MBA 13" 4GB Owners - Are you disappointed with the RAM?

aircanman

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Feb 2, 2011
338
18
UK
Trying to keep the costs down, do you have 4GB, are you happy? Does it slow up? Or is 8GB the way forward.
 

shamash

macrumors 6502a
Jul 19, 2008
584
17
Taichung, Taiwan
I'll let you know tonight. If all goes according to plan, I'll be getting an open box base 13" from Best Buy for $839. I'll load up the D3 starter edition and TF2 as soon as I can, and let you know how it feels.
 

jav6454

macrumors P6
Nov 14, 2007
16,871
1,492
1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
I'll tell you one thing, unless you do basic stuff and don't task your Mac with too many open apps, you will be fine. I have used 4GB RAM since 2008 on this machine and only since last year have I started to see it becoming just about enough for my needs.
 

aircanman

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Feb 2, 2011
338
18
UK
I'll tell you one thing, unless you do basic stuff and don't task your Mac with too many open apps, you will be fine. I have used 4GB RAM since 2008 on this machine and only since last year have I started to see it becoming just about enough for my needs.
I am talking iPhoto, occasional iMovie use, iTunes all the time, web browsing using chrome, occasional Pages and Photoshop Elements.

I have been fine with my MBP 2011 for a while, but recently put another 4GB in it which did make a difference, not sure with the Air though because the HDD will not be as fully loaded as my MBP.
 

plucky duck

macrumors 6502a
Jan 5, 2012
576
107
I looked at it this way. If I used Time Machine and used my restoration USB stick with ML on it, and had to restore my computer to this exact image 5yrs down the road would I be disappointed with what I have? My answer is no. Given existing hardware and software configurations, the Air is already lightning fast. It's actually overkill for what I do with it, casual web browsing, checking email, and the one or two games that I really only play on it. The requirements of my games won't change, my needs won't change, and surely the specs of the computer won't change. If OSX down the road doesn't support my Air down the road or runs like crap, meh, I still have my ML.

I mulled over it, and seriously I benefit more from doubling my storage from 128GB to 256GB than from doubling my ram 4GB to 8GB. If I need Parallel or VMWare then that'd be a different story. With bootcamp larger SSD was much more practical for me.
 

Alameda

macrumors 6502a
Jun 22, 2012
623
103
The big memory hog is VMWare or the like. No doubt about it, running a second OS is a memory-killer, although it does work. The bigger problem with Windows on a MacBook is that it makes the fans run, reducing battery life, etc.

If you do exceed 4 GB, the system will page into flash, which is still quite fast. But it takes a lot of open apps to do that.
 

Pharmscott

macrumors 6502a
Dec 13, 2011
624
2
Sacramento, CA
4gb MBA here and no issues. I don't transcode HD video and if you don't either, you'll be fine with 4gb. Recall how recently 2gb was the "standard" and things haven't changed that dramatically since then.
 

urkel

macrumors 68030
Nov 3, 2008
2,732
771
Trying to keep the costs down, do you have 4GB, are you happy? Does it slow up? Or is 8GB the way forward.
This is the problem with an un-upgradable computer. Many people wont realize they need more memory until they encounter a problem weeks/months after purchase and then what do you do. fortunately, 4GB is decent for most apps but still, it does stink to have no upgrade options post purchase.
 

plucky duck

macrumors 6502a
Jan 5, 2012
576
107
I had Handbrake loaded up with 7 encoding jobs, all the while I have 10 or so apps open, Safari with 10 browsers open with random pages some with flash videos playing. Checked Activity monitor, CPU was near maximum load, worked my way up to about 1GB page outs and all available ram used before I ended the test.

Surprisingly enough, navigating around OSX UI was still very smooth, jumped between tabs in Safari just fine, browsing and scrolling didn't have any lag. My youtube video didn't skip. Didn't see any beach balls, other than when I loaded up FCPX.

Not too shabby performance considering only 4GB of ram, I'm sure paging to SSD helped quite a bit. If it was a standard HD I don't think things would've gone as smooth as they did.
 

Skoopman

macrumors 6502
Sep 24, 2011
318
2
I run 10+ programs for work with no problem, it never pages out. Apps I use are pretty "light": iA Writer, Numbers, Safari, Marked, Mail, Mou, Skype, iTunes, Dropbox, Skitch. So not everyone needs 8 GB, sure it's not wrong to have more RAM, but NOT EVERYONE needs it.
 

