High-Performance After Effects Workstation
Workstations designed for editing in After Effects have several key features.
This system is built around the 8th generation Intel Core i7, providing a massive amount of single-core performance, as well as capable CPU rendering when needed. The latest versions of AE are not able to take advantage of very high CPU core counts, making the relatively affordable hex core CPUs the current kings of performance.
This system has been configured with 64GB of DDR4 RAM, giving the editor plenty of room to open large files and timelines, a range of powerful and efficient NVIDIA video cards, and multiple storage options.
Overall System Performance
This After Effects workstation performs well in applications optimized for decently multithreaded CPUs, with high GPU rendering capabilities.
i7-8700K | PH-TC12DX Black | Prime Z370 | 64GB DDR4-2133 | 860 EVO 500GB | 970 EVO 1TB | Red 4TB | GTX 1080 8GB | Eclipse P400S Tempered Glass | SuperNOVA G2 650W | Windows 10 Pro | PH-F120MP
This After Effects Workstation is $3700 as Currently Designed
Workstations as Low as $1500 are Available
System Design Rationale & Upgrade Path
We've put a fair amount of thought into how we designed this system, and would like to explain why we chose the above components. We'll also explain the various upgrades to the system, as you might desire.
If you’d like to get these explanations on LinkedIn, check it out here.
We chose the i7-8700K for its very high single-core performance (beaten only by the i7-8086K). The i7-8700K also has a very competitive multithreaded performance, which is helpful in situations that can use several CPU threads.
System Change: If you come across a need for more clock speed, you can easily upgrade to the i7-8086K with no need to change the system otherwise. Needing more cores would require a new motherboard, and could involve more power and cooling as well.
To ensure that the CPU remains cool under load, we've selected a very good aftermarket air cooler. While water cooling does cool better than air does, a big air cooler will do quite well when leaving the CPU at stock settings. Air coolers are also more reliable, as they don't have a pump that can fail. If the fan on this air cooler fails, the system has enough internal cooling to allow you to quickly order a new fan, and finish your work.
However, we don't recommend leaving the system to do a heavy render with the main cooling fan disabled.
That being said, higher-end closed-loop liquid coolers do come with very long manufacturer warranties (upwards of 7 years), so the failure rate is extremely low.
System Change: If you come across a need for more cooling capacity, you can easily upgrade to a bigger air cooler, with no need to change the system otherwise. If you are unsure if your cooling idea will work with this case, please contact us for further review and assistance.
Because this system requires a high degree of reliability, we chose a high quality motherboard from Asus. This motherboard has a simple visual design, two PCI 3.0 slots, support for multiple M2 NVME drives, and up to 64GB of memory. Asus is widely accepted as one of the best manufacturers of motherboards.
System Change: Please ask us if you have a question about a potential system upgrade being compatible with your motherboard.
We went with 64GB of Vengeance LPX memory due to the extremely high quality of the internal chips. This setup will give the user plenty of room for open applications.
System Change: If you come across a need for more memory, you will need to change the motherboard and CPU. Please contact us if you need more memory, as there might be a drop-off in CPU horsepower. The motherboard selected supports a maximum of 64GB of memory, in a 4x16GB array.
The main storage SATA SSD, caching NVME SSD, and archival HDD were chosen for their high capacity, relatively low cost, and high reliability.
System Change: If you come across a need for more storage, you can easily upgrade to a bigger SSD or HDD, with no need to change the system otherwise.
The video card was chosen for its large memory capacity, and support for 4K resolution. This video card has a very capable aftermarket cooling solution, and will prevent any sort of thermal throttling from taking place. From our experience, most operations in After Effects do not benefit more from more powerful video cards.
System Change: If you come across a need for more graphical horsepower, you can easily upgrade your video card with no need to change the system otherwise.
Note: SLI is not supported by the GTX 1050Ti or GTX 1060. The only GTX 10XX series cards that support SLI are the 1070, 1080, 1080Ti, and Titan Xp.
The case was chosen for its high build quality, implementation of sound dampening foam, and incredible amount of cooling potential. We have selected a set of high-quality pressure-optimized fans to ensure sufficient airflow in the case to keep the system stable under heavy load.
System Change: Reasons for changing the case can be very hard to pin point. If you have a question about the compatibility of the case selected with an upgrade, please contact us.
The power supply was chosen for its high build quality, ample power capacity, and respectable thermal efficiency. Upgrading the wattage will potentially make the fan run slower, creating less noise overall. A higher wattage PSU than necessary will also prolong the life of the unit, as it isn't being operated near peak load.
System Change: If you decide to upgrade any single major draw of power, you do not need to change the power supply. If you change multiple draws of power, you may need to upgrade the wattage on the power supply.