MacBook Air 4GB VS 8GB

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by tennahansen, Sep 15, 2015.

  1. tennahansen macrumors newbie

    Sep 15, 2015
    Hello, I have some questions about buying a MacBook Air. I hope you can help! It is very important to me :)
    Since I've started on college, I need a new computer, because mine is very old and slow.
    I'm looking at buying MacBook Air, 13".
    I'm a girl who saves all her photos on her computer and all her documents. I would propably save up to 3000 pictures a year on my computer. When I'm not in school I'm probably watching netflix or editing pictures. But nothing fansy with the pictures tho! I hardly edit them with pricy editing programs.
    So my questions is:
    How many GB ram do I need to buy it with? And why?
    How much storage am I going to need, with all those pictures and documents?
    And what du you think are the pros and cons with MacBook Air?

    I really hope someone can help me! :/
  2. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    If you're going to make the plunge to 8GB RAM then you might as well just buy the rMBP.

    Retina MacBook Pro IMHO, reason being:

    - Better display
    - Better graphics card
    - More RAM as standard
    - Faster RAM
    - Faster Flash
    - New Force Touch trackpad
    - Better processor

    So it's a much better computer and the advantages of a MBA are:

    - Lighter
    - Better battery life

    So it's up to you what's more important in a portable.
  3. pjfan macrumors regular

    May 24, 2009
    Columbus OH
    Based on your description, I would 100% second "keysofanxiety" statement. Get a refurb rMBP with 512 GB of Storage, or take the student discount with such a system.

    If you want to keep your system for 4-5 years, go with no less than 8 GB of RAM. Considering your photo storage, go no-less than 256 GB of storage.

    Personally, I have become sold on the MacBook. Similar use case, but work related instead of school, but I want the 512 GB version of the MacBook to be my sole travel system that will store all of my photo content. The Pro is a much better system that will serve for a very long time (in five years, it'll be operating snappy in my opinion), so my recommendation remains, try to go wth a rMBP.
  4. blesscheese macrumors 6502a


    Apr 3, 2010
    Central CA
    My questions are, a) what are you using currently, and b) what programs do you use to edit photos, or what do you want to use to edit photos?. Next, c) what camera are you using, how big is your typical photo (look up the size on your computer), and d) how big are your picture files & folders right now.

    If all you want to do is light editing, using the tools that come with the Photo program on the Mac, then really, any one of the MacBooks will be then the next question is, e) what is your budget, and f) do you want to hang on to it for 1-2 years and buy again, or do you want it to last 3, 4, or 5 years (or longer?).

    Based on your scenario, you may be ok with 4GB RAM and a 256GB drive, but there are also other considerations...

    You may not need 8GB RAM right now, but if you want to hang on to the computer as long as possible, then paying extra for the RAM may be worth it. And unless you want to swap things from your internal drive to an external drive, to make open up space on your computer's internal drive, you should also consider the 512GB drive.

    I looked quickly at prices...the plain MacBook, with 8GB RAM and a 512GB drive is $1599. The MBA, with 8GB RAM and a 512GB drive is the same price (not upgrading the processor). The rMBP, to get a 512GB drive, it appears you have to go to the $1799 model. These prices are considerably higher than the base models, but may (or may not) be worth it depending on your needs and answers to the initial questions.

    Anyway, if you are coming from an older computer, some of the issues won't matter, because the new computer will most likely be faster! I love my MBA, but I'm definitely waiting to see if they will have new models soon, with upgraded processors and maybe a better(?) screen.
  5. Cheffy Dave macrumors 68030

    Cheffy Dave

    Feb 5, 2007
    Sunny Florida, on the Gulf Coast in Homosassa Fl
  6. Cheffy Dave macrumors 68030

    Cheffy Dave

    Feb 5, 2007
    Sunny Florida, on the Gulf Coast in Homosassa Fl
    Just by 8 GB, it's $100, and never look back
  7. adam9c1 macrumors 68000


    May 2, 2012
    Here is m .02

    I have recently acquired an older MBP. (2010 c2d) which came with 4GB.
    I have upgraded to SSD and wiped the machine.

    Upgraded to 8GB and the boot up was much quicker.

    I strongly feel 8GB is the way to go to future proof. While it may not be necessary now you will see benefits of it, and I think will be more helpful to have in next two OS generations.

    Just because the OS will run on 2GB it does not mean you should be running it on 2GB.
    For those of you who were running DOS and Win 3,1 who moved onto w95 running bare minimums...?
  8. DavidLynch macrumors 6502a

    Apr 9, 2015
    The majority here is always going to tell you to get the maximum amount of ram. If you can only spend the money on one upgrade, put it into storage. With your usage you'll be fine with 4GB ram, but will probably want the additional space. You'll probably be perfectly happy with the base model though if you'd like/need to spend less. It's an excellent student laptop. In a perfect scenario you should always get a bit more than you need for future proofing, but I think a lot of folks on here forget that the additional cost of these upgrades does make a difference for many students and they can probably put it to better use elsewhere.
  9. deadshift macrumors member


    Jan 8, 2011
    8GB will make it a little faster now, and a lot faster later in its life. If you can afford the extra $100 now to extend the functional life of the macbook by an extra 1-2 years, then get the extra RAM. That's not upgradeable later. Storage on the MacBook Air is still upgradeable, unlike the MBPr. So if your data growth rate is on the order of 10GB/yr (3MB/pic, 3000 pic) then 256GB sounds pretty good. Storage prices continue to drop like crazy, so getting 1TB in 3 years will probably cost less than getting 512G now. if you find that 256G isn't enough in a few years, you have options. The 128G is really for people who only watch netflix and surf the web and don't store anything on their computer.

    The MBA is a great machine, CPU performance is fine and storage speed is excellent.

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