Macbook Air 4 or 8gb RAM?

Lucille Carter

Suspended
Original poster
Jul 3, 2013
1,266
4
With a SSD is it still important getting 8 gb RAM over 4?

Lack of RAM can cause extra access to the hard drive but if it is also solid state, does it really make a big difference.

Looking to buy a Macbook Air ASAP but the local stores only show the 4gb models
 

MacAndMic

macrumors 6502
Jun 4, 2009
355
1,136
There are many threads that you can read about the subject in this forum but it really comes down to your needs and budget.

If you are a typical user, mail, internet, iTunes, word processing, etc., 4 gb is fine. If you are doing some demanding multimedia editing, consider 8gb. I'll further add that I do not see anyone with 4gb complaining.

Fair warning though, you will also get responses about future proofing and upgrading the ram. Personally, adding ram to future proof a system does not make sense to me. If future programs really need that amount of ram, they will also need increased processor speed to keep the current computing experience enjoyable.
 

joshwithachance

macrumors 68000
Dec 11, 2009
1,705
354
I went with the base model 11" so 4GB here. It probably would have been the best decision to go for 8GB, but I got my Air for $829 at Best Buy so the cost savings swayed me. With that said, I haven't run into any issues at all with the 4GB. I mostly web browse, watch videos, create documents, and edit videos in iMovie.
 

abta1

macrumors 6502
Jul 5, 2010
334
11
Paris, France
I recently bought an 11" MBA with 4GB RAM and 256GB SSD. I was contemplating the model with 8Gb RAM but the Apple store didn't have them in stock and I'm only visiting here in the states. In the end, having 8Gb of RAM is nice for more intensive tasks such as audio or video work but as others have said, it all depends on what you need the laptop for. I bought this MBA to replace my 2010 15" MBP as it was just too heavy and a hassle to lug around when I travel. The MBA is perfect for all the tasks I need it for such as writing papers, web surfing, note taking and presentations while all my heavy work is done on my workstation/servers at work anyway. So now I have a super light machine with great battery life that I can take around with me anywhere with little to no consideration for weight. It's also taking a big chunk out of my tablet usage too.
 

michaelsviews

macrumors 65816
Sep 25, 2007
1,228
232
New England
With a SSD is it still important getting 8 gb RAM over 4?

Lack of RAM can cause extra access to the hard drive but if it is also solid state, does it really make a big difference.

Looking to buy a Macbook Air ASAP but the local stores only show the 4gb models
0

8 Gig, B&H Photo in NYC carries a wider selection if you need it ASAP
Better to have it and not need it, then need it and not have it:D
 
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halledise

macrumors 65816
With a SSD is it still important getting 8 gb RAM over 4?

Lack of RAM can cause extra access to the hard drive but if it is also solid state, does it really make a big difference.

Looking to buy a Macbook Air ASAP but the local stores only show the 4gb models
4gb is enough.
unless you're doing intensive work, such as video editing, you won't see any real difference.
with the PCIe flash 'HDD' - speed is optimised
 

keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
9,472
24,227
There are many threads that you can read about the subject in this forum but it really comes down to your needs and budget.

If you are a typical user, mail, internet, iTunes, word processing, etc., 4 gb is fine. If you are doing some demanding multimedia editing, consider 8gb. I'll further add that I do not see anyone with 4gb complaining.

Fair warning though, you will also get responses about future proofing and upgrading the ram. Personally, adding ram to future proof a system does not make sense to me. If future programs really need that amount of ram, they will also need increased processor speed to keep the current computing experience enjoyable.
Normally I'd agree, but generally with more modern programs it seems they use more RAM than they would CPU. For instance, you'd be hard-pressed to see a program max out the CPU whilst not making much impact on the RAM.

And with RAM, we're talking the difference between 4GB and 8GB -- that's 100%. If you have a program that risks using a lot of CPU usage, .2GHz isn't going to make an awful lot of difference.

TL;DR: IMHO, maxing out the RAM on a soldered Logic Board is a viable 'futureproofing' solution.
 

Cheffy Dave

macrumors 68030
I'm 65, 66 Monday:cool:, this justification of 4 MB of ram, is by those who were to cheap to spend $100 more. Before I moved to MAC,, I built PC's, my Mantra was (when RAM was $$$$$$$$$) was buy what you can afford, now its dirt cheap, (at least outside of :apple):, for $100, you'd deny yourself a faster machine?? If things are that tight,let me show you something in ASUS:cool:
 

Dweez

macrumors 65816
Jun 13, 2011
1,246
9
Down by the river
Memory size is determined by the workload you'll be running. Mine has 8 gig because I run virtual machines on my MBA, one of them being my corporate windows 7 laptop which was virtualized and given 4 gig of ram.
 

chadua

macrumors member
Jul 9, 2008
76
0
I'm 65, 66 Monday:cool:, this justification of 4 MB of ram, is by those who were to cheap to spend $100 more. Before I moved to MAC,, I built PC's, my Mantra was (when RAM was $$$$$$$$$) was buy what you can afford, now its dirt cheap, (at least outside of :apple):, for $100, you'd deny yourself a faster machine?? If things are that tight,let me show you something in ASUS:cool:
The OP's problem is a matter of urgent need and what is available to him in the shop not the money. Unless he is going to have a lot of programs open at once or is going to be working with software that keeps large files open like video editing, or very large photo editing, he'll probably be able to get by now with 4gb.

If his needs are going to change or being able to use the computer with future software is more important than having it right now, I'd agree that the upgrade is worth while.
 

Cheffy Dave

macrumors 68030
The OP's problem is a matter of urgent need and what is available to him in the shop not the money. Unless he is going to have a lot of programs open at once or is going to be working with software that keeps large files open like video editing, or very large photo editing, he'll probably be able to get by now with 4gb.

