MBA - Is 4GB RAM enough?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Tergan, Apr 13, 2016.

  1. Tergan, Apr 13, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2016

    Tergan macrumors newbie

    Tergan

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2016
    #1
    Hi guys,

    my plan is to buy MBA 2015 13" (or possible 2016 upgrade if it will ship in June) and I´m wondering. In Czech Republic, Apple products are quite expensive and the price of basic MBA 13" model is somewhere around 1150 USD in sale (official price is around 1300 USD)!

    I´m no heavy duty user, no video editing or rendering or things like that. Just internet, Youtube, MS Office in school and some light gaming (Heartstone or 5+ years old games). I´m quite on budget as a student and don´t want to buy used MBA (and can´t buy refurbished one in CZE). So is it worth to pay extra 250 USD (in sale) for 8GB RAM version?

    Macbook sould last me at least for 4 years and should not be slow (bit affraid of new versions of OS X).

    P.S. I don´t mind the screen resolution as my current 15,6" Lenovo runs on 1366x768 and I have no problems with that.

    I´m new to this forum, but reading it for past three months. And sorry for any mistakes in my English :)

    Thanks !

    Maybe there is a thread with the same topic, but I was not able to find it and I simply can´t read almost 500 pages.
     
  2. cruisin macrumors 6502a

    cruisin

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2014
    Location:
    Canada
    #2
    4GB sounds ok for your uses. You can always check ram usage and close unused apps if you go over 4GB. Remember that computers borrow storage to expand the ram and OSX also has memory compression, so you can go over 4GB and still be fast.

    What does your Lenovo have? It should help in deciding getting 4GB vs 8GB.

    Does your country allow you to make returns? You could get the 4GB version and exchange it if you see that you go over 4GB.
     
  3. briloronmacrumo, Apr 13, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2016

    briloronmacrumo macrumors 6502

    briloronmacrumo

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    Location:
    USA
    #3
    I'd go for the 8 GB version since once you pick the 4GB version you're stuck ( i.e. the memory is soldered to the motherboard and there is no easy user upgrade - see here ) with it. Regardless of how efficient El Capitan is, OS X gets bigger and requires more resources than past OS X releases ( e.g. OS X 10.6 runs and boots quickly from a hard drive on my 2011 iMac but booting El Capitan from a hard drive on this same machine takes minutes to boot ). Your comment indicates OS X impact is a concern. Even on non MBAs I'd recommend 8GB for all users. Keep in mind you are talking about a MacBook Air which is typically for surfing, email, chat etc. and isn't aimed at folks doing many and more RAM-intensive tasks.
     
  4. Tergan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Tergan

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2016
    #4
    The Lenovo has 4GB as well, 5400rpm HDD and i3 Sandy Bridge. It is slow sometimes, but I think it´s not because of RAM (it should be enough for MS Office in school) but because of so many programs and files and it was not re-installed since purchase.

    I´m no tech master, so I expect simplicity (unlike in Windows) and not to have so many trash folders and data, that are slowing the computer like in Windows.

    And yes, in CZE, if you purchase something on the internet, you have 14 days return guaranteed, but I believe that the shops will try to cause some problems with returning as expensive product as MBA.
     
  5. posguy99 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2004
    #5
    Don't skimp. Buy the maximum amount of RAM you can afford. Buy RAM over flash storage.
     
  6. Tergan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Tergan

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2016
    #6
    OK, I will try to save some money for 8GB, maybe there will be another, bigger, sale.

    But, everything should work just fine with 4GB right?

    And once again, thanks a lot for advices :)
     
  7. jsavvy macrumors member

    jsavvy

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2011
    #7
    I have to agree with the others who say go for 8GB of RAM. My MBA with 4GB of Ram doesn't have any issues, but its also from 2011, not 2015. To get the max life out of your computer go for the most RAM you can.
     
  8. cincygolfgrrl macrumors 6502

    cincygolfgrrl

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2012
    Location:
    Somewhere In Time
    #8
    I vote for 4GB of RAM because with your stated needs your new MBA will work perfectly. It's the best laptop ever produced. It was designed with 4GB and it will run power user apps if needed. Unless Apple changes the Mac OS to something incompatible with current MBAs, you should get a good ten years from yours. Those who tell you to max out your RAM are probably not living on your budget. Save a few Euros.
     
  9. Tergan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Tergan

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2016
    #9
    Thanks guys :) i will think this through, but most probably end with 4GB because of my budget :/ it sucks to be a student with limited money
     
  10. whohasaquestion macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2011
    #10
    2011 MBA with 4GB owner here.

    4GB is fine for your stated usage. But in 2016, you should get 8GB regardless.
     
  11. Mal67 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2006
    Location:
    West Oz
    #11
    The air I'm typing this on has 4gig of memory and gets used for quite a lot. Its a mid 2013 model. While at the time I had wished for 8 gig to be honest haven't needed it at all for what I use it for.
     
