This is not surprising at all, JL.
The Macbook Pro is Intel-based. As you surely know, in 2006 Apple moved all of its' computer lines to Intel processors after more than 20 years using PowerPC processors.
After Effects 7.0 was created before Apple even announced its' intention to move to Intel processors. Because of this, it was engineered for PowerPC processors (on Mac, of course), like all versions before AE 7.
The reason why it runs at all on your MBP, is because Apple added to the Mac OS a software technology called "Rosetta" which converts PowerPC code to Intel code on the the fly. But Rosetta is really meant for very simple applications, like (say) word processing. When you try to use AE 7 on an Intel-based Mac, it's taking a lot more memory than it should, and it's running much MUCH slower than it could. Wih such demanding tasks as AE performs, unreliability and instability are unfortunately to be expected because of the Rosetta conversion.
So, you really need an AE version engineered for Intel processors. It will be stable as it was designed to be, and it will run many, many times faster on your Macbook Pro. After Effects CS3 was the first such version, and now AE CS4 is in fact Intel-only.
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I agree with the previous - AE7 on a new MBP is no good idea. Apple themselves have publicly announced that they won't support Rosetta anymore now that they are transitioning to Cocoa and 64bit as well as ceasing support for certain Quicktime legacy functions and CoDecs. This makes for a very bad combination running PPC software on an intel Mac. You really should consider upgrading to CS4.
Adolfo and Mylenium -
Thanks both. That's why this is such a good forum... educated responses, quickly.
I would have upgraded already but this is the version we use in the office and I need my projects to be compatible with work I do at home.
How does CS3 or CS4 run on G5 Macs??
CS4 is intel-only, so it would not run on a G5 at all. Regarding the performance of CS3 I cannot say much, but it should definitely work. May not be all that glorious, but at least give you some compatibility. Still, a coherent upgrade path both at home and in the office would be advisable. Even if the program itself runs fine, the next thing you may have to worry about are third-party plug-ins or something else...
CS3 works fine on G5 Macs.
Consider, though, that Apple is about to release Snow Leopard, which will be its' first Intel-only operating system.
So, expect G5s to be less and less relevant in the near future.
All this being considered...
are there any settings on AE7 that can minimize the crashes and maximize performance on an Intel Mac?
Are CS3 aep files backward compatible at least??
I will probably not get the office, with it's PPC Macs to make the upgrade to Intel any time soon. That leaves me on the upgrade path with AE7.
No, project files created in newer versions are not compatible to older versions. Regarding stability enhancements I have no clue, but I would suspect that using some terminal magic and esoteric command line codes you could create a custom plist/ conf file that sets specific options. If so, you would find better advise on a generic Mac forum.
Thanks again for the very excellent discussion.