please i need help. I am trying to render a big project filr which has lots pre composse files in it. And it was taking almost 2 days to hold on pre- flighting before rendering. And then rendering for maybe 24 hours. I am using ailenware i7 with 32 ram. But now when added few more files with the same project, now it cant render anymore....it always shows pre flighting.....please help if possible
I assume that after effects is creating its cache-files on the c-drive (which is the standard location if I recall correctly) and because there is near to no space left, it struggles to cache frames. The first thing you can do is go to edit -> purge everything and see if that helps. In any case, I highly advise you free up your c-drive - I'd feel comfortable with about 100-200gb of free space (at least)
I certainly agree that you don't have enough free disk space if you haven't moved the cache drive. Ideally it should be a large, very fast (SSD or NVME) drive with as much space as possible free. I use a striped 512 GB NVME array for mine personally. The exact sizes and speeds you need depend on the type of media you are working with (I work with 4k RAW video, so I need extremely high data rates.) With just 1080p h264 files, I'd probably just recommend a standard SSD with about 100GB of space for a cache drive. More size is always better, but you shouldn't really need faster than a single, independent SSD for compressed h.264, especially on such an old CPU.
That leads to the second point, there's no reason your CPU shouldn't be able to crank through it eventually, but a 2.3 ghz quad core is pretty limited on it's own without using GPU acceleration as well, depending on how long your total video is. If you have a decent GPU, you'll want to make sure the GPU acceleration is enabled so that a lot of the processing load can be shifted to the GPU and drastically increase performance. If you don't have a GPU, you may want to consider investing in one since it would bring a pretty substantial improvement in processing to such a relatively slow CPU based rig.
For comparison, I used a 2.93ghz quad core i7 from around the same time period with a GTX 980 and later a GTX 1080 for supporting 1080 processing and it did a pretty good job, but when it really fell down on dealing with 4k well. With the GPU it could still get through at a few frames a second for basic stuff, but it wasn't a pleasant experience to work with. You're dealing with a CPU that is about 25-30% slower than my CPU was and you haven't mentioned any GPU acceleration, so I'd expect things to be a bit bumpy, especially if you are getting more advanced with what it is doing.
GPU acceleration should make it an acceptable experience for 1080p, but certainly expect to need an upgrade before you attempt to tackle 4k.