Why do people want 8GB RAM in the MBA?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by pgiguere1, Jun 15, 2011.

  1. pgiguere1 macrumors 68020

    pgiguere1

    Joined:
    May 28, 2009
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    #1
    It seems overkill for such a small machine. I mean, I bet most people wouldn't even use half of this but just want "the one with the bigger geebees".

    A faster CPU will always make a faster machine. As for RAM, at some point, it doesn't really change anything if you don't use it.

    Before complaining about how the next MBA doesn't have an 8GB RAM option when it will come out (because I doubt it will), I suggest you monitor your RAM usage with an application like iStats Menus. If you're like me, you'll be surprised by how much you don't use a lot.

    I have a 15" MBP with 4GB RAM and Snow Leopard.

    The OS itself without anything running will use about 700MB.
    Having a couple of Chrome tabs and simple applications like iTunes and Finder windows opened, like most of the time i use my computer, will use around 1-1.5GB.

    90% of the time, I use under 2GB.

    To get over 2GB without using professional applications, I have to open 10+ tabs of completely different websites in Chrome. Or open a lot of different applications like iPhoto+iMovie+iTunes+GarageBand at the same time. I rarely do either.

    I do happen to multitask and use over 2GB sometimes though. Over 3GB? Pretty much never. I recall only a handful of times seing a number over 3GB. Like when I had Chrome+Dreamweaver+Photoshop+Illustrator+Windows in Parallels all running at the same time. Then again, I used like 3.1GB, not anywhere near 4.

    Seeing as I never experienced any limitation due to my amount of RAM, even by using professional applications that I wouldn't use in an Air, I don't see why the hell people would want 8GB.

    I understand that people want to "future proof" their purchase, especially considering the MBA has soldered RAM. But it's not like future applications are going to use twice as much memory, it will be around the same, if not better. Applications tend to be optimized rather than complexified lately.

    So, are people actually going to use more than 4GB of RAM, by, I don't know, editing large poster-sized 300dpi images in Photoshop, and make 1080p movies in Final Cut Pro on the MBA? Is their some type of RAM usage I'm not aware of, or are people just not aware of their RAM usage?

    I suggest to give iStat Menus a try if you have no idea of your RAM usage, and don't compare OS X and Windows-based laptops computers like they manage their RAM the same way.
     
  2. warfed macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2011
    #2
    Some people, like myself, like to run windows in vmware instead of bootcamp. I would be happy with a 6GB option.
     
  3. revelated macrumors 6502a

    revelated

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2010
    #3
    Not anymore.
     
  4. Psilocybin macrumors 6502a

    Psilocybin

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    Jan 16, 2011
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #5
    Couldn't agree more but vms do use quite a bit. So that maybe the only situation you'd need more


    Sent from my iPhone 4 using Tapatalk
     
  5. bwphoto macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2006
    #6
    Same reason I want 12 cylinders in my Ferrari...
     
  6. Icaras macrumors 603

    Icaras

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    Location:
    California, United States
    #7
    It boggles my mind why people have a need to put a cap on technology. Why is growth bad? Why is more not better? In a couple of years (perhaps less than that), this question will just be silly.
     
  7. tbobmccoy macrumors 6502a

    tbobmccoy

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #8
    I'm using 700mb for OS, 2GB of active RAM without even trying right now... 8GB of RAM ensures I'll be safe even when working with multiple high memory apps. Also, with the MBA, having soldered on RAM just unnerves me... I'd always feel like I'm running out unless I maxed my RAM for the system.
     
  8. bwphoto macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2006
    #9
    Also, I use a 17" MBP hooked to an old Cinema. There are occasions where, yes, I am editing multi-layered images in PS on the Cinema and watching something on Hulu on the 17" while Mail and perhaps Adium is open in the background. Why not extend such capabilities to the next MBA? I could ditch my MBP comfortably and not worry too much about it.
     
  9. pgiguere1 thread starter macrumors 68020

    pgiguere1

    Joined:
    May 28, 2009
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    #10
    Not going to happen. Laptops have 2 RAM slots and need two identical RAM sticks to run in dual channel. 3GB ram sticks don't exist and having 2GB+4GB is not really better than 2x2GB in dual channel.

    A 8GB BTO option is still more likely, but would be expensive as hell.
     
