New MBA - 2gb vs 4gb of RAM

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by cbdoc, Jul 14, 2011.

  1. cbdoc macrumors member

    Apr 17, 2010
    I'm at a loss why so many people are claiming that 2gb of RAM is just not enough. I'm curious whether more than 2% of all those people have ever surpassed their 2gb of RAM.

    Like WTF is everyone doing with their MBA's that I'm not? 2gb has been just fine for just about 99% of everything people do on these machines (surfing, developing, playing games, minor video/picture editing)... I sense people are just jumping on a bandwagon and for whatever reason, its annoying me.

    Now 64gb of ssd vs 128gb, I can understand.

    ... back to sipping my beer.
  2. sporadicMotion macrumors 65816


    Oct 18, 2008
    Your girlfriends place
    My work load on a portable usually results in mass paging after only half an hour... and that's with 4. I usually have no choice but to restart to gain back some responsiveness. 8 is the minimum I can use with out massive paging issues.

    I use my Macs for audio production.

    Translation... depends on what you do. Those who just browse the web and never do any real work could get by on 2 but MacRumors will tell them they NEED TO UPGRADE!!! :p

    ... off to buy beer. :D
  3. axu539 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 31, 2010
    2 GB might be fine for light usage in Snow Leopard, but in Lion, it definitely starts to show an impact. Even in Snow Leopard, I would routinely max out my 4 GB of RAM usage with just Skype and Safari (granted, Skype is pretty poorly written, but I'm definitely not the only one who uses it). Furthermore, you could also just be saying this because you have not seen the difference between 2 GB and 4 GB of RAM in a machine, in which case, you are really missing out.

    Just to further my point, just lightly using Lion, I can routinely use up 6-7 GB of my RAM (in my MBP), mostly just iTunes, Mail, Safari, and iCal.
  4. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    I wouldn't buy it with 2GB, simply because it's not upgradeable. I do go over the original 2GB that my computer had quite often, although it would still be livable with just 2, it's nice to have 4GB.
  5. Monkeychemist macrumors member


    Jun 27, 2011
    you're thinking now and people are thinking in the future. Sure, now with SL 2GB is fine, but just imagine Lion... and then 6 months down the road everything updates, MS Office, iLife, Lion, etc... everything is going to suck more and more RAM. You always have to buy a little above the current times in order to insure 3-4 years with your computer. Now if you buy a new one every year, then sure, 2GB is fine...
  6. hcho3 macrumors 68030

    May 13, 2010
    2GB is more future proof. If you don't game much or do much of video editing, 2GB ram will last you. But, these tech crazy people cannot stop. They will cry for 8GB or even 16GB on MBA.

    Funny thing is... they just open their wallets and willing to buy the refreshed model every year. So, why are they even bother with 2GB, 4GB or 8GB ram thing. You are going to buy a new one every year.
  7. cbdoc thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 17, 2010
    Couldn't have said it better myself.
  8. Vihzel macrumors 6502

    Jul 9, 2010
    This thread is annoying me. Who cares if someone wants 2GB, 4GB, or even more. Everyone has their reasons, even if it is just that they want more RAM... especially if they do intensive stuff just a few times and the extra RAM helps. You don't want to be in a position where you don't have enough RAM. If you can afford extra RAM and are comfortable doing so... then go for it. I'd understand though if you can't and just want a justification to simply buy one with 2GB, which I'm not saying is this situation.

    This is just bitching.
  9. mark28 macrumors 68000

    Jan 29, 2010
    Well, currently iStat Pro says i got only 43 mb of memory left ( i got 4gb of ram ).
  10. deedas macrumors regular


    Dec 2, 2003
    Baltimore, Maryland
    Why do people say it's not enough? Maybe the fact that I'm using 928.1MB of RAM for Safari alone with only 3 tabs open. Now add basic essentials as email, twitter, iTunes and you're getting pretty much close to maxing out. Open up a real productivity app and you're swapping from your hdd.

    This is my RAM stats with Safari, Twitter, Activity Monitor, Launchbar, iStats, Lil'snitch and Cloudapp open: (Last 4 run in the menubar)
  11. KillerTree macrumors regular

    Jul 27, 2008
    The MINIMUM RAM requirement for Lion is 2 gigs. A future version of OS X could easily be more than that so I would get 4 gigs.
  12. JonLa macrumors 6502

    Dec 22, 2009
    It's really about longevity - especially if your RAM is not upgradeable. Even if you plan to move the computer on after a year of use, it'll be more valuable to the next user with 4GB.

    Realistically your computer should be usable by somebody for 3-5 years - the more RAM it has, the less likely it will struggle with future software updates.
  13. sauobeatbath macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2011
    yeah yeah I'm a stranger, but you could go on three riviera vacations just for landing me a spot.
  14. Monkeychemist macrumors member


    Jun 27, 2011
    Think of it as insurance. You don't always use it... but when you need it you're happy you have it
  15. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    Well put, this sums up the pro-more- RAM argument very well.

    I agree with the OP and hcho3 to a certain extent; for many users, depending on what one does, 2 GB RAM is quite sufficient for now. However, once Lion and other RAM consuming features become the norm, how long will that be the case?
  16. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    i've got an mbp with 8. one of the reasons i didn't buy the current mba was its lack of ram. i occasionally have a few pageouts, but not a huge percentage. with the mba at 4 i would have been struggling.

    if you aren't running processor intensive programs, then you probably don't need to worry, and you can just enjoy your beer and your mba :)

    personally, i think 8 will be my magic number for a while. some people apparently supercharge their mbas with 16gb, but for me, half of that probably wouldn't even get used. it's all relative to what you do. if the next mba is upgradeable, i bet it will attract a lot of buyers like myself, who purchased the mbp.
  17. questioner76 macrumors member

    Apr 27, 2011
    I initially loved by 11" 2gb Air, but starting running out of RAM when I editing large Word documents with embedded images while using Chrome at the same time. I actually got out of memory warnings. I sold it for a great price last week and waiting for (hopefully) an 11" with 4gb for the same price!
  18. P0stalTek macrumors 6502


    Feb 25, 2011
    So, here's a dumb question. Can you only purchase 4gb MBA from Apple?

