like its slow at all.
 

talmy

macrumors 601
Oct 26, 2009
4,703
266
Oregon
So if the hard drive gets 730mbs read speed and you exceed the 4gb of memory and have to dip into the hard drive for memory is that essentially like having 800mhz sdram instead of 1600mhz? If that is the case then 4gb should always be good enough. My mac pro has 800mhz ram and I never feel like its slow at all.
Not really a valid comparison (MHz doesn't equal Mbps) however 4GB is really good enough for most people as 2GB works fine for light loads. This being a gear-head site, everyone is always suggesting "more power" when base models are adequate for 99% of potential customers. (If this weren't true, there wouldn't be a market for iPads.)
 

Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
4,201
1,876
New Jersey Pine Barrens
You will be fine with 4gb for what you describe. I had a 2011 i5/4gb/256gb 13" MBA and it was fine even with powerful software like Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro. Also remember that 4gb was the max you could get in 2011, they only made 8gb available in 2012.

Now I upgraded over the summer to a 2013 11" MBA i7/8gb/512gb because I had the opportunity to sell the old machine and wanted to get the top spec since I use pro software. But side by side, the 2011 and 2013 models really felt the same when doing things like mail, web, MS Office and Finder operations. Even Photoshop felt pretty much the same.

The main difference I see in the new machine is faster Final Cut Pro rendering and less latency in Logic Pro. So honestly, I don't think you will see any difference since I was comparing a 2011 i5/4gb MBA and the 2013 machines are already perhaps 30% faster.

Now 11" vs 13" is a totally personal thing that only you can decide. But after 2 years with the 13" model, I wanted the 11" and am now really happy with it.
 

Santabean2000

macrumors 68000
Nov 20, 2007
1,781
1,743
With your current needs 4GB is prob enough... But I'd get the 8GB every time. It's a minimal cost upgrade that can make a difference in some situations.

I have installed Free Memory to track RAM usage; you'd be surprised how often it is easy enough to float above 4GB. I know some of it is caching at times, but often it's not.

Go 8GB and don't look back; no need to give it another thought.
 
  • Like
Reactions: JPamplin

lagisibuk

macrumors 6502
Jun 25, 2013
259
1
Always Somewhere
I'm using MBA 13 with 4GB RAM (haswell)
it's enough, sometimes i'm using Xcode/Dreamweaver with browsing and music play and RAM still available on 500-600MB :D (using memory clean to view RAM space available, autoclean mode on).

If some people think about future, maybe prepare 8GB is better. but for me, every 2 year or every apple release new version, i will buy one, i dont think that i'm need high-end spec for 5 year... (it's my perspective)
 

TheEnthusiast

macrumors regular
Aug 22, 2013
146
3
I'm using MBA 13 with 4GB RAM (haswell)
it's enough, sometimes i'm using Xcode/Dreamweaver with browsing and music play and RAM still available on 500-600MB :D (using memory clean to view RAM space available, autoclean mode on).

If some people think about future, maybe prepare 8GB is better. but for me, every 2 year or every apple release new version, i will buy one, i dont think that i'm need high-end spec for 5 year... (it's my perspective)
Please don't use any "memory cleaners." They defeat the purpose.
 

MacGeekAZ

macrumors member
Mar 5, 2011
68
1
I just ordered my MBA, and I went with 8GB RAM. I like to hang onto my computers for a number of years, and I want to make sure it will have sufficient RAM for any future software I may want/need, new OS's, etc. Most likely 4GB would have been fine, but since you can't add it later, I went with 8GB.
 