If his needs are going to change or being able to use the computer with future software is more important than having it right now, I'd agree that the upgrade is worth while.
nicely put Chadua
 

Lucille Carter

Suspended
Original poster
Jul 3, 2013
1,266
4
The OP's problem is a matter of urgent need and what is available to him in the shop not the money. Unless he is going to have a lot of programs open at once or is going to be working with software that keeps large files open like video editing, or very large photo editing, he'll probably be able to get by now with 4gb.

If his needs are going to change or being able to use the computer with future software is more important than having it right now, I'd agree that the upgrade is worth while.
Thanks, the choice has been made as I found a quick delivery on a 8gb model. I realize I may not need it but the extra cost was not an issue as much a speed. I am also in the process of getting a MBPro to replace my older iMac 27. It is taking up way too much room for the amount it is getting used. So it will go up on CL soon.

Hope everyone has a great weekend and thanks for everyone's input!
 

RMXO

macrumors 6502a
Sep 1, 2009
873
41
Thanks, the choice has been made as I found a quick delivery on a 8gb model. I realize I may not need it but the extra cost was not an issue as much a speed. I am also in the process of getting a MBPro to replace my older iMac 27. It is taking up way too much room for the amount it is getting used. So it will go up on CL soon.

Hope everyone has a great weekend and thanks for everyone's input!
Good choice, 4GB isn't enough. I had a MBA with 4GB and got SBB all the time. It's always best to be safe than sorry since the RAM is soldered in.
 

chadua

macrumors member
Jul 9, 2008
76
0
My current macbook air only has 4GB. I was in a similar situation. I was in Manhattan and needed a computer within half an hour, so I had to buy what they had in stock.
 

xanotos75

macrumors newbie
Nov 25, 2010
27
5
Bell, California
Well I have a 4GB and I play on it and have 15 browser tabs opened and never have had any problem with running out of memory.
Sure, people say to future proof it, but by the time I will really need those 4 extra GB's, I'll just upgrade to the latest Air will all new upgraded parts.
 

Scepticalscribe

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Jul 29, 2008
45,581
30,779
The Far Horizon
Last summer, I went from a 2010 MBA (the old 'rev C') with 2 GB RAM (which was considered very good for the time) to an 8 GB RAM 2013 model. The difference was incredible, (the old machine had begun to offer me beach balls more and ore often) and the new MBA is blazing fast all of the time.

While the main argument usually advanced in favour of more RAM is that of future proofing, the sheer difference in the speed of the response does make a difference. For the sake of spending an extra $100, it is well worth the difference in speed and responsiveness.
 

xanotos75

macrumors newbie
Nov 25, 2010
27
5
Bell, California
Yeah, but things have changed from a 2010 Air; PCI-E SSD, Ram Speed, Processor.
So I doubt it can be said that doubling ram can make a difference when multiple items have been upgraded on the Airs since 2010.
 

MartinAppleGuy

macrumors 68020
Sep 27, 2013
2,243
888
I have 8Gb of RAM in my iMac, and was just running over 20 apps (like iMovie, iPhoto, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Safari, Chrome, App Store, iTunes, Games Centre...) and everything was still buttery smooth. And the RAM usage was just under 6Gb (and that was with other RAM caching also, so the actual use was around 5Gb). I still have another 2Gb before it clears the RAM cache, then another 1Gb before it compresses, then another 4Gb before it starts to Swap ;)

The best part: I almost always only use one program at a time :D 8Gb is super over-kill ;)

I'd say 4Gb of RAM is enough for the basic user, even if they wish to have it for 3-5 years. 8Gb for a more advanced user, that wishes to keep it for 4-6 years, then 16Gb of RAM for the advanced user that runs a lot at once (and maybe VM's too) and wants to keep it for 4-6 years.
 

TheEnthusiast

macrumors regular
Aug 22, 2013
146
3
Last summer, I went from a 2010 MBA (the old 'rev C') with 2 GB RAM (which was considered very good for the time) to an 8 GB RAM 2013 model. The difference was incredible, (the old machine had begun to offer me beach balls more and ore often) and the new MBA is blazing fast all of the time.
You're not really comparing two equal machines.
 

alphaod

macrumors Core
Feb 9, 2008
22,047
1,105
NYC
No idea what you do on your computer, so can't really answer.

On a computer that I only stream movies on, it has only 4GB of RAM and that's more than enough.
 

iRun26.2

macrumors 68000
Aug 15, 2010
1,639
6
This is one of the questions I've never understand: If you can afford a MBA, why in the world would you not pay a little more to get 8G of RAM? It think it should be automatic.
 

Scepticalscribe

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Jul 29, 2008
45,581
30,779
The Far Horizon
You're not really comparing two equal machines.
Agreed, no, I'm not, but the differences were very noticeable and I was merely pointing them out in answer to the OP's initial question.

I hadn't paid much heed to the endless debates on these fora to the 1 vs 2 RAM debate, or the 2 vs 4. However, because I had the opportunity and the difference in price was negligible, I was able to jump form 2 RAM to 8 RAM and observed an astonishing difference between them.
 

halledise

macrumors 65816
Agreed, no, I'm not, but the differences were very noticeable and I was merely pointing them out in answer to the OP's initial question.

I hadn't paid much heed to the endless debates on these fora to the 1 vs 2 RAM debate, or the 2 vs 4. However, because I had the opportunity and the difference in price was negligible, I was able to jump form 2 RAM to 8 RAM and observed an astonishing difference between them.
you seem to be attributing everything to an increase in RAM whilst ignoring the other elements that contributed to the 'astonishing difference' :cool: