MBA 11 inch 4Gb 128GB enough?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by ccrgt, Nov 3, 2016.

  1. ccrgt macrumors regular

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    Apr 21, 2015
    Location:
    Canberra, Australia
    #1
    G'day, I am an Aussie Apple fan and have iPads big and small, iPhone 6S, AW2 and have owned and loved many many of Apple's products over the years. On Sunday I bought a new unused 11 inch MBA from my local Apple Store, one of the few available just before Apple pulled them from stores. I use an iPP 12 inch with pencil and ASK all day everyday in my job as a teacher. We didn't have a laptop at home and so the MBA will stay at home to be used by us all as need be. I am very fond of the 11 inch and was thrilled to be able to pick one up so quickly. But I am having buyer's regret: is 128GB enough? With not much on there (I use Dropbox) I have only about 50GB left. I am now thinking maybe I should return it and pick up a refurb 11 inch/8/512 (about $600 more than I paid) so it would last us all for a few years. I know I can just chuck an external drive when space becomes an issue. Am I being silly? I would appreciate any advice.
     
  2. Shirasaki macrumors 603

    Shirasaki

    Joined:
    May 16, 2015
    #2
    Just 4GB ram itself alone proves less value of the machine you choose: 4GB/128GB.
    I have such configuration and hell...I wish I would have 256 or 512 one and with 8GB of ram.
     
  3. ccrgt thread starter macrumors regular

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  4. Fozziebear40 macrumors regular

    Fozziebear40

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    Apr 14, 2008
    Location:
    Newton-le-Willows
    #4
    Exactly the same dilemma here! Not even opened my 4gb 128gb 11" yet. Thinking of a refurb 8gb 512gb 11" for an extra £200.
    The only problem is, the refurb is a 2013 model....
    Edit: Refurb is also i7 1.7 instead of i5 1.6....
     
  5. ccrgt thread starter macrumors regular

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    #5
    I know! I can get an early 2015, fully specced out from the Apple online store... decisions....
     
  6. sracer macrumors 603

    sracer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    Location:
    Land of Bongos and Beatniks
    #6
    For background: I have a variety of devices, including an iMac, 11" 4GB/128GB MBA, 128GB 12.9 iPad Pro, and 64GB iPhone SE.

    Virtually everything that I do on my iMac, I have been able to do on my MBA. DVD ripping, video creation (w/iMovie), audio work in Audacity, graphic work, running Windows virtual machines. The 4/128 has not been a hindrance to me.

    With macOS Sierra installed, and 3 office suites... iWork '09, iWork (latest), LibreOffice, (and occasionally MS Office), and 3 cloud services (iCloud, Dropbox, OneDrive) and all of the key apps that I use on my iMac... I have approx. 80GB free on the internal storage.

    I have used tools like "Clean My Mac 3" and "Disk Inventory X" to carefully remove unneeded files. I know that there are some who claim that CMM is dangerous... I won't deny any bad experiences that they have had, but in my first-hand experiences it has been rock-solid and has been very effective in keeping the system clean, lean, and mean.

    I keep the impact of cloud storage caches to a minimum by configuring them (specifically dropbox and onedrive) to only sync certain folders.

    I also supplement the onboard storage with a nano USB thumbdrive. Sandisk makes a few that barely stick out from the USB port. I used to keep it permanently installed but macOS Sierra seems treat it differently than previous versions of OSX, resulting in significant battery drain... so I only install it with I'm on AC power or need the drive.

    Only you know how important the MBA will be to your mix of devices and whether or not the increased cost is worth it. As I've mentioned in other threads, I bought my new 2014 4/128 11" MBA in 2014 for $475 out-the-door. To bump the specs up to 8/256 would've almost doubled the price. It wasn't worth it to ME. But it might be worth it to you.
     
  7. Macgyver1 macrumors member

    Macgyver1

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2016
    #7
    I just picked up the same configuration myself. I had hoped to order through Apple and upgrade the ram to 8gb, but it was too late after the keynote. Didn't want to go the refurb route myself, but that's just me.

    Micro usb's hardly pose any dimensional difference, and can hold very large volumes(pics, music, etc.). Apples upgrade path for memory and storage on the Air's is very expensive, leading you to price points of their upper tier counterparts. I'm in Canada and paid 1050 for mine, if I went rMacbook with m5, I would of been at 1899, with basically the same performance. My multitasking needs are not vast, and if the 4gb's bottle neck the speed at some point, I'm sure the swaping of paging files with the ssd will prove fast.

    End difference for my anticipation, perhaps 25% speed difference when working with a large volume of memory usage. That will be a rare scenario for me.

