MBA for mom. 4gb or 8gb ram

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by commac, Dec 22, 2013.

  1. commac macrumors regular

    Nov 1, 2013
    Ive decided a MBA makes more sense than a MBP as she doesnt seem to think the screen on the MBP is a big deal and I think she'd appreciate the extra battery and lightness of the air.

    The big question is do I walk in the apple store and pickup a 256gb/4gb on the spot and have it under the tree for Christmas or do I make a custom order for the 8gb and put an IOU under the tree.

    This will be her first laptop. I see her doing web browsing (many tabs), writing, and maybe dabbing in iPhoto and iMovie with her iPhone pictures and movies.

    Anyone with the 4gb feeling cramped?
  2. TheEnthusiast macrumors regular

    Aug 22, 2013
    If I wanted a new Macbook Air, I personally would like it under a tree. :D

    Of course, there are the endless arguments about future-proofing. I don't believe in pointless mental exercise.
  3. potvkettle macrumors newbie

    Nov 7, 2012
    4g is fine

    I'm using a 2011 Macbook Air, 256g with 4g of RAM. Memory usage can get upwards of 3g, but I'm not feeling particularly sluggish. Mavericks seems to do a good job of allocating the RAM. Based on the usage you describe, she'd probably be fine with 4g, especially if you caution her not to open 20 tabs in the browser or multiple apps, unless necessary.

    The future-proofing caveat does apply, but no reason not to have a brand new MBA under the tree over 4g of RAM.
  4. Rod330, Dec 22, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2013

    Rod330 macrumors newbie

    Sep 8, 2010
    Personally, I think the 8Gb memory option is worthwhile. Order it online or call Apple today and I'll bet she has it before New Years day. Since it's her first laptop, spend some time with her over the holidays showing her the fundamentals if she hasn't used a computer in the past.
    My elderly mother really struggled to master the hand-eye coordination of moving and clicking her desktop mouse. My father, on the other hand, was a quick learner and really enjoyed using the computer. In both cases, it really enriched their senior years and was a great investment.
  5. commac thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 1, 2013
    Thanks for the feedback and suggestions. Will definitely be spending time with her to make sure shes happy with it.

    The link by TheEnthusiast is impressive. The only question that remains is how apple with treat ram in the future. But it looks like the trend is efficiency.

    Im also thinking the PCIe SSD should make ram limits less distinguishable.

    Leaning towards picking up the 4gb tomorrow and discussing future proofing with her with the option of exchange.
  6. Jaranson macrumors member

    Dec 7, 2013
    I see three options if you want 8GB MBA under a tree.

    (1) drive to nearest Apple Store

    (2) order from Apple website and see if overnight is available

    (3) order from B&H Photo website and choose overnight... there's still time... they have 8GB MBAs in stock:
  7. commac thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 1, 2013
    Thanks but I live in Canada so dont see Christmas day delivery as an option.

    I did go to the nearest apple store expecting to pick one up but they only have the 8gb version in top configuration for 400$ more than I want to pay.
  8. Jaranson macrumors member

    Dec 7, 2013
    $400 is not that much when it's for your Mom! :)

    Just kidding... :) I honestly think 4GB is perfectly fine for her.
  9. Dweez macrumors 65816


    Jun 13, 2011
    Down by the river
    Unless she's doing some bigtime work, the 4 gig MBA will probably make mom a very happy camper. :)
  10. Jaranson macrumors member

    Dec 7, 2013
    perhaps the Mom is code word for deep undercover agent for the CIA or NSA who need to run intensive programs that track millions of electronic records? :)
  11. commac thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 1, 2013
    Ha, true but shed probably end up giving me hell for wasting $400-$500.
  12. hindmost macrumors regular


    Jan 14, 2009
    You've already made the single best decision and that is to have 256GB SSD versus the base 128 which just is not enough on a modern laptop IMHO.

    As for a faster 'speed' chip or more RAM....yeah, more is always better but in this case not much if at all. As for the 'future proofing' that is pure hooey with electronics. Anything you buy in any configuration is out of date as soon as you walk out the store (pretty much).

    In a word, for an elderly Mom who is not going to do the accounting for a large corporation or write 'the great American novel' but rather is just going to use this little laptop for routine surfing and a bit of emails and file writing......4GB is adequate, 256GB SSD is great and that's the whole show. I recommend you go for it and get it under the tree.
  13. Jaranson, Dec 22, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2013

    Jaranson macrumors member

    Dec 7, 2013
    I assume she doesn't know that much about computers?

    If so, how do you plant to explain to her when she finds
    out that the Macbook Air is over $1000, while a Windows
    laptop of the same size can be purchased for $249.(even
    if it's a POS netbook) :D

    It has happened to me when I bought my mom a $2100
    watch. I pulled a Jerry Springer, told her that the watch
    was "hot"and I bought it for only $300 from a shady guy
    on 42nd St. I then had her jeweler friend confirm the
    authenticity of the watch.(not hard, since I did buy it
    from an authorized dealer)It made her immensely happy...
    more so than if I had actually paid cash for it. :(
  14. iVW macrumors newbie

    Dec 16, 2013
  15. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    I can program in Visual Studio, in a Windows VM, on my 2011 MBA. It has 4gb of RAM. I can also run the Windows Phone 7 emulator, so my guess is that 4gb of RAM is plenty for some light video and photo work.
  16. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Aug 27, 2012
    The subject of this post giggles my funny bones, like in a near future where our homestead is fully automated and we want to give Mom that X-1000 robotic maid, but should we buy the 4TB model or the 8TB model with the Icelandic voice pack? :D
  17. Jaranson macrumors member

    Dec 7, 2013
    only 8TB? I'm getting my Mom the 900TB model with night vision and Peter O'Toole voice pack!
  18. marioman38 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2006
    Elk Grove, CA
    I have 4GB and don't need more at this time.

    Buy the 4GB throw it under the tree and remember Apple has a good return policy. In fact, I think they lengthen it specifically around christmas time...
  19. AbyssImpact macrumors 6502a

    Aug 6, 2010
    Get the maxed out version and teach her how to code on the computer.

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