Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

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RooseveltG
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Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by RooseveltG » Wed Jun 03, 2015 6:45 am

I am in the market for a used Macbook 11 Air for travel (writing documents, using the web and answering email). (I considered the new Macbook but it is pricey, hard to come by and probably overkill for me).

In the refurbished market, Airs are available with 4/8 GB RAM and Intel HD 5000/6000 Graphics.

Which configuration would be faster: 8 GB RAM/Intel 5000 Graphics or a newer machine with 4 GB RAM/Intel 6000 Graphics processor?

Thanks in advance.

Roosevelt.

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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by livesoft » Wed Jun 03, 2015 6:49 am

I do a lot of large matrix inversions all the time, so I would think 8 Gb RAM would be faster.
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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by arthurdawg » Wed Jun 03, 2015 6:59 am

My macbooks are now 5 and 4 years old... I upgraded the RAM from 4 to 8gb last year and reloaded them with lightning fast SSD 512gb (solid state hard drives) and the performance gain was immediate, impressive, and noticeable. I also have them both updated to Yosemite with no noticeable performance issues.

I'd go for RAM and a hard drive upgrade to an SSD unless you anticipate the need for programs needing fast graphics.

I mainly use ours for internet, light word processing, e-mail. The kids play minecraft and roblox on them, graphics seem fine (no heavy duty 3D graphics laden gaming though!). I checked and we have the "Intel HD 3000 / 512 mb" graphics chips set. Not sure what difference the various ones make, it has been perfectly adequate.
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RooseveltG
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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by RooseveltG » Wed Jun 03, 2015 7:03 am

An additional question would be, is an Intel 6000 Graphics processor noticeably faster than the older 5000?

Thanks.

Roosevelt.

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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by RooseveltG » Wed Jun 03, 2015 7:12 am

And while I am at it!

Has anyone out there with my needs opted for the new Macbook and what are your thoughts?

Roosevelt.

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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by livesoft » Wed Jun 03, 2015 7:16 am

I cannot imagine that graphics would be important to your tasks, but memory would be. If you are like me, you might be writing two papers while having 5 or more reference papers open (in the form of PDFs). Memory trumps graphics.

But, YOLO, buy a new computer and pay the bucks.
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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by 62andret » Wed Jun 03, 2015 7:47 am

8G RAM definitely.

I had an 11 mac air for a while, the screen was a bit too small for me.
Sold it back, got a 13 mac air with 8G, much better.

Personally I will never get a laptop or desktop of any sort with less than 8G anymore.

And I too would get a new one, but that is just me.

s :happy

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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by stan1 » Wed Jun 03, 2015 7:52 am

For me more important than RAM or video is disk space. The 128GB MB Air's are too small, need at least 256GB if you have standard apps, iPhone apps sync'd, and even a moderate amount of photos and music.

FWIW I've used my MacBook Air 11s (2010 and 2014) with a 30" monitor years. No problems with video performance using standard office apps/Google Earth/etc. I don't use it for high end games and rarely watch movies on it though.

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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by backpacker » Wed Jun 03, 2015 8:04 am

RooseveltG wrote: Which configuration would be faster: 8 GB RAM/Intel 5000 Graphics or a newer machine with 4 GB RAM/Intel 6000 Graphics processor?
Get the extra RAM. The faster graphics card is only going to make a difference if you are playing graphics intensive games or using an extra-large external monitor (or doing other graphics intensive tasks). It sounds like you won't be. For what it's worth, I have a MacBook Air with 8 GB RAM and the even older 4000 graphics card. It has never felt sluggish to me.

Another idea. Why get a Macbook Air only for travel? Instead of having a home computer and a travel computer, get an external monitor for using the Macbook at home. Having one computer instead of two would save some money and let you get a nicer laptop.

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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by mmmodem » Wed Jun 03, 2015 8:43 am

Your computer is only as fast as the slowest component. Get the upgraded graphics. Just about anything you do will be limited by the graphics card or cpu before 4 gb ram becomes a bottleneck.

Think of ram as the highway. An 8 gb/8 lane highway will allow more cars to go through than a 4 gb/4 lane highway. But if you rarely have enough traffic to fill up those 4 lanes, 8 lanes won't improve the situation. Faster cars in the form of an improved graphics card. That helps.

