MBA - 4GB vs 2GB - How important really?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by netdog, Oct 21, 2010.

  1. netdog macrumors 603


    Feb 6, 2006
    To be honest, my Rev. B never beachballs, and I keep Safari, Mail, VMWare Fusion, Preview, Quicktime, Pages and MSN Messenger all open most of the time.

    So despite all the whining from spec-heads here, if you aren't running Pro Apps on the MBA, how important is 4GB versus 2GB really?
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Not important at all, which is why you bought a MBA in the first place.
  3. Adidas Addict macrumors 65816

    Adidas Addict

    Sep 9, 2008
    I know where you're coming from, but with the 2GB being so final (not user replaceable) and the upgrade price not being too high I have gone with 4GB. It will save headaches in the future. Apple have been very clever not having at least one stock model with 4GB, you can bet your arse its the most popular BTO option.
  4. orpheus1120 macrumors 65816


    Jan 23, 2008
  5. sparkie7 macrumors 68020


    Oct 17, 2008
  6. BeachChair macrumors 6502a

    Apr 11, 2008
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    If VM's are important to you I think 4GB ram would be a necessity, BUT maybe it isn't that important considering the fast random access times of a SSD?
  7. Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

    Jul 16, 2002
    There are more good reasons to go to 4GB than to stick w/ stock 2GB.

    1) You cannot upgrade RAM in the future

    2) OSes increasingly require more RAM -- we don't know what 10.7 is going to require but if 2GB is the MIN you'll be crying.

    3) Apps increasingly require more RAM. Office 2011 alone requires 1GB RAM. Doesn't leave much extra after OS X takes it's bite.

    4) Multitasking requires RAM

    5) A 4GB machine is going to be easier to sell than a 2GB -- which very well could be impossible to sell in a couple years. It will be like a 4GB iPhone was last year.

    6) It's $100.
  8. jeznav macrumors 6502

    Aug 10, 2007
    Maybe if you need it to be hooked up to a larger display which would require a larger framebuffer. The shared VRAM is fix to 256MB minumum, I don't know if actually goes over that.

    If you run many heavy weight programs then 4GB is recommended, otherwise 2GB is enough for webbrowsing, programming, IM, watching movies, etc.
  9. AAPLaday Guest


    Aug 6, 2008
    Manchester UK
    I wouldnt look at one without 4GB of ram. As its not upgradable if you find out later that you need more, then you would have to buy a whole new machine. I only have 2GB in my iMac and it struggles with having Safari, Firefox, iTunes, iPhoto, Spotify and iCal open. Safari, Firefox and iTunes are the worst culprits. Lots of spinning beachballs if i don't restart every few days
  10. BeachChair macrumors 6502a

    Apr 11, 2008
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    This is the best point. For $100 you are getting a hell of a big improvement.
  11. jclardy macrumors 68040


    Oct 6, 2008
    I was wondering this also, with the processor at 1.4 GHz I wonder if it could handle keeping quite a few apps open.

    But I think for just $100 it makes sense to make the machine last longer and keep its resale value for a bit longer.
  12. aberrero macrumors 6502a

    Jan 12, 2010
    I don't get you people. How is $100 not a lot of money? It is 1/10th the price of the system. I understand that it would have been impossible to make the ram user upgradeable, but apples upgrade price is a bit ridiculous. I never complainedon other sytems because you could always get aftermarket ram, but this time appls overpriced upgrade is your only choice.

    Put another way, if you buy the base 11.6" over the 13" with extra ram, you will have saved enough money to cover half the cost of the next generation MBA, which will doubtless be far superior to any configuration you can get today.
  13. coelacanth macrumors 6502

    Jul 19, 2004

    People hang out here are more likely to go for 4GB BTO online, but many "regular" folks will be picking up standard config 2GB models from retail Apple Store.

    Having 4GB will make selling the Air in a few years time a LOT easier IMHO.
  14. Dammit Cubs macrumors 68000

    Dammit Cubs

    Jul 31, 2007
    its very important. With everything I see you running on your computer and the fact that more and more computers are using more ram. It's better to have it then not to have it.

    This isn't a "i'll upgrade the ram later". You have one shot, one decision and will ripple for the rest of your life and you don't want to be put in the position where you say "gosh, i should of just spent the extra hundred bucks".

    I just spent 100 bucks on taco bell and dell taco. Maybe I'll just sacrifice not to go there to afford the purchase.

  15. epictempo macrumors regular

    Sep 4, 2008
    And when you resell, you can get that money back over a 2gb version all the while having the joy of a speedier machine. Why not?
  16. tigres macrumors 601


    Aug 31, 2007
    Land of the Free-Waiting for Term Limits
  17. mac jones macrumors 68040

    Apr 6, 2006
    not once did I have a problem with 2GB

    Others may find it limiting, but they know all the little details.

    If you have to ask, you most likely aren't going to run into any problems.

    For instance, the VM (Fusion, etc.) can run fine if you have a windows XP VM, which doesn't need that much ram.
  18. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium


    Jan 28, 2009
    Quebec, Canada
    Let's see. Current max resolution on a monitor (30") is 2560x1600. This gives us 4096000 pixels. That's 4 MiP (Mebipixels). Every pixel on screen represents 32 bits of data (unless you like dithering and are running in 16 bit color), so let's do x4 on that (8 bit = 1 byte) to get the number of bytes required to display those pixels. It's 16384000. Of course, no self respecting desktop runs a single framebuffer, updates are done to a background buffer which is swapped on a refresh cycle. So let's assume double buffering for a final number of 32768000.

    That's right, 32 MB of RAM. The fact is, VRAM increases haven't been used for framebuffers in like forever.
  19. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    For my needs it is important. I use VMware for windows/ubuntu/fedora and I typically have more then on VM open at any given time. Windows consumes the most ram.

    I also run photoshop, aperture and various other apps, I find that on my desktop with 6gb of ram, I'm doing some serious page-outs when I have a number of things open at once
  20. Jaro65 macrumors 68040


    Mar 27, 2009
    Seattle, WA
    It should. But Apple folks are much too smart for that. Why not show a lower pricepoint, but present a highly desirable option for "only" $100? Kill two birds with one shot.

    Exactly. That's what makes me wonder if 4GB is actually going to be enough. Doing page-outs to SSD is going to be much faster, but is it going to feel similar to having that extra RAM?
  21. YMark macrumors 6502a


    Nov 7, 2008
    This can't be understated. The wrong decision on this will affect the rest of your life. :rolleyes:
  22. Shivetya macrumors 65816

    Jan 16, 2008
    Resale value.
  23. EARL97850 macrumors member

    Dec 21, 2009
    The rest of my life???? REALLY???????????

    Come on now...make the wrong decision and just live with your mistake.

  24. gloss macrumors 601


    May 9, 2006
    I do kind of agree that there's no reason not to get 4GB, unless you just can't afford it.

    And if you can't afford it, you probably shouldn't be blowing $1000 on a laptop to begin with.
  25. YMark macrumors 6502a


    Nov 7, 2008
    Feel free to read the post I quoted. Then learn sarcasm. Cya

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