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InDesign on a Mac MINI

InDesign on a Mac MINI

InDesign on a Mac MINI

Does anyone have any production experience with InDesign on a Mac MINI?  If so, how does it perform?

My reason for asking is that my wife, a magazine Creative/Art Director (MAC and Adobe CS products), is losing her job.  She will be doing some freelance work soon so we've got to get outfitted with a workstation and software.

I'm a Systems Administrator (Windows) in the IT Dept. for the company I work for.  My wife and have a mild battle going on concerning which platform she should work on.  MAC or Windows?  If she goes with a Windows platform she has a built-in IT guy and our hardware investment is lower.  If she goes with a MAC platform (which she is being adament about) she has no IT support (at home) and the hardware investment is considerably higher.

So my real question is if a MAC MINI will be a reasonbly good performing machine for InDesign work?  Thanks!

RE: InDesign on a Mac MINI

If your wife wants to be more marketable, she'd do well to accept and work on more than one platform. Of course you could be more marketable too if you also learned more than Windows. Mixed marriages are soooo messy.  :)

A Mac Mini can run InDesign for the short term but I wouldn't count on it to last for many more upgrades of InDesign. Mac Mini's are intended as the cheap first puff before an expensive addiction. While powerful in their own little right, they are trinkets in the big picture.

As a freelancer, I'd think one would be more interested in a laptop that one could take to clients to show work in progress. For the price of a base Mac (like an iMac), you could buy both a Windows laptop and a powerful Windows desktop that could both run InDesign ...and still have cash left over to buy her flowers to cope with the loss of her fight for Mac. (the common InDesign license allows 2 installs)

Disclaimer: I use both Mac and Windows. I'm no fan-boy of either. They both cause me endless work.

RE: InDesign on a Mac MINI

...personally i would get a macbook pro, can run both operating systems on it and with excellent performance that professional video and music producers use due to portability and ease of use, you don't really need a desktop computer at all then, mac laptops are better engineered so you get what you pay for...

...i wouldn't get a mac mini for professional work...


RE: InDesign on a Mac MINI

So you would do production work on say a Mac Book Pro 13", 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x2GB160GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm with an external LCD monitor and external keyboard/mouse allowing for office work as well as client site work review.

RE: InDesign on a Mac MINI

...almost, I use the 17" with 7200 drive with 500GB, antiglare, no external monitor...

...external keyboard/mouse were from my old desktop G5, but i also have a wacom tablet for those extra special jobs...


RE: InDesign on a Mac MINI

I was just musing about how less expensive non-Mac hardware was ...such that you could buy a standard desktop and a standard laptop for the same price as one Mac. If you are already concerned about the premium price of Mac, you might also be concerned about the premium price of a laptop (Mac or otherwise).

Taking a 13" laptop to a client may not be too impressive so that portability option might be questionable. You'd get much more from an iMac at the same price and just telling your clients to come over or post samples online.

RE: InDesign on a Mac MINI

Mac Book Pro ($2,499.00):
2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM-2X2GB, 500GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)

Mac Mini w/o monitor ($1,147.00):
2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo,4GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM-2x2GB, 320GB Serial ATA Drive SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW) None
Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad & Mighty Mouse.  Add approx. $350 for a nice 22" LCD.

Very similar specs, large price disparity.

RE: InDesign on a Mac MINI

What I'm worried about is my wife insisting on a Mac Pro.

She knows nothing about hardware.  She just wants to make sure that her creativity and work aren't hampered by an under performing computer.  I can't remember what she uses at work now.  Maybe a G5 or something like that.

I can buy a comparable Windows workstation (Quad Core Xeon) for close to half of what a Mac Pro costs.

RE: InDesign on a Mac MINI

...come the end it's your money so do what you want with it, if cost is the major factor between you both, then come to an agreement based on what you both can afford. If she really wants a Mac based system then perhaps she'll be happy to pay on a 50/50 approach...

...the other factor that may also be part of her need for getting a Mac is access to fonts, she may already have every mac font available that won't work on windows, so getting windows would mean sourcing professional designer fonts for that platform (preferably opentype)...

...having a Mac in the designers world has always been very much a "tradition" from way, way back really, much like the tradition of using PC for 3D artists...


