[Paul Richardson]"When I render, my CPU usage goes to 100% on all cores, and the RAM usage is also maxed out. I have tried rendering files from ssd->ssd, and hdd->hdd, and the speeds are the same. This makes me think it must be a CPU or RAM bottleneck. I have multicore processing turned on for all 12 cores, with 2GB of ram being assigned per core."
Fewer cores with more RAM each will probably help your render times, as will a healthy amount of reserved RAM for other applications. Forcing lots of processes to work really inefficiently is not as fast as letting fewer processes fly.