Diminishing Returns on Getting Back to Sync?

Hi, sorry I know just a little more about Ethereum than I need to in order to get it running.

I am running Mist 1.7.2.

I let myself de-sync for a week and upon running the mist client / geth again, I've been going for 40 hours with 4 gb of ram usage with no end in sight.

My understanding is that starting a fresh install in --fast (also --light?) mode yields large time savings, but after that you are running as if you were a full node, which is sustainable as long as you don't fall behind (if you call 70 GB+ on an SSD sustainable).

It seems to me that for a hobby grade miner, there is a breakpoint where it would be faster to just delete your chaindata than it would be to try to sync after a lapse.

Am I accurate in this? Is there anything coming down the pike in ethereum development that will change this situation?

Thank you.
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