PC Build for After Effects

Adobe After Effects PC Build 2021 for Motion Graphics

Adobe’s After Effects is a remarkable piece of software for motion graphics and 2D animation for film and video in the media and entertainment industries. The app is a resource hungry application, and as such you need a properly configured After Effects PC build for efficiency in production.

In this article, we’ll look at what you need to know in order to build a suitable workstation PC for Adobe After Effects.

AMD PC Build

AFTER EFFECTS AMD PC BUILD

Last update on 2021-09-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

AFTER EFFECTS INTEL PC BUILD

Last update on 2021-09-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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After Effects 2020+ system requirements

These requirements apply to Adobe After Effects 2020 going forward.

Windows system requirements for Adobe After Effects

Processor Intel or AMD, multi-core
RAM 16GB. 32GB recommended
GPU NVIDIA or AMD GPU with at least 2GB VRAM, 4GB and above recommended.
OS 64-bit Windows 10 operating system (version 1903 or later. Version 1607 is not supported)
Storage 15GB required. Additional storage required for install. Up to 64GB required for disk cache.
Display Full HD resolution monitor required.
Network Network access required for product activation and registration in addition to accessing online services.

macOS System Requirements for Adobe After Effects

Processor Intel and Apple Silicon (Rosetta2 Supported) Multi-Core Processor
RAM 16GB. 32GB recommended
GPU NVIDIA or AMD GPU with at least 2GB VRAM, 4GB and above recommended.
OS macOS versions 10.14, 10.15 or macOS Big Sur 11.0 and later.
Storage 15GB of available hard-disk space for installation; additional free space
required during installation (cannot install on a volume that uses a case-
sensitive file system or on removable flash storage devices)
Additional disk space for disk cache (64GB+ recommended)
Display 1440×900 or greater display resolution
Network Internet connection and registration are necessary for required software activation, validation of subscriptions, and access to online services.

Most Important Components for After Effects PC build

Here’s a breakdown of some of the most important components you should devote the most resources for an After Effects PC build. Let’s have a look at these components.

CPU (Processor)

Adobe After Effects performs excellently with a high clock speed 64-bit CPU. A multi-core CPU with a much higher clock speed will provide the best performance in After Effects. The app can also utilize multiple cores (there’s a specific setting that takes advantage of multi-threading in After Effects settings menu).

However, it cannot utilize above 16 cores because after this performance tops off, and any additional cores won’t make much difference. That’s why a 64-core Threadripper CPU won’t make appreciable difference in performance.

As for platforms, both Intel and AMD CPUs perform great on After Effects, though the Ryzen 9 5950X offers outstanding performance. On the other hand, a value Ryzen CPU is the Ryzen 5 5600X.

Is Intel or AMD better for After Effects?

There really is no “better” platform in terms of performance, since a lot of other factors come into play such as your RAM speed, your CPU clock speed, your storage type, and the number of cores your CPU has. Any high clocked CPU should work just fine regardless of the platform.

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Can i5 run After Effects?

Possibly. The most important factor here is clock speed. An i5 CPU clocked at 3.8GHz will perform better than one clocked lower. However, you will see better performance with an i7 or i9 processor. The most recent i5 processors have multi-threading enabled which should boost performance in After Effects.

Can i3 run After Effects?

Yes, but you should not expect stellar performance from an i3 processor. After Effects requires a multi-core processor, but the problem here is that i3 processors are much lower clocked than i5, i7 or i9 processors. You are much better off getting an i7 or i9 processor for your After Effects build.

Is CPU or GPU more important for After Effects?

Obviously, the CPU is more important than the GPU while running After Effects. The app depends on the CPU for active work, while the GPU only comes in for raytracing and GPU accelerated effects processing. You should devote a substantial part of your budget towards getting a high-end CPU.

Can Pentium run After Effects?

Pentiums are not suitable for running After Effects. In fact, the app will not run on a Pentium CPU because Pentiums are low-powered chips and are not supported officially for After Effects. You should consider getting a Core i7 or i9 CPU for After Effects.

Do you need a good PC for After Effects?

Good is a relative term in this regard. What makes a “good” PC for After Effects is a PC that meets the minimum requirements for running After Effects. A good PC in this case is only one that can actually run After Effects satisfactorily.

Will my PC run after effects?

Yes, if it meets the minimum system requirements. These requirements include the following: a multi-core CPU, at least 16GB of RAM (32GB recommended), at least 2GB or more Open GL compatible graphics card, at least 16GB storage plus 60GB for caching, and a Full HD display.

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RAM

Ok, let’s face it. Adobe After Effects is a memory hungry app. This is as a result of the consistent footage caching the application stores on disk every time you load a project. The Adobe Mercy Playback Engine requires that the app should cache the timeline for smooth playback while a project is loaded.

