I did a render test on a 30 second Green screen comp on my 2009 Dual quad Core Xenon Mac Pro tower with 8 Gig of ram and it took about one hour and ten minutes to render the file in the Apple Animation lossless codec. I noticed a message in the upper right hand corner under the "Info" tab that said "Insufficient Ram multiprocessing disabled." Having recently read in the Adobe support forum that After Effects needs about 2 gig of ram per processor for optimum speed, I immediately went to my local Mac repair store and just to be certain that I would get increased performance I had them swap out my memory for 16 gig of ram. I fired the computer up and did the same render test. Under the info tab it now said something like "preparing system for multiprocessor rendering, this may take some time." It did! after about 5 minuted of waiting, the render started again only this time after letting it run for about another five minutes the render time remaining showed one hour and fifty three minutes, almost a hundred percent decrease in performance at a cost of about $300. Not what I considered a cost effective investment. As you might have guessed, I had the ram removed and went back to my original 8 gigs but not before making sure that "Render multiple frames simultaneously" had been selected in my AE preferences for both tests. I am not quite sure what this means but I have a sneaking suspicion that I have to trash my entire system and upgrade to an entirely new system or face the very real possibility of entering a nursing home while waiting for my upcoming half hour green screen project to finish rendering.
I have a sneaking suspicion that I have to trash my entire system and upgrade to an entirely new system
Not really. Very few things in AE can be solved with brute force or throwing infinite hardware resources at it. Even GPU accelerated features do not necessarily benefit from better graphics hardware. Too many things to factor in from some effects not working with MP rendering, footage I/O killing disk performance, legacy CoDecs not being multithreaded and whatnot. Before fumbling in the dark and burning even more money I would strongly urge to read the gigazillion "how can I optimize performance" threads we had over the years here on this forum. There's literally one every week. You need to understand how AE ticks and structure your work accordingly more than anything else to get the best out of it.
I will give that a try but on a side note I dropped the project file on a friend's new MacPro 8 Core with 32 Gig of ram and dual D700 graphic cards and it rendered the file in 15 minutes without any modification of preferences etc.. I have no idea which of the features or combination of them made this happen but that is a 500% performance increase over my system.