After Effects: Computer Requirements 2021. Mac vs PC

May 31, 2021


Is After Effects slow on your current editing setup? Are you thinking about upgrading your hardware to create VFX more quickly and reliably? Or maybe you’re a beginner and you’re wondering which computer you should pick, so After Effects could run smoothly?


Take a look at the After Effects hardware requirements below to find the answers to these questions.


First of all: Mac vs PC?

In general, if you don’t care about the system interface, stability and ecosystem - according to PugetSystem testing, 

PC performs way better than iMac and Mac pro for the same or lower cost.

At least for now. Additionally we have the advantage of using dedicated GPUs for effects acceleration and rendering. 


Computers I have used for After Effects edits

However - most of my commercial work up to date was done on iMac - 2017, 27’’ 5k Retina, Radeon 575 4GB, i7 4.2 GHz, 48 GB of ram and it did just fine. It was not the fastest machine for AE but I was able to do what I needed to.


Currently I’m working on a Razer Blade Pro 2020, with 64GB of RAM and RTX 2080 Max-Q and it works really well (although my personal support experience is atrocious, so you might want to take that into consideration). It is a bit on a noisy side, when it works to the max of its abilities. 


If you’re on a budget, I’d go with a custom built PC. Use GPU that enables hardware acceleration in AE and quite a bit of RAM (the more the better). As far as CPU - read below to make a more informed decision :)


After Effects Computer Requirements


To get it out of the way - here are recommended specs:


👉️ Processor

Multicore Intel processor with 64-bit support

👉️ Operating system

macOS versions 10.13 and later or Microsoft Windows 10 (64 bit) versions 1803 and later

👉️ RAM

16 GB minimum (32 GB recommended)


What to look for?


👉️ CPU - one of the most important pieces. Since Adobe, as I’m writing this, just started working on the beta feature to utilize multiple cores on the processor, older versions and the current release will work better with fewer cores but higher frequency. In the future that might change


👉️ GPU - This offers quite a boost for some effects and rendering, but only if your GPU is supported by AE. You’ll need to research your candidates for GPU, but RTX and and RX cards are supported, though the difference between high-end models is not that visible compared to having a non-supported GPU. 


👉️ RAM - Decides how many frames of preview you can store. The bigger the resolution of your project, the fewer the frames and more ram is needed. I’d say - the more RAM the easier the work will be. I’m rocking 64GB and if I doubled that, I know AE would be happy to devour it ;)


👉️ Disc - make sure to store your project on at least an SSD, and NVMe disc if possible. Keep cache there as well. It will offer a great boost to the performance



All in all - you can run AE on anything that meets minimum requirements, as long as you’re patient and have some time to spare :)

PC is, in general, a better bang for your buck, but if you’re a Mac guy and won’t give it up - no worries, you can still use Macs to run AE pretty effectively.

I decided to go for a Windows machine - a laptop, just because I needed a mobile working station and I wanted an RTX GPU.

Ultimately the decision is yours and relies heavily on your budget.

If you want to learn more and read in depth, I recommend searching for Puget Systems’ hardware for After Effects article.




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