A quad core processor should be powerful enough to edit AVCHD -- assuming your operating system is up to date (SP3) and you have the latest firmware, drivers and Quicktime.
Is your Premiere Elements project set up as an AVCHD project, using the project presets?
Also, is there a red line above your video clips in the timeline? If so, try rendering the timeline (press Enter) until the red line turns green and see if that improves your performance.
No, your Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 Conroe 2.4GHz LGA 775 is no way fast enough. I have the Quad Core Q6600 and it is barely enough to edit AVCHD smoothly.
Your best bet may be to convert to an intermediate codec... like high bit rate HDV MPEG2. PE7 will handle this smoothly with your processor. Take a look at AVCHD Upshift http://www.newbluefx.com/avchd-upshift.html
While I disagree with Paul's statement about the processor not being fast enough, it is still possible that you have a performance problem causing this issue.
Check out the stuff in this document to make sure the system is performing pretty well:
http://go.adobe.com/kb/ts_kb405749_en-us (It's for Pro, but most everything should help you out.)
It's actually sounding like you're not working in a project that's made for AVCHD, though. If that's the case, then, like Steve said, you'll want to render previews for accurate playback by pressing Enter (or go to Timeline > Render Work Area). You might also try creating a new project and change its settings to one of the AVCHD presets, whichever matches your video footage.
Thanks for the replies. Rendering the timeline helps a little, but it is still choppy. The video plays back at maybe 1 frame a second as opposed to 1 frame every 2 or 3 seconds before. Rendering takes forever though. When starting a new project I select "Full HD 1080i 30 5.1 Channel." I'm not sure if that is the correct setting or not. All my drivers are up to date as well as my OS (SP3).
I was thinking of upgrading my computer anyway, what processor would you recommend?
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Especially with HD material, one will very likely see a marked improvement with playback, if additional HDD's are added, and properly allocated for the duties required in NLE work. Just a single additional physical HDD for the media files will very likely help. A third, with the Project and Scratch Discs will offer additional improvement.
If you are contemplating a new system, you might want to follow the LINK in this article, for info on I/O sub-system setup for NLE work. Harm Millard has two other articles on building a system and adjusting a 64-bit OS, that provide more "food for thought."
I think I will probably just upgrade. One last question, what does rendering do? Does it decrease the quality of the video in any way? Should I render first, then burn a DVD, or just burn the DVD? I want the highest quality DVD I can make.
what does rendering do? Does it decrease the quality of the video in any way?
Rendering provides a file that PE can play as well as is possible. Rendering does not affect your footage in any way. It is used for preview only. [In PrPro, these can be used in Export, but I do not believe that PE does so.] Now, a preview is just that - an emulation. The visual quality (not really playback, but how it appears) can be improved, if one choses 100% in the Monitor View setting from Fit.
Should I render first, then burn a DVD, or just burn the DVD? I want the highest quality DVD I can make.
Unless I am wrong, PE will not use the Render files to cut down on the Export time. Also note that even in PrPro, the total time for Export is about equal to the separate Render + Export. For the ultimate quality, you'll want to Burn HD material to BD, and not to DVD. DVD-Video will be MPEG-2 compressed to the DVD-Video spec. It will be as good as it gets. The only way to get better would be to do a BD Project to Burn to DVD, but player compatibility might be an issue. Duration of the footage certainly will be. Now, one other possibility would be to Export to an HD Preset to produce the file, say .MOV w/ H.264 CODEC and then Burn that to a DVD-Data. One would be limited by file size vs disc space, and also have to use a software HD player on a computer to play the file.
In general, the best is to down-rez to SD and Burn to DVD-Video, or to Burn to BD at the higher-rez. For play on appropriate set-top players with insurance of compatibility, those will be the best.
Thanks everyone for the replies. I decided to upgrade.