Do you have only the two drives? I'm not as experienced with AE's exports as PrPro, but there ... having separate drives (past the system/program drive and a cache drive) for the projects, media, and exports can make a great difference in render-times. One idea.
Hi Neil, yes, I have two drives.. one for the system and the other for cache.. but it doesn't improve results.
What I'm suggesting is having a project's type of assets spread over more drives may help with intensive tasks like renders, as if the program is constantly going to a drive for a bit of data here, then there, oh ... it's got to write something to this file first ... that sort of thing? It slows the whole process down.
I haven't been through drive utilization for Ae nearly as much as for PrPro, but it's a huge part of getting decent render times in PrPro. So perhaps having system/program files as you have, that cache drive, and another internal drive for project files and another for your media/assets ... may just work a whole lot quicker.
Your project there ... uses two very high-intensity "things" ... 4k frame-size so there's a LOT more data to move on/off disc, and H.265, which is rather CPU intensive. That's before adding effects to the workload.
For a definitive answer, would be nice to get one of the more hard-core AE types on here ... Szalam perhaps?
can you encode in stages and render out an intermediate codec? does it work better with hyperthreading turned off?
its also slower than an old 2500k i5 in which case, well, time to upgrade?
The current version of AE doesn't use the GPU for much at all (well, it's vital to the obsolete ray-traced renderer, but other than that, not much).
In any case, it's never fast to render with the Adobe Media Encoder. The benefit of rendering with AME is two-fold:
1. You can keep working in AE while AME renders in the background.
2. You can render directly into a compressed deliverable (like H.264 or H.265)
For the fastest rendering speed, it's often a good idea to render out of AE's render queue into an intermediate format and then use that file in AME to render your deliverable.
And, if your composition will benefit from it, it is often best to open your project file in AE CC 2014 and render with multiprocessing.
AE's multiprocessing was a hacky workaround to get AE's old render engine to kinda fake like it was multithreaded, but it was a bit buggy and some things would throttle it back to single core rendering so it needed to be replaced. The AE team has begin putting new architecture in place to make AE much better and faster, but the old multiprocessing isn't compatible with this new architecture introduced partially in CC 2015. I say partially because, while AE is now multithreaded for real (the UI and renderer run on different threads making interactivity and actually working with AE significantly faster), there isn't a decent renderer that uses your CPU's full power in place yet.
Anyway, I'm sure you didn't care about all that. I have one or two other ideas, but first try opening up your project file in CC 2014, check your memory and multiprocessing settings in CC 2014 (make sure to leave at least 1 CPU and about a quarter of your RAM for other programs), and render from AE's render queue into a production codec (QuickTime with the PNG codec, Cineform, DNxHD, etc.) and see if that renders significantly faster. If not, come back and I'll toss some other ideas your way.