“Do you think the Mac mini will suffice for design programs? I’ve been doing graphic design the past 4 months at my new job and want to dive into learning more and eventually doing it on the side for some money. Also where can I get the Adobe programs cheap?”
Okay, a Mini for graphic design is not something I would usually recommend. Will it do the job? Absolutely, especially while you are beginning with Photoshop and Illustrator and dealing with smaller files. You’ll gradually get frustrated if you start larger design projects though. I’ll explain it without going into RAM, processors and speeds, things that unless you’re a computer nerd, don’t really mean much.
Photoshop might start choking here and there if you are dealing with larger 300MB files and lots of effects rendering, but will it still get the job done? YES…just slowly.
So…if you’re beginning, not super concerned with fast design rendering, opening, and saving files…it’ll work for you, and that will generally be true to the Mac Mini line of computers unless you spend a lot of money updating them, which in most cases defeats the purpose.
If you had the cash, I’d recommend upgrading the RAM in the Mac Mini or purchasing the lowest end iMac, those have a lot of fire power and are often referred to as a “Pro-sumer” computer because they have more kick then a general consumer machine. It’s a big price jump…but I’m just throwing it out there.
Now, where to get CS5, education discounts are the biggest to get a new copy, so get your brother, friend, random guy in school to buy it. (https://www.adobe.com/education/solutions/students/studentteacheredition/) Otherwise, fishing around on craigslist and ebay may get you it on discount.
Always glad to help!