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To determine if the issue is network-related, disconnect all networked drives and render one of the projects locally.
6GB of RAM is not that much when you think of it. It's more or less inevitable to have to turn off multiprocessing on a quadcore system, especially if they have an apple logo. ;O) This will only become better if you add yet another 4GB or so.
As for your network issues: entirely depends on how your network paths are resolved. If you don't use SMB but instead Apple's own protocol, the paths will be different due to the differences. I'd also be extremely careful in regards to user accounts - Windows frowns if a user does not exist on all local systems attached to a network and it's possible that it will refuse to grant access to certain files even if they seem otherwise fully accessible. Ideally you should have the same login with identical passwords everywhere to prevent the issues. If you work on many multiple machines, consider managing all user profiles on the server.
Still, 6 GB of RAM and multi-processing turned off shouldn't crash AE, so there's something in your system that's causing the problems.
I have a Mac Pro dual-dual 3.0 GHZ with 5 GB of RAM and Leopard and it works fine even with multi-processing.
Make sure you get the 8.0.2 update for AE.
Here are a bunch of trouble-shooting tips:
- Jonas Hummelstrand