Adobe CS2 bundles at academic discount? Or not even worth it?
May 20, 2007 8:38 PM   Subscribe

Any sites selling Adobe Creative Suite 2 bundles at academic discount? (Or is this a fruitless quest - should I aim for CS3 instead?)

I will be leaving a programming job in academia soon and would like to get some Adobe products for my Win2K machine legally at academic discount before I go.

I am pretty out of touch with Adobe (still running Photoshop 6 and Illustrator 10) so I'd like to get one of the CS design bundles to be more up to date (not to mention to actually freaking use the Creative Suite products, which I haven't done yet). I mostly do web design but also do print design occasionally.

I talked with a designer pal and got the impression that CS3 hasn't been widely adopted yet and that there might be file incompatibility issues with previous CS versions. But all of the academic discount software sites I see offer _only_ CS3 bundles.

Are there any discount sites out there still offering CS2 bundles? Or am I on the wrong track - is CS3 a smarter choice (though it sounds like it'd require an OS upgrade)? I'm especially interested in hearing thoughts from people who use these products in the design industry (one of my wishes is to be more familiar with the software that's actually being used these days and that I might encounter in future jobs).
posted by cadge to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
You shouldn't have trouble finding CS2 academic -- Google turns up plenty of results for "cs2 academic." One thing to note: tons of places sell academic software, so you should probably run their names through to see if anyone has left negative feedback. You can actually search *from* resellerratings' website, and this result for CS2/academic lists it for $385. When it comes to buying academic software, you'll need to fax/email a copy of your student ID or whatever credentials they require.

As for the decision between versions, I'm generally of the mindset that the newest technology available wins out. Newer technology sometimes introduces confusions and unknowns, but I tend to think it outweighs the regret or sour grapes once you're finaly up to speed with it. That said, I still use regular old CS (1) and most everyone I work with -- freelancers, colleagues, etc -- are in a similar boat. My microcosm doesn't represent the entire population of Adobe users, but at the very least, there's still plenty of us using older versions without problems.
posted by Hankins at 9:31 PM on May 20, 2007

Even with all those google hits, it looks like all the retailers have pulled CS2. Probably some agreement they have with Adobe, your best bet if you CS2 is to go to ebay.
posted by bigmusic at 9:46 PM on May 20, 2007

The biggest issue with CS3 I've heard regarding file formats is that various features in Photoshop (and possibly the other suites) get saved to the same PSD file format, meaning earlier versions will be screwed. But according to Ars Technica the new features in Photoshop CS3 degrade gracefully, for the most part—though you lose stuff like smart filter functionality, the actual effect seems to be applied again in CS2 so that the image is preserved, though some effects are no longer editable.

If it were me, and I'd found out for sure that Adobe hasn't pulled a Premiere Pro and made the whole suite XP-only (jerks), I'd go with CS3 anyways. Eventually people will upgrade, and I doubt you'll save much if anything by going with CS2 since you're already getting the academic discount.
posted by chrominance at 10:11 PM on May 20, 2007

Oh, and as an aside: does the campus computer store not sell Adobe products? That would be incredibly weird if so.
posted by chrominance at 10:12 PM on May 20, 2007

This is easy: if you primarily do web design you should get a bundle that includes Fireworks and Dreamweaver (previously developed and sold by Macromedia). Their Adobe equivalents (ImageReady and GoLive) are not nearly as good and this is coming from an Adobe fan (and Adobe itself: GoLive has been discontinued and ImageReady is headed that way). I'm pretty sure that there are newer (as in: post-Macromedia acquisition) CS2 bundles out there with (Macromedia versions of) Dreamweaver and Fireworks included but in the CS3 versions the integration between the different programs is a lot better. Whatever you do check out Fireworks - it is a unique webdesign-orientated lightweight cross between Photoshop and Illustrator. No good for print design but the best at what it is made for.
Only worry about file compatibilty if you collaborate with another designer that has to work with your files. For printing just use PDF.
Another good reason to go with CS3 is that it is very very good upgrade, feature and interfacewise...
posted by dinkyday at 10:45 PM on May 20, 2007

I second what Hankins cautions about buying academic versions online. Be very careful. If your goal is to have a totally legal copy, then you need to be 100% sure that the site isn't just selling you a pirated copy with a key made from a keygen. Any legitimate site that claims to sell software at academic discount will need some kind of hard proof of identity. And I also agree that you should try checking with your local campus bookstore/computer supply store. I was under the impression that Adobe's academic prices are relatively constant and flat, and should roughly be the same price no matter where you buy it.

It also might be the case that the academic only applies to the current release, the theory being that the whole point of the academic discount is to get new students hooked on the product line while they're learning, and by disallowing them to get an older version for cheap this ensures that they have a fresh stream of new users that have grown accustomed to the newest features. The person working in your bookstore at the software area may be able to verify or disprove this theory, and tell you in general whether there's any hope of a CS2 academic purchase.
posted by Rhomboid at 11:32 PM on May 20, 2007

Go with CS3. The reason for its current low market penetration is that it's only been on the market for two months.

There's no point in buying software that's not fully compatible with the current version.
posted by ardgedee at 4:44 AM on May 21, 2007

I had tried to get CS2 through my reseller, but they had to discontinue it with the release of CS3. Instead, as a part of the South Central Coop, I just got CS3 premium for $300 single license/375 concurrent or 200/250 for standard. You should be able to get it for a little bit above those marks while still a student.
posted by jmd82 at 6:29 AM on May 21, 2007

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