How do I power up for more After Effects?
March 27, 2014 6:37 AM   Subscribe

Can I power up my macbook pro to better run After Effects? Or do I need something else?

So, a year or so ago the hive mind helped steer me toward After Effects to bring my cartoons to life. Well, that worked great. So much so that I'm doing animations for people for fun and profit. And more are lining up. Yay. But I'm hitting hardware walls with my macbook pro that are preventing me from doing a lot of the cool things After Effects can do; and doing them quickly. I'm currently running After Effects CS6 on a 2012 macbook pro with a 2.3 GHz IntelCore i7. I've added RAM so I'm up to 16 gigs there. Question is, can I do anything else to my computer to noticeably improve its performance for After Effects. I've never used a PC so I'd like to stay in the Apple world. So, do I buy a separate Apple computer and slave it for just AE? Or do I really need to consider moving to a PC and, if so, what should I look for there? And unfortunately, you may have to explain video cards and core power and things like that on a schoolkid level because I'm not very bright at understanding the magic elves inside these boxes that make it all happen. So, experts, I beseech thee, help guide me forward. Thanks.
posted by lpsguy to Computers & Internet (3 answers total)
Best answer: So I do a fairly large amount of video editing and AE work, though you're probably leaning more heavily on AE than I am.

I run a Mac Pro, 2.8 GHz Quad-Core Xeon
I'm running 5 hard drives, and launch AE from a 256GB SSD.
The video card I run is a NVIDIA Quadro 4000 with 2GB of VRAM.

I don't understand the magic elves myself - this is just a spec reading from "About this Mac" - and have a tech guy who adds new hardware and keeps things running.

I will say that unless I'm doing really heavy-duty shit (like compositing with multi-GB .psd files, and doing crazy light and transparency stuff) AE runs like shit through a tin horn.
posted by rocketman at 7:06 AM on March 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Other than an SSD for your system drive (which you may already have in place), you're stuck with what you've got in the laptop. I can't speak to the relative power of your current setup - I only do minimal work in AE, 90% of my time is spent in Premiere. But past that, desktop is still the way to go for power. If money is no object, the newly designed MacPro is a beast. If you want to save some cash, I've used PCs a couple of times for the newest Adobe CC - one of the benefits of the new subscription model is cross platform capability - and it worked very well on a mid-level machine.
posted by shinynewnick at 7:10 AM on March 27, 2014

What is your video card? Have a look at these benchmarks and see where you come - there's a small chance you'll be able to upgrade your video card, but unfortunately laptops pay for their size with much less flexibility.
posted by Sebmojo at 5:33 PM on March 27, 2014

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