Well sadly GFFA is a bit extreme example. It will help for a bit. Never tried playing it with even higher pop cap for fighters. Perhaps it would work better. GFFA in current setup was running fairly fine for ~130 weeks (and all of that on i7 920). Which is the best result I ever got. Of course DeFreezer tool is a must to regularly 'sweep' saves.
Right now not playing PR in anticipation of 1.3. To be honest 1.2 is a bit tiresome with all it's issues.
For smaller campaign it works well. In particular when scenario files are edited to remove all useless ancient junk. Editing campaign is simple matter, just chop the junk from the entire file. Of course there is drawback - much, much less easy money from salvage bonus on pirates.