There are heaps of posts in this forum that answer your problem. I would suggest that you are not setting the project spect correctly to your input video.
I have a computer of similar specs to you but with only 4 gb ram and I can edit full ACVHD video quite well, It only takes less than a second to get most responses. Standard def DVD viudeo quality is a breeze.
Generally speaking an i7 is considered necessary for fast really editing of full HD or BlueRay. An i7 is a huge improvement on your computer.
Admittedly with your computer it will take about one minute to initiallly load an existing PE9 project and some hours to compile the final project and burn a disk.
If you are trying to use it to make a 'video' of a batch of stills than don't. PE9 is meant for video and is not a 'converter' although admittely you can get a fair result as long as you convert the stills beforehand to the same number of pixels as your final video project.
The main improvement in editing speed is to have 3 internal hard disks. One for the OS and program, one for video and one for the saved project files as long as you set the save options accordingly. The reason is that no disk can continuously read and write at the same time even with caches that eventually empty.
External USB disks are useless but exprernal Sata are OK.
I agree with Ted. It's always a good idea to test drive before you buy. Just to see if your preparation matches your opportunity.
Your problem could be related to your source files. You don't mention what kind of camcorder your video is coming from.
Or it could be that your program is not installed or set up properly. Hard to say without knowing more about your set-up. Although, if you're editing video from a hard drive or storage camcorder, such as an AVCHD cam, you may not have the power to do it properly.
Or it could be that your operating system is not fully up to date (including the non-critical updates). Or that you don't have the latest versionof Quicktime. Or that you don't have the latest drivers for your graphics card. Or it could be your RAID set-up, a set-up that can often run contrary to efficient data flow for video work. Or it could be that you're editing to a second hard drive that isn't set up properly.
Or it could be that your system needs a tune-up. Even a brand new system is riddled with fragmentation and tmp files. When did you last run Advanced System Care, per our recommendations?
Or it could be that Premiere Elements is the wrong software for you. Have you downloaded the free trial of Premiere Pro CS5? Particularly if you're using the 64-bit version of Windows 7, you may find that it will make much more efficient use of your hardware and resolve all of your problems.
I just think you are crazy like me. I have every version of Premiere Elements. Unfortunately you weren't specific enough about the "add media" problem.
That really should not be happening. We still use Premiere Elements 4 in an i7 64 bit XEON Quad-Core 12 GB RAM but, have downloaded Microsoft's XP Mode Virtual to make it run smoothly, I have found minor problems with the H.264 mov files from a Canon 5D Mark II however. perhaps instead of opening Add Media go to from> Files (ON YOUR C DRIVE) if it is AVCHD or H.264 mov and hit the ENTER on your computer , do not use the cursor to open file. This also worked in a Prentium 4 , 3.2Ghz Hyper-threaded machine only slower, there has been a remarkable increase in speed using PE 4 in an i7.
Good luck, you are not mad, the computers cause most of the issues not Premiere Elements 4 which may not handle a large imput of High Definition clips in one hit, although Premiere Pro certainly can and never crashes.
Thanks to all for the replies to what was basically a rhetorical question at the end of a frustrated rant... not necessarily actually looking for any help per se, just venting... I'm more than a bit of a geek, have a masters degree in computer science, and have been messing around with video on computers for the better part of two decades, ever since my 4 Megabyte 486 CPU and 9600 bps modem days, when I spent a couple of hours downloading 30 second clip of a rollercoaster into Mosaic... so I am capable of patience , and can tweak a few settings to see if it gets better, but I'm kind of irritated that I should have to (again).
I'm just stunned that in this day and age a world-leading brandname software company can sell a piece of consumer level software that can be rendered completely dormant and unresponsive with a half-dozen mouse clicks... not an error or warning message to tell me I'm trying to do something that Premiere Elements isn't capable of, not a progress bar, not a countdown to tell me it will complete in 3.7 kilofortnights, just a flat empty dialog box sitting there doing nothing.
If you just want to vent, I'd recommend you contact Adobe (which you can do by clicking on the Contact Adobe button at the bottom of any page on this site).
This forum is filled with volunteers who are eager to help and who believe every problem has a solution. Venting here does nothing but slaps us all in the face.