Moving to Mac - Need a new computer - help please!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Dubois, Mar 28, 2014.

  1. Dubois macrumors newbie

    Sep 25, 2013

    I'm going to be venturing from Windows to Mac in the next few months or so (because I'm due for a new computer investment, and I don't really like the look of windows 8 at all).

    Therefore, I've decided I will (at last) purchase a Mac and join the dark side :apple:.

    I've been looking at the Macbook's (because that's what I need - a new laptop), and I've been swayed by the Retina Macbook Pro 13".

    I've decided I will most likely purchase a retina Macbook Pro 13", but am yet to decide what one to purchase. Being that a Mac is much more expensive than an average windows laptop I'd normally buy, I was going to go in for the Macbook Air 13" initially, totally un-phased by the 4gb unupgradeable ram.

    However, now that the rMBP has gained my attention, the 4gb unupgradeable ram seems to have become a bigger bug-bare than it used to be.

    I've been monitoring my average memory usage on my current windows 7 laptop, and I seem to be able to do everything I currently do on this computer with 4gb 1333mhz ram (in fact, 2gb is currently not in use, and with 2 1080p videos playing in chrome, the lag begins to start, but who watches 2 videos at once?).

    As it stands, the only games I play on my laptop is Minecraft, and I am pretty sure that 4gb ram would be enough to run it (I only ever run LAN servers with my brother).

    I did think that in the future I might even try and get into a little photo or video editing, and I'm taking computing at A-Level (which is computer programming).

    Basically, all I'm asking is if you think 4gb is enough for my needs. Storage really isn't an issue as I do most things via the cloud nowadays, so 128gb is enough. I could live with the 128gb SSD.

    Currently, I'm thinking of just upgrading the RAM to 8gb so as to ensure that I'm future-proofed.

    But I don't know how Mac OS X works and stuff. Is RAM usage significantly lower on OS X than Windows 7? Could I get by with only 4gb ram? Or should I pay out £80 more for 8gb ram?

    Many Thanks :) <3:apple::apple:
  2. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    I would go for 8gb since you can't upgrade post-purchase.
  3. caribiner23 macrumors regular


    Feb 15, 2005
    If you have the money, go for the future-proof solution.

    I recently bought the 13" Retina MBP with 8 GB and 250 GB SSD and this thing screams. Beats the pants off my previous 2008 MBP which was also a stellar performer.
  4. RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    I would personally go for the 16GB RAM. Although 8 might be enough for now, Mavericks does use a lot of RAM for basic tasks so if you do more than basic stuff, you'll end up wanting more than 8GB.

    If you're going to stay with the base-model CPU (2.4GHZ i5) then go with 16GB of RAM

    If you're considering going with the i7 upgrade, then I would say 8GB RAM would be fine.

    The reason I say this is my new iMac (the one in my sig) used between 4-5GB RAM for basic tasks. Luckily, I decided to go with the 16GB instead of the 8GB base configuration and usually only have to worry about purging the memory or relying on the compression algorithm when using unarchiver or Handbrake or things like that that require more RAM.
  5. LeandrodaFL macrumors 6502a


    Apr 6, 2011
    You will probably never go beyond 8GB, and most of time you will be using below 4GB. Just do 8GB to rest your mind
  6. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    I have 8GB on my MBP and it seems to cope with pretty much whatever I throw at it (including web development, entailing a java-based IDE, two or more web browsers alongside Windows 7 running in Parallels). I think 8GB is probably enough for anybody not working with huge high-res images or other 'big data' - and if you do run out of RAM and start relying on virtual memory, having a SSD takes the sting out of that.

    I think you'd probably be OK with 4GB (especially if you're surviving with 2GB on Windows) - but I really wouldn't risk it for the sake of saving $100 on a $1300 machine, and its high time Apple made 8GB standard.

    At least with the SSD you can always get a cheap USB3 hard drive to offload things on (and there's even a possibility of third-party upgrades). The soldered-in RAM you're stuck with.

    Personally, I'd say that the next model up 13" rMBP - with 256GB SSD and 8GB RAM as standard - is the better deal. It depends how sensitive you are to 'budget creep', though!
  7. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    The iPhone really changed everything. Prior to the iPhone, I don't think anyone would say that the Mac (and Apple) was the dark side. ;)

    If your desire is to get a 13" laptop, I'd recommend either the 13" rMBP or waiting for the new rMBA. Rumors indicate a 12" rMBA coming out soon with much better specs than the current 13"MBA.

