MacBook Air 2019, 8 or 16mb ram?

msregister

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 6, 2008
40
1
Hi,

I bought a Macbook Air 2019 with 256gb SSD and base 8mb ram. Its my travel laptop. I use primarily Web, Office, Mail, trading apps. I can easily have 50+ Chrome tabs, 20+ Safari tabs, 20+ PDFs open. I work in several spaces.

I noticed that there is lag when switching spaces and a general slight lag when switching between apps. This after just 1 week of use. Would returning it and ordering a 16mg ram configuration be more efficient and faster for my use?

Thanks!
 

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
30,718
10,505
California
Try this to test. Reboot then use it for a day like you normally do. Then start Activity Monitor and look in the Memory tab at memory pressure at the bottom. If that is green, more memory is not likely to help you. If it is yellow or red, you will likely benefit from more memory.

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201464
 

Scepticalscribe

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Jul 29, 2008
53,404
36,612
The Far Horizon
Hi,

I bought a Macbook Air 2019 with 256gb SSD and base 8mb ram. Its my travel laptop. I use primarily Web, Office, Mail, trading apps. I can easily have 50+ Chrome tabs, 20+ Safari tabs, 20+ PDFs open. I work in several spaces.

I noticed that there is lag when switching spaces and a general slight lag when switching between apps. This after just 1 week of use. Would returning it and ordering a 16mg ram configuration be more efficient and faster for my use?

Thanks!
Get as much RAM as you can afford, even if you don't immediately need it; it will serve to future proof the machine (or device) to some extent.

But, yes, having several windows open at the same time (I do the same thing sometimes) is pretty greedy on RAM.
 

mcvaughan

macrumors 6502a
Aug 9, 2007
813
240
Houston, TX
Get as much RAM as possible if you're going to be using Chrome. Safari is better with regards to memory management and power savings.
 

cynics

macrumors G4
Jan 8, 2012
11,630
1,907
Activity monitor > memory. For that Mac when memory pressure is in the red is when you'll feel slow downs due to the lack of RAM. Prior to that and it will leverage other system resources when usually go unnoticed.

That many tabs and that many PDF's open I wouldn't be surprised if you are running out of RAM.
 

ghanwani

macrumors 68020
Dec 8, 2008
2,048
1,481
Get the least amount of RAM you can get away with and upgrade sooner rather than later. Don't worry too much about longevity.

But as others have suggested doing, I am curious to see what the activity monitor reports for both RAM and CPU usage in your situation. It would be very helpful for a lot of people.

Also, how much of your 256 GB SSD is free?
 

kp98077

macrumors 65816
Oct 26, 2010
1,227
351
Get the least amount of RAM you can get away with and upgrade sooner rather than later. Don't worry too much about longevity.

But as others have suggested doing, I am curious to see what the activity monitor reports for both RAM and CPU usage in your situation. It would be very helpful for a lot of people.

Also, how much of your 256 GB SSD is free?
How’s the new Air? Like it ?
 

ghanwani

macrumors 68020
Dec 8, 2008
2,048
1,481
How’s the new Air? Like it ?
I like that it has physical function keys and the weight of the machine. I find the other aspects such as display, speakers, and performance acceptable with the caveat that I have only used it for Chrome so far. I am still to install Office and use it for my regular work, but I think it will hold up OK. The keyboard feels about the same class as the 2TB3 MBP.
 
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kp98077

macrumors 65816
Oct 26, 2010
1,227
351
I like that it has physical function keys and the weight of the machine. I find the other aspects such as display, speakers, and performance acceptable with the caveat that I have only used it for Chrome so far. I am still to install Office and use it for my regular work, but I think it will hold up OK. The keyboard feels about the same class as the 2TB3 MBP.
Thoughts now ? Any issues etc ? May pick up one...
 

ghanwani

macrumors 68020
Dec 8, 2008
2,048
1,481
Thoughts now ? Any issues etc ? May pick up one...
After a few more days, I think the graphics processing does feel a bit underpowered compared to the MBP even in daily use. This is more apparent when using Chrome on pages that have heavy graphics. The pages take a bit longer to load. For example, if I visit a YouTube channel and click "Videos", I first see all the titles load and then after a delay I see the video images load. I don't get that delay with Safari, but I prefer Chrome's UI and also have my bookmarks sync'ed there with my Windows machine. Otherwise, for normal browsing, since I use an ad blocker, I don't notice any performance issues. Even with slow loading pages, there is no spike in CPU or memory utilization, that's why I think it's related to graphics performance.

I haven't yet installed MS Office so can't comment on that performance.

I came to the Air explicitly thinking I'll live with whatever experience it brings. My ideal machine would be physical function keys on the 2TB3 Pro, but since that's not an option, I think the Air is the next best thing. I am willing to compromise on performance rather than be forced to live with the touch bar. If Apple updates the MBA with improved graphics without adding the touch bar, I will upgrade immediately.
 

kp98077

macrumors 65816
Oct 26, 2010
1,227
351
After a few more days, I think the graphics processing does feel a bit underpowered compared to the MBP even in daily use. This is more apparent when using Chrome on pages that have heavy graphics. The pages take a bit longer to load. For example, if I visit a YouTube channel and click "Videos", I first see all the titles load and then after a delay I see the video images load. I don't get that delay with Safari, but I prefer Chrome's UI and also have my bookmarks sync'ed there with my Windows machine. Otherwise, for normal browsing, since I use an ad blocker, I don't notice any performance issues. Even with slow loading pages, there is no spike in CPU or memory utilization, that's why I think it's related to graphics performance.

I haven't yet installed MS Office so can't comment on that performance.

I came to the Air explicitly thinking I'll live with whatever experience it brings. My ideal machine would be physical function keys on the 2TB3 Pro, but since that's not an option, I think the Air is the next best thing. I am willing to compromise on performance rather than be forced to live with the touch bar. If Apple updates the MBA with improved graphics without adding the touch bar, I will upgrade immediately.
Interesting.....! also one thing I did notice yesterday, I took my MBP into the store and compared to the MBA and for sure the background on the Air was much more 'yellow'. in pulling up you tube in safari however I didn't really notices much of lag.... love the shape of the Air just not sure about the 'internals'...
 

ghanwani

macrumors 68020
Dec 8, 2008
2,048
1,481
Interesting.....! also one thing I did notice yesterday, I took my MBP into the store and compared to the MBA and for sure the background on the Air was much more 'yellow'. in pulling up you tube in safari however I didn't really notices much of lag.... love the shape of the Air just not sure about the 'internals'...
Did you try the MBA with Chrome? With Safari even I didn't notice any lag.
 

flaubert

macrumors 6502
Jun 16, 2015
327
80
Portland, Oregon
@msregister, there are also extensions for Chrome to help you manage the resources that tabs use; here is a roundup of some of them:


That might help you avoid the likely significant expense of trading up to a 16GB RAM model.
 

minifridge1138

macrumors 65816
Jun 26, 2010
1,154
187
There's a Chrome extension called "The Great Suspender" that can really help cut back on Chrome's RAM usage. Take a look.

Also to be pedantic, I assume you're looking at 8 or 16 GB of ram. Trying to do anything with 16 MB of ram would be painful with modern web browsing.
 
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