RE: InDesign on a Mac MINI

Well, she says she doesn't want to have to learn anything new (relative to changing to using CS on a Windows based machine rather than a Mac).  It's crazy though, at least to me, because she uses our Windows laptop and Windows desktop at home to do Facebook, Internet and email & such and from what I understand CS is virtually the same on each platform, with the exception of the fonts issue.  I think the issue is more emotional than anything else.  Also, as has been mentioned, I think to her it's kind of "vogue" for a graphics designer to be using a Mac like in the old days it was "vogue" for a Mechanical Engineer to use a Unix workstation to do CAD.

RE: InDesign on a Mac MINI

It was 10 years ago, or even 5 years ago.

But nowadays Mac and PC are very much the same performance-wise.

Font issues are always there, and have been since computers came into design and printing. They've tackled that issue by releasing Open Type Fonts which are interchangeable across platforms.

The only thing here is preference.

PCs are still very susceptible to viruses because the code is so rigid. Where Macs are Open Source in terms of the OS. So it's harder to code viruses towards a Mac. But they do exist, I've seen them.

Mac or PC will do the same job.  


RE: InDesign on a Mac MINI

The fonts 'issue' is bogus. A red herring, if you will.

1) I'm assuming she is losing her job from her employer, who owns the fonts she is using now. She has no ownership of this media so she has no need to locate a comparable system to use this font media.

2) Most folks use OTF fonts these days. That is the type of font that ships with Adobe apps. OTF is cross-platform capable.

Yes, Adobe Creative Suite is essentially the same in function. The Windows edition actually offers more software than the Mac version. For example, LiveCycle Designer only comes in the Windows edition. Some of the Windows CS4 apps are native 64bit. You'd have to wait for CS5 before Adobe will release native 64bit apps on Mac. Also, if she will be doing web work, Mac's web browser color management is whacked, assuming the monitor profile instead of sRGB on untagged images.

RE: InDesign on a Mac MINI

With no offense to Eugene...


PCs are still very susceptible to viruses because the code is so rigid. Where Macs are Open Source in terms of the OS. So it's harder to code viruses towards a Mac. But they do exist, I've seen them.

That is a bit of nonsense regarding rigid (closed) vs open source and a reason for why it might be harder to code viruses for Mac. But he is correct in noting that either platform can be subject to malware.



RE: InDesign on a Mac MINI


Actually Spamjim, if hackers knew how to crack the Mac code and infect all the Macs across the world, they would gain international fame immediately.

The fact it hasn't happened, so it's not so simple, because hackers don't know how to crack the Mac code. Where Windows is a huge base for sales and mostly used throughout homes and businesses, so it's more attractive for hackers to break the Windows code and hack people's computers and load viruses etc.

Macs are harder to crack the code, because it's written so differently and not worth the time and effort for hackers when they have a wider base to attack and easier to attack too.

Macs are still susceptible to trojan horses and to phishing scams. So you still need to have protection on your system against things like this. As long as you are connected to the internet you are at risk.

Most folks DO NOT USE OTF, in fact, most don't even know what OTF are outside of printing and design. And the Font issue is not a bogus issue at all. There is still problems with TTF, PS fonts and others and cross platform problems.

OTF does tackle this extremely well. So if buying fonts get the OTF version instead.


RE: InDesign on a Mac MINI

It is nonsense because if something is 'open source', it would be much easier to find a way to exploit it because hackers could view the source code. Your explanation of why Windows is susceptible to malware is bogus. Your comment that Windows is susceptible to malware is not bogus.


hackers don't know how to crack the Mac code

Again, more nonsense. If you claim that you have seen a virus for Mac (refer to your previous post), how are you now claiming that hackers do not know how to crack Mac code, especially when it is open source, as you claim? Are you aware of what open source means?

OTF fonts ship with Windows and Mac OS's so I'm confused how you think most folks don't use them. I use the same OTF library of fonts on both platforms without issue. That is what they are designed to do. That is why Adobe only sells OTF fonts. I'd have trouble pointing you to any font vendor that does not sell OTF fonts. We've all moved on from whatever problem you are having with fonts.

RE: InDesign on a Mac MINI

Eugene, this article may help you to understand why there is a difference between malware on Mac and Windows.


It has nothing to do with closed vs open source.