    If you need a laptop now, the rMBP is a better value than the MBA. The main reason one would consider an MBA over the rMBP would be the size. The MBA is much smaller than the rMBP, even though it doesn't seem like much.

    As for 4GB vs. 8GB, I'd go for the 8GB option. It's only $100 more (I think) and it's not something you can do later. But then again, I'm not one to bother with selling my computers in order to upgrade.

  8. Kevclark1985 macrumors member

    Jul 2, 2013
    I would get the mid range 13" rMBP (8gb/256gb). I was in a similar situation a few months ago and went for this. I am not a heavy user but wanted to make the change to Mac.

    4gb may be enough now, but I think 8gb future proofs you if you want to keep the laptop for 3-5 years. 128gb SSD may suffice now, but for me it's a bit too tight and prob wont suffice in 3 years. I think 256gb is a more comfortable size for a laptop and your uses, I keep large videos on my external drive, but I do keep a small selection on my laptop too (it's nice having the space/option to do this).

    To upgrade the RAM in the UK costs £80 but its only £150 to upgrade RAM to 8gb and SSD to 256gb. For me it's worth the extra £70 for the extra storage, and it's worth noting that the transfer rates on the 256gb SSD are faster than the 128gb SSD. I also think if resale value is something in the back of your mind, I think the 8gb/256gb config will be easier to sell in say 3 years (as it will prob still be a very usable setup - 4gb may not be very desirable in 3 years time)

    I would ignore anyone telling you to get 16gb, this is 100% overkill for 90% of people, and you def will never utilise it unless your need massively change. Alo look into education pricing? I got the mid range 13" rMBP for £1070 with 3 years applecare, that package was what tempted me to take the plunge!

    Good luck with whatever you decide to get, hope the advice you get here helps.
  9. danjames99 macrumors member


    Oct 10, 2006
    I got the 13" rMBP and I love the machine. They shouldn't sell it with 4GB, IMHO.

    Either upgrade to 8GB or don't bother. I say that, because this is an investment in an expensive machine. Down the road, you'll either hurt for lack of it, (and may even hurt now, depending on what you end up doing), and it will make it easier for you to re-sell it, or let it be useful until you use into the ground.

    I'm a consultant, so I get a budget for whatever equipment I need to buy. Because I work cross-platform, I was very neutral whether I wanted a PC/Linux machine or a MacBook.

    Honestly, I think this is the first time in my life that Mac laptops are priced essentially the same for equivalent PC laptops. And the build/screen resolution was also essentially better for what was available to buy in Q4 last year.
  10. T.Doyobi macrumors member


    Dec 21, 2013
    I agree with Kevclark1985 I have a MacBook Air 128 SSD and 4 gigs of RAM, I don't use anything intensive and so far the 4 gigs have been ok but thinking ahead 8 would be better. I plan to get this in my next laptop. As I said, not a heavy user, but on my 128 Gb SSD I have about 5 gigs left and the biggest thing I think I have installed is WoW. I use iTunes Match for my music as I also have a Mini. From my experience I'd go with at least 256 and 8 gig, for me as I like to keep stuff on my HD I will go for at least 512 next. You never know what you will be doing next and if you have to run virtual machines you might want a bit more space and ram. But I could recommend the 11 inch Air if you don't think the screen is too small for you as it's really pretty portable, lovely little computer. Mines a slightly older model but anything I've wanted to do on it has been fine, and that's still true. For me though 256 and 8 gigs would be minimum for the next few years. These are relatively expensive computers so you probably want to keep it for a while. Just think about that. Hope you enjoy your new computer.
  11. hallux macrumors 68030


    Apr 25, 2012
    I'm not sure if one of the lengthy replies mentioned it, but once you get the machine keep in mind that Mavericks will manage memory differently than Windows does/did. Mavericks will try to use as much as possible, so it may LOOK like you're running low on resources but much of it could probably be freed up quickly.
  12. Tumbleweed666 macrumors 68000