    I was looking forward to picking my first MacBook through amazon for speedy cheap shipping or best buy to get instant gratification, however, both seem to only carry 2gb models of the 11.6".

    I'm still an apple noob, won over after a 15 year PC love affair. I blame my iPad ;)

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  19. dcorban macrumors 6502a


    Oct 29, 2007
    I bought a MacBook with 2GB RAM. I figured it would be fine. I don't play games. I don't do heavy video editing or anything. I quickly found my system paging to disk.

    I usually close programs when I am done with them. However, I was still maxing out my 2GB with just stuff like iphoto, numbers, mail, calendar, itunes, address book, and safari running. Safari in particular consumes quite a bit of memory.

    I finally got annoyed enough by the delays caused by disk paging to upgrade the RAM to 4GB. It's been smooth every since. It cost me something like $60 to upgrade to premium Mushkin memory. Well worth it.
  20. mouthster macrumors regular

    Apr 22, 2005
    A MacBook you say? Without an SSD? Because that's way different. Paging on an SSD is nowhere near as slow as a 5400RPM or (7200) HDD.

    I routinely use Photoshop, Coda, Safari, Mail, iCal, Twitter, Reeder, Adium, iTunes and Evernote loaded up at the same time on a 13" 2010 Air with 2GB of RAM. No issues. Still feels faster then my 8-core Mac Pro with 8GB of ram at work.

  21. Duke15 macrumors 6502


    May 18, 2011
    I habe no problem with ppl wanting more ram as std if it happens with no extra cost thats just better for me, I can get by with two but I would upgrade to 4 personally as i plan on keeping my new MBA for a few years, 100$ now saves me buying a new one should i need more in a year or two. But i do agree itl be funny if they make it upgradeable up to 8 gigs and then ppl start complaining saying they want 16gigs, ppl will never be satisfied. If thats what they need though and are willing to pay then hopefully they get it eventually.
  22. mrklaw macrumors 68020

    Jan 29, 2008
    I don't get the obsession with RAM. Sure, avoiding too much paging will keep things nippy, but paging has been a part of OSes for donkey's years. Its not a big deal if you can't keep all your active apps in RAM - you haven't failed.

    And on the air specifically, it has an SSD so paging is even less of an impact than it is on most other computers that get by just fine.

    and if the new airs ship with 4GB as standard, it isn't even a question!
  23. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    ram is an extremely inexpensive upgrade. i don't get why people are so strongly against it. but, as i said earlier, it all depends on what you are doing. it's silly to upgrade when you only use the computer to check email. if you are running processor intensive tasks, then the upgrade is an easy way to improve performance.

    in general, though, why wouldn't you want to have more ram--is there some kind of negative impact on your experience with more?
  24. KillerTree macrumors regular

    Jul 27, 2008
    It's extremely inexpensive when it's not a Mac :)
  25. bp1000 macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2011
    I'm very surprised that people don't understand how mac os x uses ram.

    The OS will fill the RAM as quickly as possible. Every program you open and most of the cache data inside the app will fill the ram too. Spotlight will fill your ram, your photos will go into ram if you use iphoto, your mail, docs, back up docs, program data, web pages - including text and graphics, browsing history, basically anything you can think off will end up in ram.

    All open applications will stay in active ram. Closed applications in SL will go into inactive ram and the program data will be wiped from RAM or possibly stored on the HDD until you power down when all will be wiped. However, in Lion, the resume function holds everything and restores it back into active RAM after power up. That is why Lion uses more.

    So, even if you closed a program it will still sit in inactive ram. It is perfectly normal to swap out occasionally. There maybe overages or old inactive RAM that can be transferred to the disk to let currently running programs use the active RAM. The benchmark is to make sure you have < 20% page outs compared to page ins. In the screen shot a few posts above that is the case, running at 14%. That is healthy.

    The only time you will run into problems in general operation is if you have lots of programs currently open and you try and do something that needs a bit of ram, or, if you have a dodgy extension in one of your browsers, or spotlight is running, indexing your files. You can solve it by closing some programs.

    In the rare instance where all programs have been closed and you still have issues then check for rogue processes / memory leaks or you are trying to do something that genuinely does require a lot of ram. This is very common if you are running SL/L with 4gb and trying to run virtual machines or do video/audio editing. OS X will try to keep any file processing in RAM for as long as possible and if large or after many edits of different files it will fill up and go to disk but this is completely normal and SSD is miles faster than HDD anyway.

    You have got to think, OS X is very unlike other OS's. It will fill up the ram as quickly as possible aiming to operate fully from RAM, occasionally swapping onto the disk for old inactive programs. Linux comes close but doesn't pile as much into ram. The way OS X works makes it much quicker to operate. Get used to seeing RAM maxed out and understand that GPU ram is allocated too. Don't freak out when you see page outs. This is more than likely old inactive stuff being transferred to disk and providing it is < 20% of page ins you have plenty of ram. More is always nice but the wired ram is all that is needed by the OS to operate. The rest is OS X caching data making your OS experience faster.

Share This Page