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Old Jan 23, 2013, 12:32 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Confused! Need help with Mini and CS6

I already posted the following in the mini forum. I hope you guys can help as well.
I am a apparel graphic designer. I have been out of work for over a year. I recently got a work-from-home freelance assignment. I will need to use Adobe CS6 - Photoshop + Illustrator. I don't know how long would this assignment last (most likely 3-6 months). My old job was using CS4.

I want to spend enough to complete my freelance assignment with CS6 "comfortably". Therefore I will get a mini. I intend to keep this machine to run CS6 for a few years (not as my full time work machine but do my own projects). I understand CS6 is "computer-intensive". I will use my old 2005 G4's monitor.

Here are my questions:
i5 vs i7 - for CS6, can i get away with i5? Or I should get a i7 with the multi-tread since i will keep it for a few years.

RAM - it seems i can update to aftermarket 16GB ram easily with youtube video. I should just get 4GB from apple?

SSD drive - please educate me. This is most confusing. Should I get it?
And is the Apple fusion drive the only option?
I see SSD kit from OtherWorldComputing? Is there a "easy" aftermarket option.
Can i use external SSD drive? Is it the same as fusion or internal SSD??

Please bear with me. I normally get latest and greatest $$$ Mac products from work. I never had to get my own.

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Old Jan 23, 2013, 01:46 AM   #2
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I think.....

1-Investigate thoroughly the issue of the multicore advantage in the case of Adobe apps. To my knowledge, the range of support has changed from version to version. If so, invest accord to this.

2-If you feel confortable tinkering with your computers, do the upgrade of RAM aftermarket. You can save some bucks..... (not buying from Apple)

3-Some people claims blazingly fast access to files and better startup times using a SSD. IMHO, your mileage can vary. I will be prefer to go with the Fusion drive from day one. And yes, you can use external SSDs (via Thunderbolt, by example)

Mac Pro 2012 3.06 Westmere version, 12 Core 64 GB RAM, 4 TB , iPhone 5 (black), Moto G 8 GB (black)
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Old Jan 23, 2013, 06:58 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by chaoschaos View Post
i5 vs i7 - for CS6, can i get away with i5?
I do very similar work. Get the i7, the GPU capabilities on them is notably lacking, so the more power your CPU has the better. Mine is running great. You might also want to check the mini forum as there is a lot of good thread in there.

Originally Posted by chaoschaos View Post
RAM - it seems i can update to aftermarket 16GB ram easily with youtube video. I should just get 4GB from apple?
Its very easy. I had trouble with an aftermarket brand and see a lot of people suggesting Corsair or Crucial. I will most likely be buying one of those two shortly to try the upgrade again.

As for the drive, I got the Fusion drive and the computer runs very fast with it. If you are to get it, its worth studying the technology. I was about to get the 256 SSD drive but I have an external 1 TB drive that I use for backups so I figured to give the fusion drive a shot.
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Old Jan 23, 2013, 10:23 AM   #4
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1- I'm a graphic designer and photographer using the i5 Mini with 16GB ram as my desktop and it performs comfortably with CS5.5 CS6 should actually be a little quicker. It handles 500GB+ files in Photoshop without any bother.

2- You can add ram without even using a screwdriver - just twist off the plastic base and slot in the new ram. I used Crucial as on when I opened a previous mac it had their ram as standard equipment. If it's good enough for Apple...

3- I have an SSD in my Macbook Pro and it is much quicker when starting up, opening applications and opening or saving large files. The rest of the time you don't notice any difference. I am thinking to fit one to my Mini but it does look like a bit of a challenge. The alternative is to use an external thunderbolt SSD drive as startup but that could be an expensive option.
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 03:36 PM   #5
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Short answer - go for the i7, fusion and add 3rd party RAM (16 gig).

Long answer - there are a few options for drives but the above will get you started. As most CS6 users know, it is a good idea to have a separate drive for scratch. I don't recommend upgrading the drives yourself unless you are absolutely comfortable with hardware building/break down. If you decide to do it yourself here are the two most common challenges (assuming you get the right tools) motherboard is latched into the case so be sure you know how to unlatch and second the IR connector has to be decoupled and often people break those. Of the latter, your system would still work but no IR. The rest is simply following instructions.

For additional drives, consider items like the external Seagate Thunderbolt offerings or LaCie etc. You can read up on pricing and performance. The nice part about an external is that if/when you upgrade to a more powerful system, the drive(s) can be moved to that next system easily.

I have Mini with two SSD drives internally. One of the drives failed. Result - I have to break down the system again, see which drive is faulty and test it etc. etc. - You get the picture. (If I am lucky it is just a cable re-seat problem and if not.... again, you get the picture.) In the meanwhile, I use the remaining SSD inside and external drives.

Remember one thing that is often over looked - SSD drives have a very finite life unlike mechanical drives due to a set number of writes. Ideally, an SSD under normal use will last a long time but constant read/writes shortens the life. This is why many chose to load OS and applications on the SSD and do all the work and scratch disk on a mechanical drive or external SSD etc.

Hope this gives you food for thought.
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