FCE and AVCHD import now stutters in playback/editing

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I just converted to Canon M40 HD cameras, and started editing my first wedding using these cameras.  If I have two or more tracks of video, and play them back, the video stutters like the computer can't keep up with the data traffic.
I am using FCE 4.x, an external USB drive for the clips, on a new iMac 27".  The USB drive is 7200 rpm.
I never had this problem with standard def DV clips from my previous cameras, so I'm thinking it has to do with the HD.
Anyone have an idea how to fix this?
Thanks.

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Let me try to be more specific.  I imported the files from my Canon m40 camera using the Log and Transfer function in FCE.  I am NOT trying to edit native AVCHD files, they are AIC encoded files.
When I play back one track of video, there is no problem.  I am attempting to edit a wedding we shot this past weekend, using 3 camera angles of the ceremony.  When I synch the three camera files for the ceremony, if the top (3rd) track of video is 100% visible, it plays back fine.  If the top track is less than 100% visible, I get the stutter effect.  if the top track is 0% visible, and the 2nd track is 100 % visible, I get the stutter.  If the 3rd and 2nd track are 0% visible, and only the 1st track is 100% visible, I get the stutter.
If I only have 2 video tracks, and the 2nd track is anything less than 100% visible, I get the stutter.
So, it appears to me that the computer can't keep up with attempting to play 2 tracks of video concurrently.  THIS is where I am having my problem.
Any suggestions?

November 30, -0001

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