Premiere Elements does indeed support 1920x1080i AVCHD at 60 fps, Adam. It's only the 1920x1080p AVCHD that it doesn't yet support. (Techncially, 60i fps is 30 complete fps while 60p is 60 complete fps.)
Just make sure you're shooting 60i at HG, HA or HX quality and you should be fine. (Those letters are just different levels of picture quality. It's up to you which you find acceptable.)
Your bigger challenge is going to be editing AVCHD with a dual-core 2 ghz machine. You might be able to do it to some degree, at least with version 10 -- but you may find your comptuer lugging if you work on a bigger project.
Aye, that is the biggest problem. Is there a decent way to convert the files into a less processor draining format? I looked online for software to do this, but you end up with about 10 options, no idea if they're just full of adware/spyware and all wanting 30 dollars for the full version.
I have considered just loading up each video file individually in premiere and exporting it in a different format, however I am guessing that this would probably take quite a while if I was doing it to then make a video comprising say 50 odd shots.
Is there some decent software I can obtain to convert the files or is there an efficient way to do it in premiere itself? As I say, I don't mind not having HD quality at the mo, I just want Premiere to run smoothly when I edit stuff and the output to be around non-HD TV standard.
Thanks everyone - all very useful. I will probably have a go at proxy-ing as this would seem the bets solution in terms of quality output. If that is a real hassel or does nay work then I'll look at converting the files permanently.