Time to confess, I just upgraded my editing PC again!
I pensioned off the old Intel Core 2 Quad, motherboard and RAM and in went the latest Asus M5A88-V Evo board with an AMD Phenom II x6 1100T Black Edition processor and 16gb DDR3 RAM. This board has pretty much every connection there is including SPDIF, HDMI, eSATA and USB3. It is also compatible with the new AMD FX series 32nm CPUs like the "Bulldozer" 8 core. I was going to have the 8 core until I found out that the hex core Phenom 1100T is better at present. This Black Edition can take a fair amount of overclocking if I ever feel the need.
It has been a bit of a revelation. Not only has my Sony AVC problem gone away, but my display has improved with a brighter, higher contrast and smoother playback which is also evident in the Vegas preview window. Audio is punchier too with better transient response, tighter bass and a clarity I didn't know a PC was capable of.
Loading a Vegas project is improved. Now the RAM meter shows a maximum of around 30% while loading rather than the 100% it showed before, it didn't matter how the paging file was set up.
Rendering is another revelation! Fortunately I still have the notepad I wrote rendering times on when I was having the Sony AVC custom tab freezing problem, so I was able to do comparisons. So if you're interested:
The frame size for all is 1920 x 1080p, audio sample rate 48,000 Hz (except for Sony AVC which will only take a maximum setting of 44,100 Hz for some reason), 128,000bps. The video render settings for CBR are 10,000,000bps Best and VBR 10,000,000 average 20,000,000 maximum, Best. The project is 8min 59sec 16ff long, 3 video and 2 audio tracks. Outputs all .mp4.
Sony AVC (1 pass only) before 30min 50sec
after 23min 11sec
Main Concept CBR 1 pass before 1hr 06min 48sec
after 34 min 48sec
VBR 1 pass before 1hr 08 min 11sec
after 32 min 11sec
VBR 2 pass before 3hr 09min 21sec
after 1hr 03 min 26sec
It is interesting to open AI Suite, which controls the performance parameters like power saving, clock speed etc. and see that all 6 cores are working at 98-100% during rendering.
The upgrade went smoothly enough, except that the new board is full size, the old one was smaller, so I had to get some more fixing screws. The pillars were already in the case. There was one unexplainable oddity though, my wireless desk top, which has worked perfectly with Windows 7 64-bit all this time, suddenly was not recognised at boot-up although it was fine after unplugging and reconnecting. I downloaded the latest drivers which didn't help, so it got replaced as well after a couple of days.
All this and I only wanted to add some more RAM! The old Gigabyte board only took a max. of 4 gigs, fine for XP 32-bit which I had when I fitted it, but not so good for 64-bit Win 7. Well, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!