MacBook Air: 8G or 16GM Memory?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by andrew87, Nov 3, 2018.

  1. andrew87 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2011
    #1
    Need some assistance making a simple, but important, decision. Do I go with the 8GB or 16GB memory? Here's some information about my computer usage...
    • I don't do use any Pro-like apps (no video editing or things of that sort).
    • Despite the above, I am a heavy computer user and am opening 50MB spreadsheets all day (which doesn't sound like a lot but they do take time to load and time to manipulate all that data).
    • I currently use a late 2012 MacBook Pro (which is what the new MacBook Air is replacing).
    • This is both my work and personal laptop.
    Any thoughts, questions or feedback? I realize it's a small request for assistance but any and all replies are appreciated.

    Cheers.
     
  2. dagored macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    Location:
    Florida
    #2
    There’s no such thing as “too much ram”. Plus, if you plan on keeping it, operating systems seem to need more and more ram.

    Mine will be 16/512.
     
  3. maerz001 macrumors 65816

    maerz001

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2010
    #3
    Just “too much money”? ;)

    Op, what does your current machine show in activity monitor (ram used, pressure, swap)?
     
  4. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus

    SandboxGeneral

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2010
    Location:
    Detroit
    #4
    If you can afford it, go for the 16GB RAM. It's like future-proofing especially if you intend on keeping it a long time. This way as new OS's come out and other apps demand more RAM, or you later decided to get into A/V editing or virtual machines and other stuff, you'll have enough RAM to go around.
     
  5. Howard2k macrumors 68020

    Howard2k

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2016
    #5
    I use 8GB in my current machine and it handles Lightroom, GarageBand, office apps etc with no issue.

    if you have to choose between 16GB and a backup strategy, I’d choose a backup strategy. But if you’re not hurting in that department then take the 16.
     
  6. Lioness~, Nov 3, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2018

    Lioness~ macrumors 65816

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    Apr 26, 2017
    #6
    I would absolutely take 16GB.
    Rather take smaller SSD before less ram. Storage you can have in cloud etc too.

    I was personally 1st thinking 16/512 but I might go with 16/256.

    Edit. Yes, just ordered a Gold 16/256.
     
  7. sosumi99 macrumors 6502

    sosumi99

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2003
    #7
    One of the things that RAM helps with is navigating large spreadsheets and documents. I would bring a few of your large spreadsheets on a USB drive to an Apple store and test it out on machines with different configurations. I suspect you'll see a benefit from more RAM but there's no way to be sure unless you verify through an experiment.
     
  8. normanfox macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2014
    #8
    I am on the same boat: 8GB or 16GB? The big advantage of MBA is low price. If I upgrade everything, then it is no longer have any advantages over MBP.

    My current window PC has 16GB RAM and dual 4k 27" monitors, and it uses about 8GB with 20 chrome tabs open. Window has alot of ghost apps that use memory. I don't know much about macOS.
     
  9. hans1972 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2010
    #9
    You do not need 16Gb. 8Gb is fine for your usage even several years for now.

    My advice when buying computers for general use, unless you have specific needs you know is the following:

    1. Get 8Gb RAM
    2. Go for a high-resolution screen
    3. Buy at least 128Gb SSD
    4. Spend money on a backup solution: external HDD, backup service, NAS
    5. Spend money or use a photo service: iCloud Photo Library, Google Photos
    6. Upgrade SSD if needed, especially for long term
    7. Upgrade to 16Gb of RAM
    8. Upgrade to better CPU

    In your case I would spend money on a backup solution and photo service before I would upgrade the RAM. I would buy 256 Gb SSD before 16Gb RAM.

    I would only buy 16Gb if you need to future proof it for changing needs or keep it for a really long time.
     
  10. Kimcha macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2012
    #10
    Always get the max, because it’s not upgradable.

    Software is using more and more RAM.

    A lot of apps nowadays use the Electeon framework to create cross-platform apps. These are not “real” apps, but instead web-apps that run in a special version of chrome.

    But each one of these apps is running its own chrome with all the crap it requires.

    Some apps that use these frameworks are Skype, Spotify, slack and many more.

    If you, like many, run these three apps you already run three versions of chrome. Each one using at least 400mb of ram.

    Using this framework means developers can use only one code-base and support Mac, windows and Linux. It saves them A LOT of money at the expense of your RAM.

    This will become only more common. So even though 8gn may be enough today, likely won’t be in a few years because of this.
     
  11. Dave245 macrumors 604

    Dave245

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2013
    #11
    Isn’t it always better to get more Ram for future proofing? At least that’s what I’ve always been lead to believe.

    For example my usage is, long writing sessions, Netflix, YouTube, web browsing and some light photo editing in Pixelmator. Are you saying that I would be better sticking with the 8GB?
     
  12. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus

    SandboxGeneral

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    Sep 8, 2010
    Location:
    Detroit
    #12
    Yes. That’s the idea I use when buying for myself. I’d rather have it (more RAM) and not need it, than to not have it and need it.
     
