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Describing something as 'better' is very much a subjective point of view - there can be no simple answer. If you've been browsing this PRE forum you can see that what one has problems with, another may not. For example I run PRE7 perfectly with W7 64-bit, others cannot. I also run PRE9 on the same system (multiple versions can co-exist). To me PRE9 is slower opening files and scrolling through the timeline, others find it fine.
To answer your question (from my perspective)
- Don't get PRE8 - it is almost universally condemned.
- Choosing between PRE7 and PRE9 is a tough call (performance issues being my reason for having both versions).
- PRE7 seems the more stable product, with fewer crashes and good performance.
- PRE9 adds some features (but removed others) and provides much better device support (many DSLRs and Flip for example). Although more robust than PRE8 it runs slower than PRE7 for me.
You commented that the PRE9 trial performs slow but adequately for you. If that is something you can live with, stay with it. If you can't live with it then go for PRE7.
If you have some spare cash I would invest it in more memory and a second drive. 2GB RAM, a Celeron processor, and a single hard disk are pretty much borderline for running PRE at all. AVCHD will be a struggle.
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thank you i was tempted with 7 as it is cheaper and has better reviews.
and as for the memory upgrade, i may look into that with any christmas moneys
In general, PrE 7 seemed to be a very solid version. PrE 8 - not nearly so much. With PrE 9, many feel that they have PrE 7 on steroids, but as Neale points out, YMMV.
So very much depends on:
Assets (where the source footage came from)
There are several reports, like Neale's, where it seems that PrE 9 requires more resources, and also might just be slower, than its predecessor. Some feel the same way about PrPro CS5 vs CS4, but so much depends on the above variables.
If you do go with PrE, over an older PrPro, I strongly suggest that you pick up a copy of Steve Grisetti's book for that version. It will help you locate where things are now located, and what they are called in PrE. Several critical differences. Also, you will have a new interface to learn. Though PrE 4 is a tad closer to PrPro 2.0, I still have to "hunt and peck," when using it, 'cause I have a PrPro interface mindset.