Should I install Photoshop 4 or Photoshop 5 LE?`

I am getting an old Compaq Pentium 100 laptop, with 24 megs of RAM. I will use it during the slow hours at work. I want to have Photoshop on it. Not for anything too detailed or complicated, more for goofing around, and editing and cropping pictures, basic stuff. And maybe I could educate myself a little more about All Things Photoshop (since I am still learning.) I have Photoshop 5.5 on my computer(s) at home. But I know my laptop can’t run 5.5, it’s too slow.

So, I have a choice between installing Photoshop 4, or Photoshop 5 LE, both which my laptop should be able run. Which one will give me a more complete Photoshop experience? I am torn. I guess PS 5 LE is more “recent”, so might have some advancements. But it is a pared-down version of Photoshop, whereas Photoshop 4.0 is the real deal - a FULL version. Just an older full version.

So, what do you all recommend? Or, should I (could I) just intall both? I’ll have enough disk space.

All advice would be appreciated!

This page compares Photoshop 5 LE with the most current full version, which is 6.0. I’m linking to it just so you can see what features it has and doesn’t have.

I’ve got 4.0 LE myself, and I find that it does a nice job of whatever I need it to do. Of course, I’m about as novice as you can get, so take that into consideration. :slight_smile:
Oh, will RAM be a problem? The recommended amount is 32MB for both the 5 LE and the 4 full version, and your laptop has only 24MB. (The minimum for both is 16MB.) Don’t know what kinds of problems this may pose, but I thought it worth mentioning.

Use PhotoShop 4.0.

I use PhotoShop almost every single day, and to tell you the truth, the advantages of 5.0 or 5.5 (the full packages) I find to be negligible and just kill my computer’s RAM. The history palette is nice, but it really eats away at the memory and it slows my computer down to treacle. Unless you really have a really good reason to use the history palette, I’d just stick with the full version of 4.0. I’m not exactly sure what comes in the light version of 5.0, but I’m sure 4.0 full will be much more useful than 5.0 LE.
Don’t be fooled by 5.0 being more recent. It’s not dramatically different than 4.0.

this is one of the bigger understatements i’ve read in a while.

anyway, if all you’re going to be using it for is “goofing around, and editing and cropping pictures, basic stuff”, then either one will suffice. just run a test and see which one uses less of your system resources, and go with it.

and yes, you can install both if you have the disk space. that should not be a problem whatsoever.

On a P100, PS 4.0. Cause its a pretty slow computer for that sort of thing.

You should always install the most recent version of Photoshop that is compatible with your OS. Every new version of Photoshop has improved performance. In particular, the change from 4.0 to 5 included dramatic changes to how memory was handled, it is much more efficient. Definitely install v5.

The only reasonable objection to v5 is that the history feature takes too much memory. So turn it off in the prefs.

BTW, if you need a REALLY low numbered version, I could get you a copy of Photoshop .6b, I got it direct from Tom Knoll.

I completely disagree. I’ve been using Photoshop for about 4 years now, and I do some freelance professional graphics work from time to time, and I have to say that PS5 is a HUGE upgrade from 4.0. The history palette alone is worth it, but among other things, the biggest improvement is the text. The text tool in PS5+ is so much better than in 4. Astoundingly better, and PS6 improves on it even more. I would die if I had to go back using PS4 for my work, now that I use 6.0. It’s been a while since I’ve used PS4, but I can’t remember: Are adjustment layers available in 4.0? I know they’re in 5, 5.5, and 6, but not sure about 4. They’re very nice too. PS6 has a lot of new features, including layer grouping (in folders), improved text(that I mentioned before), vector graphic capabilities, and improved web export (another advantage of PS5.5)…including great slice making tools, for chopping up web page graphics. All the graphics on my site are in 1 PSD file, and it’s so nice! Changes are instant.

As far as PS4 vs 5LE, that’s a tough call. I’d say for what the OP wants, 5LE would be better…for more all around work, definitely 4, even though it’s not as good as 5.5 and 6. Anyway, tha’ts just my opinion.


Thanks everyone! My laptop should be arriving today (Whoohhoo!)

I am considering just installing both at this point. I am SO torn!

I think that 5 LE would be better in a way, because (at the very least) it will open all recent file formats. I have Photoshop 4 on my old PowerMac, and every once in a while, it can’t open a file I made with PS 5.5. However, as some have mentioned, PS 4 will probably be less strain on my laptop. And, I have many PS 4 books, as well.

