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I apologize if this question is not suited for the website. I m ready to delete it if that's the case. I would like to use Mathematica for my PhD research. I will have a laptop that's limited in capabilities and so it can't run the newest versions of Mathematica. Can I (in Dec 2020) purchase one of the older versions of Mathematica from Wolfram's site to be installed on my laptop ? It would be great if I can purchase Mathematica 8 now for example. What is the earliest version of mathematica which I can purchase? My last question is what are the disadvantages of purchasing the older versions of Mathematica other than missing the opportunity to use the new features in the latest versions of Mathematica.

Thank you

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    $\begingroup$ You’d be better off asking this question to Wolfram directly. They sell it so they would know, but I suspect the answer is that you cannot buy older versions. My laptop is from 2013 and runs the latest version no problem. I think the only thing that might be a problem is if your laptop is still 32-bit. I’m not sure if MMA still supports that or not. Aside from new features, I assume you’d miss out on bug fixes. Depending on what you’re doing, some of the new features are pretty nice. $\endgroup$
    – MassDefect
    Dec 11 '20 at 18:25
  • $\begingroup$ What do you mean you can’t run the new version ? It doesn’t run smoothly? Or it doesn’t even install?...MMA front end isn’t particularly resource intensive $\endgroup$
    – morbo
    Dec 11 '20 at 18:27
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    $\begingroup$ One of the disadvantages is that you will get no support at all. There was at one time another support article mentioning the end dates for installation support. I can't find that now, but I expect it's not longer offered for version 8.0. Finally, your operating system may not be compatible with this old version (likely if you use OS X, less likely otherwise). $\endgroup$
    – Szabolcs
    Dec 11 '20 at 18:33
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    $\begingroup$ You can download the trial version and test if it runs well on your computer. Note that you can very likely use the kernel even on an under-specced machine (I can run it on a 1st gen Raspberry Pi with 0.5 GB of memory). In fact, for many use cases, the kernel is free (see "Free Wolfram Engine"). However, in my opinion, it is not much fun to use Mathematica without the graphical interface. $\endgroup$
    – Szabolcs
    Dec 11 '20 at 18:36
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    $\begingroup$ It depends on how you purchase MMA. What I did back in version 10 was I purchased outright a copy of MMA to keep forever. Since I like the updates and can afford the ~$125/yr, I have their Service Plus Subscription which allows me to get all the updates. If I ever can’t afford it or my computer won’t run it for some reason, I’ll stop the subscription and stick with whatever version I have at that point. $\endgroup$
    – MassDefect
    Dec 11 '20 at 18:42