Customer Review

95 of 117 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I love the MacBook Air, but You'll Need More RAM, May 10, 2014
This review is from: Apple MacBook Air MD711LL/B 11.6-Inch Laptop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
The cheaper price point (listed at $899 on Apple's store but cheaper on Amazon; thanks again Amazon!) make the MacBook Air more appealing to the masses. As a basic computer, to be used for everyday tasks like email, web browsing, document creation, and even basic media it works well. However, even for these basic functions unless you are careful to only be using a few programs at a time, you will find that the basic model (only 4 GB of RAM) isn't sufficient. And if you need to run a more memory intense program (even iTunes) you will find that 4 GB just isn't enough.

So my recommendation is that if you are going to get the basic version with 4 GB you get it straight from Apple, where you an return it no questions asked within 14 days so you can make sure that it will work for your needs. And if you have any question about whether or not you will need more memory (i.e. if you are running anything more than basic email, web, and document creation), you should get the model with 8GB.
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 15, 2014 3:57:07 PM PDT
Steve C. says:
You can order the Macbook with more RAM. I have two Macbook Airs 2013 and 2014 models and I can run MS Office with iTunes, mail, and Safari open with no problems. My memory monitor still shows 1.8 GB of RAM still available. Im not sure where you are getting your info but maybe you should back it up with quantifiable stats before you tell people to purchase the higher priced model.

In reply to an earlier post on May 15, 2014 4:12:50 PM PDT
I purchased and returned a MacBook Air. So I don't have data but I do have my experience that the cheap version (no extra ram) didn't cut it but the higher priced (more ram) did. Thankfully Apple Store gives 14 day no questions asked returns so you can figure out what your needs are

Posted on May 15, 2014 8:07:18 PM PDT
Fonseca says:
I don't want to believe that, I'll tell you why, because I have a secondary laptop (running Windows 7... yeah WINDOWS) with 4GB of RAM, Intel Core i3, and I'm a programmer and I think I push the PC fairly hard, like coding a little bit with Visual Studio, running MySQL, iTunes, downloading stuff all at the same time and It's not like it's going to crash. So if it's no problem for a Windows PC I can't imagine an OS X with a Core i5 and 4GB of RAM having a problem just running iTunes.

Posted on May 20, 2014 11:29:17 PM PDT
credit risk says:
There is plenty of ram here for iTunes.

The bigger concern for iTunes would be lack of storage space.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 6, 2014 5:36:53 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Aug 6, 2014 5:37:12 PM PDT]

Posted on Aug 6, 2014 5:37:29 PM PDT
Brian K. says:
Were you having issues with the Macbook Air being sluggish or were you looking at the Activity monitor? Mavericks use of Ram is very different from previous versions of Mac OS. I recently switched back to Mac OS with the purchase of the Macbook Air 13" with 4Gb of Ram. I was in the activity monitor for much of the first week thinking that the 4GB of ram was not enough, even though the thing was running fine. After doing some research on Mavericks use of RAM, I found that although my Mac is using 3.9GB of RAM pretty consistently this is normal. Even at idle with just Safari open it will use all available memory. The reason is that Mavericks will use memory that is not currently being used to make applications open faster, etc... The wired memory in the activity monitor is essentially the memory that Mavericks is using just to keep the machine running faster and more efficiently. If the machine needs more memory, then Mavericks will release memory that is being used for non-essential functions. Looking at my machine right now, I have about 800 MB of wired memory and it is using 3.9 GB of Physical Memory. The real indicator of memory usage in Mavericks is the Memory Pressure indicator in the Memory section of the Activity Monitor. Currently, even though the machine is using 4GB of RAM, Memory Pressure is only 22%. That is in part because Mavericks has Wired Memory available, it compresses memory where it can, and it can utilize memory swap, which on my machine can use up to 2GB of hard drive space as virtual RAM. So, pretty much as long as Memory Pressure is staying green, you can be assured that the machine is operating properly and you do not necessarily need more RAM. Now if the machine was sluggish, then there is a problem, but I have been running mine hard with multiple apps open while streaming Netflix and MLB and no issues at all here.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 6, 2014 5:47:01 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 6, 2014 5:52:21 PM PDT
Good thoughts...the machine was definitely sluggish. Hard to know if faster functioning now is due to better processor more ran but I suspect a conbo of both.

To clarify itunes was one of many programs running simultaneously (there is no problem running itunes on a MacBook Air). But with itunes, logos, word, excel, and chrome everything runs slower than just running any one of these.

Basically the point is, they make computers with more RAM for a reason and if you think you might need one of these you might do well to test this first with the option to return and get upgrade. If your use is pretty casual you'll be fine with this

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 6, 2014 6:06:05 PM PDT
Brian K. says:
Thank you for the response Jacob. If you are a power user then certainly more RAM is necessary. I wrote the above response as I have been thoroughly impressed with my Air. I have been doing some multitasking, but really no more than 3 or 4 open programs, but I think it could handle more. I will say that Google Chrome is a resource hog on mine and I have been sticking to Safari. Not sure if Apple developed software, such as Pages, iTunes, and Safari works more efficiently than non-Apple developed software. I can't imagine running Windows on this would be very good either. I bought mine to replace my iPad and for the time being my beast of a Windows Desktop. I will be getting an iMac later this year to compliment the Air as I do want to start doing some video editing.
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