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The i7 2.66 would be fine, you dont need more than 4GB of RAM unless you are running a 64bit operating system. I use the old Q6600 quad core with AVCHD without issue.
Windows 7 is available as a beta download.
I think I have read some reports of issues importing the AVCHD clips from the HF100 directly into PE7 using the PE7 import function (doesn't see the camcorder). However this is no real issue as you can use the software that comes with the cam to get the clips off the cam and then import them into PE7. Or, simply drag and drop them from the camcorder into a folder and then import them.
There's also no way anyone could judge how this program works with Windows 7, because that operating system isn't finished being built yet!
I run PE7 editing AVCHD on XP Pro (x32) and Win7 (x64). I haven't done a lot of AVCHD work yet but I can say that PE works great and in fact is a lot happier on Win7 (x64). No problems installing or running on Win7.
As has been stated in other threads, editing AVCHD with PE7 will stress your PC. My 3GHz Core2Duo with 4GB RAM runs about 70% processor utilization just playing playing AVCHD clips in PE unless the clips are rendered. But the biggest challenge is resource availability. A 32 bit OS can only provide 4GB of virtual memory to an application, and by default XP splits this 50/50 between the system and the app. PE7 does support AVCHD and has no trouble working with it provided it has sufficient resources available. I am currently running some tests and the results are not really ready but I am finding that if you want to work on AVCHD clips and render to a DVD or BluRay with a menu structure, 20 minutes is about as much as a 32 bit OS can handle without resorting to workarounds. This is preliminary and YMMV etc. This improves quite a bit under Win7 (x64) although I am not sure why. I suspect that Win7 can hand out the entire 4GB a 32 bit app can address so PE has 4GB to work with instead of 2GB. Just a guess though. But I find PE is more stable and can handle larger projects under Win7.
As a general rule, it is a good idea when editing AVCHD (or h.264) to work with Task Manager open so you can watch the memory in use. In WinXP (x32), in my experience you can be in trouble if the memory in use reaches 1.5GB and I have had PE get flaky at 1.4GB. In Win7 (x64), the resource meter gadget (which reads in percent) can reach 100% before things get funky.
I have never tried importing AVCHD from my HF100 directly into PE. I simply download the actual clips (and just the clips) from the SD card and store them on my video drive using explorer. Done that way, PE works with them just like any other video file. I have not even installed the software that came with the camera.... it isn't needed if your system can already play AVCHD clips natively. Because I have also been working with h.264 clips from a Sanyo HD700, I have the required CODECs installed. And FWIW, I was surprised to see that Win7 could play them natively with no added CODECs required.
One little bug I found in Win7 (about the only one, BTW) is if you want to select a bunch of .mp4 files in Explorer and have "All Supported Files" showing, when you click the first file, ALL .mp4s vanish. This does not happen if you select "All files". Note that .mp4 IS in the list of "supported files".
Enjoy your HF100. I love mine although I am finding that the "Coke can" style camcorders are not the best ergonomic design. My camerawork sucks so far, due to the fact that it is awkward to hold the camera.... my wrist doesn't QUITE want to bend that way. This is partly because I wear progressive lens glasses and therefore tend to hold the camera lower than eye level so I can focus on the screen. I find my camerawork is much better with cameras like my Canon S5-IS (a decent SD video camera, BTW) and my Sanyo HD700 where the hands are in a more natural position.
Hope this helps. I'm still trying to work up some guidelines for PE and AVCHD that are more real world than the minimum specs on the box.
So you've got a beta Windows 7, Paul, and you're already ready to give it a ringing endorsement?
As much as it surprises me..... yes. And I would buy it if it was available for purchase. It installed flawlessly and required no additional drivers for anything including my Linksys PCI wireless card. So far, everyting I have thrown at it works perfectly except Wavelab, which will not run. But it doesn't run on Vista either.
The only issue I have discovered is that it failed to find a driver for the Linksys wireless card when I moved it to another PCI slot. It could not find a driver on the hard drive and it could not find it on the installation CD. It might have been a catch 22 though.... since it was the wireless card that was in question, that meant it could not get to the Microsoft site for the driver.
It has been rock solid every time I have used it. Since I have it on a separate removable hard drive, I can play with it to my heart's content and not jeapordize my WinXP installation.
My only real complaint is that they really REALLY need to revise User Access Control so you can allow specific known programs to run while keeping UAC active for anything malicious. It is beyond me why they have not done that. The way it is, it is so annoying that most people turn it off.
That's that same security system they added to Vista.
It works great. Very secure. But it's a nuisance having to okay every program you open.