Mini to Run CS4 & Parallels w/AutoCAD?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by thebreadking, Mar 3, 2009.

  1. thebreadking macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2008
    #1
    I wasn't sure whether to put this in the Buying Tips sub-forum or this one, so Mods, please feel free to move it if necessary.

    With the new Mini updates today, I've started to seriously consider picking one up as a workhorse at home. My current computer is the 1.67 Powerbook G4 w/ 2G RAM, and for what I need at the moment, it runs decently; however, I can tell that its a 3.5 year old machine and it won't run everything I'll need it to.

    So my question to you is this: would the low end Mini, which I would upgrade w/ a larger 7200rpm HDD and 4G Ram, effectively run Adobe CS4 and Parallels/VMWare Fusion w/ AutoCAD at a decent clip? I understand that its Apple's low(ish)-priced competitor, but keep in mind that I'd be coming from using CS (and obviously no AutoCAD) on an older G4, so any increase in speed coming from three and a half years of computer advancements would still be fast to me...but would they be fast enough for my programs?

    Thanks for the help!
     
  2. djc6 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2007
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    #2
    Are we talking AutoCAD LT, or do you do any 3D modeling? Have you considered running AutoCAD via Bootcamp instead?

    I can't imagine any problems running AutoCAD LT, or even some light 3D work as long as you allocate the virtual machine enough memory. For heavy 3D stuff I would use bootcamp.

    I'm currently taking an intro CAD course and using Solidworks on my Mid-2007 2.4Ghz iMac w/4GB of ram. I have a bootcamp partition w/Vista that I can boot into or use as a virtual machine within VMware Fusion. While its perfectly usable inside VMware Fusion, I prefer boot directly into Vista when running Solidworks.
     
  3. thebreadking thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2008
    #3
    Thanks for the response. Ideally I'd prefer to run it under virtualization software just so that I can easily switch back and forth into Photoshop. As for 3D work, I wouldn't be using anything in the AutoDesk suite, unless we decide to go to Revit, though I do use SketchUp Pro on a pretty regular basis. Though SketchUp doesn't seem like the most processor-intensive application.

    How much does processor speed play into the overall scheme? I usually wouldn't consider it, but is it actually worth it to spend the extra $150 for the extra .26ghz in order to better do what I want to do? Or is everything I'm looking for it to do more RAM-dependent?
     
  4. adameels macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Location:
    Preferably Belgium at some point
    #4
    I was originally running AutoCAD 08 under VMWare which worked great for line drawings, no matter how large. I was also running Photoshop CS2 and InDesign at the same time on a low end mac mini I bought 12 months ago.

    I switched to Boot Camp since I started using the 3D modeliing tools of AutoCAD.

    As far as 2D is concerned, your workspace should function just fine with a new mac mini
     
  5. djc6 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2007
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    #5
    This article might play into your Parallels vs. VMWare Fusion decision:

    http://www.mactech.com/articles/mactech/Vol.25/25.04/VMBenchmarks/index.html

    I personally use XP under VMWare Fusion on my 2.4Ghz 4GB iMac (Mid-2007), but I recently helped someone setup Parallels on a 2.4Ghz Macbook (Early 2008) w/2GB of ram, and I was blown away at how much faster XP was on the macbook. It was VERY noticeable.
     
  6. thebreadking thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2008
    #6
    That's a good resource, thanks. Does anyone have any experience with a Mac Mini, or a machine spec'd similarly, running SketchUp Pro? I assume an upgrade to 4GB of RAM would help immensely, but is performance limited by the graphics card? Or is SketchUp a basic enough program to not have its performance throttled back due to the 9400M?

    Thanks again for the help!
     

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