Mac Mini Server - Windows 7 VM to Run Adobe CS5.5

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Reg88, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. Reg88 macrumors regular

    Jun 8, 2010
    I'm a windows user eagerly looking to transition to Mac. I currently have CS 5.5 for Windows and I run dual Dell u2211h's on windows 7 as my main machine.

    Because I'd like to keep my dual Dells, I'm looking at a mac mini and I'm wondering if the i7 mac mini server upgraded to 8GB RAM will be able to handle running basic (no 3-D) Dreamweaver, Photoshop and Fireworks running in Windows under Parallels or Fusion.

    The reason I'm not going to transfer to a Mac version of CS5.5 is because I also have a windows laptop and Adobe's licensing will not allow me to run a Mac version and a Windows version of CS5.5 at the same time -- it either has to be windows or mac, but not both.

    If things work out with the Mac and I'm happy, then I'd get a Macbook Pro and then convert the full creative suite to the mac version from Windows and run the software natively.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. shortcut3d macrumors 65816

    Aug 24, 2011
    The 2011 Mac Mini Server with 8GB or even 16GB (~$250) will work well for intensive computing tasks. I would recommend 16GB of after market RAM vs paying the Apple premium for 8GB. VMware and Parallels performance improves with more memory allocated. The issue would be graphics acceleration as VMware limits graphics memory to 256MB or 512MB? Parallels would likely be better in this situation. The dual drives on the Mac Mini Server will help improve the experience as well. Separating the native OS and the VM makes a significant difference.
  3. Reg88 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 8, 2010
    Thanks for your reply.

    1. Do you mean that it would be best to install the VM on a separate drive from the OS (e.g. on the second 500MB drive)?

    2. In my Windows setups I always setup VMs on a separate partition. Is this advised on OS X, or is a separate drive better?

    3. Lastly, if I did go with the VM on the second drive, can I still use time machine to backup both drives with an attached 1 TB external drive?

    Thanks again!
  4. shortcut3d macrumors 65816

    Aug 24, 2011
    1. Yes, install the VM folder on a second drive. In fact moving your home directory to a separate drive is good too.

    2. Separate drive is better. OSX doesn't fragment like Windows so partition is not necessary. But keeping the OS drive and VM drive separate helps with multitasking as the VM doesn't have to compete with the native OS I/O.

    3. Yes, Time Machine will backup all internal drives. One caveat is you can't use Time Machine if you bootcamp and use VMware to access the bootcamp drive. The advantage of this set up is you can switch to a full resource Windows installation easily if you need the power. Simple as a reboot.
  5. Reg88 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 8, 2010
    Ahhh. Kind of reminds me of the good old days (XP/Vista) when I could keep /My Documents on a separate data partition (you can't do this in Win 7 without a nasty registry hack). Nothing like MS getting in the way of people who want to streamline data backup.

    For your bootcamp caveat - forgive me if I'm being dense - but are these the options for running windows on a Mac...?

    1. Install windows via a bootcamp partition, thereby giving me the flexibility to run this partition as a parallels or fusion VM within OS X, OR as a true bootcamp drive with a reboot?

    1a. When we say "bootcamp partition" here do we mean "bootcamp on the second hard drive"?

    2. Forget bootcamp and just create a VM on the second drive to run windows.

    Thank you again for your continued help!
  6. shortcut3d macrumors 65816

    Aug 24, 2011
    1. Absolutely correct. You do not get Time Machine backups.

    1a. I recommend putting the bootcamp partition on the second drive if you are planning on accessing it with VMware. The partition does not have to be the whole drive.

    2. That is an option and you can use VMware's snap shots and Time Machine for backups.

    One other option not considered here is to do Lion RAID 0. You get better through put and increased IO capabilities, but you can't use bootcamp and run a higher risk of data loss.

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