Macbook Air 4 or 8gb RAM?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Lucille Carter, Feb 20, 2014.

  1. Lucille Carter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2013
    #1
    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
     
  2. MacAndMic macrumors 6502

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    Jun 4, 2009
    #2
    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.
     
  3. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    Oct 10, 2013
    #3
    Please use the search function. This has been extensively discussed.
     
  4. joshwithachance macrumors 68000

    joshwithachance

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    Dec 11, 2009
    #4
    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.
     
  5. abta1 macrumors 6502

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    Paris, France
    #5
    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.
     
  6. michaelsviews, Feb 20, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2014

    michaelsviews macrumors 65816

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    Upstate NY
    #6
    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
     
  7. halledise macrumors 65816

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    Hamilton Island, Whitsundays, QLD Australia
    #7
    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
     
  8. keysofanxiety macrumors 604

    keysofanxiety

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    Nov 23, 2011
    #8
    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.
     
  9. Orr macrumors 6502

    Orr

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  10. Cheffy Dave macrumors 68030

    Cheffy Dave

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    Sunny Florida, on the Gulf Coast in Homosassa Fl
    #10
    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:
     
  11. Dweez macrumors 65816

    Dweez

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    Down by the river
    #11
    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.
     
  12. chadua macrumors member

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    Jul 9, 2008
    #12
    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.
     
  13. Cheffy Dave macrumors 68030

    Cheffy Dave

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    #13
    nicely put Chadua
     
  14. Lucille Carter thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Jul 3, 2013
    #14
    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!
     
  15. RMXO macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 1, 2009
    #15
    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.
     
  16. chadua macrumors member

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    Jul 9, 2008
    #16
    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.
     
  17. xanotos75 macrumors newbie

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    Nov 25, 2010
    Location:
    Bell, California
    #17
    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.
     
  18. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #18
    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.
     
  19. xanotos75 macrumors newbie

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    Nov 25, 2010
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    Bell, California
    #19
    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.
     
  20. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020

    MartinAppleGuy

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    Sep 27, 2013
    #20
    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.
     
  21. TheEnthusiast macrumors regular

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    Aug 22, 2013
    #21
    You're not really comparing two equal machines.
     
  22. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

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    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #22
    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.
     
  23. iRun26.2 macrumors 68000

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    Aug 15, 2010
    #23
    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.
     
  24. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    Jul 29, 2008
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    #24
    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.
     
  25. halledise macrumors 65816

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    Hamilton Island, Whitsundays, QLD Australia
    #25
    you seem to be attributing everything to an increase in RAM whilst ignoring the other elements that contributed to the 'astonishing difference' :cool:
     

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