Nobody can tell you anything without technical details like the actual crash logs, details about your comps, footages and effects used and so on.
> i use an i5 quad core 8gb windows 8.1 desktop and after effects cs6 <
You're a couple revs behind on the AE part and 8G RAM is way low but I don't know anything about Windows (Mac guy).
Do you have issues with other video applications?
But you will need to answer all of Myl's questions before we can help you much.
8GB RAM is considered somewhat high on the Windows end (not a Mac guy), today's new computers tend to have it too, usually with one or two hundred dollars more for 16GB, but i regress, no, no issues with other video apps. actually what i mean is in general: why is it that after effects, and also media encoder when its converting video files, makes it so that u can barely do anything in other programs? the perhaps 'biggest' program i use is 3ds max, and its lightyears ahead of adobe AE and ME in terms of speed even when rendering in more than one instance. theres something about AE and ME, and AE is the bigger trouble, that slows down the machine so much if u try to do anything else while AE is open or while either one is rendering/encoding. the problem is great enough that all i want are any general and obvious fixes, such as something in preferences that i can change to not make the program so ram-eating. when a problem is this extreme, i kno im not the only one: hence why im after something general. i always like having more than one forum to ask a question on, just because i kno from experience that the more ppl u ask the more likely u get that one answer that helps. this is an adobe question, however, not a general computer question, so i may have to look more carefully. but if anyone actually knows a good general suggestion related to either adobe product, especially AE, please do post a response. thanks!
8GB RAM might be considered "somewhat high" for Windows if you're just running MS Word or Internet Explorer, but for AE, you're barely meeting the minimum requirements. I have 48GB and that's barely enough for more complicated or high resolution (4K) projects.
Try reducing the RAM reserved for other applications (Preferences > Memory & Multiprocessing > RAM reserved for other applications), using an SSD for your OS/Programs and using a separate SSD for your cache(s).
Some of the info below is useful (though somewhat outdated specifically in regards to Ray Tracing).
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It's likely that you will not be able to get satisfactory performance with that processor and only 8 GB RAM.