    Check out 4gb's in action:
     
  8. pika2000 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2007
    #8
    I have personally used an 11" MacBook Air with just 4GB of RAM that I thought was not enough.
    I was surprised when I was using it running Chrome with 20+ tabs, multiple Excel files, and also driving the Apple 27' Thunderbolt Display in extended desktop configuration. Sure, initiating expose was not ultra smooth, but I was amazed the fact the little machine can do those things while driving an external monitor to boot.
    The machine was running El Capitan.
    Of course, if I'm buying a new machine, I would opt for 8GB just for the comfort. But 4GB is actually usable.
     
  9. ccrgt thread starter macrumors regular

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    Canberra, Australia
    #9
    Thanks for the great replies so far, really appreciate it. So RAM is better when it's bigger hey?
     
  10. BigMcGuire Contributor

    BigMcGuire

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2012
    Location:
    California
    #10
    I have a 4gb/128gb 11' Macbook Air. My wife does too. We were able to get ours for hundreds off at Best Buy last year and we love them - use them all the time. We can play World of Warcraft on them when we want to - as well as Age of Empires on Steam with Play On My Mac. My wife uses USB 3.0 to DVI to do a dual monitor setup at home when she's not at college. We both utilize Dropbox (syncing) and Google Drive (static storage not local) and it's working for us.

    Yeah, more ram is better if you can afford it. However, I've never hit ram or storage problems on my Air. Like others say, you can have Chrome with 20 tabs, xcode, Office and Excel, etc... all running and have absolutely no problems - the laptop is a champ. We both, without a second's doubt, decided we will be keeping our laptops for another year before even thinking of upgrading.

    4GB is very usable.
     
  11. Macgyver1 macrumors member

    Macgyver1

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2016
    #11
    My wife once told me size doesn't matter. That said, I am the size of a football player.

    You can take that for what it's worth.

    P.S. I have huge hands(baseball mits almost), and, you know what they say about a guy with big hands...


    Big heart!
     
  12. pika2000 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2007
    #12
    More RAM is surely better, depending on your usage scenarios. 8GB is the sweet spot today in terms of more than enough for today and enough buffer for future heavier tasks. There is diminishing return beyond that for normal users.
    Just a comparison, I have a Windows laptop with 8GB of RAM, and even when gaming, I saw that the system still have 2 to 3GB of RAM free. Today's operating systems, both MacOS and Windows 10, are more efficient in terms of RAM management, with MacOS having an upper hand.
    If you already have 4GB, you are fine. If you're buying a new device, try to get 8GB.
     
  13. ccrgt thread starter macrumors regular

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    Apr 21, 2015
    Location:
    Canberra, Australia
    #13
    So after reading all your responses and doing some googling, I bit the bullet and returned my MBA and ordered a refurbed 11/8GB/512GB. I agree that more ram is better long term and having a heap of extra hard drive space won't hurt either. I also thought if I didn't grab the higher specced MBA, before too long they will become hard to get. I'm REALLY looking forward to pick up in store next Tuesday. Thanks friends for your help
     
  14. Hal~9000 macrumors 68000

    Hal~9000

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    Sep 13, 2014
    #14
    4 GB & 128 GB is great for me :)

    4 GB runs everything I can throw at it (gaming emulators, duet display, windows 10 through virtual machine, photo editing, microsoft office) perfectly fine with no performance issues.

    128 GB is more than enough for me but if it's not enough for someone else it can easily be remedied by getting a versatile 128gb usb 3.0 flash drive on amazon for around $30.
     
  15. jeddouglas macrumors member

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    Dec 13, 2012
    Location:
    Inverness, UK
    #15
    I was considering an 11" MBA 8GB/256GB build to order but decided to wait for the Keynote to see what was announced. Couldn't then order this after the Keynote so ended up going for the 13" 8GB/256GB as felt the 8GB RAM upgrade was more important than the portability of the 11". I am loving my first ever MacBook.
     
  16. Macgyver1, Nov 4, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2016

    Macgyver1 macrumors member

    Macgyver1

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    Oct 18, 2016
    #16
    Go big or go home.
    --- Post Merged, Nov 4, 2016 ---
    Well played, couldn't do the thirteen myself, but that's just me. Damn, I could of ordered the 11 in the config I wanted before the keynote, cancelled afterward if I was interested in something introduced. Hind sight is 20/20. Kinda hard to believe how fast Apple drops that axe. Ouch that hurts!
     
  17. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

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    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #17
    Really? If anyone was paying the slightest amount of attention to all the rumors, the discontinuation of the 11" MBA just couldn't have been a surprise. The writing was on the wall for many months...
     
