AVCHD is about the most demanding codec imaginable. It requires quite some muscle. For desktops the minimum requirements are i7 to make any editing experience better than an extremely boring waiting exercise, despite what Adobe says. I realize it is only for occasional use and for a hobby, but still...
I have the Sony Vaio VGN-FW31ZJ, but it is too slow IMO to use for editing. It is convenient for using with OnLocation, but that is about it.
Have a look here: http://forums.adobe.com/thread/438156?tstart=30
Now if you were to invest in a notebook, at least go for an i7 and make sure you have a firewire port for capturing and 2 eSATA connectors for harddisks with 7200 RPM minimum. Have a look at Sager. This will imply concessions on portability and budget, but that is the consequence of notebooks for editing, especially with AVCHD material.
Mobile, lightweight and durable are in direct conflict with the basic requirements for editing. Editing requires an octopus notebook, with dongles, external disks, cables for ingest and all kinds of paraphernalia to make it work as an editing machine.
Ok then even the Sony Vaio VGN-FW31ZJ is not enough!
Then I better stick with that: http://forums.adobe.com/thread/454585?tstart=0 and spare myself an expensive notebook.
BEcause the panasonic TZ 7 can also produce Motion JPEG in HD. And HD Motion JPEG I tried on an Atom 270(HP mini311)! editing quite worked, a bit jerky but it worked. Rendering took ages!!
Does anyone know if some Cuda GPU with http://www.divideframe.com/?p=gpudecoder could help?
If you can record in MJPEG, you can get the Morgan or MainConcept MJPEG codecs for editing. That makes life a lot easier. It is far less of a burden on the system than AVCHD, so maybe you can get by with a more mobile, less powerful notebook with better battery life.