RAM 4GB vs 8GB....how much difference does it make ?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by wheelie15man, Jul 17, 2012.

  1. wheelie15man macrumors newbie

    Mar 14, 2012
    How have people found the difference between them both as I'm looking at getting a base air 11" but may pay extra for 8gb of ram..
  2. basesloaded190 macrumors 68030


    Oct 16, 2007
    It all depends on what you plan on using the computer for.
  3. wheelie15man thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 14, 2012
  4. oneMadRssn macrumors 601


    Sep 8, 2011
    Boston, MA
    4GB of difference, or $100 of difference ($90 with the education discount). I imagine those extra chips weigh more as well, but it's probably a negligible difference. I can't think of any other differences.
  5. Slivortal macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2012
    You'll be fine with 4GB, most likely.
  6. Nde macrumors 6502a


    Feb 12, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    I'm not trying to be rude. But adding memory does not necessarily means your Macbook will runs faster. It means you can open more thing and leave them open without a performance hit. So you plan to edit a few photos, you probably wouldn't see much performance gain.

    I run two Windows VMs running 2GB and 3GB of ram, the 8GB memory kicks in really well.
  7. PBG4 Dude macrumors 68020

    PBG4 Dude

    Jul 6, 2007
    Personally I don't see anything here that would require 8GB RAM. That's just me though.
  8. mober macrumors newbie

    Jul 9, 2012
    I think it really boils down to your multitasking/multitab usage of certain apps on your device. If your're like my wife; always just one app with as less tabs open as possible; the 4GB will just do the trick. ;) (still in 10 years)

    Sometimes I have tons of chrome/firefox windows with multitons of tabs open at the same time. Just switched to the 8gb air coming from a 4gb HP-dm4 running debian/sid with fluxbox. Chrome alone was sometimes enough to make my old machine begin swapping. This was the reason why I upgraded.

    Who knows how you plan on using your machine? The load will not get less. Let's put it that way. But the real decision factor is your way of using it.
  9. michael_aos macrumors 6502

    Jan 26, 2004
    For a single user, 4GB is probably fine. Even if you exceed that, the SSD is so fast you won't notice it paging.

    My wife often leaves her 2011 MacBook Air "docked" to an Apple Thunderbolt Display.

    With both of us logged-in, I've noticed it ALWAYS has a little "Swap used:", but not too bad. That's just Safari, Mail, etc.

    Personally, I wish 8GB had been an option when I bought hers. I definitely would have gone that route.
  10. MacBird macrumors 6502a

    Apr 1, 2010
    As long as you don't run all those programs at the same time, 4 GB might be enough. If you want to keep the computer for a couple of years, I might consider getting 8 GB since newer programs tend to be more RAM-'hungry'.
  11. oneMadRssn macrumors 601


    Sep 8, 2011
    Boston, MA
    I honestly can't fathom why anyone wouldn't get the 8GB upgrade.

    You're already spending $1000+ on the luxury of having the latest and greatest mac. Clearly you're not looking for a deal, otherwise you would look to the refurb store for last-gen models which are only barely slower for much less money.

    At $100 (or $90 if you have a .edu email), it's one of the best upgrades you can get in terms of rate of return ($/computing). No other upgrade will ensure the continued usefulness of your computer.

    How to justify it? If you put it on a new credit card with an intro 0% APR (pretty easy to find), it's $9/month. If you plan to keep your computer for a reasonable 4 years, it's literally pennies per day!

    For future resale, I guarantee that I and many others will be filtering ebay search results to only show 8GB of RAM when shopping for used MBAs in a year.
  12. Slivortal macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2012
    While $100 may be a small portion of what you're paying to buy your MBA, it doesn't mean that it's not a lot of money. There are a lot of things you can buy with $100, and if I wasn't using more than 4GB, I wouldn't waste $100.

    You buy a house worth $120,000 - do you want to spend $10,000 on a pool if you'd never use it?
  13. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    My wife has a 1st generation 11" MBA, base model. She also uses it lightly (word processing, browsing, iPhoto, not much else). 2GB RAM and Lion -- no problems at all.

    4GB will be fine.
  14. RightMACatU macrumors 65816


    Jul 12, 2012
  15. GREEN4U macrumors 6502a

    Mar 24, 2010
    I wouldn't consider a new Macbook Air "luxury" any more. Maybe a few years ago.
  16. oneMadRssn macrumors 601


    Sep 8, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Regarding cost:

    I understand that $100 is no small change. It's approximately 4 nights out at a bar with friends, 400 Chicken McNuggets, 2 passes to a good amusement park, or 1/4 of a college textbook.

