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A five year old XP computer should be enough to do the kind of editing you're doing. Although it would help if we at least knew what processor he has. Right-click on My Computer and open Properties. This should list the processor and RAM load.
That said, there are two very important things to do when working with still photos:
1) Ensure all of the photos are no larger than 1000x750 pixels in size. Using much larger pictures doesn't give you better quality -- but it does tax your machinery.
2) Render regularly by pressing the Enter key on your keyboard. The more yellow-orange lines there are along the top of your timeline in Expert view, the more your computer is going to drag. Rendering (the yellow lines will turn green) the timeline allows the program to run much more smoothly.
I agree with Steve, that knowing a bit more about the gentleman's computer would be helpful.
For editing AVCHD material, below is my "minimum specs.," for the computer:
- Intel i5 CPU (faster, the better)
- Win7-64 OS
- Installed RAM 8GB min.
- 2 physical 7200RPM HDD (Hard Disc Drives) - one for OS and programs (can be smaller), and one for media and Projects (should be adequately large)
- nVidia, or AMD/ATI GPU w/ 1GB VRAM (this rec. is more for driver support, and to also provide dedicated VRAM, so that the video card does not need to share the installed system RAM)
While one can get by with less, such a computer would allow more than adequate performance for editing.
I also know that one "regular" here, John T. Smith, built an editing computer for his wife, and managed to get good computer at a value price. I hope that he can comment too.
Steve and Bill,
Thank you both for your replies, especially as I failed to give you the exact specs of the machine I referred to.
However, despite that, both responses have been very valuable..
What I will be advising is that his machine will probably do the job after a refresh, just, but not provide a very pleasant experience.
It would be preferrable to get a new computer with specs similar to what Bill has outlined. Also, Bill, thanks for mentioning John T Smith. I found his recommendations at http://www.pacifier.com/~jtsmith/ADOBE.HTM and they are very worth reading.
You guys really do a great job and I do appreciate your help.
I have just seen your thread.
I am not sure if SG mentioned Windows XP in context of an aspect of his reply or whether somewhere you had mentioned that a Windows XP computer was being used here. I was reminded the other day that Microsoft will be stopping support for Windows XP in April 2014. From what I have read, that does not translate into a Windows XP user not being able to run program, but rather security issues/risks will exist. Has this been factored into the details that you have and which have not been presented?
If this user does upgrade the computer, please remember than Premiere Elements 10, 11, and 12 will be 64 bit applications only when run on Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 64 bit. Otherwise, you have a 32 bit applications with all the resource consequences of a 32 bit system. Premiere Elements as a 64 bit application does not automatically mean "faster", but it should allow you to get a larger project taken to successful completion with greater frequency.
Thanks AT, that is very useful information and helps a lot.