  18. sracer macrumors 603

    sracer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    Location:
    Land of Bongos and Beatniks
    #18
    I think what he meant was not that the discontinuation of the 11" MBA was a surprise itself but the fact that Apple removed all evidence of its existence immediately at the announcement with no opportunity to buy one "until supplies run out".

    Apple did a similar thing when they discontinued the iPod Classic. They announced it, boom... not only gone from the website instantly, but all inventory in the retail channels was clawed back the night before the announcement.

    At least with the 11" MBA, there are still new units in stores. Can't custom order one, but can buy one off the shelf (probably for another day or two).
     
  19. brclark80 macrumors newbie

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    Sep 22, 2016
    Location:
    Hickory, NC
    #19
    I had a 13" Air last year with the same, 4gb RAM and 128gb SSD. It wasn't bad, but I did find that I get the colored spinning wheel a lot. Chrome took most of my RAM, and it was very laggy with only a couple other programs open. I sold that Air to pay for medical bills. I recently bought the updated Air with 8gb of RAM, and I no longer have these problems. I have only had the spinning thing once, and even with 20 tabs open, plus numerous other programs open, I still haven't made it lag yet.
     
  20. Macgyver1, Nov 5, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2016

    Macgyver1 macrumors member

    Macgyver1

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2016
    #20
    I had called the Apple Store and Apple directly, the day of the announcement to custom order an 11 with 8gb's; to no avail. Your right, writing was on the wall, all I had to do was open my eyes. I did find some loaded 11's in stock with very, very high price points(1800's, I'm in Canada). Basically that took pricing to the rMacbook tier. I paid 1050 for my air 11, I saved a lot of bananas, I mean apples, I mean quid.

    All in all, I think my 4 gigleyochies will serve me well for my needs.

    Apples marketing is second to none.
     
  21. sracer macrumors 603

    sracer

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    Apr 9, 2010
    Location:
    Land of Bongos and Beatniks
    #21
    Chrome is a notorious resource hog... not only taking up RAM but processor power too as it drains the battery. I ditched it in favor of Opera which supports the extensions that I used on Chrome and is very light and efficient.
     
  22. ccrgt thread starter macrumors regular

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    Apr 21, 2015
    Location:
    Canberra, Australia
    #22
    IMG_1461.jpg So I have ordered the refurbished MBA, pic on left, and I pick it up in 2 days and then I saw the refurbished rMB, pic on the right. And now I'm like hmmmmmmmmm what to do what to do. My gut says stick with the MBA for obvious reasons like USB ports, separate charging port etc. I don't need portability as it will be an at home computer (i use my iPP 12 inch for work each day). And I think the MBA has more power (isnt the i7 more powerful than the Core M?). But the prices (in AUD) are so similar...
    Is my gut instinct right?
     
  23. maerz001, Nov 6, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2016

    maerz001 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2010
    #23
    For that price I would go for the rMB. The screen is superb compared to the 6years old on the air.
    I also prefer 16:10 instead of 16:9 Screen ratio on the air for everything except movies. But without knowing ur usecase what can I say. Don't know if u have to use the USB port often or doing CPU intensive work...
    The m7 on the rMB is very capable until it warms up after a few minutes of hard usage. But if ur not doing picture or movie processing a lot it's fine. U can find geekbench test.
    Regarding the SSD size: u didn't say a word except u are using Dropbox. So how can we recommend u something? Usually when people do not use it for storing tens of thousands of pictures and songs or movies 128GB is fine. 512 overkill:)
     
  24. ccrgt thread starter macrumors regular

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    Apr 21, 2015
    Location:
    Canberra, Australia
    #24
    I'm not too worried about having 512GB, yes it probably is overkill but I'd rather more space now than worry later. The mac will be a family device for kids to use for schoolwork etc and hubby and I'd use it mostly for word processing, surfing web etc. I think the lack of USB ports in the rMBis a giant pain - I have a friend who has the rMB and she has extra port devices that she plugs into the USB c port but it gets hot when too many cords etc are plugged in there. So I guess the MBA would suit us better but I wish I'd seen the refurbed rMB before I ordered the MBA
     
  25. sracer macrumors 603

    sracer

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    Apr 9, 2010
    Location:
    Land of Bongos and Beatniks
    #25
    wow, that is a beast of an MBA! Obviously it is subjective, but for me it is a no-brainer... MBA. I think that the multiple ports will come in handy, especially since it will be used by multiple family members. And with school-age kids, you'll probably need to regularly have multiple devices connected to it like a SuperDrive and thumbdrives.

    Regarding the processors, the MBA will be able to do everything and more that the rMB can, but the difference is the MBA won't break a sweat over it.
     

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