I would try to get more memory - 6GB is low for AE. One thing to keep in mind, when using multi-processors, you need memory per core. So, to use those 4 cores, you would need at least 3 GB per core, or 12 GB. 16 is more realistic, as you need some memory for the OS and other processes as well.
I was planning to upgrade the RAM. I should have pointed this out. Are there any other things to be wary about? It seems to me that the specs can be misleading as apparently there are different qualities of quad core processors, RAM etc. If I upgrade the RAM to 16GB am I good?
I honestly don't think you would be happy with the machine, the AMD A6 processor is underpowered. it is slower than Q6600 (5.5yr/old intel processor), motherboard is only upgradable to 8gb, and drive is slow. If I had to lug around a 17" notebook, then I would look for something with an I5 or i7 & dual drive config. There are much better processors than the AMD, current i7's are ~2.5-3x more powerful.
Thanks StevRo. My heart is really set on a Macbook Pro. Even though the model I can only realistically afford is the dual processor model (quad processor model is out of my price range).
On the other hand I discovered the Samsung RF711 for about £700 ($1,100 USD). This has a i7 quad processor that can be upgraded to 16GB of RAM (it comes with 2x4GB RAM).
Here are the full specs for the Samsung RF711:
17.3 inch Laptop - Black (Intel Core i7 2670QM 2.2GHz, RAM 8GB, HDD 1TB, Blu-ray, LAN, WLAN, BT, Webcam, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit)
Would this be a better significantly better choice than the HP Pavillion g7 or Macbook Pro dual processor model? The reviews on Amazon (see here) for the Samsung RF711 are exceptional although must reviewers encourage buying a SSD drive, but none of the reviews mention After Effects so I am still wary of taking the leap.
Many thanks again for your time,
Leao, Maybe I am looking at the wrong model, I don't believe you can upgrade that system beyond 8gb, you may want to double check the mfg specs. Greg is correct for after effects you really want to have at least 16gb of RAM. Of recent I have been a fan of Lenovo W series mobile workstations, they have been offering some nice discounts, ability of 2 disks in a 15" form factor, up to 32gb RAM and up to i7 extreme edition is pretty cool
I'm not sure if the Samsung RF711 can officially support 16GB. Some models of the Macbook Pro are the same - they can't officially support more than 8GB but many users have successfully upgraded to 16GB without any problems (for example here).
Thanks for the tip regarding the Lenovo W series, but it's not available in the UK. The Z series is however, plus some others too (see here) too much choice! What makes this better than Samsung?
Thanks again for your help, LEAO
apologies for the long url, I saw this on lenovo's UK site: http://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/controller/e/gbweb/LenovoPortal/en_GB/catalog.workflow: expandcategory?issBase=ProductsCategory&issCategory=/Notebooks/ThinkPad%20notebooks/W%20Se ries/ThinkPad%20W530
prices seem worth a look..