Still ambivalent! Maybe I just should install both…

K Trout –

Ok, ok, ok. So “the history palette is nice” is a bit of a matter-of-fact understatement. I guess what it comes down to is that I don’t use it, because (on to our next reply…)

Jman –

I made the mistake of not specifying my purposes for using Photoshop. I’m a photographer, and not a graphics designer, so for me, the history palette is a waste of RAM. When 5.0 came out, most photogs I knew stuck with 4.0 because of this, whereas the difference between 3.0 and 4.0 was much more useful for the sorts of image processing we do. Now, if you’re a graphics designer than, yes, okay the history palette is quite a tool. I should have specified this in my answer. And if you have a computer with RAM to spare, I’d use 5.0 as well. Otherwise, for my chinky little laptop I personally have no need for the additional features. It all depends on what your purpose for the program is.

In terms of functionality, it simply comes down whether or not 5.0 has any functions you want to use that 4.0 does not. If not, then 4.0 will eat up fewer resources.

However, IMHO the most pressing criterion is that the more recent the release, the more compatible it will be with other software and applications. This will become very apparent once you start importing or exporting files. For that reason, I’d go with 5.0 LE which, as it happens, I use all the time.

There was some significant function added in version 5. IIRC, the easiest way to see this is to load a huge hirez image and use the hand tool and drag the image around and watch it scroll. In older versions like 4.0, as you drag the image, new empty areas are filled in contiguously, in one big sweep. I think it was in v5, they changed to a new “tiles” memory management and it fills in the screen in little squares. This was a radical change and was much faster overall, especially in low memory situations. Also the layers methods tend to change in versions, each new version has improvements.
If you want some really good Photoshop tutorials on layers, etc. there’s a good book targeted at photographers called “Photoshop Artistry” by Barry Haynes and Wendy Crumpler (ISBN 1-56205-895-9). Excellent stuff. They published some tips from a guy who is using Photoshop to produce platinotypes. I was doing the same sort of thing in gum bichromate printing. Great stuff for any PS user with a good background in photography, and good tutorials on the intricacies of layers, color correction, etc.

Sorry for the belated arrival.

a) How badly do you need highly versatile text features? Prior to 5, once you deselected the text, it was no more than a group of pixels interspersed with the rest of the pixels on that layer. You could, of course, create a separate layer for every text string, which would at least let you reselect it and do things to it (including delete and start over) but you sure as hell weren’t going to select it and change the font or point size or make it italic or anything. In 5, you can do those things.

b) However, 5 comes at a very steep price. The “history” feature is wonderful, powerful, and causes you to need a 60 GB hard drive and 1 GB of RAM to avoid hitting the walls and sometimes even losing hours of work from running out of scratch space at a really bad time.

c) If you don’t need 5, you don’t need 4. Dig around and get yourself a copy of Photoshop 3.0 which is what a laptop should be running.

I carry around 3 on my G3 “WallStreet” laptop with 192 RAM and 18 GB HD. (I also have the KPT and Eye Candy plug-ins, both of which I commend to you). I would not think of inflicting Photoshop 5 on my brave little laptop. It would of course launch (it would launch on less than 1/4 that much computer) and if I never ran anything else concurrently and didn’t really use it for anything but Photoshopping, it would make a passable 5.0 box (I do, after all, have the ixmicro Road Rocket PC card for second monitor support :slight_smile: ), but just barely, and that isn’t how I use it. With 3, I can run a dozen concurrent apps and nonchalantly launch Photoshop without quitting the others, open a half dozen windows and copy and apply filters and resize and futz around and finally save the document, all of which assumes that I’m dealing with no more than a couple million pixels’ worth of image; or I can quit everything else, launch Photoshop, hook the scanner to the SCSI port, set it for 1200 dpi, and start work on a project that could encompass a hundred million pixels, or two, or four and a half, with temporary windows of a few million apiece to develop individual component pieces before copying them (via Photoshop’s native clipboard of course) to the main document. With 5.0, I’d find myself often having to quit everything else just to have the functionality that under 3.0 I get while running 4-5 other apps and a massive dose of extensions and control panels. (Yeah, Macintosh. Under Windows you don’t need to worry about Extension sets but otherwise your mileage won’t vary much even if the symptoms of hitting the wall tend to be different).

Photoshop 5 just isn’t a laptop computer kind of app. Hell, it eats midrange desktop computers for midday snacks and sometimes even brings dual G4 processors with a gig and a half of RAM and RAID level 0 half-a-terabyte enclosures to their knees for a moment.

oh, stop freaking out, it’s not as bad as all that. Nobody’s going to try to manipulate huge images on a laptop, although this is possible. Hell, I remember the days when I’d process 200Mb images on a MacIIFX at 16mhz.
FYI, I just set up someone with Photoshop 6 on an old Powermac 7500/180 and it rocks. No pro would be satisfied with its speed, but the user got the CPU for free and they are very happy with the performance.