  12. Tergan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Tergan

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2016
    #12
    It sucks that you can´t get 8GB as a standart in 2016, but what can you do. I will try 4GB and if I will have a feeling that I need more, then I will take 8GB. What if .. 2016 upgrade (personally don´t think that there will be any) will have 8GB as a standart. Unfortunately, MBA will die I think this year.
     
  13. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #13
    Here you go:

    http://forums.macrumors.com/threads/how-much-ram-do-i-need-in-my-macbook.1756865/
    --- Post Merged, Apr 13, 2016 ---
    For your intended use 4gb are plenty even for a few years to come.
     
  14. EliasM macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2013
    Location:
    Brussels
    #14
    My Mac Mini (Late 2012) only had 4GB and I upgraded it to 16 GB because it was unbearably slow. But then again, I was running some heavier apps than you. Still, I would recommend going for the highest possible RAM you can afford to future proof your machine. If that's 4GB, then so be it, but it will shorten the expected useful life.
     
  15. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #15
    That's because it has an ancient spinner inside.

    (I have the same model and did the same thing)
     
  16. Tergan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Tergan

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2016
    #16
    Thanks! So I think 4GB should be enough for my use, and I will also save some money for external HDD and case/sleeve. Can you recommend me HDD and/or some case please? :)
     
  17. mildocjr macrumors 65816

    #17
    If you never plan to play any other games and you never plan to do anything else yes 4 GB is enough, just don't make a habit of updating your OS to the latest and greatest, they tend to have higher memory usage than their predecessors. If it were me, I'd go all out with 8 GB because you never know.
     
  18. SmOgER macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2014
  19. cincygolfgrrl macrumors 6502

    cincygolfgrrl

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2012
    Location:
    Somewhere In Time
    #19
    I'd recommend a 1TB USB drive from either Western Digital or Seagate. The problem with HDDs is they are guaranteed to fail at some unknown point in time, although mine have all lasted several years. I have no experience with cases.
     
  20. briloronmacrumo macrumors 6502

    briloronmacrumo

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    Location:
    USA
    #20
    Bookmark the posters who recommended 8GB when in 3 years you're wishing for more RAM.
     
  21. BenTrovato macrumors 68020

    BenTrovato

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2012
    Location:
    Canada
    #21
    I always say buy for what you need now. If 4gb is good for now, then buy 4gb. When you need more power, sell and buy what you need. However, if you're planning to drag this machine out for 4 years, then get at least 8gb.
     
  22. cincygolfgrrl macrumors 6502

    cincygolfgrrl

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2012
    Location:
    Somewhere In Time
    #22
    I hate to ask, but what do you think will require more RAM in just three years? My 2011 MBA (4GB) is approaching five years old. I've never once wished I had more RAM. Everything I do with my MBA is pretty much the same as the OP, minus the games (I edit large photo batches in Lightroom, so that makes up for gaming, right?).

    Hypothetically, in three to five years the OP will no longer be a student, but will be employed, and finances won't be so stretched. At that point s/he can make a new decision. We'd all like to buy maxed-out Macs, but sometimes food is more important.
     
  23. trifid macrumors 65816

    trifid

    Joined:
    May 10, 2011
    #23
    Please wait if you can, Apple should be releasing new Macbooks very soon:
    http://buyersguide.macrumors.com/#Mac
    http://www.macrumors.com/2016/04/15/macbook-ultra-thin-hinges/

    And it's very likely that Apple will make 8GB by default because 4GB is outdated in 2016 (though you'd probably be ok with 4GB for a couple of years), and RAM costs are extremely cheap nowadays so Apple should be adjusting prices on the new product line.

    I would spend the extra $250 in more SSD space rather than RAM, but it depends on your needs.
     
  24. Tergan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Tergan

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2016
    #24
    I´m on Erasmus now and will be back in CZE right before WWDC, so I will definitelly wait, if something new will be introduced, but I think that MBA will die. Don´t want rMBP(bigger, heavier) nor rMB (keyboard, CPU?). Let´s see what is the future :) afterall, I will be more than satisfied with current MBA and I ca´t afford to pay full price for bigger SSD/RAM .. fingers crossed for some big SALES.

    And once again, thanks to everyone :)
     
  25. briloronmacrumo macrumors 6502

    briloronmacrumo

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    Location:
    USA
    #25
    Typically the biggest increase in resources is the OS itself. Apple updates annually. Also, since Apple doesn't announce their intentions, there is no guarantee they won't release a new OS with new features that use a lot more resources. Moreover, that doesn't count unanticipated changes by the user; in 3 to 4 years maybe this user wants to dabble more in photography or some other discipline which requires software not used on the machine now.

    Bypassing the OS upgrades misses the Apple security upgrades.
     

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