Were you using the ray-tracing renderer? Ray-tracing is slow in general, and Ae's ray-tracer is slow by ray-tracing standards (unless you have an NVIDIA GPU, in which case you can use CUDA to accelerate it a bit).
This kind of stuff is lightning-fast in Element 3D or Shapeshifter.
Here is my card -
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M 4096 MB
and yes, Ray traced. But when I try to enable the GPU,
a warning says this card is untested/supported.
I have option to override that warning,
not sure which way to go on that!