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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by backpacker » Wed Jun 03, 2015 8:52 am

mmmodem wrote: Think of ram as the highway. An 8 gb/8 lane highway will allow more cars to go through than a 4 gb/4 lane highway. But if you rarely have enough traffic to fill up those 4 lanes, 8 lanes won't improve the situation. Faster cars in the form of an improved graphics card. That helps.
Well, I have a random assortment of programs open right now. Web browser. Spotify. A couple text editors. PDF preview. Activity monitor reports that I'm using 5.8GB RAM. It's not hard to use 4GB RAM on a modern system.

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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by leod » Wed Jun 03, 2015 9:02 am

buy both 8GB RAM and intel HD graphics, problem solved. :D
the extra $$ is not much if you plan on using it for 3-5 years

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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by rob » Wed Jun 03, 2015 9:11 am

For that work load..... SSD - SSD - SSD - Memory - Lots of stuff - Graphics upgrade :happy
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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by mxs » Wed Jun 03, 2015 9:34 am

The memory should be a lot easier to upgrade than the graphics. If you want the best of both worlds you may be better getting the better graphics card and upgrading the memory yourself.

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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by mmmodem » Wed Jun 03, 2015 10:00 am

backpacker wrote: Well, I have a random assortment of programs open right now. Web browser. Spotify. A couple text editors. PDF preview. Activity monitor reports that I'm using 5.8GB RAM. It's not hard to use 4GB RAM on a modern system.
I would say your usage is an exception rather than the norm. I just loaded up solidworks, outlook, excel, word, access, 2 web browsers, plus whatever Norton security my work computer uses that saps performance and I'm only at 3.15 gb memory. There will never be a time I would multitask to this degree and still be efficient. So unless OSX is more bloat ware than windows 7, I think most people won't exceed 4 gb.

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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by JDot » Wed Jun 03, 2015 10:14 am

mmmodem wrote:
backpacker wrote: Well, I have a random assortment of programs open right now. Web browser. Spotify. A couple text editors. PDF preview. Activity monitor reports that I'm using 5.8GB RAM. It's not hard to use 4GB RAM on a modern system.
I would say your usage is an exception rather than the norm. I just loaded up solidworks, outlook, excel, word, access, 2 web browsers, plus whatever Norton security my work computer uses that saps performance and I'm only at 3.15 gb memory. There will never be a time I would multitask to this degree and still be efficient. So unless OSX is more bloat ware than windows 7, I think most people won't exceed 4 gb.
Safari uses a lot! (especially if you keep Facebook open- which many people do). I actually like Safari- in case you were going to recommend firefox.

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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by topos » Wed Jun 03, 2015 10:32 am

mxs wrote:The memory should be a lot easier to upgrade than the graphics. If you want the best of both worlds you may be better getting the better graphics card and upgrading the memory yourself.
Incorrect advice for a macbook air.
Memory is not user upgradable on a Macbook air. Actually, I don't think it is even possible to have it serviced by an Apple store to add more memory. Memory is soldered on the motherboard. Have to replace the motherboard to add more memory.
Note also that memory cannot be user upgraded on any Apple Macbook with retina display.

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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by nordlead » Wed Jun 03, 2015 10:49 am

I would never buy a computer (desktop/laptop) with less than 8GB of RAM today unless it had a very specific use with well defined requirements (e.g. low power file server).

I just checked my PC, and I'm sitting at 4GB used, and a peak of 6GB since the PC was turned on.

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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by SpringMan » Wed Jun 03, 2015 10:54 am

For the price difference, I would opt for the 13 inch MacBook Air. Beside just a 13 inch screen, you get a builtin SD card reader slot and the additional size allows for a bigger battery that can go longer between charges. Because you can't upgrade RAM or SSD yourself (it is soldered) I would get 8 GB and 256 SSD. When I was shopping, B&H Photo's new products were competitive with Apple's refurbished considering they don't charge sales tax. I ended up getting the MacBook Pro as I don't travel with it much. I doubt if which motherboard graphics will matters much. They aren't gaming machines.
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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by HogsAndApples » Wed Jun 03, 2015 11:20 am

Based on your description I would opt for the 8GB RAM and going with the 5000 Graphics Processor assuming there is no difference in processor and that the storage capacity is the same.

