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  • After Effects, Mac, which computer best?

  • Hope Holmesby

    December 23, 2022 at 1:02 am

    Hi, thanks for reading

    I have a iMac, mid ’17, i7, 4 core, 27″, 4.2Ghz processor, 8gb ram, ssd (see more below). Mojave.

    I want to start using aftereffects again on it—c.5.5 for now. I read it will run, more or less, on Mojave some write.

    Decision to make: should I upgrade to 64gb of ram – $175, and keep using this one for 2 more years?

    I want to use cameras and lighting in AE, and 3d animation, maybe, in maya or cinema 3d.

    …or should I instead invest the money in a new computer, and if so what would be the minimum to run AE w lights and cameras and 3d? Of course then I would have to upgrade to CC subscription, due to the new OS would be 64bit I assume.

    Was just looking at the apple computers and see that the newest iMac, at the moment is ‘2020’ and that iMac is no longer upgradable nor 27″ but has the M1chip, and the mac pros are starting at $6K, omg, plus a screen.

    What do you all great ones think, or use these days?

    Thanks so much for your thots and taking the time to read this. You are all saints….what can i say !!!



    …or should i switch to a PC….smile


    iMac – my current computer

    Model Identifier: iMac18,3

    Processor Name: Intel Core i7

    Processor Speed: 4.2 GHz

    Number of Processors: 1

    Total Number of Cores: 4

    L2 Cache (per Core): 256 KB

    L3 Cache: 8 MB

    Hyper-Threading Technology: Enabled

    Memory: 8 GB

    Boot ROM Version: 429.

    SMC Version (system): 2.41f1

    Serial Number (system): D25VW0V8J1GQ

    Hardware UUID: 586E8C40-6666-5F62-9BFF-D5D08083FCEA

  • Mads Nybo jørgensen

    December 23, 2022 at 1:20 am

    Hey Hope,

    For avoidance of doubt, my main work-horse is a HP ZBook Pro with 64GB of RAM.
    I do have a Mac Mini M1 with 16GB Ram for all Mac work, such as FCPX – a great little machine, that is happy enough with anything that I have thrown at it up to 4K.

    My initial thoughts are:
    If you are happy with your current iMac, then spending $175 on upgrading to 64GB of RAM is a no-brainer – and much more cost effective than buying a new one (whether Mac or PC).
    (I don’t know my RAMs for Mac, but even if it doesn’t work out, your RAM may be able to work in a new iMac – but you better ask Apple/dealer that question)
    Not sure that you’ll be able to run the latest CC on your current Mac, but once you have gone to CC there is no going back – and you would not want to, as it is a world away from CS.

    You don’t mention storage, but it may be worth hanging a Samsung T7 1TB
    or 2TB SSD drive on the back of it to speed up renders etc. Although the
    Intel i7 will only ever go as fast as it can. That is what we have the night-time for – rendering.

    The real question is whether you are doing it for business (profit), of whether it is a nice side gig/hobby that you enjoy, but don’t need to spend $ 4,000 – $ 6,000 on to make it work for you?



  • Andrew Chiu

    December 27, 2022 at 3:25 pm

    I echo what Mads said,

    but add some of my own thoughts/experience… (FYI i use AFX on a daily basis for work)

    1) are you doing this for fun or for business? if for fun, then spend as little as possible for now. computers change all the time, very quickly. just learn and have fun doing it!

    2) that said, 8gb of a RAM is not a lot when you start RAM previewing in AFX. so if you can afford to spend the $175 for 64gb, that sounds like a good investment. but you probably will not be able to use that RAM in a future computer as Apple M-series are all integrated memory. and PC world is changing right now with AMD’s new platform, and Intel prob changing in the next 12 months, so it’s doubtful that RAM would be reusable if you get a new computer.

    3) most of AFX’s functions use CPU power more than GPU, so a Mac would be fine. just so you know, I use CS5 on a 2013 i7 MBP for work! lol. although I also have faster 2015 MBP, M1 mini, and I built a PC with an AMD 5800x & RTX 3070 GPU. I have done rendering tests between the machines and the M1 is about 5x faster than the 2013. but that’s not a big deal to me since my work renders are rarely over 15-20 mins. (surprisingly the 5800x renders about the same speed as the M1 mini, since their single core performance is about the same!)

    4) if you plan to heavily get into 3D that uses GPU rendering — and i don’t mean AFX 3D, like Redshift, Octane, Unreal Engine — then a switch to PC would be more appropriate. but again, I stress that if you are simply learning for now, then spend as little as possible! I know some basic 3D and have done simple 3D for work even on a dual-core 2013 Macbook Air! yes the renders took longer, but i got my work done so that’s all that mattered 🙂 I built a PC last year because I want to get into learning Unreal Engine and a friend gave me a license to Red Shift (which needs GPU rendering) — but since I was so busy with other things the past year, I barely used the PC 🙁 and if i’d have waited, I could have saved hundreds of $$$ now or have a much more powerful computer this year for the same cost…so lesson learned! don’t spend more than you need to, until your growth determines it’s needed 🙂

    Hope that helps!

  • Hope Holmesby

    January 23, 2023 at 6:24 pm

    Thank you so, so much both of you….Mads and Andrew sorry i did not reply earlier….i had not check ‘send me replies’. I love your advice, both of you !!!

    So, very kind of you both to reply. I will respond more later.

    All bliss to you dear one.



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