Can I Run After Effects Without a Graphics Card?

 Technically, yes, you can run Adobe After Effects without a dedicated graphics card (GPU). However, it is not recommended as the program requires a significant amount of graphics processing power. Without a dedicated GPU, After Effects will utilize the CPU’s integrated graphics processing unit (IGPU) to handle graphics tasks, which can significantly impact performance, especially when working with complex projects.

Minimum System Requirements

Despite being able to run on a system without a dedicated GPU, Adobe’s minimum system requirements for After Effects still specify a dedicated GPU:

  • Processor: 64-bit Intel or AMD multicore processor with 2 GHz or faster
  • RAM: 8 GB of RAM (16 GB recommended)
  • Operating System: Windows 10 (64 bit) or macOS Mojave (10.14)
  • Storage: 2 GB of available disk space
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 or AMD Radeon R7 360x with 2GB of VRAM

Performance Issues

Without a dedicated GPU, After Effects will struggle to handle the graphics-intensive tasks involved in creating motion graphics and visual effects. This can lead to several performance issues, such as:

  • Slow rendering times: Rendering, the process of generating the final output file from your project, can take significantly longer without a dedicated GPU.
  • Choppy playback: When previewing your project, playback may be choppy or laggy due to the CPU’s limited graphics processing capabilities.
  • Crashes: After Effects may crash unexpectedly, especially when working with complex projects or using certain effects.


If you’re unable to upgrade to a system with a dedicated GPU, there are a few workarounds you can try to improve performance:

  • Reduce project complexity: Limit the number of layers, effects, and high-resolution images in your project.
  • Lower preview resolution: Use a lower resolution preview when working on your project to reduce the strain on the CPU.
  • Close other programs: Close any unnecessary background programs to free up system resources for After Effects.
  • Update CPU: Ensure your CPU is up-to-date to maximize its performance.


If you’re primarily working on simple projects or don’t need the full range of After Effects’ features, consider using alternative motion graphics software that has lower system requirements:

  • Adobe Premiere Rush: A lightweight video editing and motion graphics app suitable for basic motion graphics work.
  • DaVinci Resolve: A free and powerful video editing and compositing software with less demanding system requirements than After Effects.


While After Effects can technically run without a dedicated GPU, it is not recommended due to the significant performance degradation you’ll experience. A dedicated GPU is essential for a smooth and efficient After Effects workflow. If upgrading your system isn’t feasible, consider alternative software with lower system requirements.


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