Is 4GB memory sufficient?

in Genius Bar edited June 2014

Hello! Long time lurker who is gonna switch. Right now the Mid 2013 Macbook Air is cheap were I live, but as you cannot upgrade an Air I'm wondering if I'll do fine with just 4 gig memory? I have herd people say that 8 gig should be a minimum for running Maverick, but since I come straight from Windows I have no idea to verify this. I'm also gonna be using Adobe Photoshop but I have also herd Apple use the hardware way much more efficient than windows, especially memory. Anyone who has a mid 2013 Air who wanna share their experiences? 


  • Reply 1 of 9
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 15,084moderator
    8GB is not a minimum for OS X but the integrated graphics can use up to 1GB for video memory as it's shared, which would leave you with 3GB on a 4GB machine and Photoshop alone can max that out. Mavericks uses memory compression, which allows you to fit more into memory than the physical storage capacity but 8GB isn't an expensive upgrade so if you can afford it, go for 8GB.
  • Reply 2 of 9
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member

    Originally Posted by mangakatten View Post


    but I have also herd Apple use the hardware way much more efficient than windows, especially memory.

    It uses a lot of memory under both OSX and Windows. At 4GB you will experience lower performance than you would at 8 unless perhaps your files are fairly small. Whether it's tolerable is something only you can decide. The ssd helps, but you will notice when you're low on memory with larger files.

  • Reply 3 of 9
    rubyliurubyliu Posts: 1member

    I know of no game out there that lists more than 4GB of RAM as a "requirement." Particularly if you are not multitasking, although some things may be a little slower, 4GB of RAM is still sufficient.

  • Reply 4 of 9

    In my opinion, no. I have a 13" 2012 MacBook Pro on which I usually run Safari with either Spotify or iTunes (sometimes both). With 4GB of memory, it didn't slow down but I couldn't do much else with it. Like maybe I could run one Pages or Preview file but not both, without one program taking a performance hit (due to maxed out memory). Forget trying to run Windows at the same time.


    All these could be avoided if I had 8GB of memory- though Mavericks has been helping. I upgraded my memory to 16GB and it's one of the best decisions I ever made. Moral of the story, always get more memory- especially if your desired machine isn't upgradeable. (basically all new MacBook Pros and Airs)

  • Reply 5 of 9
    As a rule of thumb, when buying an MacBook Air or MBP, buy as much ram as you can afford. Onboard storage is not as critical with cloud storage and external storage solutions available. Usage case will determine if you need more than 4 GB RAM. Surfing, email, word processing, light gaming, YouTube , light photo editing 4 is fine. If you are going to bootcamp windows or video encoding get 8 GB minimum.
  • Reply 6 of 9
    yazolightyazolight Posts: 118member

    Using right now a 2013 retina with 4gb. I do feel sometimes that 8gb would help, but honestly I have nothing to complain about. I don't do photoshop though, only a few games (left4dead2, and portal mainly)

  • Reply 7 of 9
    benjamin frostbenjamin frost Posts: 7,203member

    My 2008 iMac has 4GB and I regularly have thirteen or more apps open at the same time full-screen. I would suggest that if you don't do heavy photo-editing, use certain pro music apps or do video-editing, then 4GB will suffice. Otherwise, more would be better.

  • Reply 8 of 9
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    If you are going to be using Photoshop in any kind of professional capacity, max out the RAM.
  • Reply 9 of 9
    crysisftwcrysisftw Posts: 128member

    As other have said here, 4 GB is alright for basic tasks now but not for pro apps, especially if your work with larger projects. If you do use Photoshop and Premiere Pro etc. for smaller projects, 4 GB should be adequate for now. In the very near future though, you'd need 8 GB as future OS X updates would most probably use more memory because of added features and services. The same would happen with apps as they are upgraded. My suggestion is that you should go with 8 GB right now, and not worry about a future upgrade at least for the next 3 or 4 years.

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