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Turn off multiprocessing. Loading and unloading your hunky files may take way longer than the actual processing. For the half res previews, they would be loaded from the cache in many situations, thus not affecting I/O speed at all. Also your math is not really right. Depending on how an effect works, render times can go up indefinitely, e.g. if it works strictly pixel-per-pixel insrtead of a coherent single one-pass buffer. In any case, the res is 2^2 times as high, so a multiplier of 8 is to be expected on memory consumption and possibly processing as well... Not sure where your project goes wrong, though, would require soem more info about footage types, blendmodes, effects and so on.
Hi, thanks for helping
I actually had multiprocessing switched off at first, but rendering was so incredibly slow so I switched it on.
Footage types would be psd's imported as comps and a couple of QT's animation compressor. No external plugins, only the usual brightness contrast, tint, hue/saturation stuff. Blend modes, multiply in a couple of places.
Try limiting the number of processors AE can use. There's a setting in the text prefs, instructions here:
Given the amount of RAM available and the number of layers you're dealing with, all 8 processors may not be able to operate efficiently. Limit the procs to 4 or 6 to give each proc more RAM headroom.
Cool, I'll give it a go