Will I feel a difference by upgrading from 4GB to 8GB of RAM? (2013 MBA 11" 256GB)

watermelonbook

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 31, 2014
173
38
Will I feel a difference by upgrading from 4GB to 8GB of RAM? (2013 MBA 11" 256GB)

Also... how do I do it? I tried searching this forum, but there seems to be something wrong with the search function at this time.

EDIT: nevermind, I forgot that upgrading the RAM on the 2013 MBA wasn't possible at all. :(
 
Last edited:

Gregintosh

macrumors 68000
Jan 29, 2008
1,777
416
Chicago
If all you're doing is browsing the net, typing up documents in office suites, using skype/chat, and checking email then you won't see a difference anyway.

Most people who will tell you that you need 8GB to live (or more) are driven by spec sheets not by real world experiences most people have.

Unless of course you're doing pro stuff with it (HD video editing, for example) then maybe you may want to think about your options. But if you're just a regular user like 90% of people out there, just enjoy your machine!
 

watermelonbook

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 31, 2014
173
38
If all you're doing is browsing the net, typing up documents in office suites, using skype/chat, and checking email then you won't see a difference anyway.

Most people who will tell you that you need 8GB to live (or more) are driven by spec sheets not by real world experiences most people have.

Unless of course you're doing pro stuff with it (HD video editing, for example) then maybe you may want to think about your options. But if you're just a regular user like 90% of people out there, just enjoy your machine!
that's what I figured... I'm stuck at 4GB, since I already bought the MBA.

what's the definition of "pro" stuff? I do rip my own Blu-ray discs and covert the videos to 1280x720 at 2000kbps for smarphone watching. I currently only do the encoding on my 10-year-old Windows XP single-core PC with no problems. Have never tried to convert the video on my MBA.
 

Gregintosh

macrumors 68000
Jan 29, 2008
1,777
416
Chicago
Video encoding will benefit from a faster processor but not so much from RAM, so won't see a difference there.

And if thats all you do beyond the things I mentioned (surfing, Facebook, Skype, MS office, etc.) then you will literally feel 0 difference.

So enjoy your notebook and save your money for a few years from now.
 

Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
4,197
1,876
New Jersey Pine Barrens
I went from a 4gb 2011 MBA to an 8gb 2013 MBA. I was surprised that the difference is very slight for "everyday" type things. I do see faster video rendering in Final Cut Pro and less latency in Logic Pro, but it's hard to know how much the RAM affects this since my 2013 MBA has the i7 and the very fast 512gb SSD while the 2011 MBA had the i5 and slower 256gb SSD.
 

maxb

macrumors member
Nov 24, 2008
79
7
Montréal, Canada
You might not see the difference now, but you won't regret the upgrade when you will need it in the future and you won't be able to upgrade.

For the consumer standpoint, every Mackbook Air should come with 8gb and 16gb should be optional, but Apple sets the rules and it's better for them if you buy the model with 4gb now and buy a new MBA with 8gb when you'll need it :cool:
 

Gregintosh

macrumors 68000
Jan 29, 2008
1,777
416
Chicago
You might not see the difference now, but you won't regret the upgrade when you will need it in the future and you won't be able to upgrade.

For the consumer standpoint, every Mackbook Air should come with 8gb and 16gb should be optional, but Apple sets the rules and it's better for them if you buy the model with 4gb now and buy a new MBA with 8gb when you'll need it :cool:
I doubt you will need more than 4GB over the next 2-3 years for basic tasks. The sweet spot for good performance has been 4GB for maybe 5 years now and unless web browsers and word processors start needing more memory for some reason then it won't change anytime soon.

I only see it going up after a few more OS upgrades if some memory intensive features of which we have no idea about now are released, otherwise consumers will be just fine.
 

maxb

macrumors member
Nov 24, 2008
79
7
Montréal, Canada
A couple years ago, 2gb was the norm, and MBA we're sold with 2gb back then, and 4gb was sold as an option. The point is with the MBA, when the software evolve and needs more ram, you machine is worth nothing.... Who would buy a 2gb RAM MBA today? So my advise would be, get 8gb no matter what, even if you keep the MBA for 2 years, the resale value will be better anyway and also it's just an 100$ option...

