Premiere 6.0 is easily the best, all-around midrange editing program for Windows. For complex Mac projects, however, choose Apple Final Cut Pro 2.0 instead.
AutoCAD LT is perfect for draftspeople, engineers, and technical illustrators who don't have to work in 3D. For 3D work, you'll need AutoCAD 2002.
Adobe Creative Suite 4 Production Premium
Faster, easier to use, and more powerful than the previous version, Dreamweaver 8 is a worthy upgrade for professionals, but amateurs should stick with a less complicated app, such as HomeSite.
If you're a professional or ambitious amateur digital artist, we highly recommend Adobe Photoshop CS2.
Adobe Lightroom 6/CC remains a fine photo-editing and organizing tool, but the new version doesn't rise much past its predecessor.
This update should be worthwhile for security-minded businesses and creative firms. With Acrobat 9, Adobe brings new Web relevance to print-ready PDFs by enabling embedded video and animation. Forms, security, and overall ease of use are also enhanced.
Drive Image 2002 bests its predecessor, thanks to powerful disk-imaging tools within Windows.
While there are a handful of new capabilities in the update to Adobe's entry-level image editor, the most noticeable is a more readable interface intended for middle-aged eyes.
Businesses that publish plenty and want a quick way to turn paper docs into PDF files or assemble catalogs from databases should turn to PageMaker.
Despite some stability problems, Pinnacle Studio 9.0 is a remarkably powerful video editor and authoring app for both home and professional use.
Adobe PhotoShop CS Ver. 8.0
Audition is a powerful end-to-end environment most suited for audio pros, but it's also handy for quick mixing or restoration of specific clips.
McAfee Internet Security Suite 2006 packs a powerful protection arsenal--but it's far too slow. Loyal McAfee users should upgrade for the automatic spyware and phishing blockers, but the rest of us should seek security elsewhere, such as ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite 6.
Best for coding and design pros, Adobe Dreamweaver CS4 is perhaps the sharpest, swiftest tool for developing and editing dynamic Web sites.
Nero 7 adds significant new features to this already impressive suite, furthering its reach to the living room and giving users a true bargain.
QuarkXPress 4.1 is a superior layout application equipped with the best set of illustration and text tools on the market. It's not for amateurs, but if you're a professional print designer, you'd better own a copy.
Mid- to high-level graphics professionals will like this package, but it's overkill for just touching up photos and drawing organizational charts.