Everytime I try to render out a simple composition with about 3 layers and a mask, it renders out about halfway and I get an error message about the memory, cache, and disk cache. WTH?? I don't even know what numbers to type in for any of this stuff!!
It's a new PC running WIN 7 64 bit, and 16 Gigs RAM I'm using AE CS3
Also, why does AE say I'm using such and such a percentage of only 4 Gigs of RAM? The system has 16 Gigs!
You can't use more RAM than that. AE CS3 is only a 32-bit program. It can't access any more RAM than that. This is one of the many, many reasons to upgrade to the latest version which is 64-bit and can use all the RAM you've got (and more!).
In order to get this done in time, some more info might help: are these layers really huge? Are they footage? If footage, what file format and codec are they? What file format are you rendering into? What codec?
Have you tried the "secret" preferences to flush it?
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[Phil Lister]"It's a new PC running WIN 7 64 bit, and 16 Gigs RAM I'm using AE CS3
Also, why does AE say I'm using such and such a percentage of only 4 Gigs of RAM? The system has 16 Gigs!"
AE CS3 is not a 64-bit application. The first 64-bit version of AE is CS5. CS3 can still make use of more than 4GB of RAM total by using the 'render multiple frames simultaneously' option in which case each instance of AE can address 3 or 4GB of RAM.
As for your error, it could have be AE's available RAM running low. The solution in that case may lie in your Preferences > Memory settings, the Preferences > Secret pane (Google after effects secret preferences), making your composition simpler around the area where the render fails, or rendering to an image sequence.
I've occasionally had to fall back on rendering image sequences, especially with older versions of AE, so that I can render around the problematic section and hopefully fill in the missing frames with smaller renders (anecdotal evidence points to an increased likelihood of AE freaking out during a long render).