I doubt you will need more than 4GB over the next 2-3 years for basic tasks. The sweet spot for good performance has been 4GB for maybe 5 years now and unless web browsers and word processors start needing more memory for some reason then it won't change anytime soon.

I only see it going up after a few more OS upgrades if some memory intensive features of which we have no idea about now are released, otherwise consumers will be just fine.
 

Meister

Suspended
Oct 10, 2013
5,455
4,265
A couple years ago, 2gb was the norm, and MBA we're sold with 2gb back then, and 4gb was sold as an option. The point is with the MBA, when the software evolve and needs more ram, you machine is worth nothing.... Who would buy a 2gb RAM MBA today? So my advise would be, get 8gb no matter what, even if you keep the MBA for 2 years, the resale value will be better anyway and also it's just an 100$ option...
Yeah I remember vividly when all the 2gb mba spontaniosly combusted when mavericks was introduced.
Hear, hear oh people of macrumors: Get safed now, get 16gb of ram or be doomed forever! :eek:
 

C. Robert

macrumors 6502a
Oct 1, 2013
704
19
Baltimore
Yeah I remember vividly when all the 2gb mba spontaniosly combusted when mavericks was introduced.
Hear, hear oh people of macrumors: Get safed now, get 16gb of ram or be doomed forever! :eek:
And did you figure that our looking through a crystal ball? Or is it a real professional's view?
 

Meister

Suspended
Oct 10, 2013
5,455
4,265
And did you figure that our looking through a crystal ball? Or is it a real professional's view?
:D i can already tell that this ram thread will be full of deep insight and true quality.
The only thing that beats 16gb of ram is a good old crystal ball.
 

MartinAppleGuy

macrumors 68020
Sep 27, 2013
2,243
888
Will I feel a difference by upgrading from 4GB to 8GB of RAM? (2013 MBA 11" 256GB)

Also... how do I do it? I tried searching this forum, but there seems to be something wrong with the search function at this time.

EDIT: nevermind, I forgot that upgrading the RAM on the 2013 MBA wasn't possible at all. :(
I have created a thread on how much RAM is right for you. See what you score here to see if you would benefit from more RAM: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1730485
 

MartinAppleGuy

macrumors 68020
Sep 27, 2013
2,243
888
Yeah I remember vividly when all the 2gb mba spontaniosly combusted when mavericks was introduced.
Hear, hear oh people of macrumors: Get safed now, get 16gb of ram or be doomed forever! :eek:
haha

----------

:D i can already tell that this ram thread will be full of deep insight and true quality.
The only thing that beats 16gb of ram is a good old crystal ball.
Or buying 2 MBP's to total 32Gb of RAM :p
 

Gregintosh

macrumors 68000
Jan 29, 2008
1,777
416
Chicago
A couple years ago, 2gb was the norm, and MBA we're sold with 2gb back then, and 4gb was sold as an option. The point is with the MBA, when the software evolve and needs more ram, you machine is worth nothing.... Who would buy a 2gb RAM MBA today? So my advise would be, get 8gb no matter what, even if you keep the MBA for 2 years, the resale value will be better anyway and also it's just an 100$ option...
Even a couple years ago most PCs already had 4GB of RAM. I had 4GB on my old/last PC in 2006. Apple was just exceptionally behind the times.

I bet you the difference between 2GB and 4GB in resale value is definitely less than the $100 it cost to move up to 4GB.
 

C. Robert

macrumors 6502a
Oct 1, 2013
704
19
Baltimore
:D i can already tell that this ram thread will be full of deep insight and true quality.
The only thing that beats 16gb of ram is a good old crystal ball.
I never knew crystal balls and RAM had anything to do with each other. Your A Jeanious.
 

Meister

Suspended
Oct 10, 2013
5,455
4,265
I never knew crystal balls and RAM had anything to do with each other. Your A Jeanious.
I don't think you quite know about the countless benefits of a crystal balls and palm reading.
To learn more get in touch with your local fortune teller.
 

