With all of the controversy surrounding Adobe’s move to Creative Cloud’s subscription-only model one of the facts that I see very little discussion about is the updated system requirements. If you’re a subscriber and planning to use the new applications that will be released on June 17, the most important change you need to be aware of involves the supported operating systems for most of the applications.

Those requirements for Mac are OSX 10.7.x (Lion) or 10.8.x (Mountain Lion). For Windows users, it’s Windows 7 Service Pack 1 or Windows 8.

So, what will happen if you try to install the new Creative Cloud applications such as Photoshop CC on earlier systems? Most of them will probably install and function on Snow Leopard (in fact, according to this page on Adobe.com, InDesign CC and Illustrator CC are supported on Snow Leopard), but you’ll be pretty much on your own if something isn’t working properly. Similarly, on Windows, you should be able to get it to install on Vista. For anything earlier on either platform, all bets are completely off and the applications aren’t likely to install at all.

A Few Personal Recommendations

In addition to the operating system requirements, the Adobe recommendations for hardware are going to be a bit different depending upon the application but suffice it to say the faster the processor and the more RAM you have the better. If you’re a Windows user I can not stress the importance of a 64 bit operating system enough. With my personal “big three” (InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop) all 64 bit compatible, you will be able to take advantage of as much RAM as your machine can handle (if you’re planning on using video applications like Premiere Pro or After Effects, 64 bit is required). I’ve been testing the upcoming 64 bit version of InDesign CC on Windows 8 and Mac OSX 10.8.4 with 8GB of RAM on a MacBook Air with a Core i5 processor and it’s noticeably faster than earlier 32 bit versions.

My final recommendation for those of you running earlier operating systems is not to take any shortcuts by doing an in place upgrade. I know some of you may disagree but a clean install will eliminate almost every possibility of a corrupt installation that could cause you any number of headaches. In fact, you may want to just buy a new solid state hard drive such as this 500GB Samsung model and keep the old one as a back up. Solid state drives are more expensive than standard drives but the performance boost in boot times and application load times is impressive.

Given the fluid nature of Creative Cloud, I advise you to keep a careful eye on these requirements. As features are added and new versions made available, things can change at any time.