Onboard video MAY be your problem, but I will GUESS (you provide zero details) that your computer is not powerful enough
Easy editing of AVCHD files requires a quad-core processor (an i7 is better)
Read Harm on drive setup http://forums.adobe.com/thread/662972?tstart=0
- click the embedded picture in Harm's message to enlarge to reading size
- you need AT LEAST 2 drives for video editing, 3 is better
- some HD formats work better with (require) RAID
Read Hunt on Partitions http://forums.adobe.com/thread/650708?tstart=0
A link with many ideas about computer setup http://forums.adobe.com/thread/436215?tstart=0
Sorry I forgot to list the computer info. Dell Inspiron 530, Intel Core2 Quad CPU Q660 @2.40GHz, 640gig internal drive, 500gig external, running Windows7 Professional 64bit, which was a recent clean install, previously running Vista 64bit.
There is not much on the internal hard drive; I use the external for storage of photos, music, etc. Mostly, I'm wondering if (how much) a video card would help, and the same for Pre9.
>wondering if (how much) a video card would help
Not much... you have 2 problems
Your CPU may be a bit underpowered for editing AVCHD files... these are highly compressed files, and must be decompressed "on the fly" for editing
Only one hard drive is also not going to work very well (go to Harm's link)
Trying to use only ONE Hard Drive for Video Editing
You are a music conductor, with a baton that you use to point to various parts of the orchestra... this is like Windows pointing to various parts of the hard drive to do Windows housekeeping or to load program segments for various functions
Now, at the same time and with the same hand... while still using the baton to conduct the orchestra... pick up a bow and play a fiddle... this would be doing something with your video file at the same time as all the other work
You as a person cannot do both at the same time with the same hand
A computer is a LITTLE better, in that it can switch from one kind of task to another very quickly... but not quickly enough for easy video editing
One hard drive is not as good as two which is not as good as three
An external will work IF it is eSata or Firewire 800... a USB external is not good for editing
If you really want to see for yourself... an ATI card with 512Meg should cost under $50... but, as I said above, I don't think it will help
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Press [Enter] to render your AVCHD footage. PRE8 doesn't natively support AVCHD editing so you should also consider converting to a more friendly PRE8 format. Take a look here: How can I convert my AVCHD footage to more traditional HDV?
Insanity is hereditary, you get it from your children
Without throwing a ton of money at this situation, what are my best options if I want to edit the AVCHD files?
First will be to add an internal hard drive.
From there, will I see more benefit from adding a video card, or will upgrading to Pre9 be of more use to me? Does Pre9 natively support AVCHD editing? I am going to download the trial version to see what happens.
I am also looking into converting AVCHD files to a more easily edited file, but really don't want to add extra steps to my workflow if I can avoid it.
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And, yes, version 9 does support native AVCHD editing, so you would definitely see improved performance if you upgraded to the latest version of Premiere Elements.
And if you need to know anything about how to work the program -- or even how to set it up so that it performs most efficiently with your footage -- you might wnat to pick up a copy of one of my books, available on Amazon.com and at Premiere Elements support site Muvipix.com.
Steve, thanks for the info on version 9. I downloaded the trial yesterday, and I was having the same trouble that I was having with version 8 when it came to opening or creating new projects, so I put in a call to Adobe technical support. The guy made a few changes, unfortunately very quickly so I couldn't follow what he was doing, and within a couple of minutes I was up and running on version 8. Cleared out a bunch of temp files, recycle bin, and cache, and performance is much improved. I know that my system is not really set up for heavy video editing, but it should have enough power to get the job done. A comparison, I downloaded Corel's video editing software, and with the same file, preview playback was much smoother than with Pre8. This seems to point to a software issue, rather than a machine issue. I have not had a chance to compare it to Pre9 yet.
Anyway, I can finish the project I am working on with Pre8, and then after the holidays, I'll start digging deeper into Pre9. I will be adding another hard drive to my machine in the meantime to help a bit.
I do also have to give a big thanks to Adobe Tech Support, without them I would be dead in the water. Thanks also to everyone here for their help as well!