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Well, that depends on your source video.
Premiere Elements should be able to work on a system that's can run CS5. But, unlike Pro, Premiere Elements handles some video file formats much more efficiently than others -- and handles photo files very inefficiently. And Premiere Elements is only a 32-bit program, so it's not going to work nearly as well as a 64-bit operating system as CS5 does. (Premiere Elements 8 in particular runs very poorly on Windows 7 64-bit.)
So the answer to your post's title question is, It depends or Maybe.
What are your system specs and what kind of camcorder is your video from?
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Welcome to the forum.
The only real difference with a machine for just PrE vs one for PrPro CS5 (current version) will be the OS. PrE can run on either 32-bit, or 64-bit OS's. PrPro CS5 can ONLY run on a 64-bit OS - no exceptions. With that considered, the requirements for CS5 will run PrE.
As Steve say, the material will dictate more of the specs., than the NLE - both will behave almost identically. PrPro might have a slightly different footprint, and need a bit more RAM, but remember it is 64-bit ONLY, and THAT takes much more RAM.
Harm Millaard has done a great ARTICLE in the PrPro Hardware Sub-forum. He outlines a couple of levels of machine. I cannot recall if he links to his great HDD article, and if not, check out the Hardware sub-forum, or you can find the links to that article in our Tips & Tricks sub-forum, under my name.
I built this system in late 2003, when the first Pentium 4 Extreme was available. Source video, at least for now, is an old (but good) Sony DCR-TRV8 which uses MiniDV tapes.
CPU: Pentium 4, XE 3.20 GHZ, 800 mHz system bus, 2M L3-Cache
RAM: Corsair, 2 GB (4x CXM 512-3200 PRO, XMS 3200 400 mHz CL2)
MOBO: Intel, D875PBZ
Graphics: PNY Technologies NVIDIA GeForce 6200 LG-AGP, DDR2, 256 MB (Replaced original ATI Radeon)
HD1: 320 GB WD3200JB, ATA device
HD2: 3GB Quantum Fireball, TM3200A, ATA device
HD3: RAID1 Volume - 2x WD740GD, 70GB, SATA, 10k RPM, 8MB Cache using Intel 82801ER RAID controller (software)
Additional HDs: 250GB & 500GB external USB drives
Optical1: Plextor DVRD 708A, ATA device
Optical2: Creative DC-RW, RW4224E, ATA device
Sound: Creative SB Audigy 2 ZS
O/S: Windows 7 Professional, 32-bit
I upgraded to PrE8 after upgrading to Win7 and I have NOT been able to transfer a full tape onto HD without the download crashing - I assume because of either disk speed issues or because of the replacement video card. Also, some time ago I converted the RAID-0 to a RAID-1 after one of the component drives failed so I lost my "high speed" drive - I suspect that's the primary source of the download failure. So, compared to what's even considered modest today, the above system is likely a little antiquated.
I had a chance to work on my son's CS4 and liked it so have been tempted to just take the plunge and upgrade both. I see myself in retirement one day tinkering around more than I have time for now so it won't be a total waste. I am disappointed that I am in for a slow time on a 64-bit OS if I stay with PrE, but perhaps the hex-core processor, 12GB of memory, and a new DVD drive that I am thinking about will compensate for that anticipated slowness until I take the CS5 plunge.
Yes, I have been reading a lot of Harm's posts/articles - those about economy, moderate, and "pricey" systems, as well as his articles about drives, RAID arrays, and all the multitude of replies/conversations that he is involved in. (I wish I knew one tenth of what he does - I wouldn't be typing here!) Suffice to say that I am still trying to absorb/comprehend all of the information in those forums. I'm also eavesdropping on discussions of proposed systems that other builders are considering and finding everyone's comments informative. The biggest issues in those forums appear to be graphics card specificity - which seems the best value for the capabilities offered and how that works with PrPRO. A lot of things to consider, but I'm sure I'll get there sooner or later!
If you are reading Harm, you are up to speed.
(I wish I knew one tenth of what he does - I wouldn't be typing here!)
Most of us feel the same way. BTW - he also knows video editing very well too!
If you have not been following John T. Smith's CS5 machine, and his editing of AVCHD with it, that would be a good one too. John went down the scale a bit, but has been having great success. I think that he's posted his complete story in Hardware too, and possibly in a couple of installments. I think that he has the full "book" on his Web site.