Confused! Need help with Mini

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by chaoschaos, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. chaoschaos macrumors newbie

    Jan 22, 2013
    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.

  2. dukee101, Jan 22, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2013

    dukee101 macrumors member


    Jan 17, 2009
    You can get away with i5 for sure, but the i7's not too much more and significantly increases performance. But keep in mind: you may never actually use all the performance offered by the i7, unless you're also doing multi-threaded video encoding. It's mostly to have the peace of mind knowing you've bought the fastest CPU you can, since this component is not upgradeable after buying.

    Absolutely. You MUST get the 4GB and upgrade yourself. You don't even need a YouTube video. Once you pop off the back cover (which only requires you to turn the cover into the 'unlock' position, no screws or anything), you just look at the little picture guide next to the RAM sticks and you'll see it's just 2 steps. Super-simple, super-cheap, a great upgrade.

    Storage is your most crucial upgrade decision. Nothing beats an SSD. Nothing. Once you go SSD, you never go back. The Fusion Drive is something to consider, as you'll get SSD speeds (mostly) and lots of storage. If you don't have too many files and you're worried about doing an upgrade yourself to the storage (which is much more complicated than the RAM upgrade described above), then get the Fusion Drive. The stock 1 TB 5400 RPM hard drive will be very slow compared to Fusion or pure SSD. There's also a 256 GB SSD option but it's a bit overpriced from Apple, but still something to consider if you're scared of aftermarket upgrades.

    Normally I would recommend doing a custom SSD upgrade, but you don't seem like the type of user that would be really up for that, so I recommend Fusion. If you're still curious about doing the an after-market upgrade, you can take a peek at my drive replacement instructions here:

    Getting the fastest storage is more important than i7. Unfortunately, Apple doesn't give you that choice. Fusion is only available as an upgrade to the i7 system, not the i5. So it looks like you'll just have to pony up the extra cash for that model anyway.

    The 2012 minis now come with USB 3, which can be a great way to expand storage easily, but not all USB 3 is made equal. Some USB 3 devices are slower than others. Get a drive or enclosure that supports the UASP protocol and you can experience full SSD speeds. Also look for ASMedia 1051, 1051e, 1053, or 1053e controllers in your devices. If you have one of those ASMedia chips and UASP support, you're USB 3 device will FLY, possibly farther than Thunderbolt, definitely at a much better price!
  3. OllyW Moderator


    Staff Member

    Oct 11, 2005
    The Black Country, England
    The Fusion drive is only available as an option with the i7 model.
  4. dukee101 macrumors member


    Jan 17, 2009
    Thanks. Didn't catch that. I've edited my response to reflect that info.

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