Adobe After Effects
Adobe After Effects is a powerful VFX package, usually used in conjunction with Adobe Premiere Pro. While After Effects has some basic video editing abilities it works best in conjunction with a full nonlinear editing package. Adobe had designed Premiere and After Effects to work together seamlessly, so most workstations meant for After Effects are inevitably also going to run Premiere. Here are some hardware recommendations to help you choose the best system for your needs.
With an increased focus on GPU acceleration since around the mid-2010s, Adobe After Effects doesn’t benefit that much from having extreme core counts as it might have in the past. Which means it's important to find a CPU that balances core count and per-core performance. After Effects can make good use of, for example, 16-core single-die processors at the high-end. However, actual performance from a CPU with fewer of those cores running at a higher clock rate could be faster in practice. AMD’s Ryzen CPUs have been putting in a good show with both Premiere and After Effects, since they offer more cores per-dollar with per-core performance on-par with Intel CPUs in matching price ranges.
After Effects benefits from multiple GPU-accelerated features, but overall it’s still a very CPU-centric piece of software. Mid-range GPUs with a healthy amount of VRAM will be just fine in general. Workstation-class GPUs such as the Nvidia Quadro range are not absolutely necessary and cheaper mid-range consumer GPUs should be fine unless you absolutely must have that mission-critical uptime and vendor support. The RTX 3060 series of cards are a great choice, but older mid-range cards from Nvidia are also perfectly acceptable. If you want to make use of the GPU-accelerated ray-traced 3D renderer, you do need to choose a GPU from Adobe’s certified list.
The exact RAM requirements for After Effects depends on the nature of your specific projects. Adobe recommends 16GB of RAM, but as resolution and framerate scale up that number will increase. If you have a fast SSD and don’t mind waiting for the next section of your video to load, then you can get away with less RAM. Discuss your specific resolution and framerate requirements with us and we’ll give you a recommended RAM allocation.
When it comes to storage for video editing and VFX, we’re confident in saying that a fast NVME SSD is an absolute requirement. We’d also recommend that you have a separate NVME SSD for your operating system and applications and then a second NVME drive to act as a cache or scratch drive. This will reduce the amount of SSD write wear on your primary drive and eliminate access contention by splitting data transfers over two different drives.
For truly a high-performance solution, you may want to consider a RAID 0 SSD configuration for the media cache drive. Speak to us about this option and if your use case will benefit from it.
Operating systems supported by After Effects:
Windows and macOS
LIST OF COMPATIBLE WORKSTATIONS