    Mar 20, 2009
    Near London, UK.
    Just to add to the consensus not to go for 4 whatever you do. You said its much more expensive, I'll contend its more costly to buy initially, but since it will hold its resale value better, in the long term it won't be more expensive.
    And that will be aided considerably by not getting a 4gb model, because future OSs will inevitably use more memory and so it's resale value will hold up considerably better if its an 8 or 16.
    As you aren't in a rush, I'd also suggest checking out the hardware buying guides in case a new model is due imminently.
  13. thasan macrumors 6502a

    Oct 19, 2007
    i use win using parallels. its almost certainly an overkill but i use 16 gig in late 2011 mac. u should definitely go for 8 gig if u can afford it. if u r planning to use large softwares (like solid works etc), try getting higher if u can afford (and justify) it. good luck!
  14. Ornstein macrumors newbie

    Apr 12, 2014
    I agree with most people here, 8GB is certainly enough for the usage scenario you described. Hell, I run Mavericks on a mid-2010 13" MBP with 4GB RAM doing some medium to heavy multitasking just fine.
  15. Southern Dad macrumors 65816

    Southern Dad

    May 23, 2010
    Shady Dale, Georgia
    Get the highest amount of RAM that you can right now. As has been mentioned you can't upgrade it later. You will love OS-X after Windows 8. Always remember that you are able to use Bootcamp to dual boot or you can use VM Ware. Allowing you to use Windows or OS-X as needed.

    Attached Files:

  16. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2013
    The more RAM your computer has, the more RAM it will queue up, independent of how much you are using. If you had 4GB of RAM, your basic tasks would most likely be using about 2GB of RAM. I have a 2010 MBA with 2GB of RAM, and it runs Minecraft, League of Legends, and Portal 2 without a hitch. It sounds like the OP is planning on doing some photography work, so a RAM upgrade is probably a good idea, but your argument is a little flawed.

    The SSD also plays a huge part in how your system runs, and for consumer tasks, even if you start paging to your hard drive, you will not notice it at all. 8GB is the most amount of RAM I would recommend for the MBA, especially considering the dual core processor. There are very few tasks where you would benefit from more than 1GB of RAM. Especially with an SSD, I can almost guarantee that with 4GB of RAM, it will not be your bottleneck. Even with webpages open and a movie running, I don't get any lag on my 2GB system on Mavericks.

    If you use Photoshop, VMs, or compile mass amounts of data then ignore my post. Most everyone else will not need more than 4GB of RAM for the next 5 years.


    T. Doyobi,

    If you are experiencing lag on your computer, it is most likely because your hard drive is full. 10-15% of your hard drive should always be open. On another note, 256GB SSD is definitely the way to go. They are typically 20-40% faster than their 128GB counterparts. If you open up some space on your hard drive, your computer will perform a lot better. I'm surprised that WoW is the only large thing installed on your computer though. I have a 128GB hard drive, and between League of Legends, a few Steam games, a backup of my 64GB iPhone, and all my documents, I still use about 100GB. You may have some stuff on your computer that would be better on an external hard drive (family photos, ripped DVDs).

  17. casperes1996 macrumors 68040


    Jan 26, 2014
    Horsens, Denmark
    Here's the thing

    The way OS X handles RAM is quite a bit different from the way Windows does. It uses RAM quite aggressively as an archive cache (although not as aggressively as Linux does.). This means that if you have 8gigs, you might see as much as 3 gigs being taken up literally right after boot. Mavericks handles RAM quite nicely to be honest, and it doesn't REQUIRE a lot, but even if you don't use 8 gigs actively, you might still benefit from having 8 gigs, since it can store documents you work on a lot in RAM, or recently and often visited web pages, rather than only storing what you're doing at this moment. A few people already sorta pointed this out, and Mad3inch1na made a bunch of good points as well, but I felt like I'd flesh this out a bit more. Even when I have 6-7 gigs used up, my system reports that I am under close to no memory pressure, because most of it is files being cached up, that aren't necessary, and can easily be removed. Furthermore, Mavericks has lovely memory compression, so my 8 gigs can essentially store 12 gigs of data. i can only suggest you get the 8 gigs though. I'm an extreme power user, and I could do with 16 or more, but for most people, 4-8 will do fine. You probably won't use up 4 gigs that easily, but with the archive cache you'll still see performance improvements from going to eight. And even if you never go above 4 even with archive caching, having 8 gigs will improve your battery life, since it then only needs to power one memory module. All of this plus added resell value = win
  18. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    There are countless threads about how much ram to get in the macbook oro section of this forum.

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