I'm looking to buy a new computer for professional work with After Effects. I'm leaning towards buying the fastest iMac.
You should know that currently After Effects has difficulty playing cached previews at their full frame rate on Macs with high res screens. It is a bug the AE team is very aware of and have said it is a very high priority issue and they are working on fixing it, but it's still currently an issue. Imagine the frustration of never being able to see your work at real-time frame rates until you render and you play the rendered file. Really, really frustrating. That being said, this issue is going to be fixed someday (hopefully soon). Then Mac users will be able to enjoy the latest version of After Effects again.
Among many of our motion graphics peers, Apple is starting to lose its shine. Many people are migrating to Windows and finding out it's not so bad. Windows 10 is actually pretty good and you can get a lot more power for your money with a PC than a Mac. Also, a Windows-based workstation is easily upgradeable
That being said, Apple's customer service is legendary and the iMac screens are beautiful.
Personally, I have a 2011 MacBook Pro that I use when I'm traveling, but a Windows 10 workstation in my freelance office (with four screens) for the majority of my work. I like it a lot!
Any recommendations on what specifications I need to ad in to the base model?
Things that will help make AE faster regardless of Mac or PC:
- Higher core clock speed for the CPU
- An SSD separate from your footage/render location for AE's cache (ideally, a dedicated SSD just for the cache)
- Lots of RAM
- A decent GPU - this becomes more important if you're using third-party effects like Element 3d that render exclusively on the GPU or you do a lot of work in Premiere Pro.
Does the graphics card that comes in the iMac support GPU-accelerated effects in AE CC2017?
I don't know what GPU comes in the iMac, but probably yes. AE's GPU-accelerated effects will use OpenCL or Metal on Macs - both of which work with AMD cards. (Currently OpenCL is faster than Metal, but they're working on optimizing Metal.)
I'd like to point out that the issue I mentioned of not getting real-time playback of cached previews in some Macs looks to be solved in yesterday's bug fix update. So, if you want a Mac, there is one less reason to avoid it.
Great, thanks! I ended up buying the iMac.
Hopefully, with yesterdays update, it works swimmingly for you!
Things go quite nicely with my MBP and CC 2017