And even an allegedly secure OS is vulnerable when you add applications to it. That is how Macs are so easily compromised. Safari and Quicktime come on all Macs and those are the two best ways to break in.


RE: InDesign on a Mac MINI


It's not nonsense. It's true in some respects that the way it's coded makes it easier to make viruses for Windows.

To say it's not, that's nonsense.

I never said I have a problem with fonts. But they are a problem at prepress, especially when dealing with Mac vs PC fonts.

Adobe are not the only company in the world that make fonts.

Here's a screen shot of my fonts in use, A - B and there are plenty of Non-OTF in there.


Yeh OTF is designed to work Cross Platform - that's what I said from the beginning.

Spamjim, you're confusing the issue here. It's not about what causes viruses on computers, whether one is open source or not, I was being really short with my explanation, because it's not that important. The fact is Macs get very minimum amount of viruses.  

Let's not get caught up in why or why does what virus attacks. The important thing is that most hackers are concentrating on making viruses for Windows, as I said earlier, due the the nature of the wide audience it has, homes and business mostly use PCs.

And yes they are still open to viruses through bridges between Mac and Window dual boot, and they are still vulnerable to Trojan Horses and to Phishing scams.

Spamjim, I find it offensive to say what I post as "nonsense" and I hope you understand that.

Fair enough if you agree or disagree with what I say. You could be more diplomatic and say:

"Actually, it's more because of this and that and not because of the open source vs rigid etc."

All the best.  


RE: InDesign on a Mac MINI

I'm sorry that you are offended by being corrected on a portion of your posts.

You entered this thread to mention something about a G5/PPC. That's not even a purchase option for mpadgett.

We're looking at a user who is setting up a new system. The employer has the current media which his wife will not be able to use. mpadgett will need to buy the software and any extra fonts that they might need. There is apparently no issue with wrestling with legacy TTF/PS fonts. If you want to dwell on an alleged font issue, challenge yourself to point mpadgett to font vendors that do not offer OTF.

Your screenshot is nonsense as well. You previously argued that "Most folks DO NOT USE OTF" but your screenshot clearly shows OTF fonts that shipped with your OS. Let's tame the argumentative nonsense. It does not aid the topic.

RE: InDesign on a Mac MINI

And if you really want to quibble over the number of viruses on one platform or another, recognize that it only takes one exploit to take a system down.

The first link I posted has Adobe recommending the use of anti-virus software.

The second link I posted shows how a Mac was exploited in a security contest prior to a Windows computer.

Statistics suck when you get hit by one bolt of lightening. Do not think this is a selling point for either platform. It is another red herring.

RE: InDesign on a Mac MINI

The first link I posted has Apple recommending the use of anti-virus software.

RE: InDesign on a Mac MINI


Spamjim, I find it offensive to say what I post as "nonsense" and I hope you understand that.

You are right. Perhaps I should have prefaced my previous post to note how I did not intend a personal attack to you by stating:


With no offense to Eugene...

RE: InDesign on a Mac MINI


Let's not get caught up in why or why does what virus attacks

The reason we do get caught up in such is to illustrate a matter of credibility. How is mpadgett supposed to trust you about the rest of your posts when you make such a blatantly silly statement about closed/open source software? I'm trying to help you out by letting you know where your misconceptions lie. If you want to be believed, stick to the facts.

RE: InDesign on a Mac MINI

Wow, it's interesting how this thread has transformed from its original entry.  I do appreciated all of the replies though.  It is helping.

We know that the work can be done well on either platform (Win or Mac).  Fundametally, I don't care what platform my wife uses.  I'm just trying to be smart and prudent regarding the financial investment requied to outfit her with the tools to do the job.

RE: InDesign on a Mac MINI

Further info regarding Eugene's screenshot at http://img216.imageshack.us/img216/2348/96883971.jpg :

What you see displayed as TTF may actually be OTF in the fontfile.


Quote (Microsoft):

OpenType fonts may have the extension .OTF or .TTF, depending on the kind of outlines in the font and the creator's desire for compatibility on systems without native OpenType support.

So with all this distraction debunked, mpadgett can get back to the simple difference to the cost of a computer and the aesthetics of the OS.  

RE: InDesign on a Mac MINI

What Mac computer do you guys use?