    However, people who are price-conscious, or shopping for a mac on a budget, would not and should not be buying brand new full retail price. If you're concerned about spending too much, you can save ~$200 by buying a computer that, for most practical purposes, just as good by going refurb or macmall stock.

    Regarding getting something you don't plan on using:

    House :: Swimming pool ≠ Computer :: RAM

    Most people can't and don't consciously decide not to use the second half of their computers RAM. If it get's used, it's used. If you notice, OSX is very good at using as much RAM as it can. If you give it 8GB, it will be put to use.

    Also, for the future-proofing, you very well might really need the extra RAM. To look ahead, lets look at the pattern of minimum RAM required to install OSX from the past -
    128MB - Cheetah - 2001
    128MB - Puma - 2001
    128MB - Jaguar - 2002
    128MB - Panther - 2003
    256MB - Tiger - 2005
    512MB - Leopard - 2007
    1GB - Snow Leopard - 2009
    2GB - Lion - 2011
    2GB - Mountain Lion - 2012

    Notice it doubles every so often? If this rate continues, which is very most likely will, you will be running the minimum required by 2013 or 2014, and who want's the minimum?

    Also who knows? What if you get a really nice camera and decide to take on amateur photography and really want to run Lightroom or Photoshop next year? I am pissed that Apple solders in this RAM, but at least they make the upgrades affordable today unlike before.

    Look at it the other way:
    Imagine if the base model 11" was $1099, and the 13" was $1299 but came with 8GB standard. Would you really take $100 for them to remove 4GB? What would you gain... except that $100?

    I meant getting a brand spankin' new one is a luxury compared to refurb or discounted last gen retail.
  17. mober macrumors newbie

    Jul 9, 2012
    I just can imagine how a pool looks like that comes alongside a house worth 120k. After using this one, I guess you have to invest more money in your health surgery than for the house in the first place.
  18. quasibinaer macrumors member

    Mar 29, 2012
    Hannover, Germany
    It´ll resale for more once you´ll sell it and you have the peace of mind that you could run multiple things at once when needed. And iMovie might get hungry for RAM once a project grows big enough.

    I bought my air with the faster processor and 8 gigs of RAM, it hasn´t put a foot wrong. And even though I use it for heavier tasks like editing huge RAW files in Lightroom, it performs like a champ. Best piece of equipment I bought in a year.

    Buying base models is sooooo 2007 :rolleyes:
  19. zerotiu macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2012
    Lol, I was trying to explain the same thing where buying 16GB ram worth 200 for a retina worth 3000 can be considered cheap (because this is the only way to acquire 16gb).
  20. GREEN4U macrumors 6502a

    Mar 24, 2010
    I know what you meant - and I disagree. Very, very few people buy refurbs or last gen models.
  21. clyde2801 macrumors 601


    Mar 6, 2008
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
  22. RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    I don't know how you can state this without providing some kind of proof for it. I bought my wife's iMac, my AppleTV and my iPhone refurbished.

    I'm also most likely going to buy a previous gen iPad in a few days for my kids.

    You can even get a 16GB white/black iPad2 Wifi+3G for $399. I think that's a pretty good deal and well worth buying a refurbished/previous generation product.
  23. aa909 macrumors newbie

    Sep 11, 2008
    while I agree with your assessment, the difference is more than $100 for some folks. For example I bought my 2012 13" off of amazon for $1139, no tax and free shipping. to get the 8gb upgrade I have to buy it from apple for $1199 + $100 + 9% tax = $1,415. that's a $276 premium or 25% increase for an additional 4gb that I likely will not miss based on my usage. For example:

    I use my macbook air for browsing, email, MS office, iPhoto and streaming videos and baseball games all of which have been extremely smooth. Right now activity monitor shows 1.25GB free while streaming a game in HD from MLB.TV, with powerpoint open while typing this post. That's pretty much as "busy" as I get on a laptop at one time. and final note, the computer has been running for 4 days straight and activity monitor shows:

    Page Ins: 4.25GB
    Page outs: 20 kb

    hope this helps
  24. GizmoDVD macrumors 68000

    Oct 11, 2008
    4GB is fine. But for $100 more, I splurged and got 8GB. I figure for $100 it's probably worth it (re-sale wise as well).
  25. RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    I would upgrade it since there is no way to do so after purchase and wait for the price of RAM to go down. With their other products however, the RAM upgrade is often times unnecessary initially but then can be upgraded later for much less than it would cost through Apple.

    With soldered on RAM that is not upgradeable(even if the extra RAM is presently unnecessary) getting the 4GB does not make sense. If I was told that my MBP was going to have soldered on RAM and could therefore not be upgradeable, I would absolutely have purchased a 16GB RAM upgrade.

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