Your HDTune results look OK to me. The setup looks good too. What 3-rd party effects are you talking about? Magic Bullet Looks? That is notoriously slow on nearly all systems, but if you are talking about DissolveMaster, then there is definitely something wrong. HDV is a pretty easy codec and any modern system like yours should be able to cope with that easily. Have you tuned your system, turned off indexing and compression on all volumes, uninstalled the sidebar and MSN, disabled unneeded services, killed processes like mDNSResponder, jusched, etc.?
Anything from Magic Bullet, Neat denoiser, Beauty Box really taxes the playback and rendering. Exports are slow. Garbage matte, Color and luma key (Adobe) red lines and renders slow, but plays back okay. Dissolves and are good. cpu maxed out during rendering, but RAM only 6-9 GB of 32 GB used. Just one layer of video plus titles. I have not tried After Effects, but that usually burdens my system without any effects applied. Playback is much better at 1/2 res in Premiere
I did a clean re-install of Windows, and with minimal programs installed I am running roughly 70 processes - 15 of them are 'svchost.exe'.
Indexing was on for both the SSD drives. I turned off the SSD holding cache and pagefile with no discernible change in performance. Is it okay to put pagefile and cache on an SSD? Maybe I should put renders there as well? System would not allow me to turn off indexing on the OS SSD drive. I have no antivirus security installed, but there is a suite of monitoring apps from ASUS and a 'System Mechanic' that's always on
There may still be a couple of services I can shut off, like 'atkexComSvc.exe''aaHMsvc' and bluetooth, but the system seems pretty clean. Is there a new tune-up list for Windows 7/8? (Nevermind, I think I found it)
I'm upgrading cameras soon and will be using different codecs less compressed. Not sure what to expect.
Magic Bullet and Neat are not good at multi-threading, hence the huge load on your system. I'm not familiar with Beauty Box, but it could be the same problem. Exports are slow, but to which format? Do you happen to use a Matrox card? That can double export times, sometimes even triple that.
What do you mean with 'holding cache'? Pagefile will not be used often with 32 GB installed. A 16 GB static pagefile on your C: drive looks enough, unless you regularly use AE, in which case I would set it to 32 GB. Do you have full administrator rights when logged in? Then you should be able to turn off indexing on your C: drive.
Don't have the link at hand, but there is a guide in the FAQ section "Guide to tuning a Vista system..." that also applies to Win7 and you can have a look here: http://ppbm7.com/index.php/final-results?showall=&start=3 which also applies to Win7.
Yeah, I found the tuning page - and the black viper I need to look at to turn off some of the background stuff if any
By 'holding cache' I meant scratch disk media cache and cfa for Premiere and AE on the 2nd SSD. I moved the pagefile from OS drive to this 2nd SSD as well. Flash and DVD files seem to export from Premiere and AME pretty fast, but h264 is slow even at lower resolutions.. It could just be the format - I usually do h264 at full res to upload to YouTube.
MPE is always on.
H.264 export is very CPU intensive, so if that works slowly, there is a clear suggestion that other background processes are stealing CPU cycles. It could be background disk optimization, anti-something running, etc. Have a look at Process Explorer and the article about 'The case of the unexplained...'