I don't know why you say a new MacBook is "hard to come by"?

I would also consider the number of years I was expecting to keep the machine assuming 4-5 year life span but understanding that depending on your needs and the machine it may last longer (8 years or so).

Newer OS's, technologies and software often take advantage of processor, RAM and storage ... my last computer lived a long time, what did it in was that I could no longer update for the latest OS (today's Mac's are even less upgradable - buy what you need), eventually the OS I was using was not supported and the browsers and other software I needed to upgrade got bigger over time. If buying used, consider it may be outdated in less future years than buying new.

I found refurbished macs locally where I could not purchase Apple Care and I found them through Apple where I could purchase Apple Care. In my case Apple Care was important.

Another thought I had when I went through this myself was either to go for most computer I could buy versus simply buying less expensively what I needed and knowing I might need to re-up sooner for new machine.

Good luck with your decision, I know there are a lot of variables.

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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by backpacker » Wed Jun 03, 2015 12:03 pm

SpringMan wrote:Because you can't upgrade RAM or SSD yourself (it is soldered) I would get 8 GB and 256 SSD.
The SSD is not soldered to the motherboard and can be easily upgraded.

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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by RooseveltG » Wed Jun 03, 2015 1:38 pm

The new 12" Macbook is hard to come by.
Mac Airs are not.

Roosevelt.

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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by lack_ey » Wed Jun 03, 2015 1:43 pm

Forget the difference in Intel HD Graphics.

Or rather, that's just an indication that you're looking at two different generations. The HD 6000 graphics is on the early 2015 model and is part of the newer 5th-generation Intel Broadwell processor built on 14 nm (Core i5-5250U, specifically). The HD 5000 graphics is on the early 2014 or mid 2013 model and is part of the 4th-generation Intel Haswell processor built on 22 nm (Core i5-4260U or i5-4250U). Core i7 models are optional and would be similar.

The newer processor uses less power and should result in better battery life (in addition to being faster), but for most uses the processor isn't drawing much of the power anyway and there doesn't seem to be much meaningful difference in tests.

It really depends on usage pattern. Just because you can readily use more than 4 GB doesn't mean that 4 GB would be very limiting. If a program you're not actively using needs to get its data kicked from RAM and maybe put on the SSD instead, that's not a disaster when you switch focus back to the program (if ever). Now, if the program you're actively using can burn through 4 GB itself and wants more, that's a problem.

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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by Wolkenspiel » Wed Jun 03, 2015 1:44 pm

In the last weeks I upgraded my 2012 Mac mini and my wife's Macbook pro from 4GB to 16GB RAM - the difference is night and day. Go for 8GB.

Edit: Neither of these machines is used for any particularly computing-intensive tasks, and still the improvement was striking.

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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by SpringMan » Wed Jun 03, 2015 2:03 pm

backpacker wrote:
SpringMan wrote:Because you can't upgrade RAM or SSD yourself (it is soldered) I would get 8 GB and 256 SSD.
The SSD is not soldered to the motherboard and can be easily upgraded.
I stand corrected, only the RAM is soldered, bad phrasing on my part. Even so, can be easily upgraded is subjective. You need to already have special screwdriver bits or purchase them from some place like iFixit.
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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by EnjoyIt » Wed Jun 03, 2015 2:19 pm

I just purchased a 13" Mackbook Pro and love the thing. It was an upgrade from a much older 15".

The pros:
Battery appears to last over 9-14 hours with regular use such as surfing the web, Office, Excel and Acrobat. I run the thing for 2-3 days before needing a charge. As of right now I am at 44% charge with almost 5 hours of usage remaining.
It is very light
I like the new keyboard. Much easier to use as well as the new trackpad.
Also by not having a built in fan, this thing is silent.

The cons:
expensive
the Ram is soldered into the motherboard so there is no upgrading in the future which is why I purchased the most amount of RAM possible.

To answer your other question unless you are doing anything graphics intensive, such as video games or video editing get the most RAM possible. Because it is soldered into the motherboard, you will never be able to upgrade it. You can always upgrade the hard drive in the future if you really want/need to.


-Enjoy

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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by MathWizard » Wed Jun 03, 2015 2:53 pm

RooseveltG wrote:And while I am at it!