  10. pgiguere1 thread starter macrumors 68020

    pgiguere1

    Joined:
    May 28, 2009
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    #11
    2GB of active RAM?

    What are your processes? I usually have around 1GB active.

    I usually have 200-400MB for Chrome, 150-200MB for the UI (Finder+WindowServer+Dock), 75MB each for applications like iTunes, Word, Excel, Powerpoint. And the rest of running applications take under 20MB.

    How do you get the extra 1GB? That would be like running 13 more applications the size of iTunes/Word. If you run Adobe or professional Apple software I wouldn't call it "without even trying".

    I believe you though, and the 4GB BTO option is certainly a good choice, but I still think most of people wanting 8GB want it for epeen like mobilehaathi said...
     
  11. Oppressed macrumors 65816

    Oppressed

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2010
    #12
    This is a good argument because years ago we could have just as easily said "why would anyone need 700 mb of RAM?". But at the same time I think daily applications have reached a point in which the excess RAM isn't needed and won't be needed for a while.
     
  12. pgiguere1 thread starter macrumors 68020

    pgiguere1

    Joined:
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    #13
    "640K of RAM ought to be enough for anybody."
    -Bill Gates, 1981
     
  13. awer25 macrumors 65816

    awer25

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2011
    #14
    Dual channel doesn't make that much of a difference. Depending on what you're doing, 6GB in single channel can be much better than 4GB in dual channel.
     
  14. podsorcerer09 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2008
    #15
    Right now I've got Sparrow, Chrome open with 3 tabs, iChat Twitter iTunes, Pulp (Rss reader) and iTerm open and I have 2.15 GB of active RAM. I realize that most people don't use 4GB of RAM regularly but that is absolutely no reason to argue that 8GB is not a viable option. I would love to have 4GB as the standard option on the Air with an option to go up to 6 or 8. Just because you don't need it doesn't mean other people don't have real reasons.
     
  15. tbobmccoy macrumors 6502a

    tbobmccoy

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #16
    Safari, Flash, iPhoto, iTunes, Mail, Dashboard. I tend to run with a lot of Safari windows open. That's without Photoshop, iMovie, etc that I use on a personal level, or without Final Cut Pro, Handbrake, etc. I like RAM, and I suppose part of my "not even trying" has to do with me never closing anything I work on until the end of the day. Sure, I probably could close things down and not worry as much, but I like everything in different spaces... it helps my workflow.

    When I get an Air, It'll be at least 4GB, but I probably will up it to 8gb just to be safe. I'm really looking forward to Grand Central Station though... it'll be perfect for my work style.
     
  16. Psilocybin macrumors 6502a

    Psilocybin

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    #17
    Haha awesome


    Sent from my iPhone 4 using Tapatalk
     
  17. Icaras macrumors 603

    Icaras

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    California, United States
    #18
    That's what you say now. Why contradict yourself after you just pointed out history?
     
  18. dangerfish macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    #19
    I remember buying my first custom built PC in '95. $3,000. I remember the computer guy telling me I would NEVER need more than 32mb of RAM.
    Funny how things change.
     
  19. tbobmccoy macrumors 6502a

    tbobmccoy

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #20
    Hah, those were the days. I always get a chuckle now when I think I paid so much money for a 1GB hard drive.... and my computers these days need about that much memory to run their OS :D
     
  20. jclardy macrumors 68040

    jclardy

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    #21
    For me, I want 8GB so that 4GB is the standard in the base model :D

    But seriously, I have 8GB in my i7 MBP and I am typically using around 6 GB all the time between Photoshop, Xcode, Safari and a few other random apps.

    On my MBA though I plan on running fewer programs simultaneously, partly because of the SSD which will make starting and stopping programs much faster.
     
  21. warfed macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2011
    #22
    They don't need to be identical... just the same clock speed. 2GB+4GB is much better than 2x2GB.
     
  22. awer25 macrumors 65816

    awer25

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    Apr 30, 2011
    #23
    They don't even need that - the computer will automatically downclock the faster one to match the slower.
     
  23. warfed macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2011
    #24
    Well yeah, but I meant for optimal performance, else you are just wasting the power of one of them.
     
  24. ESPN macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2011
    #25
    Have you tried playing Starcraft2 , Need for Speed or Black Ops on MBA?

    Until you try it , you won't understand why people will want 8 GB RAM.
     

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