MacAndMic

macrumors 6502
Jun 4, 2009
355
1,136
I just ordered my MBA, and I went with 8GB RAM. I like to hang onto my computers for a number of years, and I want to make sure it will have sufficient RAM for any future software I may want/need, new OS's, etc. Most likely 4GB would have been fine, but since you can't add it later, I went with 8GB.
If any future software requires more than 4gb (doubtful except for heavy lifting media editing software) your processor won't be fast enough and you'll be looking to upgrade anyways.
 

dbroncos78087

macrumors regular
Feb 27, 2013
132
0
Northern Virginia
I have the base Air and I haven't ran into any memory consumption problems. I get the argument that it's non-upgradeable and you should definitely consider that when making a decision, but I have no regrets about getting the 4GB option.

I use it mostly for school so I type papers, surf the web, and get email on it.
 

stfwayne

macrumors regular
Apr 10, 2011
216
6
You will be fine with 4gb for what you describe. I had a 2011 i5/4gb/256gb 13" MBA and it was fine even with powerful software like Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro. Also remember that 4gb was the max you could get in 2011, they only made 8gb available in 2012.

Now I upgraded over the summer to a 2013 11" MBA i7/8gb/512gb because I had the opportunity to sell the old machine and wanted to get the top spec since I use pro software. But side by side, the 2011 and 2013 models really felt the same when doing things like mail, web, MS Office and Finder operations. Even Photoshop felt pretty much the same.

The main difference I see in the new machine is faster Final Cut Pro rendering and less latency in Logic Pro. So honestly, I don't think you will see any difference since I was comparing a 2011 i5/4gb MBA and the 2013 machines are already perhaps 30% faster.

Now 11" vs 13" is a totally personal thing that only you can decide. But after 2 years with the 13" model, I wanted the 11" and am now really happy with it.
Your situation is almost exactly identical to mine. I have a 2011 MBA i5/4GB and am considering either upgrading to 11/13 MBA i7/8GB or Base Retina 13 with 8GB

Would you say that you are very happy with the 11? It always intrigued me and was talked out of it at the time in 2011 due to immense decrease in performance and battery life but now that the 11/13 are basically evened out i am considering the 11 again.

Are you sacrificing alot of screen space? I use my MBA mainly for web browsing / watching lectures online / reading textbooks on PDFs (the only thing really holding me back from getting an 11)
 

majkom

macrumors 65816
May 3, 2011
1,354
652
OP: take 4gigs, dont pay for additional ram, you dont need it - for what you do, even 4gigs is overkill.

11 vs 13 - try them both and made decission - no one here can tell you whether 11 is good for you - for me, 11 is perfect - form factor is great and I am fine with smaller display, but that is just me
 

Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
4,201
1,876
New Jersey Pine Barrens
Would you say that you are very happy with the 11?
I love the 11". The 13 was also a great computer, but for me the 11 is just so much nicer. It is especially nice for travel and the improvement in battery life over the 2011 model is very significant. Great size for watching movies on an airplane.

Only you can decide if it fits your own needs. When travelling, I don't mind sacrificing screen space for portability. If I had to use the the built-in screen every day at the office I might not feel the same though, I really don't know.

At home I connect to a big monitor and external keyboard when I need the screen space. But it's great all by itself for things like watching movies, doing e-mail, internet browsing around the house or in bed.
 

stfwayne

macrumors regular
Apr 10, 2011
216
6
I love the 11". The 13 was also a great computer, but for me the 11 is just so much nicer. It is especially nice for travel and the improvement in battery life over the 2011 model is very significant. Great size for watching movies on an airplane.

Only you can decide if it fits your own needs. When travelling, I don't mind sacrificing screen space for portability. If I had to use the the built-in screen every day at the office I might not feel the same though, I really don't know.

At home I connect to a big monitor and external keyboard when I need the screen space. But it's great all by itself for things like watching movies, doing e-mail, internet browsing around the house or in bed.
I use my 2011 MBA 13" alot when I am sitting in bed propped up against my legs but how am i going to get an 11" to try at home before i make my decision.

Also heard that the travel on the keyboard of the 11" is worse or less than the 13" is that true?

Finally, do you really notice a huge sacrifice in reading text on screen with the 1.4" difference between the 11 and 13?