Has anyone out there with my needs opted for the new Macbook and what are your thoughts?

Roosevelt.
I went with a 13" MacBook Pro. 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD for my wife. It is as light as an MacBook Air
and has more external connectors, and she like it as well or better than the Air.
I did not like the new MacBook. It is heavier, and just uses one USB-C port for power and
everything else.

I may get one with bigger 16GB RAM/ 512GB SSD , as I'll probably run virtual machines on it,
and it is not upgradeable.
My current 6 year old laptop has 4GB and came with a 320GB drive, upgraded now to a
480GB SSD and it is still slow. So 8 GB does not seem like enough.

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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by SpringMan » Wed Jun 03, 2015 4:11 pm

I did not like the new MacBook. It is heavier, and just uses one USB-C port for power and
everything else
I don't like the new MacBook either. According to Apple the new Macbook weighs 2.03 lbs vs 2.38 lbs for the 11 inch MacBook Air, so it is not heavier. I have heard complaints about the lack of travel in the keys on the new MacBook. Agree one USB-C port does not work for me. Apple wants $79 for a dongle to expand the USB-C.
Best Wishes, SpringMan

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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by autonomy » Wed Jun 03, 2015 4:43 pm

Absolutely, hands down, RAM. Modern browsers will eat through 4GB like it's nothing, and that's before you launch Photoshop. You can't upgrade RAM in the Air. I got a 4GB ultrabook for my wife years ago when 8GB was the most you could get in ultrabooks (and they didn't make an 8GB version of that laptop yet) and she has to use an extension that suspends her tabs (removes them out of memory) or she will get "out of memory" errors.

The only way faster graphics will matter for you is if you're doing a lot of gaming or video encoding/decoding. Watching 1080p videos can be done on a RaspberryPi, so you don't need a beefy video card for that.

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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by Leif » Wed Jun 03, 2015 5:29 pm

All depends on your usage.

My daughter bought an MBAir13.3/1.4GHZ/4GB/128GBFlash - June 2014. She uses it a lot, especially for video streaming. She is very happy with its performance.

I bought a Macbook Pro 13.3/2.6GHZ/8GB/256GBFLASH - September 2014. I've been happy, but considering my usage (mostly internet) I now think it is overkill.

I think the Air is the sweet spot for the Macbook line at the present time. I don't know about the various graphic options.

I've seen posts like this before. Many people seem to overrate lots of RAM IMO.

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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by batpot » Wed Jun 03, 2015 7:43 pm

An Intel HD 6000 is part of the CPU chipset, so it's not simply a gpu comparison, but a cpu&gpu combo.

The HD 6000 is coupled with the latest Broadwell CPUs, while the 5000 is coupled with the older Haswell, so in addition to better performance, you're going to experience better battery life.

So you need to decide whether the premium for the newer architecture is worth it, and then just plan to get 8gb of RAM.

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Not even a question

Post by daveatca » Wed Jun 03, 2015 7:46 pm

RAM
RAM

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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by arthurdawg » Wed Jun 03, 2015 10:39 pm

Leif wrote:All depends on your usage.

My daughter bought an MBAir13.3/1.4GHZ/4GB/128GBFlash - June 2014. She uses it a lot, especially for video streaming. She is very happy with its performance.

I bought a Macbook Pro 13.3/2.6GHZ/8GB/256GBFLASH - September 2014. I've been happy, but considering my usage (mostly internet) I now think it is overkill.

I think the Air is the sweet spot for the Macbook line at the present time. I don't know about the various graphic options.

I've seen posts like this before. Many people seem to overrate lots of RAM IMO.
You'll be overkilling the internet for years yet with your MBP!

If you don't have enough RAM it is painful. SSDs can help compensate.
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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by Leif » Wed Jun 03, 2015 10:57 pm

arthurdawg wrote:
You'll be overkilling the internet for years yet with your MBP!

If you don't have enough RAM it is painful. SSDs can help compensate.
I agree. I originally planned to use it with AutoCAD in a dual boot or Parallels/Fusion. However, since that did not happen I would have been fine with the Air and 4 GB/128 GB Flash. I see I've only use 50 GB flash and that is mostly stuff I could move to an external drive for storage. Unless you are running some heavy movie editing or AutoCAD type apps in several windows I think 4 GB is plenty. As I said in the beginning, it all depends on your usage.

