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IIRC, that Canon produces AVCHD material. Is that correct? If you have it in an AVCHD Sequence, and also have a good I/O sub-system, then I would say that the i5 was just not up to the task.
What is your I/O sub-system setup, i.e. your HDD's, with full details?
With AVCHD, the CPU is the weak link, due to the extreme processing required.
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All the symptoms you describe point to the CPU just not being able to handle that media. You will probably need a hardware upgrade.
Actually the HV40 is a HDV camera and even with the lowly i7-750 it should handle that without choppyness.
Two things come to mind, insufficient disk setup (less than 3 7200 RPM SATA disks) or ineffective/insufficient tuning of the system. Pretty easy to check this. Run Process Explorer and if the number of processes is more than 50 including PR, the system bogs down under all the background processes. Ideally this should be 40 or less.
Look here: Adobe Forums: Guide for installing and tuning a Vista... which also applies to Win7.
Thanks for all the responses. It makes sense that the CPU is the weak link and when I check the number of processes running it is at 60 with PP, so that is probably a big part of it. I was talking with a friend about this issues and he told me that with CS5 some of the work gets pushed to the graphics card when in previous version it didn't. Is that why when I ad text to the video it plays fine, since the graphics card is taking on some of the work when it isn't when I don't have text? It still seems strange to me that when I add more elements to the timeline the video plays back better than if I only have video.
While your friend is correct that in certain cases (accelerated MPE with the proper nVidia card) some PR tasks are delegated to the video card (scaling, blending and certain effects/transitions), a lot is not accelerated, like encoding. Text overlays, like titles are not accelerated by the video card at all and your CPU is more than capable to handle that on its own. That is probably not the issue here. What may be the issue is some memory/CPU intensive background processes, like anti-virus / anti-anything / sidebar / indexing / defragger / wifi / bluetooth / etc.
Did you check the tuning guide I gave a link to, including the Black Viper guide?
I did check the guide you sent. Thanks for sending that. The problem is that I'm on a computer at my work and I have zero admin rights on it, so I need to get someone from our IT department to update stuff. I've asked them about reducing the processess running in the background and it will probably take a few days for them to get to that.
If this is a memory/CPU issue then do you have any guess as to why the video plays back fine when I add text? I would think that with adding more elements it would play worse, not the other way around.