Processing power is a combination of the speed of your processor and the resolution of your video. It takes much longer, for instance, to render a high-def video than it does standard def DV.
Solid state drives are pretty expensive! And they won't have much effect on your rendering and transcoding speed, so I'm not sure you'll get much bang for the buck on that investment.
As it has with CS6, Adobe has done a major tune-up of the Premiere Elements in version 11. Particularly on an adequately powered machine (an i5 or better with an OSX or Windows 7 64-bit and a 4-6 gigs of RAM) you'll see a pretty significant boost in performance all around, including rendering. I don't know that there are "maximum specs" for it. It can take full advantage of a faster system with 64-bit architecture.
How fast is your processor and how much RAM do you have?
What format and resolution of video are you editing, and what are you transcoding it to?
As Steve points out, Adobe has increased the performance with PrE 11, and as with most 64-bit programs, on a 64-bit OS, one gets a major performance increase.
However, PrPro CS 6, with MPE & CUDA, greatly accelerates many operations, but not all. This article has links to details on what MPE & CUDA can do, and where it does not improve performance: http://forums.adobe.com/message/4152667#4152667
As for the hardware, this is one of the best articles on real-world performance for running Premiere (either flavor), that I have seen: http://forums.adobe.com/thread/947698?tstart=0 Harm Millaard has done a great deal of research, using the benchmarks from the PPBM6 Web site, and has quantified the equipment, that improves performance all the way around, with PrPro. He also shares observations and benchmarks on SSD's.
I would read over both, before I put down money on a system, and then read over the MPE & CUDA articles, before deciding between the two versions of Premiere, especially as the performance increase in PrPro CS 6 comes with two price tags: the correct hardware, and then the cost differential of the program.
Good luck, and when you have spec'ed. out your proposed system, please post to the Adobe Premiere Hardware Forum (where Harm's article is located), to ask for input on your selections. Lot of great hardware gurus over there, and pay special attention to replies from Harm, Bill G., Eric and Scott from ADK (they build custome video-editing workstations and laptops).
PPro makes use of the (more expensive) CUDA cores in an nVidia card... PreElements does not, so an ATI card works just fine... at least 512Meg of video ram, or 1Gig if you edit large pictures with Photoshop or Photoshop Elements (my thoughts on video ram, not official specifications)
Do what you will with this list, but this is what I would build for 64bit PreElements 11
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116986 Use Win7 64bit Home if you will NEVER go over 16gig ram http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116992 Use Win7 64bit Pro to use more than 16gig ram
I recently built my wife a new computer, using the above list, except 32gig of ram because she likes to have "everything" open at the same time (no video editing, but she is a designer who uses a specialty CAD program for house design or remodel projects)
Heat is the ENEMY of electronic components... which is why I bought, and specified in the list above, the added 2 case fans
Using the stock Intel CPU cooler AND the added front & side case fans her temps are...
CPU 84F and WD drives 77F and ATI card 91F
When I said "upgrade" I was thinking my computer is so dated that I would need to upgrade to a new computer. But just in case it's salvageable, here is what system properties says: Dell XPS 600 32 bit dual core with Intel Pentium D 3 GHz, 2.99 GHz, 2.00 GB of RAM (DR2 DRAM, Speed 667 MHz, 256 MB Nvidia GeForce 6800 graphics card in 1 AGP slot (2 empty slots.) It is running Windows XP Professional Media Center Edition. It was my dream machine in its day. I have VHS tapes that I convert to digital through my camcorder's passthrough. The camcorder records DV tapes (it's not HD--I'm glad I bought it before they went to HD and those huge file sizes.) But if it breaks, I may have to go to HD.
I don't do anything fancy with my editing to warrant expensive software, but I do want something that is a lot faster than what I have now. I get impatient having to wait for the little frames to finish generating on the timeline so I can start editing the next section. The long transcoding time isn't so bad--at least I can walk away and do something else. It's the slow editing when all I can do is sit there with nothing to do while the editor and computer get caught up.
If you think PrE 11 and an adequate machine to run it will keep up with my editing speed, I wouldn't need CS6 and its required $$$components . . . but I do have my heart set on that solid state boot drive, or whatever it is that opens programs instantly so I don't have to wait for them. I ought to change my nickname here to "Impatient." At the same time, I am Grateful for the kind and helpful people here in the forum.
A newer nVidia, or AMD card w/ a minimum of 1GB VRAM should improve the refresh rate for the thumbnails. You can also speed that process up, if you toggle to either First Frame, or First & Last Frames.
An SSD will improve bootup times, and will help launch programs a bit faster too. However, their write capabilities are still a bit slow, so I would add a fast mechanical HDD, with adequate capacity, with a SATA III controller, for the media, Projects, Scratch Disks, etc.. A third physical drive, and maybe a RAID w/ a dedicated RAID controller, would speed up Exports.
Bill, thanks so much for the links. I think I'll have to read them two or three more times to really understand all the information. It took me the second read to realize OC means "overclocked". I doubt I'd have the courage to build my own computer, even if I had blueprint-like instructions and a guaranteed list of perfectly compatible components. But it's great to have some technical insight into what components to ask for in a custom built turnkey system that will suit my needs and budget. Thanks for the tip to post on the Adobe Premiere Hardware Forum if I can't decide between some choices.
Hunt, I didn't see your last post until after I responded to your first post. Are you saying that the computer I have could be suitably upgraded with the components you mentioned? I would like to go to Windows 7 too. I didn't mention that my Device Manager says I have NVIDIA nForce RAID Class Controller, and 2 nForce4 Serial ATA RAID Controllers. I think I had two 80 GB RAID striped drives, but I needed the storage space, so I somehow combined them to look like one drive. I don't know what the rpm of them is.
I would still have a 32 bit computer. I'm just not knowledgeable enough to know what options are cost effective.
Sorry, I'm not familiar with how to do your suggestion to
toggle to either First Frame, or First & Last Frames.
Can you explain--remember I only have PrE 4.
The problem with upgrading components, attached to an older MoBo, is that one is often limited to only certain, older CPU's, and usually less RAM, or an older configuration of RAM. Heck, even the video card sockets have changed over the last few generations, and what was hot just a few years ago, is not even available now.
I feel that component upgrades are only good for about 3 years. Beyond that, so very much has changed, that the BftB (Bang for the Buck) is in a new system. Heck, the last workstation that I built was actually ~ $ 500 less expensive, that my CompuAdd hot-rod 286 system, and was 1000x more powerful. The laptop that I have on order is about $ 250 less than the one that I am on now, and is about 5x more powerful.