What? Have you ever considered turning off MP rendering...
You don't have enough RAM to do MP rendering. And, even if you did, you should definitely set at least one CPU to be reserved for other applications. Note how it says that actual CPUs to be used are 0? This also might be helpful: optimizing for performance: Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects
Thank you both for the input. I will admit I am still getting used to the finer workings of After Effects. I tried running the program with MP rendering turned off a few days ago, but it still came back with a few second render or a "needs 2 or more frames" error. I did not close and reopen AE after doing this though, so that may have something to do with it. Today on the other hand, after resetting everything again last night before leaving the office the program seems to be running smoothly for the moment. I've set the MP rendering option off, but this problem usually crops up after being used for a little while. If this solution works I'll post it as the answer. Thank you both again for your input.
Unfortunately the problem has come back again after an hour of use this morning. To show how much RAM I have available at the time the issue appears, I've included the Memory Clean window showing 4.44GB of ram available at the time of incident. It first happened a few minutes ago with roughly 1GB available, so I and purged all memory in After Effects and cleaned the RAM with the Memory Clear app, but still no such luck. I've been working with the same actions and material all morning so nothing new was introduced to the project when the error occurred. The work I was performing at the time was animating highlight boxes over a screen capture, but again it seems to happen regardless of what I'm working on. I'm going to restart the computer and see how long it makes it before needing another reset. Any other ideas as to what it could be? Also, if there's any more information that might be helpful to solving the issue please let me know and I'll be happy to share. Thank you again for the support!
Szalam, thank you for the link. I had been to the page previously but am going back to watch them again to see if I missed something. If it is a bottleneck, I'm not sure where it could be as of yet.
I hear ya. I am also experiencing the same issue with very basic comp settings.