MBA 4 GB RAM, how convenient now?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by chinchillas, Nov 18, 2015.

  1. chinchillas macrumors member


    Apr 3, 2015

    I'd like to buy a second machine for mobility that's light and cheap. I just saw in a local market a Macbook Air 11" Early 2014 Core I5 DE 1,4 GHz, 4 GB SDRAM, 128 GB that I can afford and would be using mainly to finish my thesis abroad (hence how light I need it to be), which consists of many Hi Res images that I only would open one per one, no retouching or need for Photoshop or heavy image software.

    I'd also use it for some coding, presentations and general internet thingies such as watching Youtube and Skype calls.

    Do you think buying a 4 GB RAM little Macbook at the end of 2015 is a good decision? Won't this amount of RAM be obsolete early next year? Or will I be able to use it for what I said above, at least for a couple of years?
  2. MarkCollette, Nov 18, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2015

    MarkCollette macrumors 68000


    Mar 6, 2003
    Toronto, Canada
    With an SSD and fast paging, 4 GB of RAM can still be enough for many people, but I would only buy an 8 - 16 GB device personally. What's more of an issue, is whether 128 GB of storage is enough, which I doubt, for most tech savvy people. But especially when traveling, it's tedious to have working data on an external drive, and also swap between your backup TimeMachine drive, and also your backup of your data. Make sure your HDD is large enough for everything you need, when traveling.
  3. theusualsuspect macrumors member

    Jun 9, 2010
    I was nervous about buying a MBA with only 4GB of ram, especially since my previous MBP had 8, but I haven't noticed an issue. I do typical laptop applications - web, email, light photoshop, office apps, filmmaker, etc. I keep all of them open all of the time, and no slow downs. I've never seen the spinning wheel. Maybe your needs are higher, but I can't imagine 4gb being obsolete anytime soon.

    As for storage, I went with 256 and I would be hard pressed to stay under 128. This is my primary computer, so that makes a difference. Either way, don't fear 4gb of ram.
  4. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
  5. SmOgER, Nov 18, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2015

    SmOgER macrumors 6502a

    Jun 2, 2014
    There are plenty of people still using MBAs with 2GB of RAM.
    As long as it has SSD there is nothing to worry about. Even 2GB + SSD most of the time will feel faster than 8GB + HDD, and as for the 4GB, I haven't noticed a single time it becoming noticeably slower despite my quite heavy multitasking at times (dozens of open tabs :) + other apps)

    More RAM is useful in this case only if you intend using it like a power horse - that is encoding and using PS at the same time and other things of that nature which MBA wasn't really designed for IMO.
  6. Toutou macrumors 6502a


    Jan 6, 2015
    Prague, Czech Republic
  7. chinchillas thread starter macrumors member


    Apr 3, 2015
    Thanks for the suggestions. I think I will buy it.
  8. batting1000 macrumors 604

    Sep 4, 2011
    I do lots of web browsing, document creation in Pages, Keynote, etc and watch lots of videos and I've never had any issue with 4GB on my 2015 Air. I even had a Mac mini with 4GB of RAM before I got the Air since 2012 and never had any issues with that either.
  9. MultiFinder17 macrumors 68000


    Jan 8, 2008
    Tampa, Florida
    I have a 2011 Air with 2GB RAM that I use for web browsing, light productivity, and occasional light games. It runs El Captain like a champ, and I never notice any slowdowns while using it. It's a wonderful little machine! When paired with the speedy SSD that these little machines have in them, you shouldn't notice any issues regarding speed.

    That said, I still use a 12" PowerBook G4 as my main machine in my classroom, so I may be a little biased when it comes to computer performance :p
  10. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

    Jul 5, 2008
    Thule GL @ the TOW
    I use a base 2013 11.6" MBA with 4Gb RAM and 128Gb SSD + a 1Tb USB3 external SSD (when needed) and a SanDisk 64Gb USB3 plugged directly into it all the time...
  11. cerberusss macrumors 6502a


    Aug 25, 2013
    The Netherlands
    If you'll write your thesis on it, be sure to get online backup working at home, where you'll have enough bandwidth for the initial upload.

    Then when you're traveling, get a decently sized external USB stick for the Time Machine backups.

    You won't be the first to have his document get corrupted halfway, losing lots of work.

    By the way, a second hand machine from 2014 sounds like a good catch.
  12. cincygolfgrrl macrumors 6502


    Apr 2, 2012
    Somewhere In Time
    Mid-2011 11.6" MBA i5 4GB RAM 128GB SSD

    It's no longer my primary computer, but when it was I had no difficulties with heavy Lightroom plus all the usual stuff. Today I mostly use it while sitting in coffee shops or hotels, writing a blog and light photo editing. I use Dropbox for almost all files so primary Mac has access. It's all awesome.
  13. chinchillas thread starter macrumors member


    Apr 3, 2015

    Yes, I always have two big flash drives with me for backup purposes and other stuff in case the internet connection fails. Thanks for the recommendation ;)
  14. ignatius345 macrumors 68020

    Aug 20, 2015
    I find that saving files inside your machine's Dropbox folder is a great way to have immediate (and versioned) backups as you work, if you have connectivity as you're working. Obviously Time Machine backups are great too, but if you're travelling it's important to get regularly sending copies of your work off to the cloud in case all your stuff gets lost or stolen.

    Also worth noting that OS X makes "mobile backups" of file versions each time they're saved. I'm not sure if all apps support this, but you can definitely browse versions of some saved files even if you haven't done an external Time Machine backup. I think it automatially deletes the mobile backups if your drive fills up.

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13 November 18, 2015