> [As an additional note, the multiprocessing option is also telling me
I have 16 processors, when I have only 8.]
This is the easy question, so I'll deal with it first.
This a borderline bug. After Effects CS4 isn't able to take advantage of hyperthreading (which turns 8 physical processor cores into 16 virtual processor cores). However, it can _see_ the virtual cores, and it reports them as being there. Yeah, it's misleading. We fixed it in After Effects CS5---and we fixed it in the good way, by making After Effects CS5 capable of using the virtual cores provided by hyperthreading.
OK. Now for the harder question:
> Both versions of After Effects can only see/use 1.7 gigs of ram. My
understanding is that After Effects should see as available 3 gigs of
Please be very specific about what you mean by "see". Exactly what are your settings in the Memory & Multiprocessing preferences? (A screenshot would remove all ambiguity.)
Have a look at this page: "FAQ: Why doesn't After Effects see and use all of my RAM?"
Also, see this page, especially the first comment on the bottom.
Since I'm most often required to work in CS3 for compatibility with others in my office, upgrading cs4 won't really help too much.
Also, CS3 is also identifying 16 cores. Not sure if this is the same bug way back then?