I'm sure someone more knowledgeable will correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that DL will not work without a suite version of the programs...
First off, you will not have Dynamic Link when buying the programs separately. You get that only when you buy the suite.
Having said that, there are a few big improvements with CS5 that make the new suite well worth the upgrade price.
For starters, PP, AE and Photoshop are now 64 bit native applications. Which means they only run on a 64 bit OS, with Windows 7 64 being the preferred. This means two things. With 64 bit "words", you get more work done in the same clock cycle. That's computer speak for "it's faster". It also means access to more than 4 GB of memory.
And that's another huge benefit, much better memory management in CS5 than previous versions.
CS5 also adds hardware acceleration to many effects with the appropriate nVidia graphics card. Depending on your usage, the time savings here can be substantial.
CS5 adds improved quality when downscaling HD to SD resolutions.
CS5 adds support for many DSLR formats that were difficult if not impossible to work with in CS4.
CS5's Adobe Media Encoder is easier to use, and can now be bypassed. You can export directly from PP without using AME.
CS5 is overall more stable and bug free than CS4, whose development cycle has ended and will see no more bug fixes ever.
Those are just a few.
Historically, this has been the pattern - ADL with the suites only, and not just the stand-alone versions. Not sure if this has changed with CS5, but I doubt so.
One obvious exception would be PrPro and Encore, as they are purchased and installed together. AE would be a different story.
I only have PrPro and Encore CS5 and can confirm that Dynamic link works fine between the two programs, which I am very pleased about
One obvious exception would be PrPro and Encore
That's news. (Damn, two things learned today. I'm gonna have to take a day off.)