Last year in college we used this version of 3Ds Max for our single solitary 3D unit - I was on a programming course at the time. This is the software that basically served as my wake-up call to switch courses, and is a pretty good piece of kit even though it's been outdated by later versions now.
The Good: It has a nice layout, most of the tools are relatively easy to find once you know a little about what you're doing, and it doesn't take long to see the results of your work. It's hot-keyed, like the other versions, and those same keys are kept throughout the new releases.
The Bad: At the time it was released there weren't many bad things about it, but it was very fiddly and at times it could be hard to get scenes and objects to render the way you wanted them to. It was complicated in some parts where it didn't need to be (although these have been rectified by Max 9). It could sometimes take a long time to render, and it was prone to crashing.
Summary: Overall, if you're going to get 3D software its worth paying a bit extra and going for the latest version, which at the moment is Max 9. That said, its still a nice piece of software, and will probably always have a special place in my heart.