  13. Lioness~, Nov 4, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018

    Lioness~ macrumors 65816

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    Apr 26, 2017
    #13
    From my experience, I should actually totally reverse those priorities, almost.
    • Buy the BEST RAM you can afford for your use, for future proofing. I did that on my 2013 iMac, 32GB, still an amazing machine that will last spec vice 2-3 more yrs. It’s worth it when buying Apple.
    • The more RAM your machine will get a higher price and better 2nd hand value when you will sell it.
    • They are enough expensive as it is, some would argue. If you can afford Apple, then you can not afford to not future proof it.
    • Storage you can add in many other ways, as you say too. External disks, NAS, iCloud, various other services. We can never (almost not) get enough backups and storage. But we can buy more disks, upgrading services.
    • Good storage on our devices is fine, But storage we can sync between devices is even more important imhi.
    • When I bought my NAS I probably could have done with an 2-bay and like 2x2TB. Did I buy that? Nope, I am an Apple customer, I future proof :D so I bought a 4-bay and 4x6TB disks to grow in.
    • Now with MBA I will have 1 more device to stream/sync to :)
    • You know your workload, you know your need for big/middle/low CPU. More RAM over higher CPU imhi.
     
  14. maerz001, Nov 4, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018

    maerz001 macrumors 65816

    maerz001

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    Nov 2, 2010
    #14
    1st you just get a fraction of the money back when you sell it.
    2nd if it just sits there unused its a total waste
    3rd future proofing is most of the times wasted money. Its better to buy the machine used at the time you need it if you really want to save money as the prices fall faster than your needs grow
     
  15. Howard2k macrumors 68020

    Howard2k

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    Mar 10, 2016
    #15

    That’s ridiculous. So someone buying a laptop for writing documents should go and buy 32GB? That’s completely absurd.
     
  16. Kimcha macrumors regular

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    Feb 19, 2012
    #16
    You are right, 32gb are absurd for most people. But the MBA doesn't have that option. 16GB on the other hand is a good choice.

    My gf will probably get the MBA and we will 100% take the 16gb even though she won't need that much most of the time today...
     
  17. maerz001 macrumors 65816

    maerz001

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    #17
    Thats how Apple became a trillion $ company ;)
     
  18. Dave245 macrumors 604

    Dave245

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    Sep 15, 2013
    #18
    What will the extra ram do if someone jumps from the 8GB to 16GB? Is it worth the jump?
     
  19. maerz001 macrumors 65816

    maerz001

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2010
    #19
    U mean besides putting a hole in your wallet u ask what RAM is for?

    Well usually people who ask this won’t need the jump.
     
  20. Lioness~ macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2017
    #20
    Absolutely.
    If you plan to have your MBA ~2-3 yrs, and sell it, it's still a good computer and you get more for it. If you plan to have it ~4-5 yrs, you will have a good computer.
    I can hardly see any reason to buy with 8GB memory. For those that can't afford 16GB, maybe a 2nd hand MBA will do better.

    I payed 2200SEK (like $240) extra for 16GB. Worth it to me, of above reasons.
     
  21. Dave245 macrumors 604

    Dave245

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2013
    #21
    I ask because I’m not a very spec savy person, but I’ve often been told to get the most Ram and specs for future proofing. My needs for the new MacBook Air will be, long writing sessions within Pages and Final Draft, Netflix, YouTube, email, web browsing and some light phot editing work in Pixelmator.

    I have an 2012 iMac that I use for my main machine, such as games like Two Point Hospital and so on, even then they are light games. I do plan on updating my iMac at a later date and when Apple finally update them, but for now it works well for what I need.
    --- Post Merged, Nov 4, 2018 ---
    Ok, I had a 2011 MacBook Pro that was a great machine but it died earlier this year and I’m looking for an upgrade, any upgrade I get I would want to last in the area of 5 years-7 years, similar to what the 2011 MacBook Pro lasted me :D

    I was sad to see it go, it really was the best computer I’ve ever owned (alongside my 2012 iMac :))
     
  22. Geert76 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2014
    Location:
    the Netherlands
    #22
    Wow, I am really amazed by some of the people in this topic, advising TS a Macbook with specs like he is running super heavy multiple apps simultaneously while he is just an average user with a low to average workload.
     
  23. Lioness~ macrumors 65816

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    Apr 26, 2017
    #23
    RIP MBP :(
    How much RAM did you have on that?
    2-5 yrs from now you'll need 16GB is my prediction. You will probably manage with 8GB for now. But why?
    You sound like a 'future proofing' guy if you had that MBP 7yrs.

    Only you will know if it's worth it for you.
    It's not a lot of extra money for 16GB, when the MBA is expensive anyway?
    I can only speak from own experience, really. So does everybody else :)
     
  24. maerz001 macrumors 65816

    maerz001

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2010
    #24
    It seems you don’t get the math here right. You get about 50% money back at the time.
    So if you want to get more money back you should invest in Apple shares not in computer hardware.
     
  25. Lioness~ macrumors 65816

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    Apr 26, 2017
    #25
    It's not an investment, it's future proofing of quality things I buy, big difference!
     

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141 November 3, 2018