This means a huge chunk of your system RAM is always occupied by After Effects. In fact, you can specify the percentage of your system RAM that is available to Adobe apps, including After Effects.

It is quite instructive to ensure to ensure that your PC has at least 16GB of RAM, though it is best to have 32 – 64GB of RAM.

The truth is this, no matter how powerful your system is, editing and manipulating effects heavy footage can actually task your system recourses, including RAM.

Is it OK to delete After Effects cache?

Deleting the After Effects cache will clear the saved previews stored on the hard drive. The implication of this is that when next you start After Effects, the app will create a new set of cache on the hard drive for smooth playback when working with your project.

Can 4GB RAM run After Effects?

No. 4GB is too poor to conveniently run After Effects CC. However, if you are running much older versions of After Effects such as After Effects CS2 or version 7, then it is enough. After Effects CC is a RAM hungry application which needs large amounts of RAM for caching project previews.

How much RAM is needed for Adobe After Effects?

Officially, After Effects needs a minimum of 16GB of RAM to run. The recommended amount of RAM is 32GB of RAM, and 64GB gives you much headroom to take on massive effects-heavy projects without running into performance issues. In addition, you can configure After Effects to utilize all available memory.

Why does After Effects use so much RAM?

After Effects requires much RAM to function optimally, and a substantial amount of this RAM is utilized for image caching and creating previews while working on a project. Because of this, you should ensure that your After Effects PC build has enough RAM, at least 16GB or better still 32GB.

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GPU

After Effects leans more towards the CPU than the GPU in terms of performance, mainly because, just like any other desktop app, the CPU is where computations are carried out while handling a project.

So essentially, the app relies on the GPU for rendering previews and image cache for smooth playback. In addition, After Effects relies on the GPU for raytracing, a feature introduced a few years ago to the After Effects toolkit.

What counts towards GPU performance is the number of compute units or CUDA cores on the GPU die; the higher the better. However, there is a bias in favor of NVIDIA cards for best performance. This is not to say that AMD cards are not supported. They are.

The best choices of GPU for After Effects are the RTX 3060 Ti and RTX 3070. These cards offer the best value in terms of price to performance ratio. If you want something better, then go for the RTX 3080.

What about dual GPU configs? After Effects doesn’t utilize those. It is only able to utilize one of them. However, if you are going to be using your PC for GPU rendering in 3D apps, then you might want to go the dual-GPU route.

What is the best graphics card for After Effects 2020?

The best graphics card for After Effects 2020 is the RTX 3070, delivering great performance at a great price. Alternatively, you can go for the RTX 3060 Ti for more value. Running After Effects on the RTX 3090 is not justified because you won’t see much performance increase compared to the earlier cards.

Is 2GB graphics card enough for After Effects?

No. A 2GB graphics card is just enough to run project previews. However, you begin to hit the ceiling in terms of performance when you throw in some heavy effects. It is recommended to go for a card with 4GB or more of VRAM for the best performance.

Can After Effects run without graphics card?

No. After Effects needs a compatible graphics card to run properly. However, if you force it to run on an unsupported or no graphics card, everything will run off of the CPU, putting much strain on your processor, with reduced performance and much lagging. Get a suitable GPU from the get go.

Is GTX 1650 good for After Effects?

The GTX 1650 performs fine in After Effects if you are editing Full HD footage, though you are going to be seriously constrained when you edit 4K footage with some intense effects thrown in. The card is a good budget option for those who are cash strapped.

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Storage

You will need fast storage to store your project files, such as a speedy NVMe drive. NVMes offer significant performance increase compared to SSDs and regular mechanical hard drives.

You could setup a fast NVMe as your boot drive, and another NVMe as storage for your After Effects cache and project files. This will contribute to snappy workflow in After Effects.

Monitor

A suitable monitor for working in After Effects should be able to represent color accurately and consistently. Stay away from gaming monitors, because they are not designed with color accuracy in mind.

Color grading and color matching are some typical workflow processes in After Effects, and as you’re your monitor should definitely live up to deliver precise colors.

In a nutshell, we recommend an IPS monitor, with matte surface finish, with a color depth of 8 bits, and a screen size of at least 24”. Usually, one monitor should do, but you can take it further by hooking up 2 of them using the VESA mounts at the back for increased productivity.

Concluding Thoughts

That’s about it! Putting together a PC for After Effects shouldn’t be a big deal. However, it turns out, don’t forget to let us know in the comment section. Check out other guides and reviews for more.

Thanks for dropping by.

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My passion for PC hardware is my greatest motivation. I love technology and how it can make life easier and less complicated! When I’m not tinkering with hardware, I’m reading. I love to travel and I usually can’t wait to sit down on my PC to work.

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