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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by Pajamas » Thu Jun 04, 2015 12:49 am

Apple is notorious for overcharging for RAM upgrades on new computers. As long as it can be upgraded by the user, you are going to be better off buying your own RAM and installing it, especially if you wait a couple of years.

My strategy is to get a lower-end model (refurbed if appropriate) and then upgrade the RAM after a few years if it needs it to be usable for a few more years. It is also easy to sell your used RAM.

Crucial is a good place to get an idea of what various RAM configurations cost.

http://www.crucial.com/

I have 4 GB of RAM in my 3 year old Mac and have been thinking that it is time to go up to 8 GB. Just having a lot of browser windows open with a couple of programs running in the background will eat it up these days. You can monitor your memory to see what is going on if you are having problems.

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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by EnjoyIt » Thu Jun 04, 2015 3:14 am

Pajamas wrote:Apple is notorious for overcharging for RAM upgrades on new computers. As long as it can be upgraded by the user, you are going to be better off buying your own RAM and installing it, especially if you wait a couple of years.

My strategy is to get a lower-end model (refurbed if appropriate) and then upgrade the RAM after a few years if it needs it to be usable for a few more years. It is also easy to sell your used RAM.

Crucial is a good place to get an idea of what various RAM configurations cost.

http://www.crucial.com/

I have 4 GB of RAM in my 3 year old Mac and have been thinking that it is time to go up to 8 GB. Just having a lot of browser windows open with a couple of programs running in the background will eat it up these days. You can monitor your memory to see what is going on if you are having problems.
You can not upgrade the RAM anymore. Macs solder the RAM into the motherboard.

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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by KarenC » Thu Jun 04, 2015 6:54 am

From your description, I'd say the best course is to go for the 8 GB RAM. Swapping to an SSD does make a constrained memory situation much more bearable, but given that the memory isn't upgradable, and memory demands of programs tend to march upwards as the are revised, paying a bit more for extra memory is a wise choice.
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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by kjvmartin » Thu Jun 04, 2015 7:05 am

No one has touched on this, but the Air has a lower resolution screen than the Retina Pro. The difference was so extreme that I absolutely had to have the retina pro. I was initially seeking after an Air. Just my 2 cents!

Mike

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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by abuss368 » Thu Jun 04, 2015 9:29 am

I recently purchased a MacBook Pro and love it. By far the easiest computer and most enjoyable I have ever used. The old days of countless Windows problems is no longer an issue. Everything just works.
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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by DSInvestor » Thu Jun 04, 2015 10:30 am

RooseveltG wrote:In the refurbished market, Airs are available with 4/8 GB RAM and Intel HD 5000/6000 Graphics.

Which configuration would be faster: 8 GB RAM/Intel 5000 Graphics or a newer machine with 4 GB RAM/Intel 6000 Graphics processor?
I have a mid 2012 Macbook Pro which comes with 4GB RAM and Intel 4000 graphics. This computer is user upgradeable for RAM/HD so I upgraded to 16GB RAM and a 1TB SSHD (hybrid hard drive which is not as fast as an SSD). I have no performance issues on this Mac running OS X Mavericks or OS X Yosemite. I am extremely pleased with it. Assuming your choices both have the same storage capacity, I think you'll be very pleased with the 8GB RAM/Intel 5000 graphics. 8GB may give you better ability to cope with future OS X updates and/or run multiple apps simultaneously. Macbook Airs do not have user upgradeable RAM so you cannot upgrade this later.

Run the Activity Monitor on your current Mac to see if your memory usage approaches or exceeds 4GB. If it comes close to 4GB, definitely go for the 8GB model. It doesn't take much work on my mac to exceed 4GB.
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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by roflwaffle » Thu Jun 04, 2015 10:39 am

I've nabbed a new 4GB 13.3" air for $680, so as long as the refurb you're looking at is ~$780-880, I say go for it.

If it's north of $1000, I'd just buy a new 4GB air when it goes on sale again and invest the other $400 in a beefy desktop to remote into and a SSD/USB 3.0 enclosure for extra storage on the go,

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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by Leif » Thu Jun 04, 2015 6:41 pm

kjvmike wrote:No one has touched on this, but the Air has a lower resolution screen than the Retina Pro. The difference was so extreme that I absolutely had to have the retina pro. I was initially seeking after an Air. Just my 2 cents!

