Hey Don- googling, "vegas 10e crashing" returns a lot of hits:http://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1...s+10e+crashing
When it crashes on my machine, it's the Vegas exe or one if its dlls. When it locks up, I just kill the process (could attach to the process with Developer Studio and try to see if it's Vegas, one of its dlls, or another dll).
A few years ago I wrote the browser plugins for Myspace's real-time audio-video engine (HD video capture, low-latency live monitored audio with effects, reverb, pitch correction, key change, etc.). The Windows DirectShow and DirectX (sound, 3D, etc.) APIs are some of the most complex in the industry. It's not easy to write stable software using these APIs. DirectX/Show is very flexible, however it is possible to get an unstable system due to incompatible or unstable plugins. Many times I had to create workarounds for certain sound cards, camera drivers, OS/API bugs, and incompatible codecs. When porting the code over to OSX, I found the APIs less complex (and less flexible), but it was also more stable.
Something changed at Adobe management philosophy around CS3. Prior to CS3, Premiere was unstable (my company has been buying Premiere since 1.0). CS4 was pretty solid, and CS5.5 crashes rarely (still crashes, especially if doing complex interaction with AE, but not enough to break creativity).
I have found bugs in MVCtoAVI and Cineform: reported directly to the developer as well as workarounds on this forum. Also posted workarounds for the low-quality 60i to 24p (use PPro/AE or as mentioned by others, try the yadif plugin). I find it helpful to verify bugs with other people and also read about workarounds.
Sony employees read these forums. If management is committed to improving the quality of Vegas, they could make stability a priority (as apparently Adobe did), and improve the stability of Vegas. One way would be to include symbols and add an exception handler to report what file and line of code caused the crash (with the user's permission, they can send error reports back via the network, as with other software). "unspecified error" popups in Vegas indicate error reporting is limited in 10e.
Mac Pro hardware is an Intel server motherboard, RealTek audio, etc. Not really different than an HP, Dell or custom built box. The most important point is only Vegas crashes regularly.
The nVidia Quadro 5000 is a pro-level graphics card. Due to its cost the developers might not have access to this level of card for testing (Quadro drivers behave differently than consumer level drivers). Quadro drivers are optimized for high-end apps- it's possible these optimizations may cause issues with Vegas.
It's possible there is software installed on my machine that makes Vegas unstable. However, if only the Vegas code is crashing, it's up to Sony to write workarounds (just like all developers must to make software stable in Windows). If Vegas 11 is stable, and can produce near real-time performance, I'll use it for quick 3D projects (not transcoding and a simplified workflow is very useful). It should be clear I'm not partial to any particular tool- I'm partial to stability & performance.
Regarding Ultra- yeah, it's cool. NewTek and Serious Magic (same folks) made some innovative products (Video Toaster was a game changer back in the day).