RE: InDesign on a Mac MINI

I'm still using a G4 from 2003 and using older Adobe software on it. I would not dare to try CS4 on it, if it even meets the specs. I keep my newer Windows system current with Adobe software.

Any Mac that you purchase today (with at least 2GB RAM) will run InDesign well enough. You may need to nitpick system capabilities based on your wife's workload and how efficient she may be. The issue in comparing models involves how long that particular Mac might last into the future. The shortest lifespan of the Mac line will come with a base model Mini. Maybe you want to test the waters with a Mini and wait until your wife pulls in greater profits to afford a better system.

RE: InDesign on a Mac MINI

My thought was to use a MINI (as I spec'd earlier in the thread) if it was going to perform adequately.  And me not being a Mac or a CS user, I don't have a feel for how it'll perform.

I'd probably be agreeable to an iMac also.  Their specs are actually close to the MINI.  They as well as the Mac Book Pros are Intel Core 2 Duo based.  I just can't personally justify a $2500+ Mac Pro if the Quad Core Xeon processor is needed to run CS.

RE: InDesign on a Mac MINI

I went through this with my partner long time ago, I build install configure windows machines and my partner bought a mac laptop. Dont ask me why when I can trouble shoot any pc she could have bought. It was a pain trying to share bits and pieces across platforms and it eventually became redundant, shes an event manager and everyone dealing with her was on pc, again, why did she buy the mac.Anyway Im a graphic designer and run my main work system on a pc that I paid £500 pre built, works great but I dont have it online and have a second pc for all net and itunes bla bla, I deal with jobs that i have to send to other mac users and never have to deal with the issue of whether Im on mac or PC. I have just bought an imac and run both systems, I got the mac because although I can troubleshoot windows, when I get real busy I cant spend the time assing about with it,although I can fix problems I could be earning money while trying to work out why the machine isnt booting or mouse doesnt work.
My advice from experience;
1.You will loose giant amounts of money playing/tweaking/fixing windows while you should be earning money and making progress.Of the 8 pcs Ive owned all have had many problems over time, my business cant afford to stop and meddle with windows or hardware nowadays.
2.She wont bother you every five minutes about this and that to do with windows. When problems come you wont be in the mood or at home to fix it and it will be your fault for the rest of the time that she bought a pc, life between you will become harder.
3.Making a saving of money (within reason) while buying a computer isnt worth thinking about, she will sit and use it for years, not worth being bothered about a few hundred quid here and there now.
4.The mac will just WORK no assing about no glitches no phone calls, no moody mrs, she will begin a successful business and own her own skyscraper.  

RE: InDesign on a Mac MINI

TTF may have OTF, but not always.

And I wouldn't trust a word out of Microsofts mouth.

Spamjim, you're not the only one around here with an opinion.

I know I'm right to a certain extent. And a lot of Mac fonts won't translate to Windows and vice versa.

That is a fact. That is why OTF was invented.

And not everyone has OTF fonts.



RE: InDesign on a Mac MINI

eugenetyson, you need to take a breath and relax. You are making a big deal out of nothing.

1) Who cares about MVP? I used to be known as 'jimoblak' on this forum. I am right beside you on that silly MVP list.

2) I am not posting opinions. I am posting the facts. If you have an issue with facts, post evidence to demonstrate why your opinion is relevant.

Microsoft and Adobe developed OTF so it would be a bit insane to be contrary to or questioning of the authoritative info from Microsoft about OTF/TTF.

Quote (eugenetyson):

And not everyone has OTF fonts.

His wife will have OTF because that is what is available on the market today. She's not going to be buying ancient TTF/PS fonts today.

Quote (eugenetyson):

And a lot of Mac fonts won't translate to Windows and vice versa.

So you are claiming that one is screwed with older fonts regardless of platform. How does that help in choosing a platform? If his wife comes across old platform-specific fonts, she can use a font conversion tool, just like we used before we had OTF. FontForge is free and nifty and cross platform. There are other commercial font conversion tools as well.


The mac will just WORK
To confirm whether or not this is nonsense as well, visit the Apple support forums and browse the issues being discussed.  

RE: InDesign on a Mac MINI


I used to be known as 'jimoblak' on this forum. I am right beside you on that silly MVP list.

Hey Jim...I wondered where you went...


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