Mike
Really? Perhaps my eyes are bad, but I don't notice a difference. If I had it to do over again I would buy the Air instead of the Pro with Retina for less weight and longer battery.

I think it is really a laugh on the Apple website when they show you the difference between a retina and non-retina display using a software magnifying glass. As if any of us will use a magnifying glass when reading our screens! I take that as acknowledgement that the difference is slight.

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in_reality
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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by in_reality » Thu Jun 04, 2015 6:55 pm

Leif wrote:
kjvmike wrote:No one has touched on this, but the Air has a lower resolution screen than the Retina Pro. The difference was so extreme that I absolutely had to have the retina pro. I was initially seeking after an Air. Just my 2 cents!

Mike
Really? Perhaps my eyes are bad, but I don't notice a difference. If I had it to do over again I would buy the Air instead of the Pro with Retina for less weight and longer battery.
I do notice the difference very much between my late 2011 MBP and new macbook. I don't want to look at the MBP screen anymore.

I love the keys and trackpad on the new macbook. I love the size. I'm on transportation or walking a lot and love how easy it is to carry.

I got the best I could get and absolutely love it.

Anyway, for the OP RAM is the way to go if you go with the air.

Did I say I loved the new keys and trackpad? It's the only trackpad that I don't hate using.

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abuss368
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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by abuss368 » Thu Jun 04, 2015 10:43 pm

Now only if Apple would produce a 15" Mac Air!
John C. Bogle: "You simply do not need to put your money into 8 different mutual funds!" | | Disclosure: Three Fund Portfolio + U.S. & International REITs

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papiper
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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by papiper » Fri Jun 05, 2015 6:49 am

I have the new 13" macbook pro with retina. Also a 15" older macbook pro without retina. The difference is very apparent to me, and even with the smaller screen, I like the 13" better for normal use. I agree that if you do a quick compare, it doesn't seem like much, but in actual use the clarity is hard to give up once you are used to it.

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abuss368
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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by abuss368 » Fri Jun 05, 2015 9:22 am

The retina display is awesome. By far the best screen I have ever had on a computer.
John C. Bogle: "You simply do not need to put your money into 8 different mutual funds!" | | Disclosure: Three Fund Portfolio + U.S. & International REITs

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Leif
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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by Leif » Fri Jun 05, 2015 1:16 pm

FYI - A "problem" I've found with my rMBP is battery life. It is about 9 mos. old. Battery is rated at 93% after 50 complete charge cycles.

Apple says I should have at least a rating of 80% after 1000 charge cycles. So that is not looking good.

Macbook Battery

I use to charge my battery then use it disconnected at home. Now I've changed my process to always keep the charger connected while using the laptop. That has stopped the quick drop in battery rating and charge cycles.

roflwaffle
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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by roflwaffle » Fri Jun 05, 2015 9:45 pm

With batteries capacity loss is generally broken up into losses due to aging (calendar life) and losses due to cycling (capacity). The capacity loss associated with cycling usually doesn't translate into the same capacity loss associated with calendar life.

On one hand, a MBP could probably do 1000 cycles in a year while maintaining 80% capacity, but that doesn't mean your battery will be at 80% capacity after 1000 cycles over 5 years, because calendar life losses could be greater than 4%/year.

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Leif
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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by Leif » Fri Jun 05, 2015 11:12 pm

roflwaffle wrote:With batteries capacity loss is generally broken up into losses due to aging (calendar life) and losses due to cycling (capacity). The capacity loss associated with cycling usually doesn't translate into the same capacity loss associated with calendar life.
With the computer only 9 months old and 50 cycles I was surprised to see a 93% rating on the battery. Not really old or many cycles. But, perhaps it drops quickly at the beginning and levels out, I have no idea. But now that I keep it plugged in during use I'm not accumulating cycles and it has not yet dropped below 93%. Just a little less convenient having it always tethered while is use.

cookiez
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Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

Post by cookiez » Sat Jun 06, 2015 12:29 am

For web and email I'll just go get a Chrome book for $150. For ~$200 you'll get a chrome book with 3G/LTE network. Good enough for web and email.

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