FumeFx is a powerful plug-in for 3ds Max and Maya. You can create very realistic explosions, fire and smoke animations with real-time physics. It supports 3ds Max Particle Flow, and Space Warps and Mental Ray as well.
There are so many awesome parameters to experiment with as well as the ability to start and pause a simulation which will build itself into the animation timeline with as many frames as memory on your computer will allow.
Although there is no demo or trial version, the moderate price is well worth your expense. Here is the link to the FumeFX homepage.
This tutorial will focus on creating a cool explosion with billowing smoke in just 100 frames of animation. Not bad, because any moderate computer with a few gigs of ram will have no problems here.