Dweez

macrumors 65816
Jun 13, 2011
1,246
9
Down by the river
Whether or not you'll notice a difference from a memory upgrade depends on the workload(s) you are running. If you are pushing the system to start paging and/or swapping then yes, you may experience a performance difference. If your current configuration is not paging/swapping, then no you will not notice a difference.

Use System Monitor to make that determination.
 

the Helix

macrumors regular
Sep 16, 2003
184
0
really noticeable...

The extra ram benefit is especially noticeable for photographers who work with apps like Lightroom or Aperture.

When you are viewing thousands of photographs in your library, the ram buffer fills quickly. Add to that the vast amount of memory post-processing occupies (non destructive rendering or "reversible" rendering eats memory as fast as you can say "8GB of ram"!), then you will wish that you maxed-out your ram.

I also imagine if you are a person who typically has more than two apps working alongside having multiple windows open, you can surely benefit from more ram as well.

my 2¢
 

linjac444

macrumors newbie
May 6, 2014
5
0
You won't feel a difference when you first boot your computer, but when you have 50+ tabs open and using virtual machines or photoshop or any adobe products for that matter, you will begin to hit a wall of lag. Also, having an 8GB will reduce strain on your ssd prolonging the life of ur computer. because when u run out of memory, it moves unused or background apps to disk and the more you write to disk the more you kill ur ssd.
 

JPamplin

macrumors 6502
Mar 12, 2009
317
59
Nashville, TN
There's something else - in a 4GB MBA, a higher percentage of total RAM is devoted to video memory. My 2013 MBA 13" i7 / 8GB uses up to 1 GB for video RAM (Mavericks doesn't allocate it ALL forever, but it's on demand). So it can be as much as 12.5% of my total RAM - a 4GB might be even higher percentage.

Something else to consider - but the points below are valid.

  • MBA RAM is not upgradeable later
  • More RAM means more cache for the OS
  • More RAM means less swap usage on the SSD
  • More RAM is essential if you're using VMs
  • More RAM is "nice to have" with heavy browser / video use
  • More RAM may come in handy with future OSs

You won't feel a difference when you first boot your computer, but when you have 50+ tabs open and using virtual machines or photoshop or any adobe products for that matter, you will begin to hit a wall of lag. Also, having an 8GB will reduce strain on your ssd prolonging the life of ur computer. because when u run out of memory, it moves unused or background apps to disk and the more you write to disk the more you kill ur ssd.
 

capathy21

macrumors 65816
Jun 16, 2014
1,365
534
Houston, Texas
Will I feel a difference by upgrading from 4GB to 8GB of RAM? (2013 MBA 11" 256GB)

Also... how do I do it? I tried searching this forum, but there seems to be something wrong with the search function at this time.

EDIT: nevermind, I forgot that upgrading the RAM on the 2013 MBA wasn't possible at all. :(
Chances are you will want to throw away your current MBA as it will be useful to no one with just 4gb of ram. In fact does it even turn on or charge?

I recently purchased a MBA and a rMBP both base models with 4gb of ram and they won't even boot up. I get a message saying 16gb is the minimum since "future proofing" is required so even with the 8gb, it's likely your machine will stop booting up after a few months.

(OP my sarcasm is not directed towards you at all) these and other forums will have you believe that you need way more machine than you actually do. People ordering i7 upgrades and 8 or 16gb of ram for basic tasks is absolute overkill. There is nothing wrong with future proofing to an extent if, A)You can comfortably afford it, and B) You will realistically need it in the next couple of years. As I always say, are there users who need that type of power? Of course, but it's way fewer than most think.

As I stated we just purchased 2 base model Mac's and I know we will get a minimum of 2-3 good years out of them before they even think about slowing down. Do not worry about selling your MBA for an 8gb model. Just enjoy your machine. If in the future it starts to slow down, you can always sell it and get a different one.

Until I bought my Mac, I was using a 4 year old Compaq "bargin bin" laptop with a standard hard drive and 2gb of ram and even it worked well enough for basic needs without slowing down.

The PCIe SSD with 4gb of ram will be fine for you for a good while.