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Are you using multiprocessing? If so, turn it off. The issue might simply be concurrent resource usage by multiple AE instances and/or shortage of RAM. Also: what CoDec does your source footage have? Perhaps it's a third-party issue.
Since you have an 8-core machine and only 6 GB of RAM, you should lower the number of CPUs that are used. Read more about it here:
Also, open up your Info panel to see what AE is doing.
- Jonas Hummelstrand
First of all I want to thank Jonas and Mylenium for your suggestions... Sorry I couldn't get back to you sooner, but I had a few deadlines to meet this week...
I tried both suggestions... I was still getting crashes...
Just an hour ago, I figured out the problem... I also have a MOTU 828 firewire audio interface plugged in, and it was set to output After Effects audio... as soon as I turned it off, I could monitor scrubbing audio, and I was able to render without crashes...
I'm assuming that anytime After Effects would send audio to the 828, it would crash (including the chime after rendering)... I never had this problem before with my G5/Tiger setup, so I never considered it... I guess thats where I should have started in the first place... In the meantime, I'll have to bring this bug to the attention of MOTU and see if they can figure it out in their driver...
Thanks again guys!