1. Most likely no. The rest of your system sounds too weak for editing AVCHD - if it works at all, it will be very slow and clunky
2. Certainly no. The Mercury engine is only available with NVidia graphics cards which have 1 Gb, or more, of on-board memory. The exact figure is a little less than this, but in reality you will need a card with at least 1 GB. Adobe publish a list of approved cards, but there is a well known hack which enables you to make any recent card work with the Mercury engine.
Slight correction as Todd has explained. The Mercury Playback Engine will always be used, so yes, if CS5.x installs on a system, you will have MPE working.
However, if you do not have a supported or 'hacked' nVidia card with at least 1 GB VRAM, MPE will only run in software mode. Only with a supported or 'hacked' card can you enable hardware accelerated MPE.
Gigarigh, your system is too weak to edit AVCHD and it looks like a waste of money to invest in memory expansion to 8 GB, because it can not be ported to a new to build system. You can probably edit 'easy' codecs, like DV and maybe even HDV, but not complex codecs like AVCHD.
Have a look at some example setups: Adobe Forums: What PC to build? An update...
Yes, of course, you are correct, Harm. I was over-simplifying.
I Took the OP's "enabled" to really mean "accelerated", and in that sense, it will not work as without the necessary graphics card there will be no acceleration.
I can certainly support your third paragraph, having just moved from a four-year-old system with a quad 3 GHz processor, 8 GB of RAM and a hacked 460 GTX graphics card, to a Sandy Bridge E system with a 3930 CPU, 32 GB of RAM but the same graphics card and HDD set up (for the moment). Your oft stated "molasses in winter" describes my old system pretty well from my present viewpoint!
The old system coped with the fairly gentle HDV, provided I kept the number of assets down, but threw a hissy fit if I tried 1920 HD, even with the Matrox (I know, I know!) I-frame codec.
You would be better off upgrading along my path - motherboard and processor first, using as much as you can of your old system for now, as this allows much better scope for future upgrading.
As Harm says, it's important to understand what "Mercury Playback Engine" means. This refers to all of the performance enhancements made in Premiere Pro CS5 and beyond, namely these:
- multithreaded application
- 64-bit application
- GPU acceleration of some things with specific graphics cards
So, yes, you will be able to take advantage of the first two of these without a specific card.
See this article for more details about Mercury and CUDA.
I Took the OP's "enabled" to really mean "accelerated"
Most of us do as well, Alan.
Like it or not, a Kleenex means a facial tissue, regardless of the brand. Aspirin means something to relieve a headache, even if it's not actually acetylsalicylic acid. And whether Adobe likes it or not, MPE in common usage really means "hardware acceleration".