Q&A: Adobe CC on the road

Q I will soon be working as a designer at multiple locations, and am looking to buy a refurbished MacBook Pro or Air to run Adobe Photoshop and InDesign via my Creative Cloud subscription. What would you suggest?

A Adobe lets you use your single CC licence on both a desktop and laptop, so your plan should not increase the CC cost.

First ask whether you really need a laptop at all, or whether you could lug a refurbished 21.5” iMac, which would give you more storage and better graphics (1920 x 1080) for similar outlay.

If you must have the portability of a laptop, you will need 4 GB of RAM at least. Sadly most graphics cards steal up to 1.5 GB from that when running at the Retina resolution of 2560 x 1600 (13”). A 13” MacBook Air would only give 1440 x 900, and steal slightly less from main memory. An adaptor for the Thunderbolt digital video output would let you use an external display.

At this end of the price range you will probably only get 256 GB flash storage which could be insufficient with several CC apps and your work installed, but an iMac could have a 1 TB hard disk.

Updated from the original, which was first published in MacUser volume 30 issue 8, 2014.