Beanoir

macrumors 6502a
Dec 9, 2010
571
2
51 degrees North
I run 10+ programs for work with no problem, it never pages out. Apps I use are pretty "light": iA Writer, Numbers, Safari, Marked, Mail, Mou, Skype, iTunes, Dropbox, Skitch. So not everyone needs 8 GB, sure it's not wrong to have more RAM, but NOT EVERYONE needs it.
Absolutely correct!!

I've never had any issues with 4GB at all running even more than that, also use Parallels and Adobe CS5 apps etc.
 

JGRE

macrumors 65816
Oct 10, 2011
1,012
656
Dutch Mountains
Installed 8GB last month and noticed a considerable speed improvement on programs using much memory like Aperture. The rest seems normal, but is probably biased with some bugs in OSX 10.8.0 which I also installed last month.

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BTW 2X4GB costs only 50 euro's, not really an investment.......

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Some here are talking about IPhoto, Skype, Numbers and more, notice that these 32bit apps that will not benefit from any GB above the 32bit-2GB limit. You will only experience improvements from 64bit apps.
 
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NeonBible

macrumors member
Jun 26, 2012
87
1
I'm a web designer and have never had problems with 4 GB RAM. I use Photoshop, Espresso 2, Transmit, MAMP and many more developer applications, and Safari is always running with a numerous of tabs, so is iTunes, Spotify, Mail, Calendar (iCal) and Messages.
 

bembol

macrumors 65816
Jul 29, 2006
1,023
24
No, I had 4GB (maximum) on my Mid-2007 24" iMac and had no issues/complaints about the RAM. The Apps I use on my iMac is what I use on my Air.

I only (wanted) to upgrade because it's cheap. My sister who uses her Mid-2010 27" i3 iMac like her iPad has 12GB. Adding 8GB cost me less than $50.
 

ayeying

macrumors 601
Dec 5, 2007
4,549
11
Yay Area, CA
No, I had 4GB (maximum) on my Mid-2007 24" iMac and had no issues/complaints about the RAM. The Apps I use on my iMac is what I use on my Air.

I only (wanted) to upgrade because it's cheap. My sister who uses her Mid-2010 27" i3 iMac like her iPad has 12GB. Adding 8GB cost me less than $50.
That one had a maximum of 6GB. my dad's previous was a mid 2007 24" iMac.
 

shamash

macrumors 6502a
Jul 19, 2008
584
17
Taichung, Taiwan


this is my activity monitor. i'm using google play to listen to music, downloading TF2 in steam, i have like 7 or 8 chrome windows open... haven't noticed a single bit of lag.
 

JGRE

macrumors 65816
Oct 10, 2011
1,012
656
Dutch Mountains
Image

this is my activity monitor. i'm using google play to listen to music, downloading TF2 in steam, i have like 7 or 8 chrome windows open... haven't noticed a single bit of lag.
Total 6GB swap in and out and no single bit of lag. I have 8GB and only 40mb of in and out swapping. You should try 8GB; you only know once you tried.
 

shamash

macrumors 6502a
Jul 19, 2008
584
17
Taichung, Taiwan
Total 6GB swap in and out and no single bit of lag. I have 8GB and only 40mb of in and out swapping. You should try 8GB; you only know once you tried.
I haven't noticed a single stutter. I don't think the swapping in and out is really noticeable at all on the MBA. I know the 8gb is more, but I really don't think it's necessary.
 

JGRE

macrumors 65816
Oct 10, 2011
1,012
656
Dutch Mountains
I haven't noticed a single stutter. I don't think the swapping in and out is really noticeable at all on the MBA. I know the 8gb is more, but I really don't think it's necessary.
Right, your MBA has a SSD, my MBP has a hard disk which is much slower.
 

shamash

macrumors 6502a
Jul 19, 2008
584
17
Taichung, Taiwan
Right, your MBA has a SSD, my MBP has a hard disk which is much slower.
Ahh okay, yeah, I think the paging on the SSD isn't really noticeable. I did speed tests on the HD next to my dad's 2011 MBP, and app opening etc tests. My MBA beat him at everything except, for some reason, opening Safari. Safari was the only thing that took half a second longer for me :p
 

WesCole

macrumors 6502a
Jul 1, 2010
756
12
Texas
With the speed of the new SSD, it won't be too noticeable if the Air has to page out every now and then. I got the 8GB just because it was a relatively cheap upgrade when I was buying it.
 

shamash

macrumors 6502a
Jul 19, 2008
584
17
Taichung, Taiwan
*nod* If I was buying from Apple, I would have gotten the 8gb in a heartbeat. However, I got quite slick deal from Bestbuy, so I'm not really regretting anything.