Here is an ARTICLE with links to some equipment recs., and specs.
These were written with PrPro in mind, but PrE 8 has some of the same requirements, and if you're using AVCHD material, the bigger, faster the CPU, the better it will be for you.
Harm has also done an ARTICLE on setting up a 64-bit OS. Now, this was written when Vista-64 was then current. Win7 might have made some changes.
That's a very long thread, Hunt. Can we bottom-line it?
For specs I'd go with at least a 2.88 ghz dual-core and 4 gig of RAM. Windows 7, ideally 32-bit for the reasons you cited. A 128 meg video card is certainly adequate. And I'd go with at least 500 gig of hard drive space -- though, at today's prices, why not go for a terrabyte! Video uses up many gigs of space. You can never have too much -- but it's amazing how quickly 250 gigs gets used up.
Also, remember that your camcorder is a vital part of this equation. You'll have a much more satisfying experience if you're using a camcorder that's designed for editing: a miniDV, a tape-based HDV or an AVCHD.
But if you go with an AVCHD hi-def hard drive camcorder, you might want to double up on the processor. Go for a quad-core processor. AVCHD can burden even the fastest PCs.
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On the I/O side, I'd specify at least 2 physical HDD's, with 3 being better. Then, one can easily spread the load over 2 - 3 HDD's, rather than try to get the throughput for the OS, the Page File, the programs, the media and the Project + Scratch Disks all through one pipeline. If one has a decent CPU and adequate RAM to start, they will see the biggest "bang for the buck," if they add additional HDD's and allocate them properly.
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I have no beef with Dell, but in the end I went with an HP Desktop purchased via their website, with what they classifed as a High Performance System.
I did my homework and what swayed me to HP was the fact that all of their high performance boxes can be purchased directly from them with PE as an add-on Software package (you pay for PE, it's the full Version, with a full Adobe warranty).
I spoke directly to HP Customer Support before I purchased and their policy is simple, any Packaged software they sell with their systems is certified to work out of the Box. They extensively test Adobe PE against the HP hardware/software configuratons that are sold and packaged on the web.
So you can go to the HP online Store right now and you will see Adobe PE8 packaged with their High Performance Systems running Windows 7 64-bit and they've done the internal testing to ensure it works with their stuff.
When I purchased my high end system last year from them, it was Vista-64 and PE7 (as a packaged system).
I got the Box, powered it up, installed PE7 from the supplied disk, and it ran with no issues, and I've never looked back.
(The system was worth every penny, even if it wasn't the best bargain in town)
When I look at the Forum and see the horror show going on with PE8 and Win7, I scratch my head and wonder why.
HP is selling boxes with PE8 and Win7-64, so I'm sure they got working configurations in their labs, or they would not be selling it on their website.
Check it out here:
Thanks Steve, for that quick summary. It really helps.
Kodebuster - that's good to know about HPs! Thanks for the tip!
That is good info, and a positive comment on the HP units. Glad that some hardware companies do certify additional software on their machines. Some just stick a disc into the shipping box, and the user takes pot-luck.
I have not bought a retail version of any computer (exception is my Sager laptop, but it was pretty custom anyway), so I am not up on how well, or how poorly, the big suppliers work.