First, you'll likely find your system a bit underpowered for editing AVCHD video. Most people doing it are using quad-core or i7 processors.
It MAY work -- if you don't mind lots of pauses while you wait for your system to catch up with your work. But it may also drive you crazy.
Second, I might recommend against that Panasonic AVCHD camcorder. For some reason Panasonics tend to use a non-standard codec for their AVCHD video and many are reporting challenges editing it with anything but the software included with the camcorder. That could mean an unhappy marriage between it and Premiere Elements.
If you can, I'd recommend staying with Sony or Canon.
That's my opinion only though, agrobie. Though I do tend to err on the side of caution.
Thanks for the input. I'm not wed to Panasonic -- other than my Panasonic Mini DV camcorder has served me well for the last couple of years. I may look at some other options.
Maybe I'll see if any of my freinds have an AVCHD camcorder that I can play with to see how my system handles to footage.
I have just been through what you are considering and after a lot of research on all available brands, this is what I did -
Bought a Sony HDR CX350 camera (now about $1000)
It works beautifully on my big Sony Bravia screen - as good as the best blue ray pics.
Movie colours and resolution fantastic on 1900 x1080i
Shake stabilization is the best I have seen in a moderate price camera.
Handles a wide variety of lighting conditions very well automatically while still giving you good manual control
The touch screen spot focus is better than you could ever do with a focus ring.
Solid state recording - no hard drive
(Don't buy any Sony cheaper models - they are a completely different story)
As far as the computer goes your system is better than mine however I found spreading over three hard disks by far the most important.
I have heard that laptop motherboards may not be as fast due to heat and size restrictions so I cant comment on yours however if you cant fit three sata drives then you may have speed problems even with a super processor. External drives for backup purposes may also be slow
If you are a professional editor where time is money then you should go the quad, multi disk route but if only an amateur the following is quite acceptable -
My Computer is a 2 year old Intel Core duo 2.4g 4mbRAM
3 hard disks. 1=OS & pagefile, 2=Media, 3= all project files
I can shuttle up and down a hour timeline without any delay ( as long as I only reveral the pics in the timeline when I really need them which is not often)
Normal piecing clips together and previewing is as fast as anyone would want. Only about 2mb of the ram is in use at any time.
Before I split and set up the disks this way it was very slow to edit
Originally 2 of my drives were connected as Raid. I unraided them and now they are two sepearate disks - much faster
The things that take up time and are improved by a quad processor are -
Previewing or making fine adjustments to a complicated transition, or effect edit. You have to render the aread around the edit if you really want to see what the end result is without jerkyness. This takes sometimes half a minute to do each time but once rendered you don't have to wait unless you make a change to that point. This is about four as fast on a quad machine. Increasing the memory doesnt help because it is caused by the processors running flat out to keep up with the frame rate.
Conclusion: you will wonder how you ever thought SD was good when you change to HD. Even my 75 yr old wife was amazed!
Thanks for the advice. I was able to borrow a friends HDR-CX150 and I shot about 15 minutes of footage to play with. I had no trouble using PrEl to import the footage and I had no issues editing ... with the exception that rendering transitions and effects took noticeably longer than it does with my .avi sd footage. Working with the timeline, moving/editing clips -- I saw no lag or jerkiness. Just as you mentioned, I'm sure having my OS split from my footage/project on two different drives really helps.
Looks like I'll be making the jump to HD.